So many years ago when I was playing bass guitar for a touring punk rock band, I was in need of a guitar tuner to help me tune my bass guitar before each performance. I found it was almost impossible to tune a guitar by ear in a noisy and crowded bar. I tried a few pocket tuners and such but most tuners were hard to read in dim lighting as most venues we performed at was dank and dark underground punk rock venues. I looked at rack mount tuners but most was insanely over priced and far out of my meager starving artist budget at the time.
After searching for what seemed to be the elusive Holy Grail of an inexpensive guitar tuner, I finally found in the pages of the Musicians Friend catalog the Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner. This tuner was the answer to my prayers, so to speak. It was compact enough to fit in my bass guitar case, and had a bright digital display and LED lights to show what note I was tuning to and if it was sharp or flat. The Boss Chromatic Tuner is made of rugged metal and painted with a tough white enamel coating, so it’s easy to see on stage. Featuring one standard quarter inch input jack, and two quarter inch output jacks. The first output jack mutes the output sound so you can silently tune your guitar onstage, the second output jack is a bypass feature to keep the sound flowing through even if the tuner in turned on or not.
The TU-2 pedal runs on a standard nine volt transistor battery, or you can purchase a D.C. adaptor for a few bucks more. It also features a second D.C. 9 volt output jack to daisy chain the power to other pedals in your arsenal, which came in handy on many occasions. When using a nine volt battery it will keep charged up for several gigs, I roughly had to change batteries maybe once a month under normal playing conditions. But if you leave the guitar cord plugged into the input jack when not in use it will drain the battery virtually over night if you’re not careful.
The Digital display and LED lights has several built in options, you can set it to tune in different pitch for those who play in different keys. This feature is handy if you have to tune other instruments like a piano, banjo, or mandolin. I even plugged in a microphone with a quarter inch plug adapter once so I could study what key I was singing in and adjust my vocal pitch accordingly. The LED lights also have a stream feature you can select where the lights chase each other. This makes for a little extra flash and flare while performing on stage, but it will drain more power from the battery when using this feature.
For the beginning guitar or bass player it also features the option of selecting from chromatic mode to bass or guitar mode. In bass or guitar mode it simply displays one through four for bass guitar, or one through six for standard guitar so the beginning user can simply pluck string one for the E string, and follow the arrows to adjust tune sharp or flat until string one is in tune. Then they can move on to string two and so on, until the instrument is completely tuned.
In addition to its rugged outer casing, the TU-2 pedal features and rubber pad on the top foot switch to guarantee that when you hit the pedal with your foot or shoe it will engage or disengage the tuner. It also has a rubber pad on the bottom of the pedal to keep it from slipping around almost all surfaces like carpet, tile, concrete, and yes even the most beer soaked stages.
At the time I bought the Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner pedal it was on sale in the Musicians Friend catalog for around seventy dollars. These days the price has inflated to about ninety eight dollars, but still a great value for someone who needs a rugged and reliable guitar tuner.
When I say rugged, I do mean it, this pedal has had pitchers of beer, and bottled water spilled on it and still kept performing. Once a many years later in another heavy metal band I was performing with, I loaned the TU-2 pedal to my guitar player. He promised he would take care of it and return it in a few days. Later that night he called me up apologizing, he said after leaving practice he had placed the pedal on top of his car while he loaded his guitar in the back seat. Then him and his girl friend at the time drove off, unknowingly the TU-2 was still on top of the vehicle. He didn’t realize the mistake until the reached the highway speed of seventy miles and hour. He reported to me that’s when he looked in the rearview mirror and saw the pedal fly off, bounce several times on the asphalt then once more off a semi-tractor trailers tire and land in the ditch. He went back to retrieve the pedal for sure that it was destroyed, only to find a small crack in the metal casing and a few chips of paint was missing. He later returned the pedal to me as promised still apologizing for his mistake. I promptly plugged in in and tested it, to mine and his amazement the Boss TU-2 pedal was still perfectly functioning. So no harm no foul I guess, I simply patched the small crack with some tape and returned the pedal to my guitar case.
After that I became a diehard Boss pedal fan, its very rare to find a product that can handle that much abuse and still work properly for several more years.
I whole heartedly give the BOSS TU-2 Chromatic Tuner a rating of TEN PLUS STARS!