Roadie 2

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • October 2018
  • Top Gear
• Created: October 3, 2018

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From the get-go, I was skeptical of the Roadie 2 Automatic Guitar Tuner and String Winder. I’ve read – and seen! – how regular plastic string winders can mess up tuning pegs if they don’t fit snugly on the peg and apply torque to the unit, plus the whole concept of an “automatic guitar tuner” just seemed lazy. Why do I need a frickin’ robot to tune my guitar?

Well, I stand (well, more accurately at the moment: sit) corrected. Yes, I am perfectly capable of winding strings and figuring out any tuning with only my two hands and a decent ear, but the Roadie 2 isn’t just some frivolous, ridiculous concept; it’s a very well designed, versatile, portable, easy to use little gadget. And, far from being as lame as I initially suspected it’d be, this thing is pretty damned cool!

Opening the box reveals the Roadie 2, itself, along with a USB C charging cable, and an 18-page(!) manual. Being bullheaded and moderately arrogant (I am a guitarist, after all) I just started fooling around with the Roadie 2 and running it through its paces, trusting to my innate ability to figure things out. That this approach worked as well as it did is more a tribute to the intuitive design the folks at Band Industries (Roadie 2’s parent company) came up with than to my own genius. Within minutes I was tuning my Gibson SG quickly and accurately before then moving on to alternate tunings and then trying the Roadie 2 on a mandolin and a 12-string acoustic – all with great ease.

So how does it work, you ask? Well, you scroll through options on a screen positioned on the cylindrical “top” of the unit and select the type of instrument to be tuned (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, classical guitar, ukulele, concert ukulele, tenor ukulele, baritone ukulele, mandolin, or banjo), the number of strings, the desired tuning, and then affix one end of the unit (it’s obvious which one) to a tuning peg, at which point the Roadie 2 guides you through each string and rotates the pegs until everything is in tune. The whole tuning process takes about half a minute. Now,

I’m a quick tuner and pretty accurate, but the Roadie 2 is quicker and more accurate (I reluctantly concede that last point). If the above description seems to suggest a complicated routine, trust me it’s really quite easy. And fun, to boot!

There is an optional mobile app, which I installed on my iPhone just to confirm that it works (it does), but the Roadie 2 functions perfectly well without it, so I don’t know that there’s any real upside to going that route.

The negative? At around $130, the Roadie 2 doesn’t represent the sort of casual, add-on purchase of, say, a clip-on tuner. That said, this thing is very useful and versatile and I imagine many would consider it worth the price-tag.

Any MI retailer with a decent-sized selection of fretted instruments would be well-served to think about stocking the Roadie 2.

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