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Planet Waves Chromatic Pedal Tuner

Planet Waves Chromatic Pedal Tuner

In recent years, Planet Waves has expanded its arsenal of tools for the performing guitarist with some truly innovative products. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a new line of tuners that includes, among other innovations, a strobe tuner the size of a guitar pick and a string winder/cutter/tuner combo. The line’s flagship product, however, is the PW-CT-04 Chromatic Pedal Tuner, which features both standard sweep and strobe tuning modes-a tuner that I won’t be replacing anytime soon, unless perhaps they improve on this one. And Planet Waves might improve the Chromatic Pedal by finding a way to lighten its load. It weighs in at about a pound and a half and is one of the heaviest stompboxes I’ve ever encountered. But the payoff for the weight is its obvious durability and demonstrated performance ability.

Having faith in the heavy little box, I gave the tuner its first shot on a gig, keeping it in sweep mode. To save the audience the pain of listening to me tune, I used the tuner’s non-bypass output. Of the tuner’s two outputs, it’s the one that sends the signal to an amp only when the tuning function is off, allowing you to tune on the sly. The second output is a true hard bypass that sends the signal out at all times. The actual tuning function is simple and familiar to any guitarist. The note you are tuning to lights up in a large digital display and a bank of LEDs “sweeps” from left to right, displaying sharpness or flatness. Planet Waves claims this tuner is accurate within three cents of the designated pitch, and I believe it. But aside from the tuner’s wonderful accuracy, I most appreciated its readability. The lights are big and bright-just what you need when tuning onstage. Throughout the gig I noticed a short lag whenever I switched the tuner on. It’s just a second of waiting, but it’s something to consider if you’re absolutely impatient.

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