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Mandolin Tuning: Everything You Need To Know About Tuning Mandolins

Mandolins are an extremely popular instrument throughout North America and the rest of the world. With something so popular, that means there are going to be many musicians that have various levels of skill and different needs for their mandolins.

There are those who just want to enjoy a little music on the side, there are teachers looking for the best way to teach their students who want to learn a new instrument, and then there are professionals in the industry who play for a living. But one thing will always remain uniform in the mandolin musician category, and that is the desire to produce the best sound the mandolin can play.

And with all of these different mandolin musicians who play for different purposes and different reasons, most can agree they have one thing in common.

They want to be able to keep their mandolin in perfect tune at all times. In order to do that, they will seek out the help of a mandolin tuner.

Most mandolin tuners are small devices that attach to the headstock of your mandolin and aid in helping you to keep it tuned properly.

These tiny mechanisms let you know if your strings need tuning or not by using a needle on a movable arm that points either up or down depending on whether it’s too high or too low in pitch relative to perfect concert pitch and are programmed to read sounds for notes, or sense string vibrations.

The problem is with hundreds of different tuning options out there, it’s not easy to figure out which one will work best for you and which ones you should avoid. Knowing that, we have compiled a thorough list of the top five options to choose from that are available in the instrument tuning market today.

best mandolin tuners

Top 5 Mandolin Tuner

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS 
Fender FT-2 Professional Clip On Tuner
  • Compact and dual-hinged
  • Convenient and unobtrusive
  • With a built-in vibration sensor
  • LCD Screen is easy to see in light or dark
KLIQ UberTuner- Professional Clip-On Tuner For All Instruments
  • Its advanced micro processor and highly sensitive sensor ensure that your instrument is quickly and accurately tuned.
  • Exceptionally Bright Display
  • User-friendly
  • With 3-Year Manufacturer Guarantee
JOYO Digital Tuner Clip
  • Ideal for noisy environments
  • With Environmentally friendly ABS plastic applications
  • Easy to read due to clear LCD display
  • Features automatic shutdown when not in use
Envistia Mall AT-01A Tuner
  • Features 12 different instrument presets
  • The instrument selected is displayed on the double-color backlit LCD screen
  • Auto power-off function
ROADIE 3 | Smart Automatic Tuner
  • Ideal for all string instruments
  • It features enhance tuning accuracy & Noise immunity
  • It features a built-in vibration/beep metronome
  • With full color, high resolution, larger display screen

1). Fender FT-2 Professional Clip on Tuner

The Fender FT-2 pro clip on tuner is perfect for mandolin players with its built-in light and an easy-to-read display. This compact model has a wide range of tuning modes, such as mandolin, guitar, bass, ukulele, and violin. The color screen makes the changeover between different modes easy to see and read.

With clear readings in all scales including BO – B7; A440 calibration, this is one accurate tuner and will help you get your mandolin in perfect tune faster than most with its easy-to-use capabilities and light-up display so you won’t have any difficulty reading the screen.

There is one very prominent downside to this tuner as you cannot change tuning from A = 440hz and you would need to resort to a much more high-end niche tuner in order to do that but the battery life really does make up for the limited tuning features. The included CR2032 battery is expected to last for one to two months of normal use without replacement or recharge.

Pros

  • Compact and dual-hinged
  • Convenient and unobtrusive
  • With a built-in vibration sensor
  • LCD Screen is easy to see in light or dark

Cons

  • Cannot change tuning from A = 440hz


2). KLIQ UberTuner- Professional Clip-On Tuner for All Instruments

Tune any instrument like a pro with the KLIQ UberTuner! With ‘A -inch connections, you can easily attach this easy-to-use tuner to most instruments.

The large color display allows you to see your tuning quickly and accurately at any angle and as many mandolin musicians also play other instruments, this is the perfect all-in-one tuner for the talented artist.

The KLIQ UberTuner is one of the fastest and most accurate ways to tune your instrument so you can spend more time playing. The advanced Micro Processor will make sure that your mandolin is quickly tuned without much effort with its on-screen color prompts.

The Super Bright Display is there for you when the stakes are at their highest. With its large color display, it’s easy to tell if you are flat or sharp without any hassle from every angle! You can position the screen in whatever way suits you best with 3 points of adjustment so you can tune your instrument in the most comfortable position.

When it comes to tuning, there’s no need to hide from a noisy environment, like a stage or during a music festival.

The KLIQ Tuner is an innovative tuner that detects the pitches of your instrument directly from its vibrations! You can turn on and clip this device onto almost anything – mandolins, guitars, ukuleles, violins and so much more.

