“It’s like having a smartwatch display strapped to your headstock”: Taylor Beacon review

This feature-packed clip-on tuner also boasts a metronome, timer and flashlight – and it won't break the bank

Taylor Beacon
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

The Beacon is an easy-to-use tuner with a super-clear display and a handy metronome mode, and best of all it is priced so it won't eat up the budget for that Builder's Edition acoustic you've been saving for.

Pros

  • +

    Cheap.

  • +

    Bright, legible display.

  • +

    Easy to use.

  • +

    Chromatic, guitar, bass, ukulele and violin modes.

Cons

  • -

    No selectable sounds on metronome.

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Taylor is looking to take the headstock crown with its new Beacon. More than just a guitar tuner, this little multi-mode device has got a metronome, countdown timer, stopwatch and flashlight built in, as well as an internal rechargeable battery and a full-colour LCD display. At just shy of $/£50, it’s up there with TC Electronic’s PolyTune Clip price-wise, but with an entirely different approach.

Getting started needs no explanation. The sprung clip and multi-axis, rotatable screen angle means you clip it on, angle it how you like and you’re ready. There are multiple buttons on the Beacon – on the side there’s the home button, which also fires it up; on the other side there’s a ‘Confirm’ switch, while on the top we have up and down cursors and a Select button. 

First thing’s first: we have to comment on that screen. Visually, it’s like having the sharp display of a smartwatch strapped to your headstock: crisp, bright and very easy to read. 

You cycle through each of the Beacon’s modes using the Home, Select and Confirm button, which takes a bit of getting used to as you might want to use the arrows to move up and down through the list of options, but you can’t! The tuner has chromatic, guitar, bass, ukulele and violin modes, and it’s a doddle to use once you’ve got your button-pressing sequence in order.

Everything reacts at speed to the pitch of your notes and the colour display really makes a difference. The metronome can pulse at tempos between 30-208 BPM, in 11 different time signatures, and you get an audible ‘bleep’ with a visual representation, too.

The bleep can be set to three volume increments, but there are no selectable sounds, so you’ll have to stick with the bleep. Likewise, it will only produce a quarter-note pulse with no facility for subdivisions. 

Taylor Beacon

(Image credit: Taylor)

The timer modes will come in handy if you’re timing a song, set or practice session, and the flashlight is engaged by pressing the two cursor arrows. The resulting light is similar to the flash on your phone, only less bright.

So, a bit of a jack-of-all-trades? We’d certainly recommend the tuner and metronome modes. The others are useful, but ultimately already taken care of by the phones we carry everywhere, so we’d see them as bonus features rather than reasons to buy. Overall, it’s all about the tuning, display and time-keeping.

Specs

  • PRICE: $49 / £47
  • FEATURES: Headstock tuner, metronome, countdown/stopwatch timer (90 mins), flashlight
  • TUNING MODES: Chromatic, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Violin
  • METRONOME: 30-208 BPM; one tone, three volume levels
  • DISPLAY: Colour LCD
  • POWER: USB-rechargeable battery
  • CONTACT: Taylor Guitars

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Stuart Williams

Stuart is a freelancer for Guitar World and heads up Total Guitar magazine's gear section. He formerly edited Total Guitar and Rhythm magazines in the UK and has been playing guitar and drums for over two decades (his arms are very tired). When he's not working on the site, he can be found gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.