It’s not easy to pick the best saxophone tuner. Electronic chromatic tuners, tuning forks, and pitch pipes are sold most musical instrument stores, and the features of each item vary. Virtual tuners are also available for download or use online. Consider your ability to match pitches, why you need the tuner, where you’ll be using it, and any additional features you’ll need, such as a metronome or a backlit screen, when choosing the best saxophone tuner for your needs.
Tuning forks and pitch pipes require you to play a pitch on the tuner and match it to your instrument’s pitch. A single note is produced each tuning fork vibrating at a specific frequency. Many pitch pipes, on the other hand, allow you to play multiple notes blowing into different mouthpieces. You must be able to match pitches accurately to use these tuners effectively, which may be difficult if you are a beginner musician. Electronic tuners and some virtual tuners, unlike pitch pipes and tuning forks, do not require you to match pitches ear; instead, they display the tuning information on a screen.
A saxophone tuner is typically used musicians for two reasons: to adjust the location of the mouthpiece, which affects the instrument’s tuning, and to ensure that they are playing the correct notes. Tuning forks or pitch pipes work well if you only need a tuner to adjust the mouthpiece and are able to match pitches ear. Choose a tuning fork or pitch pipe based on the type of saxophone you have, as tuning an E-flat alto sax with a tuner that emits an E-flat note, for example, is much easier. If you can’t find a tuning fork or pitch pipe for your saxophone, you can play the matching note on your saxophone pressing the correct key. To keep track of your saxophone’s pitch while you’re playing, you’ll need an electronic or virtual chromatic tuner that shows the full range of notes down to the cent so you can see if you’re flat, sharp, or exactly on the note.
Consider where you’ll be playing your saxophone and how loud those environments are before purchasing a saxophone tuner. In a loud environment, it may be difficult to adjust your mouthpiece properly with a tuning fork or pitch pipe because you won’t be able to hear the note clearly. An electronic tuner is best for loud settings.
You can use some electronic tuners without holding them because they clip onto your instrument or come with stands. Choose an electronic tuner with a backlit screen if you play in dark venues. Virtual tuners are only useful if you have access to your computer and the microphone on your computer can clearly pick up the sound of your instrument.
An electronic tuner with a built-in metronome is the best option if you want to save money and need a metronome. These tuners are usually not more expensive than electronic tuners without metronomes. Because woodwind instruments are loud, a tuner with a headphone output is recommended. Metronomes are included in some virtual tuners. On most computers, you can also use a virtual tuner and a separate virtual metronome at the same time.