PolyTune Review

manufacturer: TC Electronic date: 07/26/2010 category: Guitar Effects
TC Electronic: PolyTune
Plug a guitar cable in and the display quickly shows a "G" for guitar or "B" for bass, and you're ready to go.
 Sound: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.9
 Ease of Use: 9.6
 Overall rating:
 9.1 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.7 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 39 
reviews (7) pictures (2) 29 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
PolyTune Reviewed by: Kevy Absolution, on july 26, 2010
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 99

Purchased from: Fazios Frets and Friends, St. Louis

Ease of Use: When I first started looking for a tuner, the Polytune hadn't even been released. ProGuitarShop.com, however, received the prototype Polytune, without the TC Electronics branding, and it was quite shocking. Once we found out who made it, I was all for getting one.

Right out of the box, the Polytune is really simple to use. The back opens up via a single giant flat-head screw, allowing you to plug in the included battery. A button on the top left allows you to Switch from guitar needle/strobe tuning or bass needle/strobe tuning. A top right button allows switching tunings from E all the way down to B. The top also hosts an AC adapter in/out for powering itself and other pedals.

Plug a guitar cable in and the display quickly shows a "G" for guitar or "B" for bass, and you're ready to go. Step on the button and the signal is cut. Strum to tune multiple strings, or pluck one string to enter needle or strobe mode.

The display is nice and bright. Clear, easy to read, and it self-adjusts to light levels, so you won't be blinded on a dark stage and you can still see it in the bright sun. Response time is fast and tuning is accurate. // 10

Sound: It doesn't really matter what you use with this; I've found that all electric guitars and basses work. My only acoustic-electric is currently not in working order, so I can't test it, but I have heard claims that they don't work very well with the Polytune, so I'd definitely open it up and try before you buy. The pedal isn't noisy, nice and quiet, and it just works. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The Polytune's casing is nice and sturdy, doesn't scuff or scratch easily, and the buttons/switches all seem tight. The screen hasn't seen any real abuse from me yet, but it's clear and easy to read. I'd never recommend actually gigging without a backup of anything, but I think you can be confident that this works. // 10

Overall Impression: I think this is the first time I've given a pedal straight 10s. Of course it's faced some criticism, but everything has a lemon once in a while. I haven't seen any problems, it works as advertised, and it really does make tuning easier. So for the first time, I can completely recommend a pedal to absolutely anyone, no questions asked. // 10

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overall: 9.8
PolyTune Reviewed by: Devilish Dave, on april 11, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 87

Purchased from: Promusig

Ease of Use: This device is fantastic. It's even better than I have expected it to be. It's fairly easy to use, but at first I didn't know what all the buttons do, I've also had no idea how to use it and weather or not I was in Drop D tuning or not. This is probably the reason why I give it a 9 because it has not come with a manual. Although in little letters on the box, there is a website where you can view the manual in pdf format, but by the time I found this out, I've found out how to use this on my own. That's how easy it is to use. // 9

Sound: This little device is really accurate and realizes the notes pretty fast. So as soon as you pluck a note it will tell you in less than a second if you are in tune or not. Are really really wicked feature is that you can tune all your strings at a time. I found this really useful when you have a floyd rose system on your guitar. As I've mentioned in the sound section you can also do Drop D tuning in case you need it for your rocking session. With this tuner you can tune any 6 string guitars and basses. I'd give this section a 9.5 because you can't tune 7 stringed guitar, but judging from the fact that not many people have a 7 stringed guitar I've rounded it up to 10. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I'm pretty sure you can depend on this little device. It's pretty compact, it's made of a good metallic material which can withstand many drops. I wouldn't be scared to drop it for I'm positive it would still work after it. It's a great tuner, it's accurate and responds really quickly. It's probably the best of it's kind. Like the mother of tuners. // 10

