Tuners are a small, yet indispensable device for musicians. Stringed instruments go out of tune frequently and need tuning now and then. Regardless of your level of experience, you will sound awful if your banjo is out-of-tune.
By all means, you can use a tuner app to save money or tune by ear but remember that it is nearly impossible to tune a guitar to perfection in a noisy environment.
You cannot expect to let your audience wait while you take your sweet moment, struggling to tune one string at a time. Having a tuner in hand will save you from a lot of stress and embarrassment. With so many options available, selecting the best banjo tuner is not an easy task. You do not have to spend a lot on a tuner.
So here is the list of best banjo tuner that you might want to take a look at.
Table Of Contents
- LIST OF BEST BANJO TUNER
- BEST BANJO TUNER REVIEW
- 1. KLIQ UBERTUNER - BEST MULTI-KEY BANJO TUNER
- 2. FENDER FCT-2 - BEST CLIP ON BANJO TUNER
- 3. SNARK ST-2 - BEST CHROMATIC TUNER FOR BANJO
- 4. REAL TUNER LA-1 - ADVANCED TUNER FOR BANJO
- 5. AROMA AT102 - BEST BUDGET BANJO TUNER
- 6. SNARK ST-8
- 7. KORG TM-60 - BEST BANJO TUNER WITH PICKUP
- 8. SNARK SN5X
LIST OF BEST BANJO TUNER
Real Tuner la-1
BEST BANJO TUNER REVIEW
1. KLIQ UBERTUNER - BEST MULTI-KEY BANJO TUNER
This best banjo tuner is an affordable yet popular chromatic tuner for a wide range of instruments, banjo, guitar, cello, violin and many more. Before switching it on, UberTuner looks like any other tuner- blocky little black mass.
But once you switch it on, the screen lights up with a large colorful display. Tuners often have tightly congested information that is difficult to understand.
UberTuner's vibrant and clear display makes it very incredibly easy to read and understand. Yellow depicts flatness, red indicates sharpness and the green circle indicate that your banjo is in tune.
The body is made of a hard plastic casing, so it looks sturdy, and it does not look like it will break any time soon. It has a power saver feature that will extend battery life. The tuner has an adjustable pitch-calibration ranging from 430-450 Hz.
Moreover, since it is a clip-on tuner, it has an upper-hand over the pedal and virtual tuners as it reduces external noise. So if you are on stage, you can set up your banjo without worrying about picking up external noise. You will receive accurate measurements and therefore tune with ease.
One thing that I observed is that most tuners delay by a few seconds while giving the reading. UberTuner, on the other hand, gives the on-the-spot correct reading without hesitation. The tuner is comparatively more expensive than tuners of similar qualities, but if you want something quirky and easy to handle, I would highly recommend UberTuner.
2. FENDER FCT-2 - BEST CLIP ON BANJO TUNER
Fender FCT-2 packs a punch, so worth the price that it can put some higher-end tuners to shame. The FCT-2 model is compact and inexpensive. It has a dual-hinge, so it can be freely turned while being mounted to the headstock.
It has an easy-to-read colour coded LCD screen. This tuner is suitable for a wide range of headstocks, including banjo headstocks, so adjust the clip-on FCT-2 according to your comfort level.
I have seen many digital clip-on tuners dying out after a few months, its display fading away to the point where you need to be in a dark room to make the screen visible. It is frustrating to throw away tuners after tuners, considering the money spent on them.
Surprisingly, Fender FCT-2 lasts more than a year, giving you a bright display without draining its CR2032 battery. But one downside of this tuner is that you need a special screwdriver to open the tiny screws at the back of the tuner's compartment. This makes replacing the batter sort of difficult.
FCT-2 has a distinguishable tuning needle that oscillates on either end and then wanders to the middle to indicate perfect tuning. It has a tuning range of B0-B7, calibrated to A440. The display could have been a bit bigger since the information on-screen seems congested.
However, it is impressive that the tuner can catch a banjo's sound, even when used in a noisy environment. It is a good banjo tuner for a beginner, so if you have a few bucks to spend, this is for you.
3. SNARK ST-2 - BEST CHROMATIC TUNER FOR BANJO
Snark tuners are inexpensive and well known for their accuracy and design. Coming with a mere $18 price tag, ST-2 is nifty, considering the features it offers. It comes with a beautiful red coating, with HD color display which varies in brightness, depending on the lighting conditions.
The ST-2 has a graduating scale display, featuring a red needle that fills up space once you get near to being in-tune. Once you achieve perfect tuning, the needle will reach the blue zone.
If you go past appropriate tuning, it will show up as green. The tuner rotates 360 degrees for easy viewing. The tuner's flexibility is especially beneficial for left-handed players.
ST-2 has 'super tight' written on it and does live up to the claim. Rubber pads on the device enable it to grip tightly onto any part of the headstock. It has a visual metronome which is a bonus. Unfortunately, Snark tuners are not the most durable tuners. Many people report that the display is prone to breaking from the clip attachment.
The tuner can switch back-and-forth between microphone and vibration mode. With microphone mode, it will pick up the sound of the note you're playing. The vibration mode enables you to pick up on the sound directly from the instrument.
