When you think of guitar gear, the first things that come to mind are probably the sexy bits like shapely guitars, roaring amps or mind-blowing pedals. Maybe you even think about picks or strings, but I'm willing to bet that a humble tuner probably doesn't make it too high on your list. That's too bad because a well-tuned guitar sounds so much better than an un-tuned one.
Fortunately we live in an age in which tuners come in a mind-boggling array of choices. These days you have no excuse for not being in tune. Which may lead you to wonder, is there really any innovation left in the space of the simple guitar tuner? I didn't think there was until I met the PolyTune Clip.
T.C. Electronics PolyTune pedals are some of the best tuners on the market. I have both the full-size and mini versions of these pedals and consider them indispensable on any pedal-board. But when you're just noodling around at home or playing somewhere without a full board, you still need a compact, accurate tuner.
The Snark Clip-On Tuner was probably the first of the low-profile clip-on tuners that were any good. It was so cool to be able to just attach a tuner to the headstock and tune away without the need to plug into anything. Still, the Snark was a little fiddly at times. On some guitars I don't seem to get a good contact-point and the Snark can't seem to pickup any signal. There are other similarly-styled tuners that don't handle ambient noise well. Trying to tune up in a noisy club? Too bad jack, you're out of luck.
All of these problems and more are handled by the PolyTune Clip. It's low profile so it tucks away nicely on the back of your headstock. It tracks strings like a rabid dog on a fresh piece of meat and seems to do just fine with ambient noise. Best of all, it features the same ability to measure the tuning of several strings at once just like it's bigger pedal-based cousins.
I wasn't actually in the market for a tuner. But at this summer's Vai Academy, both Steve and his tech Thomas Nordegg raved about them. When I snuck a peak at Steve's rack of guitars each and every one of them had a PolyTune Clip on the headstock. Well, I figure if Steve likes them they must be worth checking out.
Having bought one and used it extensively over the last couple of weeks I'm now thinking about buying several more and just leaving them attached to various guitars in the collection. A month ago that prospect would have sounded crazy to me, now it seems practical and somewhat inevitable.