Are you looking for a great tuner for a guitar or other stringed instrument? No doubt you have been online and been swamped with all the options. There are plenty there, and it can be rather daunting.
Rather than spend hours going through them all, it is sometimes best to find out the brands that have a good reputation. Once you have done that, you can go and look at the range they offer. The number of tuners you have to look at suddenly drops down rather dramatically.
That’s why I decided to take a look at one of those manufacturers that have an impressive reputation, Snark, and their range of quality tuners in my Snark Tuner Comparison to make your decision a little easier.
What Should You Look for in a Tuner?
To a certain extent, that will depend on what you plan to use it for. If it is just for guitar or bass with the standard tunings and nothing else, you can use a guitar tuner.
But if you want to tune other instruments, a violin, for example, you will need a chromatic tuner. This will also apply if you want to use alternate tunings on your guitar or bass.
The Reason is Simple
A tuner just for a guitar will only tune to E, A, D, G, B, and E. Because those are the notes of the open strings on the instrument. A chromatic tuner will tune to any of the 12 notes available. That makes it more suitable for a range of other instruments or alternative guitar tunings.
Other things you ought to consider are:
- The size of the read-out on the LCD screen of the tuner.
- Whether you want the tuner to attach to the instrument whilst tuning.
- If you will be using it with stage lighting.
Snark produces a range of tuners to suit all the requirements. So, let’s take a look at what they offer in this in-depth comparison of Snark tuners. I broke it down into a couple of categories to keep things simple. Let’s start with the kind most guitarists will know right away.
1 – Snark Clip-On Tuners
Snark Hz-1 Clip-On Guitar and Bass Hertz Tuner – Best Clip-on Snark Hz Tuner
The HZ-1 is a chromatic tuner. It tunes up using Hz frequencies, which offer improved accuracy with a simple operation using just one button.
You can use the needles on the display to tune, or you can use the Hz frequencies for each string. This will include 6-string guitars as well as 4 or 5 string bass guitars.
The LCD Screen
You will find it’s clear and will display for you both the note you are tuning to and the Hz frequency. It is designed essentially for the guitar or bass. But being chromatic, it will work just as well for Mandolin, Ukulele or Violin, and most other stringed instruments.
It includes battery-saving dimming and shut-off features. After five seconds of non-use, the display will dim. It will shut down completely after no activity for two minutes. It runs off a CR2032 battery.
The clamp is well-made and allows you to view the screen from any angle. For those that prefer the accuracy of Hz tuning, a Hertz tuning chart is included for both guitar and bass.
Snark SN1X Clip-On Chromatic Tuner – Best Chromatic Snark Clip-on Tuner
For those who like their colors bright, the SN1X will be a favorite. This is a chromatic tuner with a vibration sensor. It has a 440Hz default setting. This can be adjusted, but this tuner does not provide Hz tuning.
The LCD Display
Clear and bright and gives you an easy-to-see representation of the pitch you are on. It is a needle-based system but also displays the Hz frequency for information purposes.
It has a self-testing system to ensure the tuner is working correctly. This is activated automatically when you turn the tuner on. It also features a useful tap metronome built-in.
The clip is adequate without being very strong, and the head can be rotated through 360 degrees for easy use. It works well with a guitar and a four-string bass. It runs off one CR2032 battery. A basic but good clip-on chromatic tuner.
Snark SN5X – Best Clip-on Snark Tuner for Violin
This is one of the more basic Snark chromatic tuners. The SN5X has been designed to accommodate the tuning on guitar and bass, but can also work well with the Violin and other stringed instruments. It has some nice features, including a tap tempo metronome and a full 360-degree adjusting swivel head.
The LCD Screen
There is a very visible full-color display. The tuning procedure is visually controlled by a needle. When the needle is centered, and the light above it turns green, you know you are in tune.
This tuner does not let you adjust the Hz frequency. But, it has a self-test operation that is automatic when you turn it on. It also has the power save features to preserve battery life that most Snark tuners enjoy. It requires a CR2032 battery. The tuner clips onto the headstock of your instrument securely. A cost-effective Snark tuner option.
Snark SN6X Clip-On Tuner for Ukulele – Best Snark Ukulele Tuner
Most tuners are set up to work for guitars first and foremost. Many will work with other instruments as well. But it isn’t often you find one designed specifically to work with another instrument. However, that is the case with this tuner.
Designed for the Ukulele
In some parts of the world, it is a very popular instrument, and so it is a good idea to have a tuner specifically for it. Furthermore, it will work with all the ukulele styles, Soprano, Concert, Tenor, and Baritone.
It is the same design idea and size as the guitar and bass SN5X. Also, it features a similar color scheme with a prominent black finish.
Some Good Features
As usual with Snark tuners, they do like to provide some good features. The SN6X has a tap tempo facility and has the usual Snark battery-saving options. It runs from a CR2032 battery.
