Using the tuner while playing

When I’m practicing walking bass lines all over the fret board, I sometimes feel like I’ve gone astray, and glance down at the digital tuner I have on the floor (in the chain next to my Zoom pedal) to make sure I’m on the note I want to be on, and sort of “orient myself”. If I was playing or practicing with a real band, would this be frowned upon?

Just wondering.


My band meets twice a week to practice, and, both the guitarists just leave their clip-on tuners on during the whole jam session. Sometimes they shred pretty hard, and need to re-tune right after a song. So I’ve sometimes started leaving my little clip-on tuner on my bass, just to check tuning mid-way through our time (my bass mostly stays in tune!)

So I would think that looking down at a pedal style tuner on the floor shouldn’t be a big deal at all! And I’ve now found that each musician has their own personality - what one person frowns upon, another doesn’t care or doesn’t even notice :slight_smile: So, if you like to do it, just do it!


I may go back to using my clip on tuner too. I do like the one I have plugged into the amp on the floor though. It may be less noticeable if I glance at a clip on tuner instead of looking down at the digital one.

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I think using a clip-on (and perhaps leaving it on) for quick re-tunes is just fine. I wouldn’t use a tuner though to help me orient where I am in a song… I would strongly suggest to train and/or trust your ears to be able to do that for you (with added long-term benefits re: your intuitive feel for music/harmony).

By the way, just one caveat with the clip-ons: I have noticed that their presence on the headstock can lead to irritating noises (vibrating, rattling at certain frequencies); so, I usually take them off while playing, @Vik!


@joergkutter yeah I agree. I can usually tell when I’ve hit a sour note, and that’s when I tend to glance at the tuner. I may just be one fret off of where I’m supposed to be.

Like everything else, it boils down to practice, practice, practice. Train, train, train.


Amen to that, @PamPurrs :smile:

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Not at all, @PamPurrs . . . why would it be? :slight_smile:

I always use my in-line Korg tuner, and it’s the best thing they ever invented.

All best, Joe

The only reason I can think anyone would frown upon it is that for tuner pedals most people use them as a mute switch. If you have another mute switch and have the tuner configured as a “thru” I don’t see what the problem would be to leave it on all the time.

A lot of preamp and switch pedals have a Tuner Out just for this usage.

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