5 string bass tuner

Anyone know a good clip on tuner for 5 string bass? :slight_smile:


It’s not cheap but I really like the Strobostomp HD tuner.
Edit: sorry I didn’t see you mention clip on. The one I mentioned isn’t clip on. Peterson do make a clip on type as well.


I don’t have experience with them myself but bassbuzz made a gear video and Josh recommends a clip on tuner there that’s more precise than some others according to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gGl1Z_S3YE&t=580s


Yeah - that’s the one.


TC Electronic UniTune Clip-on Chromatic Tuner is very effective on my 5-strings


I think any clip on that is Chromatic will do.
I have a Snark, it works fine, it was like $15.

I like the looks of that TC Electronics Poly Clip on, and if I were to buy one today, I think I would get it.


Polytune clip on.

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+1 for the TC Unitune on 5 string

I also have the Petersen clip-on. It’s more expensive and matches what the UniTune says as far as I can tell. The Petersen does have a cute two row strobe-like display. It clearly isn’t actually a strobe, but it is very easy to see and read.


I thought Peterson’s WERE strobe tuners
But I have never used them, just my understanding from reading about them


I think the Peterson Strobostomp range can be considered as true strobe tuners, albeit the display is LCD rather than relying on a spinning mechanical disk, but the principal is the same.


Maybe it’s more accurate to say the clip-on version is a digital strobe tuner rather than an analogue strobe tuner. Seeing how it only has limited display space it has to first calculate what note it thinks you are trying to play and then use that information to digitally generate the movement of the top bar display row. Their method may or may not be any better than the TC. I don’t really know other than than they both seem to be telling me the same information. If the Petersen clip-on could catch something that the TC didn’t see I don’t think I’d be able to hear it.


It’s amazing what information they put in the manual when I bother to read it. The TC clip-ons can be toggled to “strobe“ mode by pressing the button on the bottom left twice. The spec says it’s accurate to 0.05 cent in needle mode and 0.02 cent in strobe mode, a number that nicely matches the Peterson spec.

With both of them clipped on at the same time I tried detuning ever so slightly and I couldn’t get the Peterson display to move before the TC, even with the TC in needle mode.

I could, however, make a small adjustment that neither tuner would see. Are the machine heads really capable of making adjustments less than 0.02 cents?


Thanks for clarifying this. And for the great side by side review.
In many measure it instruments and high accuracy machinery there are two specs,
Possibly they are using the repeatability instead of accuracy for these devices, as repeatability is usually held tighter then accuracy.


Note that these numbers are extremely optimistic for clip-ons. My Korg PitchCrow claimed roughly the same and yet I would estimate it to be closer to 0.5-1 cent in accuracy for the lower strings, based on comparison with my Boss Tu-2 in-line.


That would make a lot more sense. I was surprised how far I could turn the crank with no change.


That’s my vote!

That is not my experience! Most clip-ons suck super hard for bass, especially on the low strings.


Yeah, I have limited experience, so I don’t doubt you on that.
I think the message I was trying to send was about the tuner being Chromatic, so it would register the lowB string, but even a cheap Chromatic may still suck for that.

I got a Red Snark Clip On, I read it was the better Snark for Bass, and it was under $15.
It worked well when I first got it. By well, I mean it did the job. It is no speed demon, and is relatively slow to register, but like I said, it does the job.

When the battery first started getting low, it started having trouble with E string, sometimes showing up as a B string.
Once I did a 12th fret harmonic, it picked up E and was fine.
I am surprised how it compares to the other tuners I have. It tunes to them exactly, or just one line off.
I have tuned it to a
Boss Tu-2
Zoom B1-four, B1x-four and MS-60B
I-pad app tuner - bass connected to iPad via DAI
Garage Band Tuner on Ipad and IMac

I think the only 2 REAL tuners on that list would be the BOSS TU-2 and Garage Band.

That said, if all other clip on tuners suck and you are looking for a cheap one, you may want to try the RED snark. It is not my favorite thing I own, but it does the job and was worth the $12-$13 I spent on it.

I like the Zoom tuners too, they worked really well for me. Especially on the B3n as it is large.