Samick Motherlode

December 2014
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10 Clip-On Guitar Tuners You Should Use

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10 Clip-On Guitar Tuners You Should Use

Planet Waves Chromatic Headstock Tuner
• Calibration: 435 Hz - 445 Hz
• Built-in piezo transduscer
• Good tuning accuracy
• Limited display mobility
As a well-known name in the guitar accessories industry, it seemed only natural that Planet Waves would be in the clip-on tuner scene. Their Chromatic Headstock Tuner was designed with sleekness and portability in mind, and while it gets high marks in those regards, it’s missing some key elements that separate the great clip-on tuners from the good ones.

Planet Waves’ clip-on tuner is a sleek and slim piece, and it slid onto the headstocks of both the Tele and Martin while keeping a very low profile. The two-color LCD screen is angled at about 30 degrees from its base, with the tuner’s single button—governing power and calibration—located at its edge. Because the tuner sat so close to each guitar’s headstock, it was difficult for me to read the screen while I was tuning. The guitar’s tuning pegs obstructed a lot of the view, so after hitting a note in the sitting position, I had to move the guitar closer to me and then adjust the tuning. Normally, I would have just moved the position of the LCD, but the screen is joined directly to the clip and completely immobile. This wasn’t much of an issue when I had the guitars lying on a bench, but it was frustrating when I was sitting or standing with the guitar.

Compared to the Martin’s onboard tuner, the accuracy of the Planet Waves tuner was pretty close, losing only a fraction of the accurate pitch on the higher strings. I feel that it could have been closer if the clip had a tighter bond with the headstock, which was a drawback of the design. Only a little strip of rubber on the bottom jaw of the clip kept the tuner in place, and it didn’t take much to move it around by hand. With the Telecaster, the PolyTune was notably more effective in applying a precise tuning. The Planet Waves tuner simply wasn’t able to pick up the resonance as well as the PolyTune could detect the notes from the jack output.

Street: $29.99

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