The black Snark works well for me. I agree with Ken, tune and remove. Too many people in our jam sessions tune and leave them on. It's not good for the finish on the dulcimer to leave them on, and it looks silly.
electronic tuners people use
I use a little black Fender clip-on. I don't put it on the dulcimer, I clip it to my possum board, the edge nearest to me. Pet peave.... seeing a beautiful instrument with tuner clipped to the end. When the instrument is tuned, take it off before you perform.
I'm EXTREMELY careful with all my equipment and all my instruments (anal, in fact), and I had one of the Snarks break off. So, it does happen. See my earlier comment about how the "broken" Snarks can actually be great to use on a dulcimer. So, don't worry about that. Like Dusty said, if you are careful, it probably won't break. Snark has several models to choose from. Would suggest a chromatic one for sure.
Dusty Turtle said:
The only complaints I've heard about the Snarks is that sometimes the head snaps off the base. But that's got to be user error, so if you take care of it, it will be fine.
I've had a few of the easy clip-ons and find them mostly all the same. I just bought one of the new Snark SN-8 (new black) models on Ebay and only paid $8 or $9, so look around and don't pay too much. I must like it since I have two of the SN-2 (red) models. The only complaints I've heard about the Snarks is that sometimes the head snaps off the base. But that's got to be user error, so if you take care of it, it will be fine. And I don't think you can beat the price.
There really aren't a whole lot of variables. How fast and accurate is the tuner? How easy it is to read? Other than that, some have a crappy metronome built in and most allow for calibration, so perhaps you can play along with a piano or autoharp or hammered dulicimer that is tuned to itself but a tad off. I personally never use those features.
Dusty T., Northern California
As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
I use the Snark chromatic (red) for my dulcimers and all my other instruments. One cool thing about the Snark. If the arm breaks off at the ball joint, keep the tuner part and use it strictly for dulcimers. Just lay it on the soundboard (I put it right over a soundhole) and you can tune very easily. I broke one of mine and was going to pitch it, but then thought, wow, a custom dulcimer Snark tuner. Works great. I've only broken one so far. Waiting to break more, because they work so well this way.
I wound up getting the Snark from a local music store when I got strings to restring a dulcimer. Works well and eliminates the need for me to use a Signal Flex guitar tuner pickup that I plugged into the Korg so it could tune in a noise environment. Thank you all for the suggestions, much appreciated
These are very good and seem popular among players of many instruments.
The one I use is the "black".
You might find the clip is a bit small for some instruments, but you can always clip onto a tuning button (though I don't like that myself).
The head is fixed to the clip by a ball and socket joint, and can be pulled on and off with a little care.
Like this, the head fits beautifully into a sound hole on mine.
Prices can be a lot lower if you shop around
Good morning all,
My Korg CA30 chromatic tuner is on the fritz and I am thinking it is on it's way out. Changed the batteries, and still acting up. I am starting this to find out what electronic tuners people use and recommend. I have not bought an electronic tuner since I bought this back in mid 00's, so I have no idea what is out there nowadays.
updated by @james-phillips: 02/25/19 11:55:25AM