Recently Planet Waves were kind enough to send over one of their brand new NS Mini Headstock Tuners for us to investigate. As always we were only too happy to test out their new and always innovative little products. Here’s our review…
The NS Mini Headstock Tuner is a little different to most other similar products in that it is tiny, and is also virtually invisible from the front of your guitar. It tunes by vibration via its highly sensitive piezo transducer and clearly presents tuning information on its two-color backlit display.
What’s In the Box?
Inside the surprisingly small box you’ll find the tuner itself, the instruction manual and a battery.
The tuner itself is made of plastic and feels solid enough in your hand. It is easily the smallest tuner I have personally ever seen. I’m not sure why you’d want to do it, but the clip can be removed.
In order to keep things simple, there are only two buttons on the tuner: one to switch the unit on and off, and the other to switch between tuning frequencies (A430 to A450). If you take a look at the image above you’ll notice the two buttons which are located on the underside of the unit. Also notice the battery compartment door.
The tuner clamps onto your headstock using the adjustable clip. The tab at the rear allows you to alter the height of the clip, making it suitable for surfaces of between roughly 1.2cm to 2.25cm. Once clamped onto your headstock the display will move through a full 360 degree rotation, allowing you to achieve the perfect viewing angle.
Theoretically you can place the tuner anywhere you would like on the guitar, although the idea behind its design is that it should be virtually invisible, so it should generally be positioned with the display behind the headstock. Since the audience can only see a tiny portion of the clamp they will most likely assume that you are able to tune perfectly by ear!
Press the power button and the unit will fire itself on and be ready to rock in a second or two. As it is turning on it will briefly display the tuning frequency that you are set to.
Once the tuner it switched on, simply strike a string and begin to tune. The highly sensitive piezo provides fast and very accurate tuning. Out of tune strings will be indicated by the note appearing in red, along with lines either to the right or left, indicating that the note is either sharp or flat respectively. Once in tune the displayed note will turn green. Because it tunes by vibration rather than by microphone it is super-accurate, even in noisy environments.
Pressing the frequency button will cycle through all of the different available frequencies. A really nice touch is that if you hold the button it will switch the display between showing flat or sharp notes.
Once tuned up simply press the power button again and the unit will turn itself off. If you forget to turn it off, the tuner’s power saving feature will automatically shut it down after a period of time in order to preserve the battery.
I tested it on my Gaskell AllRounder and Donner DAG-1C acoustic – both worked flawlessly.
I checked the Mini Headstock Tuner’s accuracy against a few other tuners, including the Snark and PodFarm. Despite its size, this tuner is just as accurate as any other.
Obviously one of the big selling points of this tuner is its diminutive size. It’s so small and unobtrusive that you should be able to happily keep it on your guitar at all times, or throw it in a pocket for easy transport.
Because the tuner is designed to be placed behind the headstock it is also easier to read in a wider range of environments than you would find with other clip-on headstock tuners. This is due to the added shade provided by the headstock.
Overall a great little tuner : ridiculously simple to use, compact, unobtrusive, highly visible and super accurate – what more could you want from a headstock tuner? Planet Waves have done it again!