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This article was originally published in issue #33
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Clip-on tuners are great for acoustic guitars. No more balancing a tuner on your knee right next to the guitar, waiting for silence, or having to find a cable and plug it in. Tuning by ear is of course always still an option, but hey, we all have off days! Clip-on tuners should be easy to use, easy to read, accurate, and small. Korg has been leading the way for many years with tuners ranging from rack mount units down to their new Sledgehammer clip-on series, which we have here. Be sure to check out the video to see them in action.
Both these two new tuners are similar in design and quite different from others on the market. These are slimmer and less bulky looking. The clip and the way it's mounted is good and solid - you can rotate it in various ways meaning it will fit on any style of headstock and still be readable. Operation is very simple and intuitive. I didn’t need to download a user manual which is always a great thing! This tuner can be set for guitar or bass and you can change the tuning from the standard 440hz if required. There are a couple of cool additional features, including down tuning mode, for all those drop tunings and there's also a very cool capo feature. We have all experienced that phenomenon of tuning your guitar only to put a capo on and it be horrifically out of tune. With the sledgehammer you can choose which fret you are going to place the capo and tune it from there, genius! The screen is very easy to use with a simple scroll left to right, centre and two arrows indicate when it's in tune plus the string name.
Korg Sledgehammer Pro
This is essentially the same as the Sledgehammer in design and operation, but uses a 3D visual display like the one used on Korg's rack-mounted Pitchblack unit. The ultra bright display makes this great for very dark gigs, and as is the basic Sledgehammer, it's very easy to read. There are three tuning modes you can select: regular, half strobe and full strobe, depending on your personal preference. Other cool things include an auto power off, and memory backup to save your settings. Unlike the Sledgehammer however, it doesn’t offer drop or capo tuning.
Both these tuners are great and do exactly what they should: the most important thing being, put your guitar in perfect tune. Which you prefer is going to come down to personal preference. The Sledgehammer has some great features, the Pro has a cool 3D screen and different tuning modes. For me, I actually prefer the basic Sledgehammer because of those extra features - especially the capo one, but then again, the 3D screen of the Pro is great and very cool for this size tuner. Whichever one you choose, you won’t be disappointed.