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Clip-on tuners ... pros? cons?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by dave64o, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    My tuner died and I was thinking about trying a clip-on tuner as a replacement. Then my wife started asking me to give her some Christmas gift ideas, so I thought that would be something I could ask for. But before I put it on my list, I thought it would also be worth asking about them first.

    Any experiences with them? Good? Bad? Mixed? Other?


    Dec 29, 2009
    Blech... worst money I ever spent... never tuned right IME. I would use it and then compare the tuning on my other tuners and get notes quarter steps too sharp or flat almost everytime.
  3. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The only one that's been half decent on my electric bass is the intellitouch PT10. Better than some plug in tuners I've used but just barely better.
  4. Since we have to plug in I use a plug in tuner on the bass, I do have an intellitouch and just keep it on my rhythm guitar. In the past I used the intellitouch on a banjo and a fiddle as there was no way to plug a tuner in.

    So --- long story shorter - the intellitouch is great for acoustic instruments, however, is temperamental where a plug in tuner is not. If you play something unplugged the intellitouch has value.

    Define temperamental - sometime gives an answer sometime does not - when this happens you must move it to another location to pick up that string. Big E string is read as B sometime for some reason, but, if you have no way of using a plug in tuner the intellitouch is the best/only way to go.
  5. Atticus


    May 26, 2010
    Memphis, TN
    My guitar player uses one that works fine for him. I prefer a tuning pedal, or just using harmonics to check tuning.
  6. I have a clip-on Intellitouch tuner. It works great on a guitar, but it's useless on a bass. I clip it on the headstock of my P-Bass, and I have to practically slam the E string several times to get it to pick up the vibrations from the string. Same with the A, but it picks up the D and G a little better. Use it on your guitar, but don't bother using it on a bass.
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Are you talking about the PT10 or an older model? My PT10 isn't too bad. Better than the older imt 500 and 600 models.
  8. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    On my acoustic guitars and ABG they work well. On my upright bass they work really well. On my electric solid body instruments they don't work nearly as well. On my semi-hollow basses they work okay if I'm patient.

    Basically these devices use vibration to get the information they need to determine pitch. If the instrument doesn't develop enough vibration, there's not enough information for these tuners to work. Acoustic instruments are all about developing and amplifying vibration which is perfect for these tuners. Electric solid body instruments simply don't amplify vibration to such a large extent, they don't need to, they use pickups to do their vibration amplification.
  9. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Like has been said before, great for acoustic; so-so for electric.
  10. You guys should check out the Snark clip-on tuner. So far that's the only clip-on I've ever used that can actually pick up a low B on a 5 string. Plus it has a very easy to read multicolor display and a metronome :D
  11. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Ok. So as much as I like the Intellitouch PT10, even on my 5 string electric bass, I just ordered a Snark tuner on Amazon for $9.60 shipped. At that price I can give it as a gift. Killer deal!
  12. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    IMMHO clip-on tuners are trash. The same goes for any other quartz tuner I've had experience with (through fellow musicians), guitar players who tune up the correct way with a quartz tuner, but still are out of tune. It happened (again) only yesterday night on a rehearsal.

    No tuner is absolutely perfect, but I need a tuner that beats my ears.

    This is the only on so far:

    Yesterday night, we retuned that guitar with this baby, and she beat the clip-on easily.
  13. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Biggest con for me: No automatic muting so everybody else has to be subjected to the sound of my/your tuning.
  14. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Just turn your volume down.

    I've got an Intelli... whatever it's called. Intellitouch, maybe? Anyway, it's OK for campfire settings, although it doesn't work so well with my ABG. In a studio/rehearsal environment, I prefer a strobe. Live, I use the regular quartz tuner on my pedalboard.
  15. I use a Planet Waves Headstock Tuner (clip-on) and it's great for my double bass and electrics. The light goes from red to green when you're on the money and, by my experience, it is accurate...
  16. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008

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