The Roadie 2 Guitar Tuner is basically a little robot that tunes guitars automatically. The handheld device is placed on your tuning pegs, where it tunes to an accuracy of up to +2 cents. The Roadie 2 is highly customisable, with 40 preset tuning options as well as the ability to save your own custom tunings. The tuner can be picked up for $129 USD (£129, $185 AUD, $179 CDN).
Roadie 2 not just for guitarists
The Roadie 2 isn’t just for six-stringers. It can tune a variety of stringed instruments, including electric, acoustic, 7-strings, 12-strings, ukuleles, mandolins, banjos, etc. If you want to tune a bass you’ll have to get the bass edition, which has a lower tuning detection range. The customisation doesn’t end with tunings, as you can also change the reference pitch in 0.1 Hz increments from 420 Hz to 460 Hz. The included stock guitar presets are: E standard, open G, open D, drop D, D modal, open C, drop C, drop B, drop A and half-step down. All these features can be changed via the digital screen and dual controls, which are a button and rotary wheel.
So how does the Roadie 2 Guitar Tuner stack up? It tunes using vibration, so you can tune up no matter how loudly your drummer is banging away in the background. It tunes quickly and easily, and changing the tuning preset is pretty straight-forward as well. Like most electronic tuners, sometimes you will need to do a small adjustment by ear to get a string to sound just right though.
Extra features with Roadie app
There’s an accompanying free app, simply called Roadie. The app is useful for three key reasons. Firstly, it allows you to update the firmware on your Roadie 2, adding features like instant capo functionality and also for greater OS stability. Secondly, you need the app to create and store custom tunings on the device. Finally, it’s quicker to make adjustments to the stored instruments using the app rather than the two-button device interface.
String winder saves your hands
One handy feature on the guitar tuner is the string winder. You can set the device to wind up or down continuously at various speeds. I’ve got a mechanical winder but it often gets caught up on the pegs of my Charvel’s headstock, so I was looking for an alternative. The Roadie 2 lets you speed up those laborious string changes and save your hands a bit as well.
So what are the downsides? First up, you need to keep it recharged, which is achieved via the included 50cm USB 2.0 to USB-C cable. You’d have to be vigilant about charging up before gigs or perhaps even bring along a cheapo clip-on tuner as a back-up. That said, one charge lasts a month so you won’t be doing it daily. The screen could also be brighter. It’s fine indoors, but in direct sunlight the screen isn’t particularly easy to read. If you’re doing a lot of outdoor, daytime performances it wouldn’t be the best choice. My final gripe is that you have to create a custom tuning to get D standard onto the Roadie 2. D standard has been used by everyone from Metallica to Nirvana, so I expected to see it in the presets.
The Roadie 2 Guitar Tuner verdict
Is the Roadie 2 Guitar Tuner worth picking up? There’s a number of handy extras like the alternate tunings, multiple instrument options and the string winder. Those aside, main difference in using the Roadie is that you don’t have to use your hands to turn the tuning pegs. As a result it would be a natural choice for people who have muscle issues, or someone who has to restring guitars for work. It would also be a good choice for a beginner who hasn’t got their head around tuning by ear yet. At $129 it’s certainly not cheap though. You’d need to actively use the extra features to get your money’s worth, otherwise you may as well get a $20 clip-on tuner.
If you’re considering a clip-on tuner, we recently wrapped up a buyer’s guide that pits budget brands head to head here.
Charging: USB-C with a charging cable included.
Built-in user interface: For easy selection of instruments and tunings.
Bluetooth: 4.0 low energy
Haptic feedback: When a string is in tune, Roadie will give you a little shake to move on to the next string.
OLED screen: Invisible when off, lights up beautifully as soon as you turn Roadie 2 on.
Knob interface: Intuitive and fast to scroll through your instruments and tunings.
Product weight: 3.2 ounces. Shipping weight: 9.9 ounces.
Product dimensions: 3.4 x 3.0 x 1.0 inches.
Material / Color: Plastic / Black