Chinavasion have sent me one of these Guitar Tuner Clips (also known as a JH-30 Clip Metro Tuner) to look at. It’s a clever little number that can clip onto the guitar neck and puts the display right where you need it. It also gives you a choice of tuning modes, using either a microphone or via a vibration sensitive clip. Here’s what I thought of it.
It’s a busy little unit, there’s a multitude of buttons around the bright blue screen. At the top of the display is an easy to see red/green LED to that indicates when you’re bang on tune. There’s also a hard switch on the top that toggles between using the microphone or the vibration tuning system. It needs a single CR2032 battery which is included.
The buttons are firm and require a fairly good press to so you shouldn’t bump anything, and the unit turns itself off after a couple of minutes. The whole thing is about the same size as a clip-on capo, and the clip on the tuner is secure without you having to worry about it damaging your headstock. Still I wouldn’t leave it in place.
Chinavasion call this a Guitar Tuner Clip 3-in-1 tuner. The tuner gives you the option of using a chromatic scale (play any note and it will tell you how in tune it is), or tune a particular instrument (violin, guitar or bass/guitar). If you use it tune a specific instrument, it names the string you’re currently tuning, i.e. the low E-string on a guitar it calls 6E, while the top E string it calls 1E and so on. You can also tune down without having to figure out what the new notes are called. It can go down 4 flats which is pretty darn flat.
Along with the guitar tuner, there’s also a metronome and a tone generator. The metronome gives you a choice of up to 9 beats per measure, and a choice of 6 rhythms. The tempo can be adjusted from 30bpm up to 250bpm. The tone generator allows you to switch between a chromatic scale, or standard tunings for a guitar, bass or violin. You can also tune A from 440 down to 430 or up to 450 depending on your orchestra.
I threw the Tuner Clip up against a Boss TU-12, and a Boss TU-12P tuner to check its accuracy and its sensitivity. Neither of the Boss tuners can tune from vibrations, but they can be plugged into a guitar, which the Tuner Clip can’t do. I tried to tune up a 6 and 12-string acoustic guitar.
Using the microphone it wasn’t as sensitive as the Boss tuners, however its microphone is located at the back of the unit, which leads me to believe that it was primarily designed for use in vibration tuning mode. Nevertheless if I tuned in a quiet room, the Tuner Clip heard the notes about 80% of the time compared to about 95% of the time for the Boss tuners. Vibration mode was more successful and clipping the tuner between the rows of machine heads seemed to give the best results.
Neither of the Boss units or the Tuner Clip helped much tuning my 12 string guitar. I got most of the strings tuned with the three tuners sitting side by side but none of them could find one particular string. In the end it got over-tuned to oblivion and snapped the string, I’ll put it down to operator error. I had to finish tuning the 12 string by ear, but that’s pretty normal for this old beater of a guitar.
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I didn’t try the metronome particularly but it was loud enough to hear over quiet acoustic strumming. The one thing it didn’t have was a start button, so soon as you selected the metronome it started playing. This means that if you were trying to match the tempo to a song by ear, it was quite hard to use. If you just want to set a tempo and practice, then it’s fine.
The tone of the tone generator was quite harsh and I didn’t really like it. Being a digital buzzer-thing it doesn’t resonate like a tuning fork or an instrument so tuning to it was a little tricky but better ears than mine may find it useful. Here have a look for yourself:
- Nifty design puts the tuner where you need it
- Seems as accurate as higher end tuners
- Vibration mode works well
- Display can be read in the dark
- Metronome and tone generator work but are pretty gimmicky
- Microphone sensitivity isn’t very high but works ok in a quiet room
- Buttons aren’t backlit
This isn’t a pro bit of kit, but if you’re looking for something that will disappear into your gig bag, is super easy to read and use, and gives very usable results, you can’t really go past this Guitar Tuner Clip. Sure it’s a 3-in-1 device, but seriously if all it did was tune it would still be worth the US$8 they’re asking. This is a top buy people.