As soon as the new TC Electronic PolyTune stomp box was announced, all guitar players started to imagine how nice it would be to be able to check the tuning of all strings simultaneously. Most of the time, only one or two strings are out of tune and with a standard tuner you always have to check the strings one by one to know which one of them is slightly out of tune. Hence you lose time checking five perfectly in tune strings. With the PolyTune, you only need to strum all open strings just once and you immediately know which one needs to be adjusted. So, in the end, if you think about it - it takes you six times less time to tune your guitar than with a standard tuner. That's a lot of time saved, especially for those musicians for whom tuning isn't instinctive...
But let's check first how this miraculous stompbox works...
Snow White and the Six Strings
The display features a 109-LED matrix and it is easily readable even in environments with poor lighting (like on stage). Adding to this, the PolyTune is equipped with an ambient light sensor that allows it to match the LEDs intensity to the surroundings. Smart Danish technology!
The footswitch clicks nicely under the shoe and will certainly withstand repeated foot assaults. When inactive the pedal is in "true bypass" mode so that it doesn't affect the guitar signal.
Now, lets turn our attention to actually using the PolyTune...
More than One String to One's Bow
The polyphonic mode is also very simple to understand: each string is represented by a pair of green LEDs on the center of the screen when the string is in tune, or red LEDs above or below the center of the screen when the string is too high or too low. You can see right away which strings are out of tune and tune them properly. The operation is the same with 4, 5 or 6-string bass guitars. Musicians who use drop tunings have the possibility to drop down the tuning up to five semitones. On the other hand, it is impossible to use the polyphonic mode for open tunings. A last remark about this mode: TC Electronic recommends you to strum the strings with your thumb and to use the bridge pickup. According to them, the chromatic tuner has a precision of up to 0.5 cent.
Let's watch the PolyTune in action:
Last but not least, you have the possibility to adjust the reference tone which is set to 440 Hz by default. You can calibrate the tuner from 435 Hz to 445 Hz in case you play with musicians using a reference tone other than 440 Hz. To activate the calibration mode, just push the two rear panel buttons simultaneously. Your setting will be stored even after you turn off the device. And there's also that mysterious USB connector on the rear panel... Could we expect an update from TC Electronic in the future?
- Polyphonic mode
- Two display views in monophonic mode
- Power output
- True bypass
- High-quality footswitch
- Accurate and easily readable LED display
- LEDs with automatic intensity adjustment
- Easily accessible battery
- Nice design
- For guitar and bass
- Drop tuning up to five semitones
- Not compatible with open tunings in polyphonic mode