Being a professional guitarist inherently means investing in new gear. Most guitar equipment sits somewhere on the spectrum between essential tools for the job and fun toys to annoy friends and neighbors. And sadly guitarists will be more inclined to buy that octavia, auto-wah or e-bow over the high quality tuner, strings or cables their tone really needs. I’ve succumbed to this fault more often then I’d like to admit. To balance the want for another toy I though it time to invest in a new tuner.
I’ve been using a Snark clip-on tuner for work and quick jamming which has done excellent service and for the non-gigging musician they still represent excellent value for money. On the pedal board I’ve been using an original generation Korg Pitchblack (which replaced the less than accurate Boss TU-2). Despite the Korg’s battle scarred appearance it still gives me good service but after the first outside show were i struggled to see the display I’ve been pondering a new tuner. Enter the Polytune 2.
Polytune 2 Review
I remember when the first version of this pedal came out the concept looked very promising. That said I’d seen enough new technology come and go and though I’d wait for a revised version which they imaginatively dubbed Polytune 2. My job requires me to spend a lot of time traveling with my instruments. And between my students guitars and my own I end up tuning up to 5 or 6 times a day, so anything that allows me to do so quickly means more time actually playing.
The pedals features are really well thought out. The super bright LED display gives me piece of mind for stage use and comes with an ambilight sensor that adjusts the brightness depending on light environment. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be any tone coloring thanks to the true bypass circuit. Power options are either a 9v battery or power supply which allows the pedal to power up to 2A worth of other pedals via daisy chaining.
Let’s begin with the polyphonic tuning mode. The pedal will intuitively switch between single string and polyphonic modes depending on the source signal it receives, so just give it a strum. The first time you use the polyphonic mode you may feel an information overload hit you. I don’t use this mode if the guitar is seriously out of tune as it is too much information to process. Where this mode is really useful is in the tweaking of a slightly out of tune guitar or finding an offending string quickly. The area I was most surprised the ability accurately track capo’d (up to 7th fret), dropped tunings (down to B standard) and drop-D tunings which are adjustable from the back of pedal. It would be nice if you could create user presets via the computer for non-common tunings although most players won’t find that an issue.
Whilst I enjoy the polyphonic mode it is the chromatic tuner with either needle or strobe display that gives the best accuracy. Players that have used other strobe tuners will feel at home and enjoy the +/-0.1 cent accuracy. I prefer the needle mode and the strobe at the same time as you can dial it it with the needle and tweak with the strobe. This level of accuracy is very handy for setting your instruments intonation as well. Your guitars will thank you thanks you for the extra accuracy.
I think that about covers it, I’m looking forward to seeing how it holds up on the road over the next few months. Time to look at something less practical for the next Thomann order.