SN-5 Clip On Tuner review by Snark

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.6 (18 votes)
Snark: SN-5 Clip On Tuner

Price paid: $ 19.95

Purchased from: online retailer

Sound — 10
The beauty of the Snark SN-5 is that since it isn't in your signal chain it absolutely does not affect your tone. I know that tuner pedals shouldn't be affecting tone either, but when it isn't in your signal chain there is no question in your mind. There isn't much else to say for this section of the review.

Overall Impression — 9
The Snark doesn't take up room on a pedal board, as a matter of a fact it isn't anywhere in your signal chain that is the first huge bonus. Next huge bonus, it can be moved between instruments pretty much effortlessly without any cables even being involved. It can tune unplugged instruments, also. The Snark SN-5 replaced the Korg Pitchblack Tuner from my pedalboard without any regrets it freed up room and just to be honest is easier and less hassle to use. I've heard it said that the display on the Snark gets dim as the battery goes down, but I haven't seen this yet after 3 months of pretty heavy use so I'm gonna call that a non-issue. I love it and recommend it to all my friends who play because it is inexpensive, easy to use and is just very convenient.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The Snark SN-5 seems like it will last for quite a while. As it stands, I play guitar every day acoustic and electric and multiple instruments. I leave my Snark sitting by my guitars and clip it on to tune each time I pick up a guitar. So far I've owned it about 3 months and I haven't had to replace the battery yet and I've had no other issues. When it is time to change the battery out, it is simple to change. As a side note, the tuner is supposed to 'go to sleep' if it is sitting on inactive for very long in order to save the battery, but I haven't tried that out. The clip on part of the tuner has little soft rubber teeth, which means you don't have to worry about any damage to your guitar's finish, even if the tuner is jarred while clipped to your headstock. As far as how durable and how much abuse this thing can take, it is pretty light and I've dropped it on a hardwood floor a few times and no damage done. I'm sure it wouldn't survive a good whack from a hammer, but it should survive the normal abuse that a clip-on tuner can expect.

Ease of Use — 9
It doesn't get any simpler than this it comes new with a small battery to install (what I think of as hearing aid batteries), and then you are ready to go. You just clip the tuner onto the headstock of your favorite stringed instrument, hit the one button that is for turning the tuner either on or off, and then pluck a string and twist the tuning key as needed. The display is lighted, as well as being on an adjustable arm so you can see it in the dark and twist the display so you can see the screen without being a contortionist. What really separates it from other clip on tuners in the market is that the display is visible both in the daylight and the dark. Even in direct sunlight you can read the display on the Snark SN-5. When you get done you just hit the power button again to conserve your battery and then rock out. I've read online that some people got one where the battery was almost dead when the received it of course, this didn't happen to me so I can't say much about it. We're talking about a chromatic tuner that is under $20 USD, and the batteries are readily available at department stores for approximately $3 USD in the U.S., so I can understand it could be inconvenient receiving one with a bad battery, but it is a $3 fix. Of course, purchasing anything new you don't expect to put more money out for something that is supposed to be included, but again I just have to say that isn't a problem I personally had, just saw a few comments online from other owners.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Larry Masterson
    It'a a good tuner, but mine broke when it was put into a hard case and the lid closed. The only fix is super glue, which means it will no longer be adjustable. This was my bad, and I will get another. But it really is a good tuner, easy to read, accurate.
    I've just read the NS-5 instructions booklet and found repeated warnigs abount how the rubber pads may cause damage to the instrument's finish. Their list of affected finishes is pretty long. I ordered the product before I found the booklet online. I've never read anything on the subject on any reviews I've consulted on the web. Now i'm worried of the damage it could cause to my guitar. As anyone notice any sings of damage on their guitar stocks?
    Hey man, good review. Just to clear up some of the things you couldn't comment on because you've only had it for 3 months. I've had mine just over a year now, and yes the screen does start to dim as the battery starts to die, but if you leave it turned on for a while the screen brightens up a little bit. However, I've only had to change the battery once in the time i've had it, so it's not like this thing eats batteries. The "go to sleep" function doesn't seem to work on mine, as i've played a 45 minute to an hour gig where i've forgot to turn it off and it's still turned on. It's also took some pretty heavy abuse and all that happened was a bit of the matt red paint chipped off. Hope this helps
    ey dude... as long as the tuner picks up a sound/ signal from the strings it will remain 'on'.
    It's been my experience that clip-on tuners aren't as accurate as pocket size ones, but I could be wrong. Otherwise, this was a good, concise review that should be helpful to those considering this product.
    These are just as good as pocket tuners. Companies have really stepped it up lately. How does this compare to the Red SN-2, the SN-2 is a chromatic tuner, and the SN-5 is for all stringed instruments? Wouldn't that make it chromatic also?
    Ive had 3 break due to crappy plastic design. Now I find myself just setting it on top of the amp.
    i had three of these break aswell but the new sn 8 aprentenly has metal lineing and a more secure way of supporting it so id doesnt break, the snarks have always been fast in accurate but i personally am unsure that the ns 8 will be much of a upgrade- Handbanana
    I own a snark and they're great. It's the best tuner ever made. Say goodbye to larger tuners. I noticed comments about the snark and batteries. I found out by experimentation that you have to double click it to turn it off. Just like a computer. If your having battery issues that might help. 5 star tuner.
    this is supposed to work off vibrations so how come the needle goes wild if anyones talking or its near a t.v. ? i need answers to this crap tuner.....its impossible to do intonation on it dont bother. its too frustrating..i have retune the guitar all the time due to false readings