Your question is a perfectly timed opportunity for a new product evaluation for my web site, so this will be it:
I can now give product reviews to five tuners, having used three for years, and now using a fourth. I also have tried the Intellitouch, but not for very long, as its appearance/inconvenience doesn't meet my needs. Many other tuners are both not instrument-mountable and not quick and precise enough.
For years now, I have been eagerly awaiting arrival of the Ultimate Compact Instrument-mounted Tuner. The state of the art keeps inching ahead, but we’ve still not found the *ultimate*. The ultimate would be instrumented-mounted and have:
- Instant, exact, unwavering reading once the attack has registered
- Easy sound isolation of the instrument being checked, total isolation if possible
- Easy readability, even in direct sunlight
- Battery-operated, with automatic shutoff
- Calibratible to outside 440
- Not an eyesore or an inconvenience if always mounted on the instrument (allows strap to be tucked around)
- Inexpensive, easily available
The Korg AW-1 ($59.95) mounts on a banjo *only* with a certain type of clip invented and marketed by Gryphon Stringed Instruments, a music store in Palo Alto, CA. They sell the special clip (sort of like a springloaded toilet paper axis, notched at the ends to clip onto the rim brackets) for $15, with clear instructions. I found it physically tricky to mount, but now it holds the tuner in a convenient place.
The tuner is like a lot of tuners that often give an ambiguous, drawn-out first response, and need to be tried again to get a sort-of-believable answer. That means I can't use it when tuning *must be exact and fast*, like most gigs. A bummer, as it means for most gigs, I need to bring my no-longer-available Conn Strobe Tuner, which is large, fragile, hard-to-pack, and must be plugged in -- the kind many luthiers still use.
But for most conditions (indoors or shaded, not requiring a fast and very exact answer), the AW-1 is a good tuner to leave mounted on the banjo, thanks to its tiny size and great convenience. So I'll use both it and the big Strobe sometimes, and sometimes the battery-operated (but not mountable) Boss-12H, which is the quickest, most reliable battery-operated tuner I have seen.