TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner
Forget tuning forks, pitch pipes or your cousins accordion
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 8-28-2012
I learned to tune from somebody else’s’ guitar back when I played in a band. Just how one of us got the E string right to start the whole tuning ordeal remains a mystery to me. This time around when I bought my Telecaster I quickly headed out for the local Guitar Center for a modern day electronic tuner. After looking at the display case full of way more electronic tuners than I expected there to be I focused on the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner. It did everything I wanted and didn’t look too complicated so I sprung for it and there is consistency in my guitar-related life.
The TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner is a fairly simple tuner as tuners go these days. It lets you tune each string individually and uses a nice, bright LED display to show you want is going on. It has the string letter when you get reasonably close plus a “stream” indicator that flows right when you are sharp and left when you are flat. The letter will also change to include a # next to the letter when you get too far sharp. I expect that it has some indicator for way flat but I never go way flat for some reason so haven’t seen that.
The “poly” part of the name indicates an interesting capability that lets you strum all of the strings and it shows which are sharp, which are flat and which are right on, if any are left. I like looking at this display once or twice but when I tune my guitars I stick with the old-fashioned one string at a time technique.
The TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner is powered by an internal 9V battery and also has a plug for an outside power source that you can buy as an accessory. I have been using the battery power for months now and the first battery I put in it just keeps on working so I’ll stick with that.
I should note that the battery plug was tucked under the circuit board on the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner I bought and I had to remove that circuit board to get it out because its wires were split around components that shows me this did not happen by accident. Some dope at the assembly plant apparently decided to forward their bad day to me by sabotaging this unit. It only took a couple of minutes to fix but it ticked me off because it was intentional. (If you ever get to the factory that makes the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuners feel free to slap somebody around for me)
The TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner also has a real bypass circuit so you can tune silently without having to unplug the guitar or amp. The guitar plugs into one side and another cord plugs into the out side of the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner and into the amp. You step on the button (actually made like a stomp box) to change it to tuning and it shuts off the side that goes to the amp.
If you keep stepping on the button it will change from regular tuning to drop D and other tuning variations if you want to try those. (We used to just tell the singer to tough it out and go up a key) The TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner is small so it still might fit if your pedal board is getting crowded. I don’t have a pedal board so I mostly use the Velcro they supply to hold my TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner on top of my amp where I can push the button with my finger. Simplicity does make sense now and then.
Using the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner just could not be easier for me. Plug everything in and push the button. Start plucking strings and a nicely tuned guitar is just seconds away. The screen display is very easy to see and the graphics respond to tuning in real time so the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner is not reacting to an adjustment you did a second or two ago.
I also found that the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner listens to harmonics just as well. That makes setting intonation easier than it probably should be and removes any excuse you might have for not having a properly tuned guitar.
So far the 9V battery continues to keep the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner powered up and the button works every time so I have no gripes. Aside from the jerk that tucked the battery plug under the circuit board, the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner has performed perfectly for me ever since it came out of the box.
The TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner has a street price of $99.99 (6-20-2012) which isn’t bad for all of the frustration it eliminates. The case is tough die cast metal and the button made for stomping so if the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner doesn’t last a bunch of years you have done something exceptionally bad to it.
I really enjoy being able to tune my guitars quickly and accurately at the same time and then get on to playing. The TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner lets me do that as well as set up intonation on new guitars I get or try. I know it sounds simple but the TC Electronic Polytune™ Electronic Tuner really does a lot to make playing the guitar more fun for me.
Visit the Polytune™ Electronic Tuner web page – Click Here
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