Automatic for the Headstock

This motorized tuner promises to tune your guitar for you—is it too good to be true? The PG Band Industries Roadie 3 review.



Tons of instrument flexibility and tuning presets. Convenient built-in metronome.

Not for bass. Doesn’t display note names.


Band Industries Roadie 3

Ease of Use:



The third incarnation of Band Industries’ “automatic instrument tuner” physically interfaces with individual tuning machines and turns them to the desired pitch via its encased motor—which has impressive torque. It reportedly supplies enough juice to tune 150 strings on a single charge, and its TFT LCD screen leads you through a large menu of instrument options (guitar, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, and virtually anything else with guitar-style tuning machines—except bass) and more than a hundred preset tunings.

The palm-sized tuner detects notes pretty quickly, both vibrates and emits an audio alert once a string is in tune, and then automatically readies itself for the next string and pitch in the chosen tuning sequence. Cool! But is it a faster, more convenient way of tuning? Not necessarily. That said, it could be a helpful piece of gear for beginners and/or players exploring alternate tunings. However, given that Roadie 3 doesn’t display the current note name—instead it displays the frequency of the current pitch, something many seasoned players don’t know in Hz, even for their favorite tunings—it can be a bit confusing to use, especially since it can struggle to attain the desired pitch if the string isn’t already within a couple of steps of the target frequency. Further, I’m not certain what to chalk this up to—perhaps tuner and/or headstock mass?—but Roadie 3 had difficulty detecting my parlor guitar’s 1st string. In sum, I wouldn’t call Roadie 3 an ideal primary tuner, but this petite, hands-off gadget with built-in extras could still be a welcome addition to your accessory collection.

Test Gear: Gibson SG, Larrivee P-1, Les Stansell tenor uke

A bone nut being back-filed for proper string placement and correct action height.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to change your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability.

In my early days, all the guitars I played (which all happened to be pre-1950s) used bone nuts and saddles. I took this for granted, and so did my musician friends. With the exception of the ebony nuts on some turn-of-the-century parlors and the occasional use of ivory, the use of bone was a simple fact of our guitar playing lives, and alternative materials were simply uncommon to us.

Read More Show less
Johnny Winter's Burning Blues by Corey Congilio

Learn to rip like one of the all-time masters of modern electric blues.

Read More Show less