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TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review

TC Electronic delivers premium polyphonic tuning at an affordable price

  • £79
  • €79
  • $89
TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review
(Image: © TC Electronic)

Our Verdict

The TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini is their best guitar tuner yet, and for the money there are few tuners on the market with the same set of features. With an ultra-bright LED display, impressive accuracy and an abundance of useful features on board, this tuner deserves some serious consideration if there’s a gap on your pedalboard.

Pros

  • Highly accurate tuning
  • Three different tuning modes
  • Switchable buffer

Cons

  • A bit too complex for a tuner?

MusicRadar Verdict

The TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini is their best guitar tuner yet, and for the money there are few tuners on the market with the same set of features. With an ultra-bright LED display, impressive accuracy and an abundance of useful features on board, this tuner deserves some serious consideration if there’s a gap on your pedalboard.

Pros

  • +

    Highly accurate tuning

  • +

    Three different tuning modes

  • +

    Switchable buffer

Cons

  • -

    A bit too complex for a tuner?

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: What is it?

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini is a tuner pedal which provides easy and accurate tuning in a compact package. With chromatic, polyphonic and strobe tuning modes, the PolyTune 3 Mini is a small but powerful option for those who want versatility without sacrificing valuable pedalboard space.

TC Electronic is one of the biggest names when it comes to guitar effects. Famous for building some fantastically durable and budget-friendly pedals, you’ll see a TC on most pedalboards these days.

Guitar tuners are the most important guitar accessory around. We know that a delay, distortion, chorus or reverb pedal is way more fun - don’t get us wrong - but no matter what other gear you’re using, if your guitar is out of tune, then it’s game over. If you’re looking for a pedal tuner to compliment your setup, then we’d highly recommend you take a look at the PolyTune 3 Mini - it even takes a spot in our best guitar tuners guide.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: Performance & Verdict

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: Shot of the TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini at an angle on a white background

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

Straight out of the box, the TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini gives us some highly positive first impressions. Often, affordable pedals are made with low quality parts or housed in plastic enclosures. But, with the TC’s solid metal enclosure (like all the other TC pedals), our ‘affordable pedal’ worries are put to bed. The footswitch itself has a smooth ‘notchless’ action to it, while still feeling strong and durable.

In our case, the PolyTune 3 Mini takes the place of a tried and tested classic in the form of the Boss TU-3. While the TU-3 is a workhorse of a pedal, and a trusted industry standard, the PolyTune 3 Mini’s super bright LED screen helps it take the cake in terms of readability. It’s ideal if you’re regularly in harsh lighting conditions

The ultra-convenient nature of the PolyTune 3 Mini doesn’t end there. The small button on the side of the pedal enables swift and straightforward switching between standard, dropped and capo tuning modes. There is also a pair of external DIP switches onboard to offer variations on the in-built BonaFide buffer - true bypass, buffered and a buffered ‘screen always on’ setting. We found the latter to be ideal for our studio sessions, where pinpoint accuracy is a must.

Speaking of accuracy, the PolyTune Mini 3 thoroughly impressed us. In chromatic mode, the TC is accurate to within 0.5 cents - which we truly struggled to pick out - and in strobe mode,  the Mini 3 is accurate to 0.02 cents. The Strobe mode is a slightly bizarre one to get to grips with, but once we got our heads round it, it became a firm favourite.

We feel that TC Electronic is one of the most player-friendly companies around, and when it comes to nice touches the PolyTune Mini 3 features more than its fair share. Most notably, the footswitch functionality was something that piqued our interest - not for its impressive technicality, but for it’s genuine usefulness.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

Not only does it turn the tuner on and off, but simply hold the footswitch down and you’ll toggle between standard and drop-D tuning. A very simple feature, but for those who jump between tunings on a regular basis, this could make your tuning experience a whole lot easier.

Now, we’re often told that bigger is better - and while some larger pedals may have more features as a result of their greater size, the PolyTune Mini 3 offers up everything you might need in a tuner pedal in a small, space-saving package. All in all, we’ve got no real criticisms of this pedal. If you think the PolyTune 3 Mini might be a bit too compact for your rig, check out the standard PolyTune 3.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: Hands-on demos

TC Electronic 

Man Bun Metal Head 

That Pedal Show 

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: Specifications

  • Accuracy: 0.5 cents (chromatic), 0.02 cents (strobe)
  • Modes: Polyphonic, Chromatic, Strobe
  • Good for: Electric, Electro-Acoustic, Bass guitars 
  • Power: 9V 100ma
  • Contact: TC Electronic
James Farmer

I’m one of MusicRadar’s Junior Deals Writers. Along with the rest of the eCommerce team, I manage and update buyer’s guides, as well as bringing you deals on the latest and coolest gear. I’m a drummer and guitarist and I’ve worked in various parts of the industry for the last three years including online music distributors RouteNote, and local music store Modern Music where I was the drum department manager for nearly two years. I’ve also toured the UK and Europe with my old band Hypophora. When I’m not matching players with their perfect gear, you’ll find me getting very nerdy about coffee, writing songs, or on the beach with my dog.