Best Mandolin Tuners in 2020 [The Complete Buying Guide]

Maurice Lundgren

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If you love to play mandolin then you must understand the musical notes and rhythms. But, without tuning your mandolin, you cannot play it. It is similar to guitar, but mandolin has shorter strings than guitar. A Mandolin has four sets of two strings, and you need to tune them to the same pitch. Sometimes, you have to tune your mandolin after every song because each song has a different set of musical notes.

Tuning a mandolin is similar to violin, and you need to set the tune as G-D-A-E, from low to high. Mandolin has eight strings and violin has four strings. So you need to tune a pair of strings on the same pitch and you can tune your mandolin as G-G-D-D-A-A-E-E. Mandolin is completely opposite of guitar, the lowest strings on a mandolin have the same pitch as the highest strings of a guitar. There are some alternative tunings available for mandolin, such as G-D-A-D, A-D-A-E, G-D-G-D, and G-D-G-B. So, you can try such tunes.

To tune in your mandolin instrument, you need to have tuner because learning how to tune mandolin is little complicated. However, tuner sets it all easy for you to play your instrument. You will find lot of tuners for guitars, violin and other stringed instruments easily available online; however you will find very few mandolin tuners available online. So, here we have gathered some of the best mandolin tuners for you to choose from. We have shared their features along with pros and cons so that you can decide without any confusion. Also, we have discussed some factors that you need to consider while choosing the best mandolin tuner.

Which Are The Best Mandolin Tuners?

5. Mugig Clip-On Tuner

Best For Beginners
5. Mugig Clip-On Tuner
10/10 Our Score

Pros:

  • Designed with large LCD display 
  • Highly sensitive vibration
  • Ignores background noise
  • 360-degree rotation design 
  • 5 tuning modes 
  • It can be used for any stringed instruments

Cons:

  • It will take time to find A and D notes 

It is a clip-on chromatic tuner designed with large LCD display. You can use this tuner for mandolin, guitar, ukulele, violin and banjo. So, it can cover almost all stringed instruments and you can share this tuner with your band members also. During a live performance, you need to tune your mandolin after every song and your band members should use their tuner for their respective instruments. In such cases, this tuner comes very handy.

It is a versatile mandolin tuner that supports multiple tunings. It has highly sensitive vibration response that inhibits the background noise while tuning. It has pitch calibration ranging from 430Hz to 450Hz and you can easily tune your mandolin from its colourful LCD display. You can set this tuner at any angle on the headstock as it allows flexible 360 degree rotation and 135 degree bent. Also it allows super easy and accurate tuning with two buttons – Power key and A4 key.

Pros:

  • Designed with large LCD display
  • Highly sensitive vibration
  • Ignores background noise
  • 360-degree rotation design
  • 5 tuning modes
  • It can be used for any stringed instruments

Cons:

  • It will take time to find A and D notes

4. Fender Clip-On Tuner

The Most Versatile
4. Fender Clip-On Tuner
9.8/10 Our Score

Pros:

  • Affordable price 
  • Versatile tuner designed with multiple musical modes 
  • Huge tuning range 
  • LCD display 
  • Designed with vibration sensor 
  • Comes with a 2x 3V 2032 battery

Cons:

  • You cannot use it for 5-strings bass 

You can use this tuner for all types of stringed instruments such as Guitar, Violin, Mandolin, and Banjo. It is available at an affordable price and you can easily tune your mandolin with this one-handed tuner. It offers various tuning modes for different stringed instruments such as bass, ukulele, violin and chromatic, and you can also test the sound through the clamp of this tuner. It comes with a 2x 3V 2032 battery, and it is available in black and pink colour.

It is a clip tuner and you can use it under darkened stage conditions. It is designed with vibration sensor that inhibits the background noise while tuning. The LCD display of this tuner will show the needles and it will change its colour from green to white when you tune in.

3. KLIQ UberTuner

The Fastest Tuner
3. KLIQ UberTuner
9.8/10 Our Score

Pros:

  • Fast and accurate tuning 
  • Three modes adjustment
  • 3-year warranty 
  • Large LCD display 
  • Designed with advanced microprocessor and sensitive Piezo sensor

Cons:

  • Poor battery and high power consumption 

If you are looking for the best mandolin tuner that can be used roughly also, then you can choose this KLIQ UberTuner. You can use it for all stringed instruments, including guitar, mandolin, violin and ukulele. It will help you to become a professional performer and you can tune your mandolin with sharp notes. It is built with strong and durable design, so will last long.

It has various features like advanced microprocessor and sensitive Piezo sensor that ensures that your instrument is precisely tuned or not. Accurate tuning is necessary for live shows, and you can use this clip-on-tuner on stage. If you have a rock band or folk group, then you can use this tuner for your band. It comes with 3-year warranty and if you find any issue in this tuner then you can replace it at free of cost. It has a large colour display that allows you to check if you are flat, sharp or dead-on from any angle. Display screen has 3-point adjustment so that you can adjust it the way you like. The best part of this tuner is that it detects the pitches directly from the vibration of your instrument, so background noise will never get in its way.

2. AxeRig Clip-On Chromatic Guitar Tuner

The Smallest
2. AxeRig Clip-On Chromatic Guitar Tuner
9.4/10 Our Score

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranty 
  • 360-degree rotation 
  • Large LCD display 
  • Designed with various musical notes 
  • You can use it for all stringed instruments 
  • Comes with battery 

Cons:

  • It is suitable for beginners, not for professional musicians 

If you are looking for a versatile tuner for mandolin then you can choose this clip-on tuner. You can use it for various musical instruments including acoustic, bass, 6 & 12 string guitars, banjo, and mandolin. It has received 4.6 star rating out of 5-star on Amazon and it is available at an affordable price.

