Ditch the Tuner, Download gStrings

App Type: guitar tuner that also works as a pitch pipe
Price: Free (ad-free) or €1.00 Plus version with adjustable range nonlinear scale and doubled processing power.
Get It: Any musician should have this. Even if you don’t need a tuner it can’t hurt to have one on hand in case someone playing with you needs it.

I’m coming up on two decades of playing guitar, with a variety of other instruments earlier. Needless to say (if you know anything about stringed instruments), I have owned quite a few different tuners over the years, most recently one that I can’t stand. One day I couldn’t find it so I did a quick search of the Android Market for one and found several to try. gStrings stood out from the start (not just because of the cute name) and I am so impressed it has now completely replaced my stand-alone tuner.
gStrings main screen

The app when not in use, with the bright "apricot" skin.

The layout is simple and you can choose from a decent list of skins so it’s highly visible under any circumstances. It’s a chromatic tuner, so there is a bar at the top with notes and a big Hz meter below with the selected note in the center with a contrasting-color line. 

You have three options for tuning method, accessed via buttons at the bottom of the screen. The one to the left plays a sound in the note selected, replacing a pitch pipe or tuning fork. The middle button is for tuning only to the selected note. For both of these methods you need to select the note you want by tapping it on the note bar (you can reach other notes by scrolling left or right).

The button to the right, however, is my favorite, “Tune auto”. When you play your instrument the note bar highlights the note you are playing and the meter shows how close you are to it. I like it because it’s what I’m used to and there’s no need to touch anything but my guitar strings when switching between them.

gStrings auto tune mode

"Tune auto" shows you the note the app is hearing and how in-tune it is. The best mode for advanced users.

The only problem I could see with using my Droid out in the real world where a tuner is truly necessary (like a gig at a loud bar) was that it’s important to be able to plug in. I grabbed a 1/4” to mini-plug adapter I had kicking around and used it to plug my guitar cable into my Droid’s headphone jack. Lo and behold, it worked! I haven’t tried this with an electric guitar yet but will update this post when I do. 

When you get into the settings you really see the beauty of this tuner. You can adjust the microphone sensitivity (I’ve never had to, personally), choose what instrument it should be optimized for, and a whole lot of advanced settings most users probably would never touch but are great to include for those who need them. 

Or, to put is simply, this is the most flexible tuner I’ve ever found and so far, so accurate at a miniscule fraction of the price of my junky tuner. Need I say more?

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