This is an upgrade from a previous model. New features include a redesign of the processing chip, which gives faster and more accurate results. Also, a brighter high definition display. A good tuner that again is basic in its performance but gets the job done. Set at a very cost-effective price.
Snark X Clip-on Tuner Guitar, Bass, and Violin – Most Versatile Snark Clip-on Tuner
Another multi-instrument tuner from Snark, but this model has a couple of extras. The usual Snark features are included, especially the large color display with excellent visuals. That is usually a feature with Snark clip-on tuners.
This tuner works in large color blocks. It shows you in red when you are below the note and yellow when you have gone too far. An exact tune places you in green and also displays the note on the screen.
This tuner has been fitted with vulcanized rubber joints. This is going to extend the life of moving parts which are often the vulnerable aspect. You can also expect a good battery life using a CR2032 battery. A good tuner at a very good price point.
Snark Guitar Tuner (S-1) – Best Budget Snark Clip-on Tuner
For our last look at Snark clip-on tuners, we go to the S-1 guitar tuner. This tuner is sometimes affectionately referred to as the “Son Of Snark” due to its size.
It is a compact little chromatic tuner that clips onto the back of the headstock as a permanent visual aid if required. If you are left-handed, you will need to place it on the front of the headstock.
There is no 360-degree swivel head design with this tuner, which some prefer. It is designed to be clipped on and remain in the line of sight.
A Functional Design
It might be compact and quite small, but the LCD screen is very visible. It works on a needle basis. When the note is flat, the needle stays red. When it is sharp, it changes to yellow. The body is a bright blue for those that like their colorful accessories.
Power Saving Features
To save battery life, it has power-saving features. After designated times of not being used, it will first go dim and then shut down completely. To turn it on is just a simple press of a button. It takes one CR 2302 battery and will work with guitar and bass as well as other instruments.
2 – Snark Console Tuners
Snark Tuner (SN3) – Best Cheap Snark Tuner
The SN3 is a little more than just a chromatic tuner; it has been equipped with some excellent features. For note detection, there is an internal mic with a ¼-inch jack socket. There is also a Transpose feature.
It is fitted with a tone generator. That is really an electronic pitch pipe. Calibration scaling from the tone generator will give you C – C# – D – D# – E – F – F# – G – G# – A – A# and B. Also, it will allow for tuning for instruments such as a B flat trumpet and other non-concert pitch instruments.
It has a tap tempo metronome and a calibration range of 415-466Hz. Additionally, it comes with the usual Snark auto features and has power-saving features to conserve battery life. It takes two AAA batteries.
If you prefer a tuner that doesn’t need to be attached to the instrument, this is a good option. Finished in a rather bright blue color, all the controls and the screen are placed on the top of the unit. If you prefer a red tuner, there is the SN-4 tuner which is the same, except for the color.
3 – Snark Super Tight Series
Snark ST-2 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner – Best Stringed Instrument Snark Tuner
Next up in this Snark tuner comparison is one of the Super Tight series. This tuner offers extra strength built-in to the grip in its clip-on design. This tuner offers a bright red finish with a very visible full-color LCD screen.
It is designed to tune all instruments and has a transpose feature that tunes those instruments that are non-concert. There is also a built-in tap-tempo metronome. It comes with the usual Snark battery-saving power features.
What sets this tuner apart from some others are the options you have in the tuning process. It has a built-in, internal microphone which means it can tune through note detection. But it also has the standard high-sensitivity vibration detection option. This is controlled by a switch on the side.
As I’ve already mentioned, the clamp from the grip has been given extra strength. But the head still rotates through 360 degrees to give you a clear sight of the bright full-color LCD screen. It has a calibration range of 415-466Hz. It requires one CR2032 battery. This is a very good tuner for all instruments and is very good value for money.
Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip-On Guitar Tuner – Best Snark Clip-on Tuner for Guitar
The ST8 is another member of the Super Tight range. It has all the benefits and features that the ST2 offers, except one. It has Transpose, Tap Tempo Metronome, and the Power Saving options.
But this tuner is designed for the guitar. Because of that, it lacks the internal microphone that the ST2 enjoys. To use this tuner, you need to clip it onto the instrument. It takes one CR 2032 battery. All other features, though, are the same. It is finished in black.
Snark ST-8HZ Super Tight All Instrument Tuner – Most Durable Snark Clip-on Tuner
The ST8Hz tuner is the same as the ST8 we previously looked at. The difference being this tuner offers you Hz tuning. That makes it especially suitable for four or five-string bass guitars as well as six-string guitars.
Furthermore, it will handle a range of other instruments. It will give you standard as well as flat tuning and, of course, Hz tuning displayed on the screen.
