I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but at some point I lost interest in tap-dancing all over huge, sprawling pedalboards. When putting together a new rig in advance of some fall touring, I opted instead for the smallest solution I felt could reasonably suffice. What I've not lost interest in, apparently, are enormous individual pedals. Once I'd Velcro-ed-on only four things, I had no real estate left for a tuning solution – or so I thought. Enter the Pedaltrain SST Space Saving Tuner.

The SST is a scant 0.875 inches wide by 4 inches long and is low enough to slide underneath most interconnects. The aluminum housing (with ABS plastic ends) can find the smallest interstice and live there, while its bright, full-size display shows you all you'd ever need from a tuner. Female audio and standard Boss-style power connectors extend via a flexible dongle, allowing you to relegate all jacks, cables and plugs to the underside of the board. While Pedaltrain recommends that you send signal in parallel via the tuner out jack of a volume pedal, you can also route audio straight through the always-on tuner (there is no provision for bypass).

In use, the SST (which is fully chromatic and can be calibrated from A=438 to A=445), tracks reasonably well, and performs comparably to other pedal-form tuners on the market. It's distinguished only by the small form factor and a unique approach to connectivity, but the end result is a truly novel product that elegantly solves a very real problem.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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