And with solid construction using aluminum alloy materials in order to maintain accuracy over time combined with reliable functioning capabilities through any conditions such as humidity or temperature changes, you’ll never have problems keeping tuned while performing outside by a busy street comer or any other venue again!

The KLIQ UberTuner is a very well-rounded tuner but has one big design flaw. This may impact your decision if you’re more concerned about design features than robust capability. The big problem with this tuner is the power switch position, as it’s located in an awkward spot which can make turning off the tuner difficult without the need to feel around blindly or being forced to remove and turn the tuner over.

Most musicians also noted a long five to seven second delay when turning the tuner on or off which can cause finger pain and discomfort as you are required to hold the on and off switch until the tuner can register the command.

Pros

  • Its advanced micro processor and highly sensitive sensor ensure that your instrument is quickly and accurately tuned.
  • Exceptionally Bright Display
  • User-friendly
  • With 3-Year Manufacturer Guarantee

Cons

  • The power switch is placed in an awkward location, making it difficult to turn off.
  • When turning the tuner on or off, most musicians noticed a five to seven second delay.

3). JOYO Digital Tuner Clip

This tuner will help any artist find solace in their music with the constant pulse of a metronome as you practice your favorite songs. Missing the rhythm can be the difference between perfect pitch and those sour notes.

But worry not, you can put away your expensive tuning instrument for good with the dual JOYO Digital Tuner Clip today! Acting as a mandolin tuner with a metronome, this high-sensitive tuner packs all the conveniences of an expensive instrument travel tuning kit in the form of a small hand help clip.

You can tune your mandolin and play with perfect rhythm even if you’re surrounded by a noisy crowd. JOYO Digital Tuner Clip gives you no excuse when it comes to fine-tuning your mandolin and keeping pace with your music.

The JOYO Digital Tuner is a little bit different than what you will find from other brands as it is sold factory direct so they pass on the savings to you by cutting out the middle-man making this one of the most cost-effective tuners in the market today

Aside from being universally affordable for most musicians, this instrument tuner is perfect for those who want to keep their instruments in good playing condition. The clear LCD display makes it easy and quick to tune an instrument while the automatic shut down function saves battery life by shutting off after five minutes of non-use so you don’t have to worry about wasting power when your not using it!

And this tuner is also made for more than one instrument. The JOYO Tuner is a high-quality tuner that can be used for instruments of all shapes and sizes.

It has multiple tuning capabilities from the standard 6 C pitch to mandolin, guitar, bass ukulele or violin With an impressive 27Hz – 8C frequency range this tuner will have you playing in perfect tune with ease!

One critical downside for this robust, cost-effective tuner is it doesn’t recognize the high G string It can be a rather disappointing aspect but you can resort to tuning the high G note with the traditional fifth fret tuning method.

It’s hard to pack everything into one device, but overall JOYCO did a really good job with this tuner considering it is one of the lowest-priced devices available.

Pros

  • Ideal for noisy environments
  • With Environmentally friendly ABS plastic applications
  • Easy to read due to clear LCD display
  • Features automatic shutdown when not in use

Cons

  • It doesn’t recognize the high G string

4). Envistia Mall AT-01A Tuner

An on-the-go mandolin player’s dream – the Envistia Mall Clip On AT-01 A Tuner is an ideal tuner for those who want a reliable, easy-to-use quick clip tuning box.

It features 12 different instrument presets which means you’ll never have to double-check what setting you’re on or what string you’re tuning up again! Leave it clipped onto your headstock as you tune each string and you will know exactly when to stop winding and when your instrument is in standard tune. The device has everything any amateur or semi-professional mandolin player would need.

Many musicians use this as a tuner for every instrument, not just their mandolins. This digital tuner has presets to tune guitars basses, violins, and many more string instruments with just one click of the button! It also includes chromatic tuning so you can use it on most general instruments too!

This tuner is as simple as you can get. The Double Color Backlit LCD screen displays what the instrument is, which note it’s tuned to, and an in-tune meter.

So when you’re tuning your stringed instruments and if they are not in tune, one-half of the display will turn blue while a flashing green light will blink and indicate when all have been adjusted correctly so you know exactly when to stop tuning your instrument.

The battery life of this device is lacking, so it comes with an auto power function that turns off automatically after 3 minutes if there is no signal present or operation for extended battery life.

This tuner compares fairly well with the rest of the market but you will want to exercise extra care with this device. Molded from ABS plastic, it is lightweight but prone to cracking and breaks if dropped from higher heights or if not stored properly during travel. It works great but the durability of the device isn’t quite there.

Pros

  • Features 12 different instrument presets
  • The instrument selected is displayed on the double-color backlit LCD screen
  • Auto power-off function

Cons

  • Although lightweight, it is prone to cracking and breaking if dropped.


