Two Essential Tools for Practice

Use the right tool for the job

First let’s make sure we know what these devices are. A metronome is a small machine that makes a clicking sound to help you keep tempo, and a tuner tells you if you are sharp, flat or in tune when you play a note. In the world of music we have tuners, metronomes and combos of both. Some are big, some are small, some sit on your stand while others attach to the bell. What I’m trying to say is, there is a huge variety of machines out there, which is why here I will focus on my favorites and those that have proven to be popular within the music community. The title of each device will take you to amazon.com for purchase and the price is listed under each description. If you’re on a tight budget I will give you a great recommendation for an all-in-one tool for under $5.

Korg TM-50

This is a tuner/metronome combo and one of the best out there. The many features include:

  • Tuner and metronome can be used at the same time or separately.
  • “Sound Out” function will play back any note that you play.
  • A huge range detection so if you play other instruments like trombone or recorder it will be useful.
  • The metronome can go from 30-252 beats per measure in +1 increments, which is very important for speed practice.
  • 15 rhythm combinations to customize your practice.
  • The tap tempo function allows you to tap the tempo in. I use this feature ALL the time!

This metronome/tuner combo has many more features I haven’t listed here. *Note there is also a TMR-50, which adds a recording feature to the device.

Price: +- $29.99

Korg CA-40

This one is just a tuner, no metronome included. It comes in white or black, and the features include:

  • Huge detection range to tune any instrument.
  • You can attach a contact microphone to it to send the vibrations to the tuner for even more accuracy.
  • It has a needle style tuning system, which is preferred by many musicians because it’s easy to read.
  • You can get a reference pitch from the device to match with your trumpet.
  • Up to 85 hours of life.
  • The auto power off function automatically turns off the device if it hasn’t been used for 20 minutes. Save that battery life!

As you can see this one is definitely more simple than the TM-50 and I think that’s OK. Not everyone has the need for a featured-packed tuner. I love the simplicity of this tuner and the compact size.

Price: +- $14.99

Seiko SQ50-V

This is strictly a metronome, no tuner included. Some features include:

  • Tempo dial for easy handling.
  • Two tone generators, A and Bb.
  • Two options for click tones, one high and one low.
  • Adjustable volume and headphone jack.
  • Tempo range from 40-208.
  • Compact size.
  • Kick stand to set on a flat surface.

As you can see, simplicity is key with the Seiko. Not too many crazy features but it has great reviews and people love how small and simple it is to use. One important thing to keep in mind, this metronome does not go up and down by 1 click at a time, it’s either 3 clicks at a time after 60-BPM. I consider being able to up by 1 click at a time a necessary feature in a metronome, but it might fit your needs.

Price: +- $21.99

Korg Dolcetto

The Korg Dolcetto is a clip-on tuner that clips to the end of your bell, with a very simple metronome. Other features include:

  • The Dolcetto T is especially designed to attach to a trumpet or trombone.
  • Because it is attached to the bell, it’s less likely to pick up sound around you.
  • Auto power off saves your battery.
  • It has a transpose function so you can tune in different keys.
  • It does have a simple metronome function, but it cannot be used at the same time as the tuner.

This little tuner fits in your pocket and works great for players who are often in loud settings.

Price: +- $40.00

Korg KDM-2

This is just a metronome, no tuner included. It is my favorite metronome and some of its features are:

  • It’s LOUD, so when play those ff passages, you’ll still hear it.
  • The display is very bold and easy to see.
  • Beats per measure from 30 to 252, and 19 rhythm patterns.
  • It has 7 reference pitches from low C to the following B, which has proven useful in the past.
  • It has a battery life of 120 hours!
  • I have dropped it numerous times and it still lives.
  • The downside; no auto power off function.

By far my favorite metronome even if it doesn’t have an auto power off function.

Price: +- $59.99

TUNER/METRONOME APPS

TONAL ENERGY $3.99 (iOS)$1.99 (Android)

This is an all-in-one app for a musician’s practice. It’s the absolute cheapest option and it performs incredibly. I’ve been using this app almost daily for a few years and I highly recommend it. Some features include:

  • It has a tuner, advanced metronome, a piano keyboard, sound analysis and audio/video recording.
  • If you play other instruments it has a dedicated strings and guitar tuning function.
  • Tuning has “levels” so you can work your way up from beginner to pro.
  • Dozens of rhythm patterns, with the ability to combine time signatures and make a custom set.
  • Pitch recognition and play back function is great for tuning and buzzing.

For such a low price, this app packs a lot of punch!

CLEARTUNE $3.99 (iOS)$3.99 (Android)

This is a tuner app, no metronome included. It’s very popular and has sustained good reviews for a few years for it’s simplicity and reliability. At under $4 for both iOS and Android, it’s a very affordable solution. Some features include:

  • The “note wheel” interface makes it very easy to visualize your pitch and see how in tune you are.
  • It can pick up any instrument that can hold a pitch so if you play any other instruments it could be useful.
  • Sound back function let’s you pick a pitch and listen. Great for matching!
  • Clean look and nothing too confusing.
  • This tuner works with a tuning needle which is easy to use.

If you’re looking for just a tuner that’s always with you this is a great option.