Posts Tagged ‘Tuner’

Danelectro DT-1 Dan-O-Matic

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015


What is it?
Danelectro DT-1 Dan-O-Matic from Dano “Original series”. Made in china around 1996 or 1997.

This model was the very first of tuner pedals in the Dano pedal catalogue. It was replaced with the red DT-2 a bit later (which i’m still missing to complete my Original series collection at the time writing this). Due to not having the DT-2, i can’t compare the two. Anyway. To begin with, the housing is the classic big heavy cast metal as with the others in the series.


Housing is the same as in others, having the two battery slots while only one in use. It’s a digital tuner pedal, so i didn’t have the enthusiasm to take the boards out. I’m pretty certain that all Dano tuners utilize the same technology. This meaning that while the accuracy may be sufficient, the dim liquid crystal display is the biggest culprit. Using this at home in a broad daylight isn’t a problem. But once you take it to the stage, you’re f’d.

So it is pretty much the predecessor for Mini series tuners. Only in less usable metal housing and with same ailments.

How does it sound?
Like most if not all tuners. It doesn’t. It’s reasonably accurate stage tuner with standard Dano electronic bypass. Due to it’s relatively dim LCD, it’s next to useless. Sure it is decently built and a nice looking thing. But that’s where the good stuff ends. No. I do not have much good to say about it, so i might as well just stop here.

Korg PB-01 Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner

Saturday, November 29th, 2014


What is it?
Korg PB-01 Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner. Made in china around early to mid 00’s.

Another chromatic tuner? Yes. One can’t have too many tuners. Ok, that’s not as good thing to say as one can’t have too many fuzzes, but tuners do have differences. And i do enjoy trying different ones out and comparing them in feel, accuracy and usability. I may have said on some other tuner related post that i use my “ol’ faithful” Boss TU-2 as my workshop tuner. But why not use some other one? The bad ones with obvious faults are not an option, like all the different ones from Danelectro’s catalog and the DOD Tuna, but there are good, usable units in numbers. While i’m still using the TCE Polytune (1st version) on my personal board, the wokshop may need a change every now and then. I wasn’t actually looking for a new tuner, but i had an offer from someone who had a boxful of pedals that were submerged at one point during a water damage to the building the pedals were in. After three years of drying them up, the guy decided to sell them. I was puzzled with this offer. Good pedals and most of them missing from my collection. If the water had been salty or otherwise filled with impurities, the circuits would be unsaveable. Or, if the pedals have had batteries of power supplies attached to them at the time, the circuits would have been totally gone. But if the water had been pure sweet water, the damages to the circuits could have been minimal. I just went with my guts and bought the whole set. The photo below shows some minor decay on the cheapest metal parts. But simply cleaning the boards up was enough. It is working fine. Even though it has been submerged in water.


Korg is a brand that’s known for high quality digital designs. So it’s reasonable to assume that the tuner from this brand should be a safe thing to buy as a new unit (or why not used). In my tests and comparison against Boss TU-2, i think this is more than just a solid product. It is simply good. The box isn’t your standard aluminum, but some sort of composite metal that has a slight plastic feel to it – without being plastic. Overall judgement would be that the unit as a tuner is accurate and doesn’t react to intereference too much.

How does it sound?
It doesn’t. But it works remarkably well. Black overall and big lights that show you the way. Hey Danelectro engineers! Check this out! This here is the exact reason why your tuners did not sell. Designer of a guitar tuner should focus on creating an useful product, not to tinker around with LCD displays. The big mild lights on the Pitchblack are simply good. Bright enough for you to see what the tuner tells you, but not too bright to blind you in the process (yup, Behringer engineers, i’m talking to you!). If one gets over the slight plasticky feel of the box, the prices on the used market suggest that you should be able to afford one of these. And it won’t go wrong. Pitch perfect.

Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014


What is it?
Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner from compact series. Made in taiwan, june 2004

The workhorse. I’ve heard stories that these nearly didn’t make it to production at all, since the designers were sure that there would be no market for a pedal tuner. Well. I do get it. After all, the Arion and DOD had flopped pretty hard with theirs. But the TU-2 made it to production and if i’m not completely wong, it sold very well. So well that Bossarea page calls it an instant hit.


There are different tuning modes as features, but i must confess that i’ve never used any of those. Not even to try them out. The standard chromatic mode that picks up the note you play has been sufficient. For years.

Pedal is made of two separate boards, a mix of digital and analog circuitry. Nothing too eye pleasing with autorouted, tasteless and scentless feel to overall construction.


But then again, who buys a hammer for its looks? Metaphor for a hammer isn’t as far as you would think. As you probably have seen, there are pink and tiny designer hammers in existence, but no one in their right mind would pick up one of those if they were to build a proper wooden wall. No. They would pickup that old, rusty heavy thing that is a real hammer.


Boss TU-2 is (or was) a hit for several reasons. User can see the display on the darkest stage without disturbance, the accuracy is good enough and.. Well. It simply gets the job done. TU-2 got discontinued due to TU-3, which has more features and, i believe, is aimed to take on TC Electronics tuners in the market, which consequently have even more features. Come what may, the TU-2 will stay and enjoy its cult status. Less features sometimes mean higher usability.

How does it sound?
As most of the Boss pedals tend to drain your signal when bypassed, the buffering on TU-2 is either better than on the rest, or i may be turning def. While this tuner doesn’t sound like anything per se, it acts a faithful buffer when it’s turned off. As a tuner, this unit is something that all other pedal tuner manufacturers should take a look at. It works.

Danelectro DJ-25 Blueberry Muffin Chromatic Tuner

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014


What is it?
Danelectro DJ-25 Blueberry Muffin Chromatic Tuner from Dano Mini series. Made in china around mid 00’s..

