Fender has today launched a new digital subsidiary and its first product is, unsurprisingly, a guitar tuning app for iOS. The company says that Fender Tune is designed for players of all levels to evolve their skill sets, and includes an auto mode that listens for a plucked string and shows the player how far out of tune it is, a manual mode for tuning by ear and some helpful tuning and tone tips. We gave the new app a quick test run.
When launched, a simple, uncluttered user interface is presented and the Fender Tune app flies straight into auto mode. This uses the device's microphone to detect pitch and is activated when a string is plucked. The tuning peg on the guitar is then moved up or down to bring an orange circle into the center of the screen. When the circle turns green and a ping is heard from the phone's speaker, the string is at pitch.
There are four icons along the bottom, the second from the left moves the app into manual mode. This shows a representation of a Fender headstock and touching an icon next to a tuning peg sounds that note, the idea being to match the sound of the string with the sound coming from the phone's speaker, which teaches learners how to tune by ear. A bit like using a tuning pipe. But in digital form.
The settings screen lets you choose between electric, acoustic or bass, as well as opting for one of 15 alternate tunings or choosing a custom tuning. Numerous custom tunings can be saved to a user's Fender Connect personal profile, with a link available within the app to create an account if one isn't already active. Other options include a chromatic mode when auto tuning is selected and a loop feature when in manual mode (which keeps repeating the selected note so you can keep your hands on the guitar).
Newbies can dive into the tuning tips section for some useful information on how to bring an instrument to pitch, how best to attack the strings, as well as a few basic tone tips (like using heavier strings for a rich, deep tone, or rolling the bass, mid and treble knobs on an amp up or down from the middle position until the desired sound is achieved).
Of course, there are one or two suggested links to Fender hardware and services, but on the whole we found the app, which is powered by Fender's proprietary DSP technology, to be accurate (when checked against our pedalboard tuner), easy to use and helpful for those new to tuning and tone tweaking.
There are many, many instrument tuning apps available for iOS of course, but as the Fender Tune app is free to install, we'd recommend giving it a try. The app is compatible with Apple mobile devices running iOS 8.1 or later and can be found on the App Store now.