Overall Impression: If you've got the buck then get it. You won't regret it. At the moment I believe I won't need another tuner. I really enjoy using the multiple string tuning option. It's great and speeds up the tuning procedure. I've compared it to other simple tuners, ranging from 20 and 50 and even though those were about 40 cheaper I've decided to invest and buy something that will definitely last and do the job precisely and I must say I've not regret it. I think this one will last for a very long time if not forever... // 10

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overall: 9.8
PolyTune Reviewed by: skralan, on february 28, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 80

Purchased from: KeyMusic

Ease of Use: How hard can a one button tuning pedal be to use? Plug guitar in input, plug output to your amp. Stomp on button to mute output to amp and tune. It switches automatically between multiple string mode and single string mode depending on if you strum all strings or just pluck one. Accuracy is great, although single string mode is noticeably more accurate. Polytune mode is extremely useful to do a quick check on stage to see what strings are actually out of tune, and then go in and tune those strings separately when necessary. Lot of options, but this pedal doesn't get complicated in any way. There's a small button on the side to Switch between needle mode or strobe mode (strobe mode has accuracy of 0.5ct and needle mode 3ct). There's another small button to change tuning to drop tune modes. Lot's of options, these are to set the Polytune mode to your drop tuning choice. Needle or strobe mode automatically detect the note your playing so you can easily do a manual tune to half step down while the polymode is actually set to standard mode. There's also a usb port, but consumers can't do anything with it. It's used by TC Electronic to service the pedals. Has a power in 9v and a power out 9v plug, which is very useful. Although I wouldn't recommend powering other pedals while running the Polytune on a battery. // 10

Sound: Can be used with every setup obviously. Also works without the output being connected to anything (just guitar to input of pedal). Haven't tested it with my semi-acoustic though. Doesn't change the sound at all. It's like being plugged straight in to the amp. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Reliability: As long as there's a battery powering it, it will work. Would (and have) definitely use it for gigs. That's actually the reason I bought it. I needed a tuner with a screen that's visible in bright sunlight and on a dark stage. This really works as advertised. Great visibility. The metal housing is very sturdy, I can't see it get damaged unless you abuse it by throwing it repeatedly into walls or something (in which case you shouldn't be allowed to have one in the first place imo). // 10

Overall Impression: I've had it for about 3 months now and still runs on it's Original battery. I would like it to have an indicator for the battery though. Especially for the hefty price. (I think 80/110USD is a lot of money for a tuner). If lost/stolen I would buy it again, because it works just great. I'm gonna give this section a 9 because I really think this pedal is sold too expensively. // 9

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overall: 8.8
PolyTune Reviewed by: Alibot, on april 08, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 69

Purchased from: GAK.co.uk

Ease of Use: As simple as tuners can get really, plug in, turn on, strum and tune. The display is easy to understand and always easily visible. Changing the settings is done via 2 buttons on the back of the unit and once set the pedal remembers your settings. The pedal detects how many strings are being played and automatically switches between polyphonic and single mode accordingly. Accesing the battery is simple requiring a Pick or a coin to open the compartment. My only real problem is the footswitch being a button rather than a pad (like on Boss pedals) but this is more personal preference than anything. // 9

Sound: Can't really make much comment on the sound as its not designed to affect it. The pedal kills the output when you turn it on which is extremely useful for live situations and has true bypass. The tuner itself has 3 modes, polyphonic, strobe and needle. The strobe tuner is accurate to +/- 0.5% The poly and needle modes arn't quite as accurate and I personally only use the poly mode to find which strings are out then tune each string one at a time. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The pedal is housed in a robust metal casing so I reckon it will take a fair amount of abuse. I wouldn't rely on batteries to power the unit, but it doesn't go through batteries particularly quickly. Personally I use mains power then use the pedals power output to power my other pedals via a daisy chain. I deffinately wouldn't take a backup to a gig. // 9

