Review: D’Addario Chromatic Pedal Tuner

Barring those who use the instrument as a pure noise generator, even the most modern of players needs to tune. Like so many guitarists, I am trying to pack as many pedals as I can on as small a board as possible, so I decided to try out the D’Addario Chromatic Pedal Tuner. Though is sounds like a device to tune your pedals (shouldn’t it be called the Chromatic Tuner Pedal?), it actually tunes the guitar, and is a little over half the size of the Boss TU-2 I have been using forever.

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The D’Addario tuner’s aluminum enclosure feels solid and is very attractive. It is light enough to add little extra weight to your board, but heavy enough to stay put if it is freestanding. The note detection is as fast as advertised thanks to a 32-bit processor. A small button on the side allows calibration from A-415 to A-475. It comes defaulted to A-440 and displays that fact when you turn it on. The tuner employs true-bypass wiring, which will appeal to many and disappoint those who use the Boss tuner’s buffer to diminish signal loss. The pedal can be powered by a 9V battery (included) or a standard 9V adapter.

A full-color vertical display shows the string name in giant white LEDs, which is a pleasure to read with aging eyes. I only wish the sharp (#) indicator was larger, as I have had mishaps with other tuners by tuning to the sharp note by mistake. As you get closer to in tune, the indicator dots go from red to yellow to a green that should be visible in sunlight. The footswitch makes a mechanical noise when depressed, which is not a problem for bands playing in clubs or on large stages, but when doing intimate house concerts with singer-songwriters, you will need to choose your tuning moments wisely. Also, you can’t tune while unmuted, so those who want to keep their tuner in line and on while playing (as some slide players do), may want to stick with a TU-2.

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I am looking forward to putting the D’Addario Chromatic Pedal Tuner on my board to make room for the Source Audio Ventris Reverb that will be replacing my smaller TC Electronic Hall of Fame. This is the band board that I use in noisy clubs, so the click of the switch is not an issue. For quiet gigs, I will just use my D’Addario NS Micro Headstock Tuner.

If you are looking for a svelte tuner to afford you more pedalboard real estate, the D’Addario Chromatic Pedal Tuner should be at the top of your list to check out.

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