Back in the day, you needed to carry around an electronic tuner (or have a really good ear) in order to get your guitar sounding just right.
These days, all you need is your smartphone. Especially if you’re working from a DIY studio.
Technology has given us a lot of great inventions, but one of the best is the ability to whip out your phone and tune an instrument anytime, anywhere. However, with literally hundreds of free guitar tuner app options, it takes a lot of trial, error, and bandwidth to find one that you love.
To make it the entire process easier, we’ve rounded up our review of the best guitar tuner apps out there. Whether you’re after a bass guitar tuner app for Android or a guitar tuner app for your iPhone, you’ll find the best of the bunch on this list.
- Made by Fender
- Manual and auto-tuning options
- Tips for beginners
- Relatively inexpensive Fender Slide accessory
Fender is one of the biggest brands in music, and luckily, their guitar tuner app is worthy of holding the Fender name. Fender Tune has a clean and colorful user interface and is incredibly easy to use, with 22 different tunings, an auto-tune mode, and separate tuners for acoustic and electric guitar — as well as a Chromatic mode for freestyle tuning.
On top of that, the app also has extra features including a tips section, and an option to buy an accessory called The Fender Slide so that you can plug your guitar directly into your phone or tablet. Overall, while it’s a fairly basic app, it does what it does well, making it one of the best free guitar tuner apps out there.
Price: Free for the basic app (paid version available)
- Accurate readings
- Extra Features for Beginners
- Wide variety of instrument options
- Easy to use
Guitar Tuna is one of the most popular guitar tuner apps around, and it’s no surprise why. Although it’s technically a guitar tuner, it goes beyond it’s call of duty: The app can be used to tune both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as violin, cello, ukulele, bass, and more.
The app has the option to tune automatically or manually and, in addition to being chromatic, it boasts over 100 different preset tunings and an abundance of customization settings to choose from. For beginners, the app also has basic exercises and sets of chords to help you perfect your tuning and playing skills.
The free version of the app only allows standard guitar tuning (EADGBE), while the paid version offers other tunings or instruments.
Pro Guitar Tuner
Price: Free with ads (paid version available)
- Has a website for computer tuning
- Can detect pitches from headsets and clip-on mics
- Clean interface
- Fully capable of working with unusual instruments such as the balalaika
Unlike other guitar tuner apps, Pro Guitar Tuner gives you the ability to tune your instrument via your smartphone and desktop computer. It’s a chromatic tuner, so it supports most string instruments and several non-stringed instruments; however, it also includes pre-set samples of other instruments if you want to tune by ear.
One of the best features of this app is that it can detect pitches from headsets and guitar clip-on mics, meaning that you can tune more accurately without as much external interference if needed. Pro Guitar Tuner also boasts a clean interface and is fairly easy to use.
While there is a free version of this app, it does come with ads and limited functionality. We’d recommend springing for the paid version, which does away with any advertising and opens up the tuning options.
Price: Free with ads (full version requires upgrade)
- Vintage Dial look
- One of the most accurate guitar tuner apps available
- Customizations that aren’t available on other tuning apps
- Capable of tuning non-stringed instruments such as trumpets or piccolos
Pano Tuner is one of the most accurate guitar tuner apps on the market today. While its interface may not be as clean and stylish as others on this list, its accuracy and your ability to be able to customise it, make it one of the best options available.
Pano Tuner’s adjustable sensitivity settings mean you can have the optimum responsiveness, no matter what instrument you want to tune. You can set your own tuning or use one of the pre-set, non-standard options, and there are also a variety of different temperances to choose from — so you can change your instrument’s consonance if that’s more your jam. Beyond your standard acoustic and electric guitars, this app is capable of tuning orchestral, non-stringed instruments such as trumpets and piccolos.
Pano Tuner is also unique in that you can choose to view the notes as letters or as Do Re Mi, and select whether you see sharps or flats.
Available for: Android
Price: Free with ads (in-app purchases available)
- Easy-to-use display
- Can adjust mic sensitivity
- Allows you to tune by ear
- Great for musicians who play classical music
gStrings was one of the first really good guitar tuner apps for Android, and it still holds up to this day. The app functions as a chromatic dial-type tuner app, but it really sets itself apart with a variety of customization options. In gStrings, you can change the microphone’s sensitivity to pitch for more accurate tuning, and apply different temperaments like Pythagorean, meantone, and comma. The app even lets you define and shift the frequency settings to aid orchestral tuning, then save custom tunings for later use.
Cadenza Musician’s Kit
Available for: iOS
- Offers a wide pitch detection range
- Sequencer feature to help with songwriting
- Adjustable metronome
- Pitch Pipe feature for tuning by ear alone or as a group
What makes Cadenza a great choice for guitar tuning is its accuracy. It offers a wide pitch detection range and an adjustable A4 frequency setting, so you can set the pitch to input between either 410Hz or 450Hz. On top of that, the app has a pitch pipe option, which allows you to tune by ear or as a group simultaneously.
An incredibly user-friendly guitar tuner app for iPhone, Cadenza works in either landscape or portrait mode, has a scroll wheel to adjust the metronome tempo, and can reliably transpose musical compositions by simply touching the screen. The ‘sequencer’ function allows users to set a series of bars containing different time signatures, keys, and tempos to help with songwriting.