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TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review

The world’s first mini polyphonic tuner gets a spec-heavy upgrade

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review
(Image: © TC Electronic)

Our Verdict

The TC Electronic PolyTune Mini 3 is a shrunken version of TC’s best tuner pedal yet. It’s easy to use, durable and highly accurate - all you could ask for from a tuner.

For

  • Multiple tuning modes
  • Switchable buffer to preserve tone
  • Easy to use
  • Seriously accurate

Against

  • Too many features?
  • Side-mounted power input gets in the way

Guitar World Verdict

The TC Electronic PolyTune Mini 3 is a shrunken version of TC’s best tuner pedal yet. It’s easy to use, durable and highly accurate - all you could ask for from a tuner.

Pros

  • +

    Multiple tuning modes

  • +

    Switchable buffer to preserve tone

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Seriously accurate

Cons

  • -

    Too many features?

  • -

    Side-mounted power input gets in the way

Taking cues from the major-league success of the previous PolyTune Mini, the PolyTune Mini 3 is a guitar tuner pedal designed to make your tuning experience easier, quicker and more accurate - all while taking up less space on your pedalboard. It’s a pedal packed full of useful features, including different tuning modes, switchable true and buffered bypass and more. With this set of features, it’s easy to see why the PolyTune Mini 3 is a firm favorite amongst electric guitar and bass players of all styles and ability levels.

Out of the box, the PolyTune Mini 3 is reassuringly heavy for a mini pedal. It feels solid and durable, giving us great confidence in its ability to withstand the road-wear we’ll be subjecting it to. Like all other TC Electronic pedals, the casing is a solid-metal affair, so our ‘affordable pedal’ nerves are calmed from the get go.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

On the surface, the PolyTune Mini 3 looks exactly like its predecessor. The casing and layout is largely the same, but the Mini 3 has some added extras up its sleeve. An extra button has been added to the pedal to help you switch between tuning modes, including standard, dropped tunings and capo modes, and a pair of external DIP switches offer variations on the built-in BonaFide signal buffer - enabling you to decide between true bypass, buffered and a buffered ‘display always on’ setting.

In order to test this tuner, our trusty Boss TU-3 was removed from our ‘board. There’s no denying that the TU-3 is a workhorse tuner - but the super-bright screen of the PolyTune Mini 3, along with the multiple tuning modes make us wish that the Boss was more feature-heavy. Being able to flick between needle, polyphonic and strobe tuning modes is a nice touch, and we appreciated having it at our disposal during both live performances and recording sessions.

The exceptional accuracy of the PolyTune Mini 3 made our musical life much easier than it was before. In chromatic mode, the TC is accurate to within 0.5 cents - which is virtually impossible to pick out with regular hearing - and in strobe mode, it’s accurate to a hair-splitting 0.02 cents. Although the visuals of the strobe mode took some getting used to after years with the TU-3, we quickly settled into it - and now it’s like second nature.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

After using the PolyTune Mini 3 for a while, it’s very clear to us that TC Electronic has convenience at the heart of their operation. Like most guitarists, we’re desperate to fit extra pedals onto our pedalboard - so being able to have such a powerful tuner in a small package is a lifesaver.

Fighting with a power cable in order to switch the tuning modes became a little too frustrating for us not to mention - but as tuning preferences don’t change often, these features were a ‘set-and-forget’ affair and we quickly got over our grievances.

We’ve found that throughout our time playing guitar and bass, TC Electronic has been one of the companies to look out for when it comes to nice touches. Most notably, some killer footswitch functionality. Not only does it turn the tuner on and off, but simply hold the footswitch down and you’ll toggle between standard and drop-D tuning. Again, a very simple feature - but for those who jump between tunings on a regular basis, this could make your tuning experience a whole lot easier.

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: Conclusion

In all honesty, it’s difficult to find fault with the TC Electronic PolyTune Mini 3. The tuning accuracy is exceptional, it’s easy to read, easy to use and packed with useful features. The PolyTune Mini 3 will cater for electric, acoustic-electric and bass guitarists all the same, and it’ll last a very long time if treated well. TC has shown us again that affordable pedals can be as good - if not better - than their competition. 

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Mini review: Specification

  • Accuracy: 0.5 cents (chromatic), 0.02 cents (strobe)
  • Modes: Polyphonic, Chromatic, Strobe
  • Good for: Electric, Electric-Acoustic, Bass guitars
  • Power: 9V 100ma
  • Contact: TC Electronic

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I’m a Junior Deals Writer here at Guitar World - the ideal job for a gear nerd like myself. I, along with help from the rest of the eCommerce team, maintain and update our buyer’s guides and keep you up to date with the latest and best deals on killer gear. Before working on Guitar World I was a guitar salesman at a local music store, so I know a thing or two about matching people with their perfect instruments. I’ve also worked for online music distributors RouteNote, and toured the UK and Europe with my old band Hypophora. In my spare time, you’ll catch me writing songs, taking my greyhound, Simba, to the beach, or getting very nerdy about coffee.