An automatic string tuner might sound like overkill for the average guitarist. But I spent a few weeks with the Roadie 2 ($129) from Band Industries in Port Townsend, Washington, and it seems like a great tool for anyone who plays multiple instruments or changes tunings often—especially for players who enjoy not just being in tune but being really in tune.
The unit charges with a USB cable, and a single button and knob are all the controls needed to navigate the menus and options. After switching the unit on, you select your instrument (guitar in standard tuning comes up right away) and strike the lowest string. Then, the Roadie 2 immediately figures out which way to turn the tuning knob and by how much. (Sometimes it took a little longer for the Roadie to determine a particular tuning machine’s gear ratio, but once it did, the remaining strings went by quickly.) Many open tunings are included in the standard software, with spaces for users to add their own tunings, either on the Roadie 2 or through its Bluetooth app. When retuning a guitar from standard, as I did a few times on a dreadnought (to open G) and Waterloo WL-S (to open E), the Roadie 2 made the change with exceptional speed and accuracy.
Beyond feeling like a fun—and expensive—toy that makes you run around and tune every guitar and plucked stringed instrument within reach, the Roadie 2 never failed to get any guitar in tune better than I can manage using a clip-on tuner. Each time I used it, the Roadie 2 made the guitar—and the music—sound sweeter. roadietuner.com
This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.