It’s no secret that stringed instruments need to be tuned regularly if we want the music that they make to sound pleasant instead of like the soundtrack of a bad horror film.
Since creating appealing sounds is the entire point of learning to play music, it’s safe to assume that you will be in need of a tuner for your dulcimer.
This is a rather unusual instrument, as you’re probably aware, so it’s hard to know exactly what to look for in one of these devices. Is it possible to use guitar and bass tuners, or do you need a special type, for example?
Let’s find out what qualities are necessary and what to keep an eye out for on your search for a great tuner.
What to Look for in a Dulcimer Tuner
- Bright Display: You never know when your dulcimer will need a tune, especially if you play in a band. It’s better to not have to worry about leaning all the way over your tuner just to be able to read the screen. Find a tuner with a bright and easy-to-read display screen.
- Quick Reaction Time: A lot of tuners don’t even display the note (or the flatness or sharpness of the note) until a few seconds after you play it. This does not work, as all musicians will know, especially if there are other sounds in the room.
- Long Battery Life: It’s a lot more convenient to have a battery that lasts a while, for obvious reasons. The battery power also affects the screen brightness, so a tuner that doesn’t need to be changed often is the best choice.
- Rotating Display Screen: If you make sure you buy a tuner with an adjustable and rotating screen, you can fix the readability of the tuner by moving the screen towards you, instead of having to move or adjust your entire body and instrument.
- Slip Resistant Clip: It’s possible to buy tuners that don’t clip onto your instrument, but there is simply no comparison with this. Being able to clip your tuner on means far more accurate readings and an easier time keeping track of the device. Make sure the clip-on portion of your tuner has anti-slip grips so it stays in place and ideally protects your instrument from scratches.
Needless to say, the KLIQ UberTuner – Clip-On Tuner for All Instruments will also accommodate dulcimers.
The screen on this device is unusually bright which is great for touring musicians who might find themselves in need of a quick tune in a dimly lit backstage area.
The KLIQ UberTuner responds quickly to the vibrations of your instrument for reliable and easy tuning.
The design of this device ensures that it lasts a long time, and the rubber gripping pads on its clip protect your instrument from marks.
Just clip it on and trust that it will stay in place and do its job effectively.
The only feature you might find a bit inconvenient about this product is that the on/off button is a bit hard to see at first glance, but find it once and you’re fine for future uses.
“The UberTuner is built better than the Snark. It has a bigger and brighter display and the clamp is stronger. It just feels more substantial. The arm from the clamp to the tuner is stronger and looks like it will last.”
“Great tuner and value. Sturdy with a great well lit display! Small enough to be discrete but large enough with a simple easy to read display.”
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Good tuners can be a bit on the pricey side, but the Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner is of especially good quality for its price. It has all of the features we discussed above, plus a couple more.
This handy little device comes with a metronome and transpose features meaning you can use it with a capo.
As long as you remember to turn it off when it’s not being used, the battery will last so long, you’ll forget all about it, which is ideal. You can expect to get years of use out of this tuner if you are only using it at home.
This device works great for dulcimers but can be used for many other instruments as well.
“You can use it for other instruments as well but I only use it for my guitars. The SN-8 is small & unobtrusive. The display is bright and easily readable and can turn any which way you like.”
“I was told that this tuner would not work for me with my Hammered Dulcimer. SO WRONG. This tuner has FAR out performed itself in my book!”
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This tuner uses the vibrations of the instrument to get it in key and comes with an internal microphone. The Snark SN-2 All Instrument Clip-On Chromatic Tuner can be used in a room full of ambient noise (or other musicians tuning their strings) and still work quickly and accurately.
The pads on the clip grip tightly and are slip-resistant. Clip it on and know for certain that it will stay there throughout shows or whatever else you need it for.
The style of the clip is designed to work for many different types of instruments, so if you’re a multitalented musician, this counts in your favor.
“The color dial of the Snark is very easy to read and tuning is quickly accomplished. The Snark is extremely accurate. I confirmed this with a tuning fork. It was dead-on accurate.”
“I will be honest, I bought it as a gift for a friend, and I do not play any music, but the feedback I got was great. They loved it, and said that it helped them a lot. It is easy to use.”