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D’Addario NS Micro Tuner review

For easy and discrete tuning for not much cash, D’Addario’s stealthy NS Micro tuner is a great gig bag companion

  • $14.99
D'Addario NS Micro Tuner review
(Image: © D'Addario)

Our Verdict

The D’Addario NS Micro Tuner is a fantastic choice for those who want a small yet powerful headstock tuner. With a bright, easy to read screen, easily adjustable angle and even a visual metronome on board, this feature-filled clip-on tuner is perfect for almost everybody. It’s inexpensive, small, and pretty damn accurate.

Pros

  • Doesn’t get in the way
  • Really affordable
  • Discretely blends in with your instrument
  • Works with many types of guitar, bass, ukulele, and more

Cons

  • Doesn’t do polyphonic tuning
  • Small size can make tuning on darker stages tricky

D’Addario NS Micro Tuner review: What is it?

The D’Addario NS Micro is a tiny clip-on tuner designed to attach to your guitar’s headstock and deliver quick and easy chromatic tuning on the fly. 

You’re probably already familiar with D’Addario. Between their various imprints and other brands, they are responsible for keeping musicians of all types going - whether that be with electric guitar strings, guitar cables, drumsticks, or myriad other accessories and essentials.

The guitar tuner is one of the most important, yet one of the most overlooked accessories any guitarist can own. Whether you need a pedal tuner to sit on your pedalboard, a rack-mounted tuner for studio work, or a killer headstock tuner for tuning up on the go - there’s something on the market for you. If your needs fit into the latter camp, we think that the NS Micro Tuner deserves a spot on your shortlist -  particularly as it’s the number one pick in our guide to the best clip-on tuners

D’Addario NS Micro Tuner review: Performance & Verdict

D'Addario NS Micro Tuner, sat upright on a white background with clip extended

(Image credit: D'Addario)

On first inspection, the D’Addario NS Micro Tuner is even smaller than we imagined, but it’s a tough little thing, with the all-plastic casing feeling fairly substantial. You wouldn’t want to tread on it or drop it from a great height, but it’ll certainly withstand the knocks and bumps that come with a good show. It clamps onto the underside of our guitar headstock with an impressive amount of grip - but not so tight that we fear for the health of our instrument - and hangs in there throughout our debut gig with the tuner.

The NS Micro Tuner isn’t just convenient due to its small size and easy application. We found the full-colour display to be impressively bright and easy to read from a reasonable distance - something you wouldn’t usually experience with smaller tuners. 

Now, a quick disclaimer - I’m a bit colourblind. Telling the difference between red and green can be virtually impossible for me in certain situations, and when red means not in tune, and green means in tune, that’s not ideal. Luckily for me, the colour separation between red and green on the NS Micro Tuner is distinct, which makes using it a lot more straightforward than some other clip-on and pedal tuners I’ve tried. 

In terms of usability, clip-on tuners are usually in their element in quieter areas as it helps them pick up the vibration of your strings more easily. Although D’Addario states that the NS Micro Tuner can operate in noisy environments, we found it sometimes struggled to register the strings we were trying to tune when there was too much background noise. It’s perfect for backstage use and quick tune-ups in between songs, though. 

D'Addario NS Micro Tuner clipped onto the back of a strat headstock

(Image credit: D'Addario)

Overall the tuning accuracy of the NS Micro routinely impresses us, with D’Addario’s stated 0.3 cent accuracy sounding pretty bang on to us. Accurate testing between acoustics, electric guitars, basses and a ukulele compounded this result for us, although we think maybe the low frequencies of a five or six-string bass could be pushing it a little.

The NS Micro runs on a single CR123A battery, which is supplied by D’Addario. We have bandmates who have been using this tuner fairly regularly for the last two years and haven’t yet needed to change the battery - so it’s safe to say that the NS Micro can go the distance. 

Unlike other tuners of this type, D’Addario’s NS Micro also has a visual metronome onboard - a super useful and frankly underrated learning tool. We had a good time playing around with this, and keeping time visually as opposed to aurally was a new challenge. It doesn’t beat getting in a room with a drummer, but for practice purposes it’s something we definitely wish more tuners featured.

D’Addario NS Micro Tuner review: Hands-on demos

D’Addario & Co 

Simplified Guitar 

patdavidmusic 

D’Addario NS Micro Tuner review: Specifications

  • Accuracy: 0.3 cents
  • Modes: Chromatic, Metronome 
  • Good for: Electric/Acoustic guitar, bass, ukulele, cello, violin  
  • Batteries: CR123A (included) 
  • Contact: D’Addario/Planet Waves
James Farmer

I’m one of MusicRadar’s Junior Deals Writers. Along with the rest of the eCommerce team, I manage and update buyer’s guides, as well as bringing you deals on the latest and coolest gear. I’m a drummer and guitarist and I’ve worked in various parts of the industry for the last three years including online music distributors RouteNote, and local music store Modern Music where I was the drum department manager for nearly two years. I’ve also toured the UK and Europe with my band Hypophora. When I’m not matching players with their perfect gear, you’ll find me getting very nerdy about coffee, writing songs, or on the beach with my dog.