I would suggest using the vibration mode as it offers better accuracy. It is a suitable tuner for beginners who wants a standard accuracy but if you are looking for pitch-perfect precision, you might want to prepare to spend more.
4. REAL TUNER LA-1 - ADVANCED TUNER FOR BANJO
This stylish and sleek tuner is perfect for banjo guitars. It comes with almost all the features that you would expect from a tuner. It has a full-color display with clear information that is easy to read. The real tuner has all the function buttons on the front panel.
The "mode" button turns on the tuner. Pressing the mode button again will enable you to select the instrument that you would like to tune. Weirdly, despite mentioning that it is compatible with banjos, the tuner does not have a banjo mode.
However, using the chromatic mode gets the job done. The "Mic" button lets you select between clip-on or microphone mode. Enabling the microphone mode will let the tuner record the notes and give the reading, while the clip-on mode directly picks up sounds of the instrument from vibrations.
The tuner head can turn 360 degrees so that you can view it from all directions. The chromatic mode is alright for tuning banjos. The Real Tuner has an A4 pitch calibration between 430-450 Hz and a good tuning range between E0-B7.
It picks up sound well in noisy environments, thanks to its sensitive vibration sensor. It has a quick response time but is not accurate when tuning higher notes. It might be due to the lack of a dedicated banjo mode. The product comes with a manual so beginners can understand the basics of tuning. Moreover, the three years guarantee also assures quality.
5. AROMA AT102 - BEST BUDGET BANJO TUNER
The Aroma AT102 is a small clip-on tuner offering a backlit LCD and a 360-degree rotating clip. The build looks clumsy but what can you expect from such a cheap option? The small size makes it easily portable and convenient for you to carry it to concerts and gigs.
It is suitable for all stringed instruments and has a pitch calibration ranging from 430-450 Hz, which in my opinion is small. It is an extremely cheap option for people who want a tuner but do not want to spend a lot of money. I am not fond of its accuracy since the reading tends to fluctuate a lot.
The tuning accuracy is okay for amateurs but not for professionals. On the brighter side, you get four free guitar picks which are cute. All-in-all, you might be saving few bucks, but I would suggest looking for a better option to get better quality.
6. SNARK ST-8
Snark ST-8 is part of the 'Super Tight' series and is the upgraded version of the ST-2 model. It looks very similar to ST-2. Both models have a soft plastic coating with LCD screen and colored needles. However, ST-8 shows one or two needles at a time, until you reach perfect tuning, as depicted in the form of a blue needle.
I feel that this is a downside of ST-8 when compared to its predecessor. Not being able to see all the needles simultaneously makes tuning a slow process. ST-8 does not have an internal microphone option like the previous model. But I don't think you would require one since it is a clip-on model anyway.
It has only a vibration sensor. Just like ST-2, it offers a tap tempo metronome and a transpose mode. It has a pitch calibration of 415-466 Hz, giving a fairly accurate reading, although you might encounter mild inaccuracies while tuning high notes.
The display head rotates full 360 degrees, offering flexibility while fitting it to the headstock. Moreover, it offers a better and tighter adjustment that the previous models.
Unfortunately, it is not compatible with instruments having finishes composed of nitrocellulose lacquer, french polish and polyurethane. Therefore, Snark tuners cannot be used with Gibson banjos as they have a nitrocellulose finish.
Overall, it is a low-cost option for beginners. Despite having some flaws, I can recommend it to those who are buying a tuner for the first time.
7. KORG TM-60 - BEST BANJO TUNER WITH PICKUP
The Korg TM-60 is a tuner that also has a metronome. Therefore, TM-60 can be useful for both pitch training and rhythm training. The metronome is a staple item for any musician, especially for banjo players, so you might find this feature useful. The large LCD screen is easy to read and shows both the tuner and the metronome.
You can also adjust the screen brightness as per your convenience. Hence, no matter where you are, you can always set the brightness according to what the environment demands. It covers a tuning range of C1-C8 which lets you use it almost all instruments. It has a quick response and precision while tuning.
The metronome operates from 30-252 BPM and incorporates 15 rhythm variations and different tempos. Additionally, it is not power-hungry and has a long-lasting battery life of approximately 130 hours. Stress no more about the battery dying and practice!
8. SNARK SN5X
The Snark SN5X tuner claims to tune banjos, which is great considering this is what you are looking for. However, upon further research, I came to the frustrating realization that it still does not have a banjo mode. Yet, tuning is still possible using the chromatic scale mode, albeit with poor accuracy.
Aside from the false advertising, it is very similar to all the Snark models. It has the usual HD display with a 360-degree swivel head. The information is color coded and easy to read. Despite false advertisement, I cannot ignore that Snark tuners have impressive utility and functionality.
Tuning can be cumbersome, but it is an essential part of playing any stringed instrument. You cannot go on-stage with an out-of-tune banjo and expect to give a marvelous performance. Tuning applications can work for hobbyists but not for someone serious about music.
Choosing the best banjo tuner depends on your needs. For effective functionality, you need a tuner that will be portable, can pick up notes through vibrations and has a good display. Keeping these tips in mind, I would like you to go through the features and see which one meets your needs the best.