Behind every great man is an even greater woman, or so the old adage goes. In touring band circles the saying is more specifically behind every great axe-man/woman is an even greater guitar tech. The black-clad unsung heroes of performance are all too often ignored despite the omnipresent rattle and jangle, battle cry of the densely populated keychain-come-utility belt, especially where product innovation is concerned. Did anyone ever spare a thought for Pete Townsend’s overworked underlings? Where would The Edge be without someone to ensure that the 400 guitar changes that happen every show go as smoothly as possible? Where would Slash be without someone to wipe the Jack Daniels and cigarette ash off his near priceless riff-sticks? So it’s about time that someone paid them some heed and lightened even one small part of their load. In swaggers Ernie Ball with their space-saving, eyestrain relieving CradleTune clip on tuner.
We all know how important tuning is so I’ll leave that sermon in the drawer for now. We all know just as well how good even the surliest six-string feels when the intonation is up to code and the fretboard has had some well overdue love and affection. This is where the CradleTune steps in. Three sturdy, heavy duty cast plastic legs elevate the neck from any level surface to a comfortable working height and relieve the joint of excess tension, affording you access all along the length of your instrument. The compact design means that no matter where you are, if there’s fixing that needs doing it can be done without jostling for the right position like a restless puppy.
Clip-on, vibration reading headstock tuners have proliferated exponentially in the last few years with many even replacing the trusty, old stomp box model. Personally, I’m not a fan of seeing them used in a live setting but their application at home, or more practically in the studio, is undeniably sound. With expensive mic-pres and a fabled, monolithic desk at your disposal the last thing you need is an el cheapo buffered tuner gumming up your signal path, so clipping one on is like slipping into stealth mode for sound-spies everywhere.
Functionality can be limited, however, and this is where Ernie Ball’s design comes to the fore. Enlarged lettering, brighter LCD display and more pivot than a chicken’s head, this 2” unit is packed with four different instrument modes as well as chromatic pitch read meaning you can absolutely tune anything it’ll clip onto.
Whether you’re on the road or just at home tinkering with your toys, Ernie Ball have simplified one of the more awkward aspects of guitar ownership. Fret dressing, string changing, intonation adjustment and any of the various complicated elements of instrument upkeep are infinitely easier with the sleek, sturdy, simple and sympathetic Cradle Tune keeping the patient in check.
Hits and Misses
Big, bright display