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This article was originally published in issue #21
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We weren't sure in which section to put this tiny newcomer from Planet Waves - it will help tune just about anything short of a grand piano! In the end we tossed one to Rick Graham and asked him to put it through its paces on an acoustic. Look at the pictures closely - it's there somewhere!
Useful though they are, clip-on tuners aren't often things of beauty. In fact clipped onto a beautiful acoustic guitar they can look downright ugly. There may have been technical reasons for their size in the past but D'Addario Planet Waves has now introduced what must be the smallest on the market - the new NS Micro Tuner. In fact it's so small that you can't help wondering whether it works properly. So let's get that out of the way at the very start - yes it does - and very well!
Measuring a minute 1.25", the maker quips it delivers 'the best performance they'll never see' and it's hard to disagree! It comes equipped with a very simple and easy to use adjustable padded clamp that will fit easily and comfortably on the headstock of pretty much any instrument. The main body of the unit itself has a very clear and very easy to read multi-colour backlit display which makes it a breeze to tune, even in the most dimly-lit or even well-lit environments that you may find yourself in.
The tuner offers a 360 degree swivel mechanism with a reversible screen function and with the addition of the new improved ratchet design, allows for optimum viewing angles and maximum positioning flexibility. The tuner can be strategically positioned so you can take it on stage and nobody will know it's there and with the onboard piezo transducer picking up the instrument's vibration rather than the sound, the tuner can let you rest assured that you'll be in tune with the minimum of fuss, even on solid bodied instruments, including basses.
On the top of the tuner you'll find the main controls which are, again, simple and very intuitive.
It has a wide calibration range of 410Hz to 480Hz and also features a very hand onboard metronome, accessible by tapping the 'm' button on the main interface.
The NS Micro Tuner has better software than previous models, delivering faster response and improved accuracy tunings and offers tunings for a wide variety of instruments ranging from electric and acoustic guitars to banjos, mandolins and other stringed instruments. And, yes, we tried it on all sorts of instruments and it worked just fine. Our editor, who has one of the previous model D'Addario clip-ons, tried the Micro on several instruments side by side and says it is noticeably quicker to respond.
Personally, I loved the D'Addario micro tuner. I found it an absolute breeze to use and the improved ratchet design coupled with the 360 degree swivel and reversible display had all bases covered.
The screen was always easy to read and the tuning highly accurate. The onboard metronome was a great added bonus too! Even better, it sells for pocket money prices at street level, making it hard to think of a convincing reason why you shouldn't just dip into your pocket and buy one the next time you're in a guitar shop.