Pico Brothers' Guitar Tuner provides old school tuning aid

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Never mind fancy chromatic tuners - what many musicians want is a modern version of the old tuning fork, i.e. reference notes by which they can tune their instrument by ear (see below on why this is often better). And this is what Guitar Tuner supplies, with the convenience of a volume control though with the bizarre hiding of one of its claimed features...

Guitar playing and fiddling with tech seem to go hand in hand, judging from the number of fellow strummers I've come across. Many worse than me and a greater number a lot better. But we all have to tune our guitars every time we get the 'ol six string (or in my case the 12-string) out - which is why there's a booming cottage industry on every mobile platform in guitar tuning aids of every type. 

Note that there's a distinct benefit to staying 'old school' and low-tech, in that sampling tuners reduce tuning each string to tweaking the tuning pegs and watching the fancy animations - you essentially stop fiddling when the display says so and never mind how the string sounds. Ultimately, as a player, you want to improve, but you also want to improve your musical ear, I'm often appalled by the numbed of players who carry on strumming something which is obviously out of tune because they just can't 'hear it'. I should emphasise that I haven't got 'perfect pitch', but I can recognise when a note's not 'right'. In part this is because I've usually tuned my guitar by ear, playing a tuning fork to get a reference tone and then tuning by harmonics across the strings, or by playing the appropriate notes on a nearby electronic piano or organ and tuning to those.

By the way, the argument against tuning using reference tones, by ear, is that 'on stage' (i.e. in a noisy and busy environment), it's hard to hear accurately enough to make the needed changes. By plugging your instrument into an electronic tuner, you can interface directly with a tuning engine and get accurate pitch even if Motorhead are playing on the other side of the room.

Guitar Tuner is simple but beautifully implemented, as shown here. The strings 'vibrate' when plucked and sound very authentic, with the volume control along the bottom allowing you half a dozen increments of loudness.


In use, I loved the sound and ultra-simple UI and have been relying on this for tune-ups of my 12 string acoustic. The notes can, interestingly, be tapped concurrently, i.e. you can play chords and sub-chords along the lines of Em7... it made me smile, anyway!

One big oddity though is that the developer claims to have added:

The tuner also feature a repeat mode, which enables you to concentrate on the tuning while the tone is played.

Tap and swipe as I might, I couldn't find this repeat mode - can anyone else help out here? What am I missing?

You can buy Guitar Tuner for £1 here in the Nokia Store. Yes, it perhaps should be free, or promo-ware, since there's nothing advanced here (special tunings, and so forth) but a quid is neither here nor there and I for one donated the pound just as a hat tip to the incredibly arty use of the Les Paul on the 'About' screen.....

Source / Credit: Nokia Store