Hands-on Review: PT-20 and CT1 Tuners from Onboard Research

(John Gorbe | Posted 2011-02-23)

Hands-on Review: PT-20 and CT1 Tuners from Onboard Research

Do you play acoustic guitar and find yourself using a capo a lot? If so, youíll want to check into the new CT1 capo-tuner from Onboard Research, who brought us the original Intellitouch tuners. I really like that the CT1 is a well-built, functional capo that works well and it happens to have a well-designed tuner built-in.

I have been using Intellitouch tuners for approximately 8 years and every new model they produce gets better and feature fresh designs and features for any level of musician. What makes the Intellitouch family of tuners unique is that they sense vibrations through the instrument rather than relying on sound. They have models available for all instruments whether you play a string, brass or woodwind instrument - Onboard Research has you covered.

The CT1 features a spring clamp capo very similar to the popular ďKyserĒ brand. It feels very solid and looks like itís made to last. And although its footprint is no larger than a normal capo, and the guys at Onboard have managed to incorporate a tuner in the side of the unit. It appears seamless and when in use itís set at a good angle for the player to see. The tuner is designed to be used on 6- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars.

The PT-20 is a vibration-based tuner, which is basically a compact, clamp-on style of Onboard's PT10XL. Both the CT1 and the PT-20 are automatic, chromatic and display the measured pitch on a large, backlit display for easy tuning. These tuners ignore background noise - they feel the instrument's vibration instead of using sound. The tuner works on electric and acoustic guitars, basses, violins, banjos, mandolins and more. These tuners will be a welcomed addition to any player who performs live, especially if alternate tunings need to be made quickly. The audience will never have to hear you tune!

The tuners use a standard CR2032 watch battery, providing months of consistent use. Like many of the tuners in this line they feature a 6-arrow segment display, multi-color backlight and a well-designed clamp to clip on any instrument. The arrow display is very easy to use: 3 arrows on each side of the note indicate whether you're flat or sharp. The backlight is perfect for live use Ė if the display is red, youíre not in tune; if the display is green, youíre in tune! The clamp on the PT-20 is a very versatile ball-and-joint type so you can swivel the tuner in any direction for a clear view. The clamp features rubber contacts so itís safe to use on your instrument and is strong enough to hold it in place until you want to take it off. One-touch on/off makes operating the PT-20 and CT1 as simple as can be. Hold the button down for 2 seconds to turn it on and repeat to turn it off. The A-Ref can be calibrated from 430Hz-450Hz by double tapping the button while the unit is on and pressing the button once for each increment you want to advance the frequency.

The PT-20 has a retail price of $39.95 USD. The CT1 has a retail price of $54.95 USD.

Learn more about the Intellitouch family of tuners here: http://www.tuners.com/default.php

The Onboard Research Company was founded in 1996 in Carrollton Texas and have been making innovative products for musicians with great success. After launching the original Intellitouch PT-1 they have caught the attention of many musicians in the industry including: Jimmy Bruno, Wolf Marshall, Mimi Fox, Michael Manring, Martin Taylor, John Pizzarelli, Andy Summers and Adrian Legg to name a few.

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