Now Available in the App Store!
Check out the review in The Guitar Journal!
I developed the One Click Tuner app for iOS because I thought I could do better than the current apps out there. My goals from the outset were:
- The design should be minimal.
- Don’t ask the user to buy things or play games.
- Assume the user understands their instrument.
- Visualize the distribution of frequencies around the target.
1. The design should be minimal.
This was straightforward. For a tuner that uses equal temperament, the only parameter is the pitch standard, the note from which everything else is relatively tuned to (traditional choice is that 440 Hz is an A). Therefore, the display requires this one changeable setting, the nearest note, and something to display how “close” you are to the nearest note.
2. Don’t ask the user to buy things or play games.
I wanted One Click Tuner to be a well-designed tuner and nothing more. Personally, I have a distaste for free apps that hide features behind in-app purchases. Some “free” tuners I’ve seen require a subscription (!) or hide tuning certain octaves behind a paywall. Other tuners boast about a variety of games you can play, which seems to me something no one asked for.
3. Assume the user understands their instrument.
One Click Tuner is designed with musicians in mind. If the user is a guitarist, assume they know that standard tuning is EADGBE. If they want to tune a half step down, they shouldn’t have to go clicking through an “alternative tunings” submenu. Assume they know their instrument. Some apps boast about how many instruments they can tune, which translates to “you need to go clicking through submenus to find the instrument you want”. Since One Click Tuner gives the user some credit, it can tune any instrument apart from a piano (see Railsback curve).
4. Visualize the distribution of frequencies around the target.
The two most common methods of tuner visualization are a needle or a scrolling line, both of which represent the distance in cents between your instrument and your target note.
The note being played by an instrument has variability to it (think miniscule vibrato). In order for needle/line-based visualizations to not jump around too much, the activity of the needle/line is “smoothed” to make it easier to read. This has the side effect of hiding the distribution of frequencies that occur you when you play a single note on your instrument.
A new kind of tuner visualization:
The unique visualization in One Click Tuner is designed to better visualize the variability of frequencies being played via a fine-partition histogram. Each vertical line represents a 1-cent difference from the lines adjacent to it, allowing you to easily see what happens to pitch during the attack, decay, sustain, and release of your instrument.
I spent my whole life never having my guitar truly in tune, not even one time. But now that I have found Dr. Day’s One Click Tuner App, everyone is asking me why my instrument is so in tune and to tune their instruments for them. I don’t like all these tuning requests, but I do like this tuner app!
I don’t ask you for or use any personal data.
If you like One Click Tuner, please leave a review in the App Store!