Korg AW-1 Micro Tuner

The AW-1 ($85 retail/$59 street) is a tiny, clip-on chromatic tuner that attaches to the headstock of your guitar, bass, or any other stringed instrument (it also works on brass and woodwind instruments). The AW-1 features a built-in piezo pickup that detects vibrations, and allows you to tune without having to unplug from your amp, or suffer the tone-sucking effects of an inline tuner. The device also has an internal mic for tuning acoustic instruments.

Owing to its tiny dimensions and ten-gram weight, you can leave the AW-1 attached to your guitar while playing. However, though the clip is lined with a soft, white rubber material, you shouldn’t leave it attached for extended periods on guitars with nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The AW-1 comes in a sturdy plastic case that holds the tuner, two clips (large and small), and a 3-volt lithium battery. Sliding a small door located on the back of the tuner lets you access the battery and the Mic/Piezo selector. Battery life is approximately 20 hours, and the unit will shut off automatically after 20 minutes if it senses no input.

I found the AW-1 worked perfectly on my solidbody electric and acoustic guitars using either the mic or the piezo. I also like how the backlit orange LCD screen is easily visible—even on low-lit stages or in complete darkness.