So this is the “fixed” revision of the Lemon Pitcher tuner pedal, the first one i called utter crap in the series. The colour of the unit is pretty close to DJ-11. The main visual difference is the “#” on the display. Well. Does the chromatic remake save the tuners for the series?


You guessed it. No. It doesn’t.

It’s similar to its predecessor, offering slightly higher accuracy and half note support. Still the dark illuminated old school LCD display still makes the unit completely unroadworthy. The greatest single thing that offers any interest is the use of the same PCB for the lower buffer board. Tuning results feel are more accurate and the needle seems more stable when compared to  Lemon Pitcher, but none of those do not address the biggest issue of dim LCD display.

So yes. Danelectro tried to make up for the mistakes with Lemon Pitcher. But failed again on this chromatic revision. On the brighter side, this one stands pretty well against DOD Tuna.

How does it sound?
As a tuner it doesn’t, but for usability? No. There isn’t enough of that to mention either. I can only think of one reason to buy one – You’d need to be collecting the series. For a tuner you want to use full time? Try anything else, or make your life easier by coughing up the needed amount of cash for a Boss or TC Electronic tuner.

Danelectro DJ-11 Lemon Pitcher Tuner

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014


What is it?
Danelectro DJ-11 Lemon Pitcher Tuner from Danelectro Mini Series. Made in china around early 00’s.

Okay. I’ve been harsh on only few Mini series pedals. Most of them are not bad enough to deserve any harsh words. Then there  is this. In my experience – any brand that produces usable tuner pedal won’t ever fail on that design. So why this one failed and needed a revision (DJ-25)? Size is ok, no denying that. But in reality, what are you going to do with tuner pedal including an old school LCD display and dim lights?


Nothing. Even if we disregard all the plastic unroadworthiness, we are still left with a tuner pedal that is not sensitive enough and hard to use in anything else than daylight. Gee. I wonder why this design flopped in sales. This and DJ-2 distortion are definitely two worst designs in the series. Stay away. I do not recommend this for any purpose. If it was even a bit more accurate and sensitive.. But it isn’t. It is pedal version of those bad, plastic little tuners that some might use for tuning their acoustic guitars. And due to the fact that it is a pedal with no microphone, one can’t even use this on acoustic guitar..

How does it sound?

As it is a tuner, it doesn’t exactly sound like anything. Maybe it just slightly cuts your highs due to standard mini series bypass buffering. To sum this unit up – bad. That’s the only word to describe the unit truthfully.

DOD FX12 Tuna

Thursday, April 10th, 2014


What is it?
DOD FX12 Tuna. Guitar and bass tuner pedal. Made in USA around 1996-98. The enclosure is in line with the last US made series and the original box doesn’t have “made is USA” printed on it. There is no chinese made “V” version in existence. I’m thinking that the box was designed without “made in” notion, because it was planned to continue manufacturing FX12 in china with other VFX models.

DOD Tuna is one of the first pedal tuners to hit the stores in 90’s. The idea and purpose is there, but the reason why these units were basically butchered in sales when compared to Boss TU-2 is clear. It is a bad tuner. Collectible? Maybe, but a useful tuner? No. Also, that may be the reason why this design never made it to the chinese mass production in the end of 90’s. The fishnet paint is cool.


The guts seem well made and the aesthetics of the whole pedal are nice. It’ s not bad looking box at all. But sadly, all the good things end there.

How does it sound?
It’s a tuner so it doesn’t exactly sound like anything. It’s not even supposed to. It’s supposed to show you the frequency and note on the LEDs. It does that. Sort of. When i tried to tune my guitar with this unit, it showed every string to be in tune. When i strummed a chord.. No. Annoying little thing. I’m keeping this as a collectible novelty and a historical item. But to use it? One needs to be completely insane to even think about using this on his or her board. It is crap.

ENO Music PT-21 Guitar Tuner

Monday, January 27th, 2014


What is it?
ENO Music PT-21 Guitar Tuner, made in china 2013.

I wanted to try something tiny as a tuner for my personal pedal board. The price was one factor. I didn’t want to get another TC Electronic tuner as the old Polytune i have works reasonably well and i’m familiar with the use. Recently i’ve noted that i rarely use the polyphonic mode, so i was pretty interested in these new chinese mini pedals. First i tried it out. Works. Feels responsive.. A/B’d this with my old war horse, Boss TU-2. That Boss is the tuner i use at home for everything from re-stringing to fine tuning the intonation. TU-2 is good, responsive (sometimes too responsive) and very accurate tuner. This ENO is about as fast as TU-2, doesn’t go mad and doesn’t get mixed up in frequencies.


Opening the unit up shows pretty neat work. Everything has its place (ok, the couple red wires could have been replaced by better engineering). The rubber band making the DC jack fit perfectly made me smile. Simple solution, yet quite elegant. At this point i’m not getting deeper about how it works as it is digital design. Maybe i’ll revisit all the stub articles about digital stuff one day..


It seems like the ENO PT-21 is solid and well made tiny tuner pedal. I’m yet to test it on my own board, so we’ll see how it takes some real action – handling the temperature changes and if the frequencies stay accurate on real situation. For home use this cheap little thing seems to be a good choice.

Placed it on my board and used it for a few days. Even though it seemed to be as accurate as TU-2 in the first run, the Floyd Rosed Strat didn’t agree. It does get close, but not close enough. Sad. Sad indeed.

How does it sound?
It doesn’t. But it isn’t supposed to. It is true bypass though. But for the usage.. It’s not the worst tuner i’ve had by a long shot, but it simply isn’t accurate enough for me. Not bad, but i might sell it off rather than trusting it. Oh well. Guess i’ll just need to get that Polytune mini. On the bright side, this is definitely better than DOD FX12 Tuna.