Intelli IMT-500 Digital Chromatic Tuner Review

Back in the stone age when I was learning to play guitar, there were only two ways to tune an instrument. By pitch pipe, or by ear. I wasn’t good at either method and was always frustrated that my guitar sounded ‘funky’ when I would play it. Years later, when the first electronic tuners were introduced, I was over joyed. Finally an easy way to keep my instrument in tune. They only problems with those tuners were the fact that they were somewhat bulky and required either a quiet room or a patch cable to connect to the instrument’s pickup. Things have changed since those days. Now we have nifty strobe type tuners like the Waves Strobe-On-String tuner that I reviewed not long ago and the Intelli IMT-500 Digital Chromatic Tuner that I’m going to show you today.


Hardware Specifications

Tuning range: 12-note full range chromatic, A2-B7

“A” Calibration: 430-449 Hz in 1 Hz steps

Tolerance: +/- 0.5 cents, uses quartz crystal

Power source: 3V CR2032 coin cell battery

Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.8 x 2.2 inches
Weight: 1.2 oz

The IMT-500 is chromatic tuner. That means you can use it to tune a guitar,
banjo, mandolin, ukulele or any other stringed instrument.

intelli imt-500 tuner

It is wonderfully compact, so you should have no problems whatsoever finding
room for it in your instrument case.

The front of the tuner has a diamond shaped LCD display and three buttons. The
power button is in the center, with the flat and calibration buttons on either

intelli imt-500 tuner

On the back of the IMT-500, is a plastic squeeze clip.

intelli imt-500 tuner

The jaws of the clip have soft rubber pads to protect the finish of your
instrument. What would you want to clip this tuner to your instrument? Well,
because that’s the way it will detect the tuning… The IMT-500 does not have a
built in microphone or a connection for a patch cable. It relies on vibration to
detect string tuning.

intelli imt-500 tuner

When it is clipped to the headstock of your guitar, banjo or in my case, a
ukulele, you can swivel the display to provide the best viewing angle. The
Intelli IMT-500 was included with my uke when I bought it and I have been using
it for over a month now and don’t even remove it from the headstock. When I am
ready to put the instrument back in its case, I just swivel the display and fold
it down so that I can close the case. It works great and is always there when I
need to check the tuning.

intelli imt-500 tuner

Unlike tuners that use a built in microphone, this tuner doesn’t have any
problems with interference from ambient noise.

When you pluck a string, a simulated needle will appear on the display to show
if the current string tuning is flat, sharp or just right. When the needle stops
right in the middle, that particular string is in tune. There is no need to tell
the tuner which string you’re trying it tune. Everything is automatic. As you
can see from the image above, the LCD is large and bright. It’s very easy to see
in any lighting conditions.

The calibrate button is used to tune an instrument to a pitch other than A=440 Hz. 440 Hz is the default pitch which equals C with no flat.

The IMT-500 also has a “Quadra flat tuning” feature that allows you to tune your guitar
/ banjo without removing a capo. Just press the Flat button 1 to 4 times depending on the capo’s
position and then tune like normal.

I really love this little tuner. It’s small, so simple to use and can be found for less
than $25. The only thing that would make it even better would be a battery level check on the display. That’s just a very minor gripe though… I actually plan to buy a second one to have on hand just in case the
one I use every day happens to break. If you play any stringed instrument,
you need to try the Intelli IMT-500 Digital Chromatic tuner. Trust me, once you
use one, you’ll probably never use anything else.

17 Responses to “Intelli IMT-500 Digital Chromatic Tuner Review”

  1. While the design is great and its use is convenient, I really don’t like this tuner. While it is so easy to use this seems to be relatively inaccurate or at least rather imprecise tuner. The needle jumps to a position and stays there rather than move around a bit. which is the norm with most high quality tuners. This seems to be proven when I test this against other tuners. It generally is a bit off the mark, which is a real problem with an uke. I play up-the-neck a lot and being off a little bit translates to really dischordant tones above the 5th fret.

  2. What tuner do you like to use? I’m still a beginner, and am still only playing within the first 7 frets or so. I guess I’ve not yet run into the issues you’re referring to.

  3. […] this instrument proved to be a bit challenging. I used my favorite chromatic tuner, the Intelli IMT-500, which works great with my Pono uke, but for the Banjo-Tam, not so much. I’m not going to […]

  4. […] Intelli IMT-500 Digital Chromatic Tuner (see my review). […]

  5. […] every time I sit down to play (or try to play) a song, is a tuner. A month ago, I took a look a the Intelli IMT-500 tuner. I like it very much, but like any good gadgeteer, I’ll be happy to dump it for something […]

  6. […] my trusty Intelli IMT-500 digital tuner, I verified that the intonation is right on the money up and down the neck. No […]

  7. […] Intelli IMT-500 digital […]

  8. […] tuned to itself using harmonics, tuned using a pitch pipe, tuned using a digital tuner like the Intelli IMT-500 or eNote and even tuned with the help of a PDA or smartphone. That’s right, you can use the […]

  9. […] doesn’t even have a peg head. When I saw this, I was a little worried that my favorite tuner (Intelli IMT-500) wouldn’t be able to clip to the top. My worries were unjustified, it works […]

  10. […] always on the lookout for an easier to use and more compact tuner than my current favorite, the Intelli IMT-500 Chromatic Tuner. That’s why the Korg DT-4 caught my eye the other day while flipping through […]

  11. Donny Davidson on April 20th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    The eNote Tuner is better in that it is quite reactive and it is noiseless on the guitar. I think it is just about perfect. You can’t beat the little Korgs and you should keep a few around (gig bags, with your effects peddles), and I’m not saying the IMT-500 is a bad tuner, but the ENote did it one-step better. Actually a few steps better.

  12. After running through a lot of different tuners this is the one I’ve settled on. Once you become adjusted to it and learn to tune UP to pitch I find it to be extremely accurate and quick. I play guitar mostly – also mandolin – and it work well with both instruments. I am very happy with this little tuner.

  13. […] Green when you have successfully tuned the string to the correct note. My current fave tuner is the Intelli IMT-500, but I’d like to try this one. You can find it on Amazon for about […]

  14. I got one of this recently. It serve me well and I’m happy tuning with this little toy.

  15. I have recently purchased a IMT-500 chromatic tuner and within a few hours of tuning my violin the tuner went into default mode. Currently i am unable to tune my instrument as it has lost its data of settings. Could anyone give me advice on how to return the tuner back to normal so i am able to tune my violin confidently?

  16. I have this tuner but I don’t know what setting to use to tune my concert ukulele. Can someone help me out?

  17. @Alex There’s nothing special that you need to do other than turning it on… Then just pluck each string on your uke to tune it. GCEA

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