Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tascam TG-7 Guitar and Bass Tuner / Metronome Review

Aloha!

Well, the endless succession of tuner reviews continues. Someday I will get caught up on these, I promise…

Today we are looking at the Tascam TG-7 guitar and bass tuner with a built-in metronome. This little tuner tries to do it all, so let’s see how it works in the real world.

For starters, this is a fairly small tuner, about 6 x 2 x 1 inches, or the size of a glasses case. It has a built-in tripod mount as well as two flip-out mounts that help it stand up on a table better. These mounts have slots in them so you can clip it onto a music stand, if you want.

There are ¼-inch jacks for input and output on either end so you can put it in-line and use it live. It has a built-in speaker with a volume wheel for the metronome and tone functions, and an internal microphone for acoustic instruments. Switches on top turn the unit on or off, turn on the backlight for the 5-inch wide LCD display, and change the mode from mute to thru-put. The tuner, metronome and tone select switches are on the front, as well as the setup and up and down select switches.

The TG-7 runs on two AAA batteries (included), with no provision for an AC adaptor. Tascam says that it will go for about 300 hours on a set. I find that kind of hard to believe.

The tuner has 12 different modes that include guitar, bass, chromatic, drop-D, drop-G, open-D, open-G and five user-definable scales. It has a full range from A0 to C8, and it is supposed to be accurate to within 1 cent. The tuner can be calibrated from 349.0 to 499.0 Hz, in 1 Hz intervals. There are plenty of tuner display modes: meter (bar graph, animated strobe, fine, and needle.

Should you wish to use a reference tone to tune to, there is a built-in tone generator that will play notes from B1 to B6. The volume of this function is controlled by the aforementioned volume wheel on the side of the tuner.

And lastly there is a metronome that will count at between 30 and 300 beats per minute. There are 16 pre-programmed time signatures, so you will probably find what you need in there. There is a tap mode where you can match an existing beat and the metronome will continue on for you.

This stuff all sounds really good, but there is quite a list of stuff that I do not care for with this tuner.

For starters, it feels like a toy. The switches on the top are small and cheap feeling and since one of these is the ON/OFF switch I am reminded of it every time I use it. The display is wide, but it is narrow and it is dim so it is hard to see in most lighting conditions, even with the backlight on.

The menu structure is not terribly intuitive, and the manual is lame at best. There are quite a few mysteries every time I start monkeying around with the presets. It is almost best to leave alone and use it the way it came from the factory.

The metronome tone is harsh, but it is still not loud enough to hear over most normal playing. They strident sound of it cannot be customized, so you either have to put up with it or turn the volume down and stare at the tiny display screen.

On the plus side it seems to be accurate, but the rest of the stuff that is wrong with is overwhelming so it is not a very good value.

The Tascam TG-7 tuner has an MSRP of $79.99 and a street price of $49.99, but I see them on sale for under twenty bucks on occasion. But even at that low price, I will have to say pass on this one. It tries to do everything, but does none of it well. There are a lot better tuners out there for the money.

Mahalo!

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