I use a clip-on tuner on my guitar. I play a string. If the LCD display turns green, that string is in tune. Otherwise, it shows if it is too high or too low.

I saw someone else's tuner a few years ago. It would display the names of notes played to it. That person was using it to tune various instruments. If I remember correctly, I sang notes into that tuner and it would tell me what notes they were, not just the 6 guitar-strings notes, but any notes I could sing in a scale.

Those are two very different types of tuners. Do they have names? I would like to purchase one like the second one I described. I don't know what to ask for.

I am not certain if remember this correctly, so I would appreciate any help into identifying what I am talking about. Thank you!

  • 1
    Check out these: Snark Tuners . They are designed mainly for guitar and bass, but from what I've seen, they will work for just about anything - they detect the sonic vibrations that resonate through an instrument. I think some of them also have a mic. I've been using them for years to tune guitars, basses and harmonicas.
    – Stinkfoot
    Dec 2 '17 at 0:44

Some tuners will be configured for a specific instrument, and only show the notes that the instrument uses. For example a "violin only" tuner would only show the notes G D A E on the tuner.

Tuners that show every half step / semitone are called chromatic tuners and give you the closest note name to pitch you are playing.

In some cases a tuner will have the ability to change settings to various instruments, or keep a chromatic list.

Besides physical tuners, there are apps for smartphones and tablets that will also provide tuning.

  • Chromatic is the word I was looking for, and I see my current tuner has a chromatic mode, aside from the guitar mode I have been using.
    – Max D
    Nov 29 '17 at 20:28
  • 1
    Good answer, from experience, a chromatic tuner will cost as small as $3 (AUD) online.
    – Unknown
    Nov 30 '17 at 4:02
  • I also found the Boss Chromatic Tuner for free as an app for my phone.
    – Max D
    Nov 30 '17 at 15:16

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