PROS / This clip-on guitar tuner uses a piezo sensor for vibrations but there is also an internal mic if you don't want to clip it onto your guitar.
CONS / The in-tune indicator may be a little too subtle. We wanted more of a visual change in the display.
VERDICT / The Korg AW2G is accurate to within +/- 1 cent, is easy to see in all lighting options and is small enough to pack around wherever you need it.
If you are looking for a reliable, accurate guitar tuner, the Korg AW2G is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner. This particular tuner not only comes with a piezo sensor for detecting the strings' vibrations in the headstock, but it also comes with an internal microphone to pick up sound waves as well. The screen may be a little difficult to read from a great distance, but that isn't anything too troublesome because this particular tuner isn't meant to be viewed from great distances.
Korg has been around since the 1960s. The company has been working with advancing musical technology from the beginning, and this particular piece of equipment is no different. Korg strives for a high level of excellence and ease of use with all its products. Though Korg's headquarters are located in Tokyo, Japan, the company makes sure to provide good customer service wherever its customers are located.
Ease of Use
The Korg AW2G clips easily onto the headstock of the guitar. It has pads along the clamp so you don't have to worry about it scratching your instrument. We were pleased with its double ball-joint that allows you to move the screen so you can be sure to see it whether you are right or left handed. The tuner is small enough that you can hide it behind your headstock so it isn't as obtrusive as you get ready for your performance.
The screen itself is fairly easy to read in close quarters. While the orange light and black text scheme are great for close distances the further away you get, the more distorted it becomes. This isn't going to be a big problem because the tuner is meant to be used in close proximity. The display is digital and shows the chromatic note name. We were pleased with how easy it is to tell if a string is in tune. It shows you whether you are sharp or flat and picks up the changes you make quickly.
Korg also includes a variable backlight to help make the screen more visible in a variety of conditions. The three illumination modes are off, soft and auto. The off mode is best for brightly lit locations. The soft mode is for more dimly lit locations and if you want to conserve battery power. The auto mode is the brightest light for locations with poor visibility. This mode switches to soft mode to help conserve battery power when not in use.
Though the unit is small, the display is fairly large and shows the important information – the note you are tuning. It doesn't clutter up the display with useless information. All of the buttons are located on the back of the unit, which keeps it small and clean looking. We were impressed that such a small package is as accurate and easy to use as this tuner is.
There is no point in purchasing an acoustic guitar tuner if it isn't going to be accurate to the degree you need it to be. The Korg AW2G is set up with a detection range of A0–C8 (27.50–4186Hz). The reference pitch is 410–480Hz in 1Hz steps, and the precision of the unit is +/- 1 cent. While the detection range is larger than necessary for a standard guitar, we liked the fact that it definitely covered all the bases when it comes to flexibility.
We would have liked to see more of a visual indication of when a string is in tune, but that isn't a big deal. There is a triangle on either side of the note on the display. When the note is in tune, there is a triangle on both sides. If the note is sharp or flat, there is only a triangle on one side. Though this is a good way of showing whether the note is in tune, it may be a little too subtle at times.
There are two options for tuning. You can use either the piezo sensor or the internal mic. The piezo sensor measures the vibrations and converts them to an electrical signal. Having this option is the best choice when you have to tune in a location with a lot of noise. Since the piezo sensor works by picking up vibrations, some tuners have a difficult time picking up the low E string. This particular clip-on guitar tuner, however, has such a broad tuning range to account for this. The internal mic is a good alternative if you don't want to clip the tuner on the guitar, and it works just as well.
The standard viewing angle of the screen is horizontal, but it has a mode that will change the view to vertical with sharp being at the top of the screen and flat at the bottom. The screen also comes with an auto function that will turn off the backlight when it doesn't detect any noise. This extends the life of the battery by as much as 150 hours. If you do ever need to replace the battery, it takes a CR2032 lithium battery. This battery is widely available and easy to replace.
There are times when you may need to tune your guitar to a specific concert pitch and not the standard pitch. The Korg AW2G lets you adjust the calibration so that you can be in tune with whomever you may be playing with. Don't worry about the long-term changes because it keeps track of your adjustments so you don't have to make them every time you turn on the tuner.
Help & Support
Although the Korg AW2G tuner is easy to use, we are always pleased when we see that a manufacturer offers help and support. Korg has both a phone number and an email address that you can use to contact the company if you need help with the product. We would have liked to see a digital copy of the manual online, but this wasn't a huge issue for us because of the other support options available.
The one flaw that we found with the Korg AW2G is the fact that the screen may be a little more difficult to read from a distance. The meat of the matter is that it is unlikely that anyone will run into this problem because no one will be tuning their instrument from a great distance away. The tuner is small, lightweight, portable, accurate, adjustable and well made. We definitely found this guitar tuner worthy of the number-one slot.