Hello dear brethren that wield the honorable ax known as a guitar,
Soooo. Tuners. Easy right? Maybe not.
There are three types of common tuners.
1. Clip-on tuners.
2. Pedal Tuners.
3.Shitty plug-in tuners.
4.AND, Don't for get your trusty smart phone!
"So Trashed, I like my tuner and its one of those tuners that are regarded as 'shitty' cheap plug in tuners. It works fine for me, Why do you call it 'shitty'?"
I respond with a simple phrase "I guess you are a little under informed or you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed." Mic drop. OHHH YEAH!
So what do YOU need? Well, you are damn lucky that I am going to take the time out of my busy day and tell you.
1. Clip on tuners. They are very handy to have. You can have it on your headstock and tune without needing to make noise, AND you don't have it in your pedal chain, so less shit you have to hook up. It is handy for every instrument, from ukuleles to cellos, which is very convenient if you play multiple instruments. The short comings? Two main ones, they can fall off and break. I have broken two of three falling onto the tile/stage/etc. The second is if you are trying to tune and there is a lot of bass noise from the bass guitar that is loud, they get all messed up. That only happened to me *once* and then I wised up a bit. The GOOD thing is that they are cheap.
2. Pedal tuners. They are, in my opinion the most flexible. Theyare what any person from a guy jamming at an open-mic to a pro touring the world. They are accurate, easy, fast AND nothing can interrupt them other than a shoddy cable [for the record I use Korg Pitchblacks]. The only downfall is that it needs to be on a pedal board. They are small, so its not a big deal, but it is adding another cable to the chain and you have to power it. That for me is not a big deal for me. I have a [Korg Pitchblack]tuner on each of my three big pedalboards. One thing you don't have to worry about the better ones is they are buffered bypass, so it WILL NOT kill your tone, and may actually help with keeping a true signal to the next pedal. One benefit is that some pedal tuners have is that SOME have a power out. That is nice because you can power a few pedals with it, but the power is different with different tuners. For example I could power my OD, chorus, and delay thorough it, so I didn't even need a second power supply. THAT is handy!
OK. Let us move on to those (to put it nicely) junk plug-in tuners.
3. Plug-in tuners. They can tune AND be accurate, BUT [you knew a but was coming], they have a HUGELY LIMITED range of use. You have to plug the damn thing in every time. If it has an output, it is junk and kills you signal. That is IF you are dumb enough to put it into a chain. MASSIVE tone-suck. They can only tune guitar/bass/acoustic-electrics, which won't help in some situations. AND they break when dropped.
4. Cell phone tuners. DON'T underestimate the convenience, but know the limitations. If I am sitting around my house playing alone, I use it all the time. They are extremely handy to have around. They have HUGE limitation though. If you have other noise, it won't be accurate, etc. I don't use them for recording either. Why? I trust the accuracy of other tuners more when it comes down to cutting a track.
"SO Trashed, what do YOU use?"
EVERYTHING but the shitty plug in tuners. They all have a purpose. Sitting around jamming? Smart phone. Gigging? Pedal. Acoustic instruments and emergency? A clip on tuner. Why? They are cheap and fit in a gig bag easily. I picked up five Snark clip-on tuners for $5 a POP on flash sales, they are nice to have around. I have three Pictchblacks, and they are what I use most. There are some other types of tuners that I did not talk about, rack tuners, strobe tuners, polyphonic tuners, etc. I am keeping this basic and for the common-folk.