TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Review – Polyphonic Guitar Tuner

Updated on by Ross McLeod | There may be affiliate links on this page.

Tuner pedals don’t often get the credit they deserve. A must-have device of any functioning pedalboard, they perform the vital function of keeping your guitar’s tuning in check and allowing you to make quick corrections when it drifts.

In this guide, I’ll provide a detailed analysis of the popular TC Electronic PolyTune 3 – an innovative tuner that exceeds the capabilities of its rivals.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3– Overview

Using sophisticated digital technology, the Polytune 3 breaks out of the confines of conventional tuner pedals. It’s an ultra-fast, reliable device that boasts an impressive accuracy within 0.1 cents of the note.

The circuitry used by TC Electronic allows this pedal to function to a very high standard. Fitted with a specifically configured buffer, which can be switched to true bypass, it protects your guitar’s signal integrity at all times.

There is also a range of display options and tuning modes included with the PolyTune 3, so you can tailor these features to suit your preferences.

PROS

  • Several tuning modes
  • Facilitates open/slide tunings in addition to standard and drop tunings
  • Buffered & true bypass circuitry
  • Accurate to within 0.1 cents

CONS

  • None

Main Features

The PolyTune series is one of TC Electronics' most successful ventures, and this third-generation model is, without a doubt, their finest offering to date. It defies the stereotypes regarding the simplistic nature of tuner pedals.

Dependable and multi-faceted, the PolyTune 3 is accurate to within 0.1 cents. Its polyphonic design allows you to strum every string simultaneously, and it displays the tuning status of each note.

This ability is extremely beneficial because it saves you the hassle of strumming each string one by one then adjusting the tuning.

With the polyphonic mode, you instantly see which strings need your attention so that you can correct their pitch.

Along with the polyphonic mode, there are plenty of other options you can choose from. Monophonic mode facilitates single-string tuning, and the Strobe mode is extremely accurate.

As a matter of fact, the Strobe mode is so accurate that it can be used to tune a fretless instrument with ease. If you value speed over accuracy, the Chromatic mode is a great option and it still reads the note to within half a cent!

You can also explore the range of alternative tuning modes housed within the PolyTune 3. If you enjoy playing in open tunings, drop tunings, or slide guitar tunings, you’ll find the perfect mode for your style.

Display

A tuner pedal’s display screen is one of its most important features. The PolyTune 3 has a larger and brighter display LED display than any of its predecessors, making tuning in any environment a breeze.

The display is made up of over 100 ultra-bright LEDs, providing unrivaled visibility even in settings where light is abundant. It also includes an ambient light sensor, which causes it to automatically dim to suit the setting.

This automatic dimming capability is very useful when performing live. Rather than the display being too intense when you look at it, the pedal smartly readjusts to a comfortable brightness.

Predominantly made up of green and red colors, the display is visible. When you switch modes, it’s easy to see the current selection so that you don’t mistakenly select the wrong one.

Buffer & True Bypass

Another useful feature by TC Electronic is the built-in BonaFide Buffer. This device preserves your guitar tone, even when using extensive cable runs and a large selection of other effects pedals.

True bypass pedals have a lot of positives, but one drawback can be the way they deplete the high-end guitar tone. That’s why the buffered circuitry of the PolyTune 3 is so valuable.

Nevertheless, if you prefer true bypass, you can easily switch the pedal to work in that format. It’s rare that a tuner pedal offers both buffered and true bypass switching – another example of the quality of the PolyTune 3!


Conclusion

With such a cast range of tuner pedals on the market, it can be challenging to separate the bad from the good. The PolyTune 3 is undeniably one of the best polyphonic tuners money can buy.

About Ross McLeod

Ross McLeod is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket, and he is the frontman and bassist of the garage rock band The Blue Dawns with whom he has released 4 EPs and toured extensively.

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