There are many ways of tuning your instrument. Not surprisingly, each has its own set of pros and cons:
- Pitch pipe: Simple and portable, but limited to standard tunings, hard to hear in noisy settings, and not accurate if you blow too softly or too forcefully.
- Tuning fork: Simple and accurate, but limited and hard to hear in noisy settings.
- Piano: Versatile and accurate (assuming the piano itself is in tune), but not portable.
- A440 tone (provided by metronomes, smartphone apps, PC programs, and many other devices): Accurate and portable (depending on the source of the tone), but sometimes annoying and often limited.
- Digital tuners: Accurate, portable, frequently versatile, and super easy to use, but a little more expensive.
With this in mind, for those of you who intend to be enjoying music for years to come, we can heartily recommend investing in a digital tuner. They are usually quite intuitive to use, showing you clearly whether you need to tune up or down. A digital display also makes it easy to tune even when background noise is a problem.
Some of the better digital tuners on the market are in the Intellitouch line. They allow you to tune to any note, making them particularly valuable to musicians who play more than one instrument or who frequently use nonstandard tunings. They also clip onto your instrument, ensuring accuracy.
Intellitouch makes many different styles of tuners. This link is for one of the more basic models that clips onto the headstock of your instrument. However, other models offer features such as a capolike shape, a large display, or a rechargeable design. Shop around to find one that fits your needs.