5). ROADIE 3 | Smart Automatic Tuner

The Roadie 3 was designed and built to provide a fast and easy way to keep your instruments in tune, and your mandolin will never go out of tune again with ROADIE 3.

Just keep this small little device with you whenever you set up your gear or when performing – it’s that simple. It will automatically tune stringed instruments between every song (Roadie Plug delivers tuner output so the sound is unaffected) while playing live.

This auto tuner is twice as fast as its predecessor, which means you can get in tune quickly without tedious tuning by hand or bending over with pliers. You simply place it on your instrument’s peg (or stand) give it a quick strum to calibrate, then watch as Roadie does all the work!

There are also enhanced noise resistance features built into these compact tuners so whether you’re playing at home or rocking out on stage, no matter what situation arises this auto tuner will make sure you are playing at your best every time.

It gets even better! This automatic tuning device comes with 100+ built-in alternate tuning options so you can easily switch between them or create your own custom tunings effortlessly.

This is the future of mandolin playing with customizable tuning settings that can give you an A4 reference pitch, let you tune to capo on. and even change between ‘Fast Tuning” and ‘High Accuracy” settings instantly.

Mandolin musicians that use this tuner will feel the beat and be able to monitor their tempo with the newest tuner by ROADIE. It comes with a built-in vibration feature and metronome function so your strings no longer need to be restrung separately, you can simply tune any new strings in one simple step with the ROADIE 3’s quick winding and auto-tune functions.

It helps musicians go from setting up to playing almost immediately after any restring, and lets you feel the beat so you can keep the right rhythm.

And keeping a charge has never been easier either. With traditional charging and a USB charge function, matched with its compact design and ergonomic grip you are able to reliably tune your instrument with ease.

The long-lasting battery life will last up to 1 month before needing recharging, making it perfect for those who love performing all day at festivals or even just playing in their garage! And with the traditional plug-in or USB charging options, you will always be able to tune your instrument in practically any environment at any time.

By all means, this is an amazing tuner, but that amazement comes at a cost. With an average of eight times higher in price, this tuner is better fitted to someone who is a serious mandolin musician or has the extra funds to afford the finest of tuning devices on the market.

Pros

  • Ideal for all string instruments
  • It features enhance tuning accuracy & Noise immunity
  • It features a built-in vibration/beep metronome
  • With full color, high resolution, larger display screen

Cons

  • Too expensive

So how do you know which one of those tuners to get?

When you’re in the market for a mandolin tuner, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many factors that go into deciding which tuner is best suited for your needs – from cost and capability all the way down to quality.

There are numerous factors to consider when determining which tuner is best for your needs.
There are numerous factors to consider when determining which tuner is best for your needs.

We narrowed things down by looking at five of today’s most popular models on Amazon and after reading this article, we hope you’ll have an even better idea of what tuner is the best fit for you. But if you are still on the fence you can always measure the tuning devices based on cost capability and product quality.

The one tuner that really nailed it in two of the categories was the Roadie 3 Smart Automatic Tuner. From a capability standpoint, it made sure it had the three features every mandolin musician was asking for: Autotune for quick tuning ability, versatility between a wide range of instruments (over one hundred to be exact), and metronome capability so every artist can keep the proper rhythm. Every other model offered some of these features, but not to the extent of what the Roadie 3 Smart Automatic Tuner had built-in.

Roadie 3 makes it easier to find your sound by allowing you to rotate more quickly and with greater accuracy.

The quality of this tuner is unmatched by the other five. With a smooth elegant design, a bright light-up LCD screen, compact size, and traditional or USB charge options, not to mention shake and impact-resistant features.

Most musicians will find this tuner will outlast many other main or backup tuners they have used before.

The Roadie 3 Smart Automatic Tuner truly is cutting edge when comparing to the rest of the tuning devices on the market and the cost reflects that. At an average price of eight times than the other tuners on the market, it can be prohibitive for some musicians.

That is why we give this tuner 2.5 stars out of 3. It truly is a versatile, high-quality auto tuner with capabilities that can’t be matched by competing products, but the price point is considerably higher than the rest. And to be fair, quality does cost more so it should be expected.

Mandolin musicians strive to keep their instruments in perfect tuning at all times.
Mandolin musicians strive to keep their instruments in perfect tuning at all times.

Every mandolin musician has different requirements depending on their stage of musical development as well as other important details like end goal or budget constraints. No two musicians will agree entirely about which product is “best.”

Luckily for you, you now know the top five mandolin tuners in the market today, and if you aren’t afraid to spend a little bit extra you can get the best mandolin tuner to make sure you are ready for your next gig or garage jam session.

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About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!