I reviewed the TronicalTune automatic tuning system back in the May 2014 issue and I was—and remain—a huge fan. The volks at Germany’s Tronical have been active since then, with updated software that is faster and even more accurate, and more and more guitar models supported. Amongst those new models are several acoustic guitars, including my Larrivee OM-3 that you see here. I downloaded the headstock template from tronical. com to make sure the holes would line up and ordered their Type U system. It arrived in a beautiful Rolex-approved jewel box and I eagerly set about taking off my stock tuners and installing it.
They say on the Tronical site that installation takes 15 minutes. I’m sure a qualified tech could do it in less than that, but it took me about 30 (I am many things, but a qualified tech is not one of them). Still, the process was really fast and easy. I attached the strings to the cool locking posts, followed the instructions for “string up” mode, and then hit the button for standard tuning and watched it spring into action. It got my acoustic perfectly in tune within seconds. I then navigated to Eb tuning, hit the button, strummed the strings, and TronicalTune dropped everyone down a half-step in no time.
Certain tunings took a little longer to get in tune, such as going from standard to open A or open D, but even the longest times are still way faster than I can do with a tuner. Some tuning changes only take a few seconds and are almost always super accurate. Along the way, I experienced a couple of glitches, but I was always able to get my tuning sorted out by simply trying again. I created a custom tuning (“The Rain Song” tuning of C, G, D, G, C, D) and stored it in one of the blank slots, and that whole process only took about a minute. Unreal! And the more you use TronicalTune, the easier it all gets. Hitting the buttons to call up various tunings is simple and even changing strings, while a little tricky at first, was no problem by the second set of strings.
The thing to keep in mind with Tronical is that it’s not for people who don’t know how to tune a guitar. On the contrary, it is perfect for those who not only know tuning, but are also fascinated with various tunings and want to explore them further—with a fast, easy way to do so. Altered tunings are one of the best ways to jumpstart your creativity, but they’re just enough of a hassle that most of us never get to know them. This system removes all those impediments instantly. It’s incredibly inspiring to call up a different tuning and just start playing, with an almost child-like “I wonder what happens if I put my fingers here…” approach. And part of the reason players are hesitant to write songs in non-standard tunings is because they don’t want to lug another guitar to the gig to play them. Forget about that! This system is great on electrics, but it will absolutely change your life on an acoustic and you need to check it out. Super impressive!
Kudos Powerful creativity booster. Simple to use. Very accurate.
Concerns Takes a little getting used to.