Snark Tuner Not Working: Complete Guide with Useful Workarounds

If you have a guitar, the most convenient way to tune it is to have a guitar tuner. Among the most commonly used tuners is the Snark tuner. However, there are a lot of complaints about Snark tuner not working. So, in this article, I’m going to investigate and find solutions to the problems of many about the Snark tuner.

Overview

Before I go straight to the problems of the Snark tuner, I would like to give you a quick background about it. Snark is among the known brands in producing the best clip-on tuners in the market. What are clip-on tuners, you may ask?

Clip-on tuners, as the name suggests, are tuners that are clipped on the headstock. If you pluck a string, the tuner will pick the vibrations, and then matches it to the correct frequency. It can tell you the string you plucked and how far you are from the right tuning. There’s a small screen that’ll help you get the perfect tune.

They have a high definition display so it’s very easy to read the tuning guide. Snark tuners have 360-degree swivel hand, hence, it’ll be very easy for you to angle the tuners wherever you clip them. Though the units are made of plastic, they seem reliable, plus, there’s padding on the clip so you won’t damage your guitar.

Snark tuners are distinctive, compact and powerful. The advantage of using Snark tuners over others is the fact that they are chromatic tuners. Some clip-on tuners use microphones, while these use the vibrations of the string being plucked. So, even if there is noise around, you can still tune your guitar pretty accurately.

There are different kinds of Snark tuners that are designed for a particular musical instrument. If you have a bass or regular guitar, you can use the SN5X or the SN1X. For the violin, the SN5X is suitable, while for ukulele, the SN6X is particularly designed for the instrument. You’ll also have the popular ST-8 and ST-2 All Instrument Tuner.

Despite the benefits of using Snark clip-on tuners, some users complained about them not working properly. Others even said that the tuners are not working at all. So, let’s take a look at the issues encountered by some users and the solution to these problems.

Quit Responding to the Strings

After using the tuner for quite a while, it quits responding to the strings.

Workaround: 

These tuners use batteries. So, if they quit responding to strings after enjoying the benefit of quick tuning, then, maybe it’s a problem with the batteries. Depending on your use, you might need to change the batteries every three months or less. But, if after you change the batteries the issue persists, it might be another problem.

Since these are clip-on tuners, it’s inevitable that they fall off the ground. When used frequently, the padding grip will be weaker and so every time you move the guitar, the tuner may fall. If this is the case, the tuners just need a quick bang or tap. But, if they quit working after these steps, it’s better to buy a new one.

The screen doesn’t light up

Aside from the battery problem, some users also complain about the screen light turning off after clipping the tuner. If they are lucky sometimes they get readings, sometimes the screen just won’t light up.

Workaround:

This is a contact problem between the ball and the shaft. If you’ve noticed, while you clip the tuner on the headstock, the tuner will light. This is because you tightened the connection between the ball and the socket. Upon clipping, you remove your hand and the light will turn off, as well.

What you’ll do is to ensure that the position it has on the headstock will be the most convenient and efficient position for the tuner. Once you get the perfect position, gently move it out of the guitar, so you won’t change the positioning. Now, apply glue in the socket to ensure it’ll stay in place.

Although this isn’t the best workaround and it’ll not swivel the head anymore, so far it works for many people. If at first try you don’t succeed, try to twist the head firmly, while adding more glue. You can try different positions until the screen lights up and will pick the vibrations of the strings.

Not Working from the Start

Some users who have purchased Snark tuners have not used them since the day they buy it. There should be no problem as they come with new batteries. Yet, they have an unusable Snark tuner to start with. The problem is the contact between the battery and the circuit board.

Workaround:

If you’ve encountered this issue, you should check the battery and how the system contacts to it. First, pull out the battery “drawer”, then unscrew the small Philips screw. Opposite to the screw, you’ll see a locking or snapping point, unsnap it.

You can find two little “ears” there and bend them, but not too far until it’ll not too flat. Probably, around 2mm difference from the flat contact. Once you do that, your little tuner will now be working great. You can check this YouTube video to see what they did to make the tuner work again. 

Or, if the contact is okay, but it won’t respond no matter how you pluck the guitar, you also have to consider whether the tuner model utilizes the vibrations or it comes with a microphone. It’s also important to know which mechanism you’re using so you can turn on/off the mic. 

Conclusion

Snark tuners are popular clip-on tuners because they are affordable, light, compact and reliable. Since they’re cheap, some users complained about the snark tuner not working properly. But, all those complaints and issues have solutions that we outlined above.

If you happen to have a snark tuner and it stops working, consider checking the batteries, the battery contact and whether it’s the model that utilizes vibrations or mic. While Snark tuners seem to be small and flimsy, they do their jobs pretty well, especially for quiet environment with not much interference with other musical instruments. 

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