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Clip-On Tuner Precision & Reliability

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Smallmouth_Bass, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    How important is for you to have a precise clip-on tuner (if that's your preference)? I see that most models are +/- 1 cent, but some are +/- 0.1 cent. Is that much precision required in a clip on and can they actually detect that much precision from vibrations? Any trouble with low B tuning?

    I was looking at getting a clip-on tuner for quick tune ups before plugging in, not as a replacement to my pedal tuner (PolyTune Mini) or as an always on tuner. There are so many models out there and I am wondering if I should just pick one that I like the form factor and display of as most are relatively cheap (with the exception of the PolyTune Clip!).
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Get the Polytune Clip and be done with it. It tracks much better than other clip on tuners that I've tried and is actually useable in a live context, where other clip one have a tough time discerning between your bass and the other ambient noises going on. I know you mention you don't want it to replace your main tuner, but if you ever needed it to its got the best shot of doing it.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
    gregmon79 likes this.
  3. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    I doubt there are many people who can tell that a bass is less than 1 cent out of tune. The heavier strings also tend to have slightly different pitch when first plucked then during the sustain phase anyway (though in my experience this change is usually less than a cent)

    For setup and intonation, I can see why you would want the extra precision, but IMO even this is mostly a feel-good thing rather than a real musical requirement...
  4. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think I read somewhere (on TalkBass) that the PolyTune Clip had some trouble reading the low B (or was it E, or both) in some instances. I just wonder if you're paying extra partly because of the "poly" portion, which has no use on the bass. For the price, you can get 3 or 4 cheaper tuners!

    It seems like every brand has several models. Korg must have a dozen. When did these types of tuners get so popular? Is it mainly because of acoustic guitars?
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    The poly feature works on basses. I use it on my 6-string. Maybe it just doesn't track well and I think it's working...

    If you have a tuner that won't read the low end you can always use harmonics.
  6. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying more for a quality product. I just wonder if it's overkill for my purposes.
  7. The red Snark is pretty good too.
    1stnamebassist and unclebass like this.
  8. Dug2


    Sep 24, 2011
    singlemalt likes this.
  9. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I was looking at the Snarks and tried one briefly. Nice big bright display which was great in a darker setting. They're relatively cheap too.
  10. The polyclip has no problem at all with a low B. You can even use the open string which isn't possible with a lot of clip tuners. Works great on my Warwick (great B) as well as Carvin (horrendously terrible B). I'm not the biggest TC fan but they got it right with the polyclip IMO, I've been completely satisfied with it.
  11. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    B and E tracking in my experience depends more on the bass than the tuner.
    Some of them vibrate stronger at the headstock than others.
    Depends on placement as well. Sometimes you have to move them around to find a good spot.
    rockinb and gregmon79 like this.
  12. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I too have the TC clipon and that thing rocks. Its as fast as my Mini Noir. Ive tried all the bigger named ones as well as ones that arent, Korg, Fender, Snark, generic, the TC kills them no contest. Its a little more pricey, but totally worth it.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I'm happy with the Snark - have one in each bass case.
    smo likes this.
  14. unclebass


    Dec 17, 2012
    I use a red Snark, works well. Sometimes it has a little trouble with the low B, but I check for tuning by playing D and E. If its in tune there, B must be close too.
  15. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I only use (Snark) clip-on tuners. I've never had any real trouble. yes sometime the low B doesnt register but I just fret the E on the B string and it's done.
  16. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    The super cheap planet wave mini's do it for me. They have a little trouble with the low B, but I tune E-C, so what do I care?

    I like that they hide behind the headstock and can stay on the bass all the time.

    Two for $20 at bassstringsonline.com!
    Dug2 likes this.
  17. rockinb


    Jan 26, 2013
    Irvine, CA
    The Snarks work very well, are fairly precise and tune in quickly (not a lot of the arrow or meter bouncing around). However, down side of the Snarks is the neck design is fairly fragile. If you keep it in a hard case, it will be fine, but throw it in a gig bag and apply pressure like if the bag is thrown in the car trunk and the Snark tuner neck may snap. I've had 2 snap already.

    Overall, most clip on tuners use the same tech and algorithms, so they are all fairly accurate. The main difference is how quickly the tune in (how much the arrow bounces around before settling) and how they do with other vibrations (like if the whole band is playing while you are trying to use the clip tuner). If you are standing next to the drummer who is pounding full volume or next to your guitarist's marshall full stack while you try to tune, then none of the clip on tuners will work well.

    Other differences are features, some clip on tuners have mics and vibration options, metronomes, ability to change from 440 tuning, etc. Whether you need these extra features for the price is up to you.

    For your purpose of quick pre-tune for rehearsals or jams, you don't need the 0.1 cent accuracy. Especially if you already have a good pedal tuner.

    My suggestion to you is to buy a cheaper clip tuner and try it out. It will definitely be good enough for quickie jam session tuning. If it turns out it is not accurate enough, then you are only out $10 and can always keep it as a backup. Again, any major brand will definitely be good enough for quick tuning for jams and rehearsals, so it will still be worthwhile.

    I have used snark, Korkgs, D'addarios and even a no name from China (I got it because it takes AAA and I can use rechargeables instead of constantly buying those button batteries). They all did their job well enough. In fact, one of the best values is from reverb.com. They sell a simple clip on tuner for $3.99 shipped with battery. Works well, easy to read, decently build, and cheap enough that if it gets lost or broken, no worries.

    Reverb Clip-On Tuner | Reverb

    Since this is your first clip on tuner. I would suggest you get the reverb clip on and then decide if you even like clip on tuners and/or if you need something more fancy and expensive.
    J-Murda and bassbrad like this.
  18. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
  19. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Polytune Clip shreds the others. There's a reason the others are 1/4 the price.
  20. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Although in my shop I use an old A tuning fork, I have never owned an electronic tuner. I simply just tune to whoever I'm gigging with. I have favorites - certain players I know to be more tuning conscious and accurate than others.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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