Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Review – Better Tuning Than TU-2?

Review of: Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner

Reviewed by: Rating:4On June 5, 2013Last modified:September 26, 2016


The Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner is the long-awaited successor to the best selling TU-2. The TU-2 has been regarded as the standard for guitar pedal tuners for years, being used the world over by novices and professional guitarists alike. Does the TU-3 live up to the legendary status of the original TU-2? Should you toss your TU-2 for an upgrade? Our Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner review is here to give you the answers.


21-Segment LED Meter with Brightness Control.

High-Brightness Mode for Visibility Outdoors.

Accurate to +/- 1 cent.

Accu-Pitch Sign function to determine when tuning is complete.

Chromatic and Guitar/Bass mode (tuning by number with support for 7-string guitars and 6-string basses).

Guitar Flat mode for “drop” tunings up to six semitones below standard pitch.

Tuner mutes when activated.

Supplies power for up to seven Boss compact effect pedals (with optional daisy chain cable).

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We decided to put this side-by-side with our trusty TU-2 for our comparison since the TU-2 has been the standard for over a decade. The TU-2 is accurate to +/- 3 cents while the TU-3 brings us to within +/- 1 cent of perfect tuning. Most ears won’t really notice the difference, especially during live performances. But it is nice to know that your guitar is closer to being perfectly in tune.

And this enhanced accuracy is vital if you prefer to set the intonation of your guitars yourself instead of handing them off to a tech for adjustment. I found myself using the TU-3 to make a few minor adjustments to the intonation of a Gibson SG while working on this review.

This pedal has a real solid feel, too, as Boss pedals are known for their sturdy, road-ready enclosures. This is a pedal that will surely give you many years of use.

It also doubles as a power supply for your other 9-volt pedals as well with an optional daisy chain cable (just like the TU-2 and the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor). Great for powering your whole pedalboard in many cases.

For most players, the slightly enhanced tuning accuracy won’t warrant an upgrade from your TU-2. Also, while this is surely a solid and dependable little pedal, it’s actually a bit disappointing that Boss continues to play it safe in the marketplace letting products like the TC Electronic Polytune 2 and Sonic Research Turbo Tuner set the new standard for tuning accuracy and value.

So what’s the final verdict on the TU-3?

Overall Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner offers improved accuracy and response over the famous TU-2. While not quite the innovative leap forward in tuner technology, it still offers a solid upgrade to those seeking more accurate tuning in a compact pedal. It’s also a great tuner to use when setting up your guitar’s intonation. The TU-3 is a workhorse of a pedal that will keep your guitar in tune for years to come.

That concludes our Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner review. Thanks for reading.


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Beginner guitarists check out our guide to online guitar lessons.

Gabriel Tanaka

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