Overall Impression: My decision to buy this was based on a head to head review of four pedal tuners in a guitar magazine which the Polytune won. It has a near enough identical footprint to Boss units but is much thinner, is probably the easiest tuner to use, and generally looks better than its competitors. I would certainly replace it if it got lost/stolen, though by that time other companies will have jumped on the polyphonic tuning bandwagon so I might try another pedal. Improvements to the pedal would be to make the poly mode more accurate and to have a footswitch to change between tunings (though the tuning only affects the poly mode) otherwise I think TC Electronics have made this a very good pedal tuner and I would recomend everyone should at least try it out. // 9

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overall: 10
PolyTune Reviewed by: ibanart300, on september 27, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 89

Purchased from: Amazon

Ease of Use: TC Electronic's Polytune was the world's first Polyphonic pedal tuner ever released. This has of course paved the way for the more recent pedals such as the DigiTech Hardwire HT-6. This pedal stands out immediately with its very simple strum and tune action, small pedal board stamp, accuracy of plus/minus one per cent for alternate tunings and 0.5 per cent for standard. Last but not least the pedal also features true bypass. Its small size however doesn't detract from being able to clearly distinguish whether or not you are in tune. The Polytune is made up of a 100 LED Matrix that quickly and accurately displays your current tuning. You can as a result see clearly what string is in tune even in a very low lit or dark environment. One feature that I also found particular useful was the one screw easy access to the 9V battery. To tune a guitar it is simply a matter of strumming and the display will immediately read out what strings are in correct tuning and what strings are perhaps sharp or flat, you can also pluck one string at a time to tune in which the display changes to large block letters to indicate the strings current tuning. In addition to this the reference pitch can be changed from the standard 440hz to open up alternate tunings. TC Electronics have also included a small USB port so that software updates for the unit can be downloaded, one such example the common drop D tuning which according to TC Electronic is arriving soon. // 10

Sound: As mentioned earlier the Polytune is a true bypass pedal and proudly and boldly ensures users are aware of this by stamping it across the front face of the pedal. As a result of this feature it will not colour your tone in any way when it is in its off state. The sound is cut when tuning allowing you to strum and tune to your heart's content without anyone else having to hear it. The pedal doesn't add any extra noise or hum to the signal chain regardless of guitars used. In this particular review I used a Schecter Demon 6 FR an Ibanez ART300 and a Fender clone with passive pick-ups. All three guitars were tuned easily with not even a hint of hum or noise whilst using the pedal on or off. // 10

Reliability & Durability: TC Electronic has a great reputation of producing solid reliable pedals and the Polytune is no exception. The pedal is made from a Solid Metal enclosure whilst remaining relatively light (weighing in at 300 grams including a 9 volt battery) and small so as to not take up a too much real estate on your pedal board. The pedal would easily stand up to the harsh environments that regular gigging would ensue. // 10

Overall Impression: TC Electronic have done a fine job in delivering a cheap accurate pedal tuner. They have considered most players needs and wants with it being able to also tune bass guitars with up to 6 strings in its streaming mode. Guitarists that favour 7 string or 8 string guitars can still tune single strings at a time as you would say a regular pedal tuner. However that doesn't mean that an update in the near future won't resolve that issue. The overall package is very well designed even including Velcro strips so that the pedal can be stuck instantly to your pre-existing pedal board. The manual is detailed and explains the nuances of using the pedal easily. With the continued support that TC Electronic can offer via updates one would find it hard to not be impressed with this pedal. So in conclusion with so many different pedal tuners available I would seriously consider this to be on your list to try. // 10