It has various features including perfect accuracy and easy swivel design. You can rotate this tuner up to 360 degree and use it from any angle. It has a large LCD display, where you can find multiple note indicators. It comes with battery and lifetime warranty. Whole display lights up green when in tune. It can be used on stage, in studio or at home and is considered as best professional tuner for beginners and students as well. It is durable and will last long as compared to other tuners.

1. Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner

Best Budget Option
1. Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner
9.2/10 Our Score

Pros:

  • Available at affordable price 
  • Wide frequency range 
  • Tuner can be used on front of back of headstock 
  • Colourful display 
  • Available in different sizes 

Cons:

  • It is not durable

If you are looking for the best mandolin tuner at cheap price, then you can choose this Snark clip-on tuner. It has a wide frequency range, and you can use it for mandolin, violin and guitar. It has the ability to provide accurate tuning experience and you can easily rotate this tuner up to 360 degree.

As it can be rotated up to 360 degree, so that means you can use it from any angle. You can use its tempo button to adjust your strings when required. It has colourful display where you can find different musical notes to tune your mandolin.

Things You Should Know Before Buying a Mandolin Tuner

Best mandolin tuners

There are two types of tuners available for mandolin – chromatic tuners and fixed tuners. As a professional mandolin player, you should consider buying chromatic tuners as they can hear any pitch and tell you whether your pitch is in tune or not. Fixed tuners are mainly designed for guitars and you can register only certain pitches on such tuners.

You can use a fixed tuner for your mandolin because mandolin has some similar strings as guitar. But when you have an option to choose a chromatic tuner at the same price then you should not waste your time and money on such fixed tuners. However, there are some factors that you need to consider while choosing the best mandolin tuner and they are as follows:

Durability

​Whenever we buy a new product, durability is the first thing that we all look for. It ensures us maximum amount of usability over a long time, so it is always best to choose durable products. Same principle applies here also while choosing the best mandolin tuner. Usually these tuners are made of plastic, but that doesn’t mean that they are not durable. Companies that manufacture mandolin tuners have started to produce good quality tuners made from sturdy material that provide good durability even in case of extreme usage also. Durability is important factor as tuners are not something that you can change frequently. So, better to buy a durable one that goes long way.

Clip-on tuners usually don’t last long, so you need to change them frequently. So, always check material type, construction and read customer reviews before choosing the best mandolin tuner.

LCD Screen

​Traditional tuners were devoid of LCD screens and that’s why were hard to use under certain situations. But, nowadays most of the tuners come with integrated LCD screen that allows user to read all important information easily. You can read LCD screen in bright day light also as they allow you to increase the brightness to read the information clearly.

This happens as they come with adjustment switch that allows you to adjust the brightness according to your needs. So, make sure you choose best mandolin tuner with LCD display.

Accuracy

​You need a tuner for your musical instrument to tune the strings and maintain 100% accuracy. There are some cheap tuners available that fail to provide precise tune and they will cause you difficulty during your live performance. So, you must choose the best mandolin tuner that can provide accurate tone. Make sure to try some tuners with your mandolin and then choose the best one that seems compatible with your mandolin.

However, you will not be able to try the tuner if you buy it online. In such cases, do not worry as there are some manufacturers available online that offer free-replacement, so you can replace your tuner if needed.

Warranty

Mandolin tuners are available at affordable prices and most of the manufacturers do not offer any warranty on their tuners. But you can find certain products like AxeRig and KLIQ UberTuner that offer limited warranty. AxeRig tuners come with lifetime warranty and KLIQ offer 3-year warranty on their tuners. So, you can choose such tuners for your mandolin to save your long-term unnecessary expenses.

Digital Mandolin Tuners

Tuners with a chromatic function can detect notes and they can cover all 12 notes of the chromatic scale. These tuners are known as digital tuners. You can use these tuners for mandolin, guitar, violin, and ukulele. You can choose pocket-tuners for your mandolin and you can use a clip-in microphone to use such tuners. It is the best mandolin tuners for beginners.

Mandolin Tuner Apps

Nowadays, you will find some advanced tuners that can be controlled via mobile app. They have built-in microphone and you can use your iPhone to control your mandolin. Even, you can also use your iPod for the same. These tuners are little expensive, but you can use such tuners for guitar, violin, bass, piano, mandolin and other stringed instruments. You just need to install the mobile app and it is available at free of cost. You can find various musical modes including tunings for bass and mandolin on your app. You can easily tune your mandolin from your mobile.

Vibration/Noise Cancellation

If you choose a clip-on tuner for your mandolin then you must check their noise-cancellation capacity. You must choose a tuner that has sensor to detect vibrations and must eliminate background noise. It is difficult to tune your mandolin during live performances because background noise gets mixed with musical notes. So, you need to choose a tuner that can block the background noise and has the ability to tune mandolin pitch barring the other background sounds.

Apart from that, you need to check the flexibility of tuners. Most of the clip-on tuners come with 360-degree rotation and you can use them from any angle. Plus, you need to choose a versatile tuner for your mandolin so that you can use it for other stringed instruments also. If you have a band then you should use such tuners so that you can share your tuner with your band members. Even, if you want to play violin or guitar then you do not need to buy a separate tuner, as you can use the same tuner for all your instruments.

Conclusion

It is suggested to change the strings of your mandolin because older rusty strings can go out of tune. You can choose an expensive tuner and you can clip the tuner on your mandolin. Most of the mandolins are not electric and you cannot plug-in your mandolin into the tuner. In this case, you can choose small clip-on tuner and clip it onto the head of your mandolin. Plus, you can rotate such tuners up to 360 degree and you can use it from any angle. So now you can choose the best mandolin tuner from the above list, and you must check their accuracy level, warranty, vibration sensor, noise cancellation capacity and LED display before you finalise the one.