Why Every Guitarist Needs a Tuner Pedal on Their Pedalboard
There are as many unique pedalboards as there are guitarists. However, some things always remain the same. No matter your preferred genre, or your playing skill level, you'll always need a tuner. Be it a studio session or a live gig, you'll need one to get things done faster, right?
Main Reasons Why You Need a Tuner Pedal In Your Setup
Well, the main reason why you'll need a tuner pedal is to (you've guessed it) stay in tune. After all, who wants to listen to an out of tune band, right? However, it's not just about staying in tune but also about having practical access to a tuner. This is why tuners in the form of pedals are a great choice for every performing guitar player.
First off, stomping on a tuner pedal gives you an option to completely mute out your signal and just focus on tuning it. There's no need to have an entire audience listen to you tuning your guitar, which can be pretty annoying, especially if you do it multiple times per gig. This is exactly why we'd rather recommend a pedal tuner over a conventional one.
This particular feature is also an advantage compared to clip-on tuners. While they're most certainly a great thing to have, you still need to cut off the signal by using your guitar's volume knob. It's much more practical to have it all done with a simple stomp on your pedalboard.
What's more, pedal tuners usually come with a very visible display which helps you take care of things much faster and easier, without having to look at a small display attached to your guitar's headstock.
But It's More Than Just a Tuner...
As you may already know by now, an instrument like an electric guitar, or an electric bass, is never simple. In fact, no matter how much you learn, there'll always be more things that you're not informed about and that can impact your tone.
After all, it has basically all turned into a science and you often need to learn new stuff in order to excel at it. And one thing that plenty of guitar players overlook, or are just not informed about, is the buffered bypass.
The alternative to it is the so-called "true" bypass, a description that you've probably seen on many effects pedals, shoved down our throats as one of the most important features. Be it a selling point or not, the choice between buffered and true bypass pedals is mostly based on personal preferences.
However, most of the tuner pedals come with a buffered bypass circuit. And this is where things get interesting. A buffer in your signal chain can actually save your tone, contrary to what some guitar players might think. Quite often, you'll see a pedal like Boss' TU-3 tuner at the beginning of the signal path.
Since this is a device with a buffered bypass, it buffers the signal to all the pedals that come after it in the chain. In other words, this means that you'll balance out the signal if you have true bypass pedals in there that you turn on and off. This is why tuners are also pretty popular among pedal enthusiasts since they provide a buffer at the beginning of a signal path.
It's also important to note that electric guitars are high-impedance devices. And if you're using longer cables, as well as a lot of pedals with additional patch cables in between them, you'll most definitely experience signal quality loss.
This is not as pronounced with guitars featuring active pickups, although they too can suffer from this. In order to deal with this potential signal loss in elaborate signal chains and when using longer cables, a buffered pedal can swoop in to save the day. This is exactly why some professional guitar players prefer to have a tuner pedal at the beginning of a signal path.
You Can Also Use Non-Pedal Tuners With Your Pedalboard
Of course, pedalboards these days provide you with a lot of versatility, sometimes even options to have different loops in there. In almost all cases, they come with a separate output for a tuning device, feeding it a clean signal.
This is one of the best alternatives to using a pedal tuner. These days, even pedal switchers and other devices can come with a separate tuner output, which comes in handy for a regular setup.