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overall: 10
PolyTune Reviewed by: richardlpalmer, on october 27, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: The TC Electronic Polytune is easily the best tuner I've used. That's not to say other tuners aren't good (both Boss & Korg make excellent tuners). But the Polytune is, for me, in another class altogether. Out of the box the tuner comes with a battery and some velcro for your board (the velcro is nicely cut, to go around the screws). The case is metal. It has different tuning modes. 1) Polyphonic mode (multiple strings), 2) Needle mode (digital "needle" like a Korg), 3) Stream mode (rotating motion like a strobe). I prefer Needle mode, but that's what I'm use to. Oh, and it's pretty smart. If I Pick just one string it shows me Needle Mode. If I strum 2 or more, it automatically gives me Polytune Mode. The tuner has some memory, so after you've found the way you want it set up (alternate tunings, different reference tone, etc.) you can save it. This is a huge help, because then it's ready to go as soon as you plug in. The display has a ton of LEDs. This not only helps to tune more accurately (as there are small increments to use) but it also allows the tuner to display words/numbers for functions. For instance, if you're working with the reference tone and you want something other than 440, it displays the number on the display... The thing even has a ambient light sensor that detects how much light is in the space and changes the brightness of its display accordingly. It has a USB connector for firmware updates but I have not messed around with that at all. I probably will now that I've posted this review, but so far there's been no reason to. // 10

Sound: As far as sound, there is none. Zilch. Nada. I have the Polytune as the very first item on my chain. When clicked, it is in full bypass mode. The only sounds I hear at that point are from whatever is going on with my pedal board & amp. TC Electronic is known for their pristine effects. The Polytune doesn't disappoint in that regard - it's not anything that adds or takes away from the signal chain... // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's a stomp pedal. And other than one brand, I've never had trouble with a pedal. It's made of metal and is slightly smaller than "standard" pedals. It feels rock solid and I can't imagine what abuse it would have to take to be damaged. That being said, I've not smashed it with a hammer or thrown it from a moving vehicle, so can't really comment on how it takes abuse. I would depend on it on a gig without a backup, for sure. // 10

Overall Impression: The initial "wow" factor of this pedal is that you can strum all 6 strings of your guitar and see all of them on the pedal at once. That may work for some people, but between songs when I need a quick tune I can't see all 6 and decipher which is which. I think that's more my ability than anything else. My work-around is to strum 3 strings at a time. This makes it super easy as I can easily tell the top & bottom strings - the other one must be the middle. To be fair, this might have more to do with me either not being totally comfortable while playing (still new to performing) or the fact I mainly use it as a chromatic tuner. I think if I used Polytune mode more often it would become easier. I play in E flat/D sharp tuning and the Polytune accommodates this perfectly. I have my setting saved but when I Pick up another guitar in E tuning, the Chromatic Tuner Picks it up and I can tune no problem. This tuner can also be used for bass, but I've never used it that way. I absolutely love this tuner. The only reason I would replace it is if it were lost/stolen or a new model comes out. // 10

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overall: 9.8
PolyTune Reviewed by: darkmist255, on february 14, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 85

Purchased from: Hello Music

Ease of Use: The pedal is a little confusing at first but the instructions are clear and easy to understand. If you still don't get it, the online manual is really good. At first it's confusing because there's so many modes. Also, the guitar and bass mode are DIFFERENT; there will be a G or a B when toggling from strobe and needle. Other than that, very easy to use. // 9

Sound: The tuning is really accurate, I was surprised. Works better than any other tuner (and about as good as the Boss TU3!). The strobe mode gets in really accurately to the pitch. The polychromatic (all strings) mode is excellent, never had any problems with it at all. I can easily pop all the strings into tune and even get a pretty good fine-tuning done in polychromatic mode. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Feels like solid metal. The circuit inside is nicely protected, only the battery part is visible when you open it. I feel comfortable stomping on it (though it never hurts to be gentle) and would definitely trust it in a bag/travel case. The screen cover feels really solid and all the inputs are nice and sturdy. // 10

Overall Impression: I think this is definitely the best tuner for the price, and honestly with the polychromatic mode working so well (MAKE SURE IT'S IN GUITAR MODE!) I would say one of the best there is (within reason, a 2000$ tuner will obviously be better). The tuning all works perfect, Poly mode activates nearly instantly when you strum all strings but never when you only strum one. Closing note: Always make sure it's set to guitar mode (or bass for bassists)! You will wind up confused like I was when I got it. // 10

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