‘Polytune’ Poly-Chromatic Tuner

My children bought me this pedal as a birthday present and I am continually amazed at how brilliant it is and how easy and quick it is to use.

tc electronic were the first company to make a ‘poly-chromatic’ tuner and, as the name denotes, with one strum of the strings, it will identify immediately which, if any, strings are out of tune and whether they are sharp or flat! The pedal has a very clear and bright, self-adjusting digital display that is perfect for dimly lit stages and the pedal works with electric guitars and electro acoustic guitars.

As you strum all six strings the screen displays six pairs of green lights in an arc across the top of the display (6th string to the left, 1st string to the left). Any strings that are out of tune also feature another pair of red dots – above the green ones if the string is tuned sharp or below the green pair if the string is tuned flat. The distance between the red and the green lights give a very rough indication of how far the string is out of tune.

You then have the option to either continue to strum all six strings and adjust those that are out of tune until the red dots disappear or, as you play each of the errant strings, the pedal goes instantly into ‘normal’ (individual string) tuning mode. In single string tuning mode, the pedal shows a clear and very bright digital version of the traditional centre-reading needle with the closest note shown clearly in large green font below the needle. If the string is flat then the needle shows in red to the left of centre; if it’s sharp then it appears in red to the right of centre. Only when the string is exactly in tune does the needle turn to bright green and as you get close to the precise tuning the digital needle shows a duller green with a parallel row of bright red lights to the right of the green needle (if the string is slightly sharp) or to the left (if the string is slightly flat). Finish tuning the string, give all six strings a quick strum and you can see immediately if all is well or if any others need adjusting. With the press of a button on the front panel, the pedal can be toggled to operate in ‘streaming’ mode where the dots ‘stream’ slowly across the screen from left to right to indicate whether the note is sharp or right to left if the note is flat.

The case of the pedal is made in what looks to be die-cast metal and it feels robust and almost unbreakable. The whole of the bottom sole plate can be removed by undoing a single bolt that is easily removed by hand to reveal the battery compartment. The bolt has a wide slot so that it can also be turned with most coins or a large screw-driver.

The pedal also has the standard 9v DC in and out sockets and it is also ‘True Bypass’ so it does not colour your sound when switched off.  The pedal also goes into silent tuning mode when the tuner is switched on. The pedal also supports ‘Drop D’ and ‘Capo’ tuning and the reference range can be adjusted from 435 Hz to 445 Hz.

The LEDs automatically adjust to the ambient lighting to give the best visibility whatever the conditions and save power when possible. The input and output sockets are standard jacks.

On the face of it, the tuner doesn’t appear to be that revolutionary but trust me, when gigging or even at rehearsals, the poly-chromatic capability makes a huge difference. It is so quick to check your tuning with this pedal! Just one strum checks if the guitar is in tune rather than checking string-by-string only to find that just one string needs adjusting. One day all tuners will be like this!

The pedal normally sells for just under the £70 mark and to me that seems like excellent value for such a high quality and really innovative and useful pedal.