BY GARY PARKS
Since you’ve already got a pair of ears to tune your guitar, you might wonder whether you really need an automatic tuner like the new Roadie 3 by Band Industries. I had similar thoughts a couple years ago when I began using the company’s previous-generation tuner (reviewed in the August 2018 issue of AG), but it quickly became my go-to tool at home and for gigs.
Like the Roadie 2, the new version offers rapid and accurate tuning faster than you can do it manually, plus it allows you access to any of your favorite tunings at the push of a button. The Roadie 3 also provides enhanced immunity to background noise, making it easier to tune in loud rooms. You can use it for instruments ranging from guitar and mandolin to requinto and bouzouki—basically, anything with a geared tuning machine. And all those tunings are stored and quickly available within the device. Even when background noise prevents you from hearing well, you can still tune your instrument perfectly.
The palm-sized Roadie 3 combines a precision vibration-sensing tuner with a bidirectional motorized tuning mechanism that fits over your instrument’s tuning pegs. An internal “computer,” which you access through a four-way navigation button and color display, gives you access to a plethora of standard and modified tunings, plus the ability to add and name new instruments and tunings.
Select from 100+ supplied tunings such as DADGAD and open G, or define your own desired pitches string by string using the Roadie app on your Android or iOS device and transferring them to the tuner. For example, in addition to guitar and mandolin, I also added a dulcimer and a 10-string Andean charango.
The Roadie 3 tuner is really quite simple to use. Choose a tuning, place the rotating head on the lowest tuning peg, and pick the string a few times while the device senses the pitch and tunes. When it’s right on, the unit will buzz briefly as the display flashes green. Go to the next string and repeat. I found the results quite satisfactory with just one pass of the tuner—though for larger pitch changes, I got the most perfect results with a second pass.
You can customize any given tuning in various ways. If, say, you’re playing with another instrument or track where A is detuned to 432 Hz, just go to the setting in the menu and drop the pitch reference to match. The change will then be applied across all strings when you tune the instrument. Or if you have a capo on the third fret, or want to tune down to Eb (designated as fret -1), go the Capo section and choose the desired fret position. You can even create a tuning for a particular guitar and adjust individual strings a few cents flat or sharp to compensate.
All in all, the Roadie 3 automatic tuner is a very handy tool for multi-instrumentalists, players who use many tunings, and those who like their instruments tuned precisely. From my experience using the Roadie with many instruments, the results are both fast and extremely accurate—better than human.
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