The Boss TU-3 Tuner Pedal – Boss’s classic tuner pedal evolved…
The designers of the Boss TU-3 tuner had something of a task on their hands when charged with replacing its predecessor the TU-2. The original TU tuner established itself as the first choice for guitarists. It combined Boss’s nigh-on indestructible construction with an easy to use control panel and highly visible display.
Most importantly, it was accurate and reliable, and could be conveniently wired into a pedal board with minimum of fuss. In short, it was pretty much perfect for its purpose, a fact that is supported by the number still seen on pedal boards at gigs- looking a bit worn, but still in great working order.
So how could the engineers at Boss improve on this, and why would they need to?
Flat Tuning Mode
In the years that have passed since the TU-2’s launch in 1998, things have moved on somewhat. In terms of technology, some of the Boss pedal’s peers had come to use technology that was a little more accurate. Never content to be at anything other than the forefront, this alone was enough for the Japanese guitar pedal giants to create the Boss TU-3.
Music had also changed massively. With the popularity of seven string guitars, and bass heavy forms of Metal making extreme dropped tunings ever more commonplace, Boss addressed the tuning issues this created. The TU-3 added a new Guitar Flat Mode, which made the tuner capable of drop tunings of up to six semitones.
It wasn’t just those fond of lower frequency guitar tunings that were catered for either. The pedal offered a chromatic and guitar/ bass mode, with the guitar/ bass mode providing support and displaying note names for 7-string guitars and 6-string basses.
Hugely improved display
One of the TU-2’s great strengths was the ease with which its display could be read on-stage. The Boss TU-3 improved on this by some measure, however. A new 21-segment LED meter, complete with brightness control, replaced the 11-point LED indicator. A high-brightness mode was equipped for situations where high levels of ambient light make it difficult to read the display.
The TU-3 also featured Boss’s Accu-Pitch function. This provides an LED that lights up to indicate when the string is perfectly in tune.
Whilst you would find very few dissatisfied with the accuracy of the TU-2, the Boss TU-3 improved on the underlying tuning technology. Whereas the TU-2 was accurate to +/- 3 cents, the new TU-3 is accurate to +/- 1 cent. Conveniently, it will also power up to seven Boss Compact pedals.
The Boss TU-3 is undoubtedly a worthy successor to the TU-2. With greater functionality and accuracy, it brings the classic features of its predecessor and ‘tunes’ them for the modern musical world.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.