A guitar tuner is a tool most guitar players will need at some point in their playing life. Unless you’re blessed with a perfect ear and can tune simply by listening, you’re gonna need a guitar tuner. The Roadie 3 is a must-have for any guitar player.
It’s been almost 3 years since I reviewed the Roadie 2 guitar tuner, and it has been a daily use guitar tool since. The previous Roadie was already a pretty amazing little gadget that needed very few improvements. So I’m shocked that the Roadie 3 has more improvements than you can shake a pick at. Okay, so I’m not that funny. Read on for the full Roadie 3 guitar tuner review!
The Roadie 3 has the following features and specifications:
- String Gauge: Up to 75
- Detection Range: 27.5 Hz to 668.84 Hz
- Battery: Rechargeable LiPo 500 mAh, USB type-C
- Connectivity: Easy sync via Bluetooth with our free iOS and Android application
- Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.0 x 1.0 inches
- Rotation Speed: 120RPM
- 100+ built-in tunings and space for custom tunings
- Beep/vibration metronome
What’s In The Box
- Roadie 3
- USB-C Charging Cable
- Quick Start Guide
The Roadie 3 guitar tuner looks completely different from its predecessor, which is a good thing in many ways. My one complaint about version 2 was that it wasn’t ergonomic. The Roadie 3 improves on the ergonomics and is much more comfortable to hold, with no sharp angles.
Roadie also managed to improve and widen the peg connector, so now it fits even more instruments with various tuning peg sizes.
The build quality is also improved, and the Roadie 3 feels far more robust than the Roadie 2. The materials have changed as well, with most of the body being wrapped in a plastic and rubber-like material. This gives it a much better grip than the previous Roadie. Although, the material can attract dust and dirt.
At the bottom of the Roadie 3, you’ll find the USB-C charging port, a USB-C cable is included, but no wall wort. Not a huge deal as most people have extras lying around, or you can use a computer to charge it.
At the top of the Roadie, 3 is the peg connector, which, as we said, is redesigned and improved here. The power button is also at the top, and it has an LED light ring indicating when the power is on.
On the backside of the Roadie 3, you’ll find the Roadie logo, which is pretty awesome. On the front side is a clicky circular navigation button that you can click in, left, right, up, and down to input your selections.
On the front is the all-new display, which is a massive upgrade. This display is full color and much larger than the previous generation.
Overall, the Roadie 3 barely resembles the previous generation of Roadie. The design improvements are off the charts, and more companies should take notes from Roadie on how to really do updates. This whole package feels like a brand new device and not just an incremental upgrade.
Ease Of Use
Using the Roadie 3 is actually easier than the Roadie 2! The improved ergonomic, peg holder, display, and build quality are stellar.
The first thing you should do is download the Roadie app so you can sync the Roadie 3 and get any firmware updates. You don’t need the app to use the Roadie 3 but it is convenient in some ways, more on that later.
Once you have the Roadie connected and updated you can start using it right away. Using it is as simple as choosing what tuning you want for your guitar and placing the peg holder on your tuning peg and hitting the string. The Roadie will hear and feel the vibration and tune your instrument to the selected tuning.
Overall, it’s really very simple and can be used right out of the box. And if you’re not into alternate tunings and stick to standard tuning, it’s super simple.
The Roadie 2 already had a solid build-quality, and the Roadie 3 has upped the game. This guitar tuner feels robust and should last a very, very long time. At the core of the Roadie 3, is an electric motor that’s more powerful than the previous generation. This version has twice the RPMs than the previous version at 120 RPMs.
As with the previous version, this motor feels strong and had zero problems with turning the tuning pegs of my Paul Reed Smith, Fender, Kramer, PT Berger, and Cort guitars. I used it on both electric and acoustic without any issue.
As with the previous generation, the Roadie 3 is very accurate in tuning, and it gives you great feedback when tuning is complete. When you a string is in tune, it will vibrate, beep and the display bar will go green.
Speaking of the display bar. This bar shows you what note (string) you’re on as well as the frequency. The bar is initially colored in red and blue but then turns solid green when the desired tuning or frequency is reached.
Another great improvement in this generation is that you can position the Roadie 3 to see the display at all times. So you can tune both rows and still see the display, something that you couldn’t do with the Roadie 2.
There are also alternate tunings you can choose. And you can even add your own tunings, should you be that creative to come up with more tunings than are already in this unit.
You also have the option of 7, 8, and 12 string guitars, as well as a built-in metronome and a string winder. The string winder is especially helpful when changing strings, and it has 3 speeds to wind and unwind strings. The metronome allows you to choose the beat count and BPM. The metronome also beeps and vibrates, or you can choose one or the other.
Some of the other instrument options you have on the Roadie 3 are:
- Acoustic Guitar
- Electric Guitar
- Classical Guitar
- Standard Ukulele
- Concert Ukulele
- Tenor Ukulele
- Baritone Ukulele
- Lap Steel Guitar
- Pedal Steel Guitar
- Dobro Roundneck
- Dobro Squareneck
As for battery life, the Roadie 2 would go for months without charging. I have yet to recharge the Roadie 3 and it still has full bars. Battery life is no issue and it charges fast, depending on your wall wort.
Overall, the Roadie 3 is a strong performer and has a huge array of features that most guitar players are going to love.
The Roadie app is a pretty handy tool. It’s mainly used for firmware updates, but you can do a few neat things with it. There is a tuner built-in; should you forget your Roadie 3, you can use your phone’s microphone to tune.
You can add instruments through the app, which is easier than using the buttons on the Roadie. When the app and Roadie sync up, your added instruments will be in place. And, of course, you can shop and read industry news from the app.
Overall, the app works well. It’s not needed but is encouraged for at least doing firmware updates. The ability to add instruments from the app is also handy. I could do without the shopping and blog post news.
The Roadie 3 is priced at US$129, which is the same price the Roadie 2 was selling for. To me, that is extraordinary! To come out with a new version that is improved in every way and maintain the same price point. The Roadie 3 oozes value and is worth every cent.
So yeah, I really loved the Roadie 2. It was one of the best guitar tuners I’ve ever used. The Roadie 3, well, it just blows everything about the Roadie 2 out of the water. It is feature rich, well-built, accurate, and all at the same price. That’s really key. Being able to improve your product yet not increase the price. I highly recommend the Roadie 3 to every guitar player that needs a portable guitar tuner.
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- Improved design/easier to hold
- Improved display and now in color
- Simple to use and operate
- Offers alternate tunings and multiple string choices
- Offers rich features like a string winder and metronome
- Performance is excellent and the string winder is twice as fast
- EXCELLENT battery life!
- Texture of the build material can attract dirt and dust