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Snark ST-8 and ST-2 All Instrument clip-on tuner review

Snark ST-8 and ST-2 All Instrument clip-on tuner review

by 2018/01/23


Product Name

Snark SN-8


• Great price
• Easy to adjust
• Accurate tuning for guitar and bass


• High profile design can get knocked around
• Can't handled downtuned bass very well

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The Snark SN-8 and ST-2 tuners are cheap, well-designed and accurate tuners for guitar and bass.

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Snark have a range of guitar tuners well-known among musicians for their simple design and accurate tuning. Today we’ll look at two of their designs: The ST-8 All Instrument Tuner and ST-2 All Instrument Tuner. You can pick them up for $15 and $13 USD respectively. Despite the low price tag I found both worked great for guitar and bass tuning.

ST-8 vs ST-2 features

There’s only minor differences between the ST-8 and ST-2 designs. The most notable is that the ST-2 has both mic and vibration tuning modes, while the ST-8 only has vibration. However, the ST-8 has the advantage of a larger tuning indicators, so it’s a bit easier to see on stage.

If you want greater accuracy you could also look at the ST-8HZ tuner, which increases the rating to 1/10th of 1 Hz accuracy. Honestly if you are a real stickler for tuning accuracy you’d be better off getting a pedal tuner though. We recently reviewed the TC Electronic Polytune 3, which can tune more precisely than any clip-on I’ve used.

Snarks accurate for standard tuning

Both the ST-8 and ST-2 can tune a guitar or bass in E standard quickly and accurately. They can also tune guitars in drop tunings easily, right down to drop A. They struggle with drop tuned basses however. It’s frustrating to tune a low B on a bass guitar with a Snark, as the tuner can’t seem to decide if the note is in tune or not. I’ve tried several budget clip-on tuners and none of them were any good at low bass tunings though. It’s also worth mentioning you can get around this issue by tuning to the 12 fret harmonic rather than the open note.

Pitch calibration options

Snark ST-8 ST-2 All Instrument Tuner rear

The pitch calibration controls.

Both models allow to you alter the pitch calibration from 415-466Hz. It’s difficult to accidentally change the pitch calibration, which is handy as it’s annoyingly easy to do on some tuners. Personally I’m not a fan of pitch calibration as it’s just one more thing that can go wrong at a gig, but some players will no doubt value the feature.

If you are planning to use the Snark purely as a clip-on tuner, I’d recommend the ST-8 over the ST-2. The mic mode isn’t any more accurate than the vibration mode, so there’s no reason to use it while clipped onto a guitar. It would only be useful as a vocal reference or to tune instruments that you can’t clip it to. Onstage you also need every bit of help you can get to see under the lights, so the simpler visual layout of the ST-8 is an advantage.

Easy to position on the headstock

Snark ST-8 All Instrument Tuner side

The Snark has two swivel points for re-positioning.

The Snark tuners are easy to position as the display screen arm can be swivelled around 360 degrees. This allows them to be used on both the front and rear of the headstock. Unfortunately the protruding arm also means the Snark can get knocked around a bit in a gig bag. Nonetheless I still like the design as the 360 degree movement is so useful that it’s worth it.


My singer used the Snark ST-2 almost daily for her performance course, and after 18 months the display had become damaged. Admittedly she didn’t take the best care of it during that time. I doubt any other tuners at this price-point would have fared better, although perhaps a more low-profile tuner would have been less prone to knocks.

The verdict

Snark ST-8 All Instrument Tuner screen

The bright Snark ST-8 screen.

Both the Snark ST-8 and ST-2 are great clip-on tuners. Having recently tried out a number of budget clip-on tuners for our tuner shootout, I found the Snark tuners performed better than all the competition. Unless you regularly play down-tuned bass guitar, both tuners will serve you well in any situation.

United States: Amazon (ST-8), Amazon (ST-2)
United Kingdom: Thomann (ST-8), Thomann (ST-2)
International: BH Photo Video (ST-8), BH Photo Video (ST-2)
Snark ST-8

  • Super Tight Tuning
  • Faster
  • Brighter EZ Read Display
  • Display Rotates 360 degrees
  • Tap Tempo Metronome
  • Pitch Calibration and Transpose Features

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician and journalist based in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Larry
    2018/04/22 at 10:56 pm

    Cheap, Easy


    Not accurate.

    Worth it?80%
    Ease of Use80%

    It’s worth the money for what it is. Cheap and easy. You’re starting out. A cheap tuner is better than no tuner. But I see these clipped on to headstocks of professionals in live concerts, videos etc. I don’t get it

    To me, absolute accuracy is more important than convenience.

    I have both a strobe tuner and a Turbo-Tuner by Sonic Research which is more accurate than anything else I’ve used that isn’t a strobe. I can hear the difference. I can demonstrate the difference to anyone.

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