As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 3 – Ladies Rock the Blues – June 2018
As a guitar teacher mainly for students starting from scratch, obviously the first thing I teach all my students is how to tune their guitar. Some manage okay, while others, especially the younger students, struggle a little at first. Most of the time, I usually tune it for them – at least the first few sessions to save time so we don’t spend half of their lesson trying to get the guitar in tune. I also teach lessons remotely, so this can be really difficult and half the time the students think they are in tune when I know they are not. This is why I was excited to test out the Roadie 2 Automatic Tuner as both a tool for my new students and for myself, a gigging musician, so that I could play around with some different tunings, hopefully with ease.
I play guitars in standard tuning and have two different baritone guitars. I spend a lot of time before shows trying to get them all in tune as fast as I can. Sometimes there’s not much time for soundcheck, or you have a quick turnaround between sets, so anything that could possibly make this a little easier for me gets a vote in my book.
There are many different tuners out there that vary in size and price. Some clip to the instrument’s headstock and use a microphone or vibrations to help you tune each string, while some are pedals or gadgets you plug directly into, and you can even use your smartphone as a tuner with many different tuning apps to choose from. They all follow the same format which is as you pluck each string, the display will tell you if you’re higher or lower than the desired note. You then tighten or loosen the string, pluck it again, check the tuner’s display, and repeat until each string is in tune.
With the Roadie 2, you select what instrument you are tuning and what your desired tuning would be, pop the tuner on the instrument’s tuning peg, pluck the string, and it automatically tunes the string to the desired note. Weighing in at only a little over 3 ounces, the Roadie 2 has a high-tech look although made of plastic, is made of plastic, has a center grip, a power button and selection wheel on the left, a display on the top, and on the right is where you connect your guitar peg. The peg connector is designed to fit over most instrument pegs. The power button on the opposite side has an LED that lights up in blue when on, and lights green or red to let you know if the string is tuned or if tuning the wrong string. It charges via USB and the charge seems to last for quite a while.
The power button on the opposite side has an LED that lights up in blue when you press it to turn on the tuner and it lights up in green or red to let you know if the string is tuned or if you’re trying to tune the wrong string.
There’s also a Roadie app where you can choose instrument brands and alternate tunings, and you can also create different profiles for each of your guitars. Lots of cool features.
I tried the Roadie 2 for myself both at home and before a show in a noisy club. I also let one of my beginner students give it a try to see how easy it was for him to use. At home it worked great. I tried both on acoustic and electric and with different tunings. I loved watching the pegs automatically tune the guitar and it was relatively fast and easy to use. Unfortunately, as of this writing, I haven’t had a chance to test it out to restring a guitar but am interested to see how fast and easy it will be. It definitely made me want to test out different tunings.
When I tried it before a show, however, it was a little more difficult to use. You have to place the peg on each string, in order, and once it is in tune the blue light on the side will turn green and it will beep and vibrate slightly. This is all good when you can see and hear it easily, but when tuning the G, B and E strings, if the pegs are on the opposite side, you can’t see when the light is green and if it’s loud in the venue, you can’t hear the beep. I thought I had my guitar all in tune backstage, but when I got onstage and plugged into my onstage tuner, the B string was totally out of tune. I thought that was strange. It wasn’t until I let my beginner student test it out in a lesson that I found out the reason why this had happened. If you keep plucking the string even just once after the light has gone green and it beeps, it will think you have moved to the next string and that confuses the tuner, it then starts downtuning for some reason. We did contact Roadie tech support and was advised that customers wishing to use at venues need to use the mobile app and to be sure and keep the app updated on new releases.
I think overall it is a neat device. As for pricing for a beginner young student, I don’t think my beginner students would want to pay so much for a tuner when you can use apps for free, but it would come in very handy if they had one especially for my remote lessons.
As for the adult player who spends a lot of time playing guitar in different tunings or for players that love fun gadgets, I would recommend this product as it’s fun, and makes tuning your guitar quick and easy.