Gear Note: Clip-on Tuner

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I’m gettin’ in tune…

I hope your year is off to a good start. Today I’m discussing something I originally bought after my old reliable stompbox-type, chromatic tuner did the electronic version of “speaking in tongues” right before a gig. Of course, that was almost certainly due to me accidentally hitting one of its buttons, perhaps the Yoko Ono one.

Fortunately, my guitarist had a clip-on tuner which worked intuitively and accurately. Of course I immediately wanted one just because of its ooh, ahh quality. It works on vibration, so you don’t even need your instrument to be plugged in, much less connected to the tuner via a guitar cable. It’s lightweight and very small, so you can simply leave it on your instrument during a gig. Instead of tapping the pedal of a stompbox-type tuner, just turn the volume to zero and tune. The tuner not only has a center-align needle but–and this is the best part–turns color from red to green when the string is tuned properly.

These are available from several manufacturers. Mine is the Intellitouch PT10 from OnBoard Research (click the image to go to their site). They’re available at the usual places for about $30. The only problem I’ve had with mine is that it sometimes takes a while to identify my bass’ low E.

Thanks to downloadable user manuals, I’ve since reset my stompbox-type tuner. Still, it’s nice to have the clip-on tuner, as lets me leave my pedalboard (with the stompbox-type tuner) at home or in the car when I’m plugged directly into an amp.

The tuner’s pitch can be reset to something other than the standard A440, but I’m highly likely to use this feature.

Do you use one? What do you think?

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