When you start playing a string instrument, the fact that you have to tune it every time you play gets a bit annoying in the early days. Eventually, of course, you get used to it and it becomes a part of the game. It is like making sure that the wheels are alright before going on the racetrack.
When you are just starting though, you do not know which wheels are good? Okay, enough with the metaphors. There are several options available out there in terms of tuners and it can get a bit of a hassle picking out the best and latest banjo tuner. So, in this article, I will try to make things easier by answering the question “How Do I Choose the Best Banjo Tuners?”
Factors To Consider When Buying Banjo Tuners:
When you are out in the market looking for the best banjo tuners, you need to keep in mind the following factors:
- Compatibility: Not all tuners are made equal. What I mean by that is, some tuners aren’t capable of tuning a banjo. So, you need to make sure that the tuner that you are getting can indeed tune a banjo.
- Physical Features: Now, “physical features” by themselves can be a confusing pair of words so let me expand on it. Having a tuner can make things quite easy but it is of no use if it complicates things further. Getting yourself a clip-on tuner that is rotatable and adjustable vertically is a major plus point. You can slap it onto the headstock and rotate the screen towards yourself so you get a better viewing angle and can see the screen change notations in real-time whilst tuning. Now, by no means do you “need” to get a clip-on, rotatable tuner but it is quite convenient. Another thing to watch out for is compactness. A tuner is a simple device that does not need to be the size of a power bank. A small one gets the job done just as well. It is much easier to carry and isn’t that distracting.
- Vibration Sensor: If you are a musician that often performs on stage, you know how tough it is to get the audience to quiet down during the setup and you can’t ask them to dial things down either. That creates a problem though because most tuners work based on sound. In a quiet environment, they will work marvelously but in a noisy place, well, good luck. So, if you are a professional musician or someone that does perform every so often, I suggest getting a banjo tuner with a vibration sensor. Instead of relying on sound, it helps you tune your banjo using the vibrations that the strings create. Pretty cool stuff. Naturally, it is a bit more expensive than a traditional sound-based tuner but it is worth it.
About Universal Tuners:
There are tuners out there that are capable of tuning almost all string instruments out there. I own one myself since I play multiple instruments namely the banjo (of course), the guitar, bass, violin, and, not a string instrument but, the keyboard. If you too play multiple string instruments, get yourself one of these and you are set!
Now, there are other methods of tuning your Banjo. If you are a trained banjo player, your ears are probably trained to the point where you can tune your banjo with your ears alone. And, of course, let us not forget that there are several apps available online that can work just as well. They can sometimes be a bit inaccurate but for the most part, they are worth having and work accurately.
Despite that, if you are a beginner or even a pro, an electronic tuner has several advantages that make it arguably the best choice:
- Convenience: Really, that is the biggest advantage out there. Some people enjoy the “process of tuning” and yeah, you do get used to it but it has never been fun for me. If you agree with that sentiment, you too would probably benefit from getting a tuner. Sure, you can tune using the string method or train your ears but they still take some time. To get to that level where you can train your ears enough to tune your banjo under seconds, that takes a ton of time!
- Accuracy: An electronic tuner is accurate. Your ears may not yet be trained enough to be 100% and even if you believe they are, there is always a chance for human error. If you wish to be in tune and be completely confident about it, you should get in, especially if you are a beginner. Even professionals should keep one on them just in case.
The above was a guide answering the question “How Do I Choose the Best Banjo Tuners?”. Hope it helped!