The Usual Features
Snark includes the tap tempo metronome and the Transpose feature, as well as the usual automatic features. It has a calibration range of 415-466Hz and runs off a CR0232 battery.
4 – Snark Pedal Tuner
Snark SN-10S Pedal Tuner – Best Snark Pedal Tuner for Guitar and Bass
And now for something completely different. If you aren’t keen on having your tuner attached to your headstock on the guitar, here is an option. This is a chromatic pedal tuner from Snark that is a real working pedal.
You can use it as a stand-alone tuner on the floor, or you can place it on your pedalboard. Measuring 4 by 2 by 2.5 inches, it isn’t going to take up too much room. It has True Bypass, so it can sit in your pedal chain without interrupting the signal.
Since you use your foot to turn it on and off, it has a very strong all-metal build. And because it’s likely to be used during gigs, it has been designed with an easy-to-see display. This is centrally located and made to be very visible even on dark stages.
It can be AC or battery operated. However, it doesn’t come with an AC adapter, but any standard nine-volt pedalboard adapter will fit. An excellent option for gigging musicians who may need a quick and accurate tune-up.
5 – The Snark Napoleon Range
Snark Napoleon N5 Tuner – Best Compact Clip-on Snark Tuner
To close out this Snark tuner comparison is a much different design from the Napoleon range. It is a chromatic tuner that has been designed for the guitar, but it will suit most instruments.
Good Build Quality
It is compact, measuring just 5 by 1 by 2.5 inches, with tough construction. It has a padded clamp that ensures the tuner stays in place when it is attached to the instrument.
Standard fitting and the 360-degree swivel head to make sure the screen is visible from any angle. The tuner is an unobtrusive dark blue color.
A change from the usual Snark screen, it is a single color with the note prominently displayed. When you get the string tuned correctly, the screen will glow green.
An interesting addition is a pick holder. This fits over the tuner and will hold three picks. The pick holder is detachable if you wish. A change from the usual from Snark but a good tuner at a very cost-effective price.
Snark Tuner Comparison – Key Considerations
Those are just a few of a very extensive range of Snark tuners. If you can’t see exactly what you are looking for on this list, it is likely they will have something to suit you. Before we close this look at Snark Tuners, there are some points we should clarify that might help you.
The Transpose, Flat Tuning Feature
If you play with a capo, then this feature will allow you to tune up your guitar with the tuner still in place.
The LCD Display
This is quite consistent across the range, with a couple of exceptions which I have included. Some models light up part of the display; others will light up right across the range of needles. All the tuners will show green when the note hits the proper note.
Except for a couple of exceptions, all Snark tuners have a clip-on clamp that includes a 360-degree swivel head. Those exceptions are the Pedal and Console tuners.
On most tuners, this clip-on clamp with its ball joint is made of plastic. We all know plastic can be vulnerable if not treated with a reasonable amount of care. In the vast majority of cases, the build quality of the clamp and the ball joint is reliable and will withstand breakages. However, if you are too heavy-handed, it could cause problems.
The Power Saving Feature
A very useful feature to preserve battery life. The screen will dim after five seconds of inactivity and, after two minutes, will completely shut down. This battery-saving feature comes on all recent Snark tuners. And certainly all the models I have shown here.
Whilst this is a good feature, there is something to consider. If you were to start playing before two minutes have passed or it has completely shut down, the tuner is still on. Depending on how long the song is, that could drain your battery. It would be best to turn it off before you play.
Damage to the Finish of the Instrument at the Headstock
Whilst rubber pads protect the surface of your instrument from scratches, some lacquer and other finishes don’t react well to lengthy contact. Some of these finishes are:
- Oil-based finishes.
- Nitrocellulose finish on some Gibson guitars.
If you have instruments with these finishes, it may be best to tune up and then remove the tuner immediately. If you are not happy with that, you could opt for a Console or Pedal tuner instead.
Hz Frequency Tuning
This is an advanced form of tuning that tunes to the frequency of the note you are playing. You should tune ascending on guitar, starting on the lowest note. However, on bass guitars, you should tune descending, commencing on the highest string. Other instruments can all be tuned ascending.
Interested in Accessories for Guitars or Other Instruments?
Let us help you find what you want. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners, the Best Guitar Tuners, the Best Ukulele Tuners, the Best Grover Tuners, the Best Electric Guitar Strings, the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings, and the Best Electric Guitar Case you can buy in 2021.
Snark Tuner Comparison – Final Thoughts
There is no doubt that Snark is a very popular brand of instrument tuners. There are good reasons for this, including the fact that they are a cost-effective option, are well-made and durable, and are easy to use with a rotating head and clear LCD screen. They produce a wide range of tuners to suit all instruments, and they all do the job.
If you haven’t tried a Snark Tuner before, you should take a look. You won’t be disappointed.
Until next time, let the music play.