REVIEWS

Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner

Published 7 months ago on September 14, 2020

By Jonathan Graham

Gi72...Main Reviews....Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner

Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner

Vid Count: 1 Native

Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5

PROS

Huge, accurate tuner. 

Excellent buffered volume pedal. 

Separate I/O. 

Saves pedalboard space.

 

CONS

Won’t work as a makeshift expression pedal.

 

Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner

MSRP (UK) £189 (US) $199

SPECS

Power Supply: 9V - 18V DC, centre-negative

Current: 150 mA

For more information, please visit:

ernieball.co.uk

Billed as the perfect combination 2-in-1 pedal offering precise volume control with an enhanced definition digital tuner, the Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner could very well be a must for any pedalboard. Nick Jennison tells us more.

 

Ernie Ball’s VP Jr volume pedals have been the gold standard for decades now. They feel great, work beautifully and are built like tanks. But in today’s climate of shrinking gear, it’s harder to justify the pedalboard space a volume pedal occupies. There are miniature units available, but they don’t feel right, and one misstep and you can overturn a mini pedal and break the jack sockets (I’ve done this - twice).

 

So how about if you could combine your tuner (non-negotiable on any serious pedalboard) and volume pedal in one unit? Enter the VPTuner. For less than the combined size of a TU-3 and a mini volume pedal, get a full-size volume pedal with a massive, bright tuner - and more.  

 

The most obviously eye-catching feature of this pedal is the huge touch-screen display. By default, the display gives a clear readout of the volume pedal setting from 10 down to 1, before switching to a fast and accurate chromatic tuner when the pedal is fully “heel down”. Using the touch screen, you can change the display to show either the tuner or the volume readout exclusively, and adjust the reference pitch of the tuner. Once you’ve got the settings how you like them, lock the screen, and you’re good to go.

 

The tuner is one of the best I’ve ever used, with a super fast and accurate readout and an enormous display. I’m pretty short-sighted and struggle to read most tuners, but I could operate the VPTuner from 30 feet away (standing behind the backline on a dark festival stage). No matter what the lighting engineer (or the sun, if you’re outdoors) is doing, the tuner display is super visible. The volume readout seemed like a bit of a gimmick to me - until I used it. It really takes the guesswork out of using the pedal - be it for solo boosting or cleaning up your amp.

 

Now, a tuner should always be first in your signal chain, but everyone likes their volume pedal in a different spot. The VPTuner solves this by having separate I/O for the tuner and the volume pedal. You can go into the tuner first, come out into your drive pedals, back into the volume pedal and out into your amp. You can even place the volume pedal in your amp’s effects loop while still having the tuner first in the chain.

 

The volume part of the pedal functions beautifully, with a smooth action and a kevlar cord that’s going to last for a very very long time. It also features a high-quality buffer, and while this does mean you can’t use it as a makeshift expression pedal, your tone won’t change as you roll the pedal back like it does on passive models.

 

The VPTuner is an extremely smart solution to the problem of fitting a volume pedal on your board. It sounds way better than a passive volume pedal, and the tuner is bigger and brighter than any pedal tuner I’ve seen. It’s not a compromise - it’s legitimately the best of both worlds.

 

 


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