Intelli IMT-500 Clip-on Digital Chromatic Tuner

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.

intelli imt-500 tuner

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.


Product Information

Retailer:The Ukulele Shop
  • Small
  • Simple to use
  • Doesn't require a quiet environment to work
  • No battery level status
Posted in: Music Gear

28 comments… add one

  • PetersReviews December 10, 2007, 6:09 pm

    I’ve used this tuner and several clip on tuners that were similar and I’ve always had the same problem where they don’t work well in noisy situations like when other loud instruments are playing or there’s loud music in the background. The good news is for most people who just play at home or as a solo act, this shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Julie December 10, 2007, 8:41 pm

    You had problems with this particular tuner in a noisy environment? It must have been VERY noisy then to disrupt the vibration sensor.

    What is your favorite tuner to use?

  • PetersReviews December 10, 2007, 10:01 pm

    Hi Julie! I play in clubs where you can really “feel” the music. The band or the DJ is usually loud enough that the music vibrates my guitar more than the strings but using similar tuners to the Intelli, I’ve had problems when other instruments were playing near me at even medium volumes. Currently I use a Korg DT-7 but the best “portable” tuner I’ve used lately is a Peterson Strobo-Flip. The accuracy of the Strobo-Flip is .1 cent which is far above many tuners that have an accuracy rate of +-1 cent (the human ear can usually hear a difference of +- 2 cents). The casual user probably would love the Intelli tuner for its looks and ease of use but I’m super-picky! :)

  • Julie December 11, 2007, 8:12 am

    I think I’ve seen that tuner in various catalogs. It’s very expensive isn’t it? As a professional, I can totally understand that you’re ‘picky’. :o)

  • Smitty December 11, 2007, 8:35 am

    I’ve used other acoustic tuners of this ype and have had the same result as Peter: if there’s a loud band or orchestra playing, the sympathetic vibrations from your instrument will be stronger than what your plucking of a single string will produce. But if you’re in anything resembling a quiet environment, or there is no other music (noises like A/C, screaming kids or traffic, etc.), there is usually no problem.

    Julie, where did you find it for $25? Mine got broken, so is slowly getting harder to trust, and I’m going to need a replacement. It was $60 a few years back, so this model is appealing because of it’s smaller size and smaller price.

  • Julie December 11, 2007, 9:11 am

    I actually got this tuner free with the ukulele that I recently bought. But, you can buy it for $16.50 from the same store on eBay that I bought the instrument from. Check here.
    I highly recommend this store, so don’t be afraid to order one.

  • Matt January 20, 2009, 5:38 pm

    I bought this tuner today and when I pluck the string I get no response. What am I doing wrong.

    • Julie January 20, 2009, 7:20 pm

      @Matt: Have you turned it on? Does it light up? It should at least show 440 at the top and be backlit in green. When you pluck a string, the ‘needle’ should start moving and it should show the note in the center of the display. Are you using this with an acoustic instrument?

  • laurie February 4, 2009, 8:05 am

    Matt – it has to be clipped on to the guitar itself to pick up the vibrations – not just near your guitar.-

  • Jim in Indy March 3, 2009, 12:23 pm

    I’ve used this tuner for over a year now. ‘Had no problems whatsoever – even in on stage in noisy environment, which stands to reason since it depends on vibrations, not mic input. ‘Can’t say I’ve ever played a venue in which someone else’s instrument caused mine to vibrate enough to effect the tuner. Wow! Anyway – nice little item. I got mine on eBay (Quality store) for a total price with shipping of $20.90. ‘Works great om my old Tele and Martin acoustic.

  • Dwight April 5, 2009, 6:47 am

    It says tuning range: 12-note ull range chromatic, A2 – B7. Does this mean it cannot tune bass guitar strings lower than the A – open? Meaning the E & B open.

    • Julie April 5, 2009, 8:06 am

      @Dwight I think it would tune the bass just fine. I’ve used it on guitars, banjos and ukuleles. It can tune A,B,C,D,E,F,G.

  • ANNE BERNEDETTE October 2, 2010, 3:32 pm

    would someone explain how to use the imt 500 tuner. i tried tuning my 6 string acoustic. i thought each time you pluck a string the string letter would appear in the tuner. help please

  • Julie October 2, 2010, 5:19 pm

    @Anne Is the tuner lighting up when you turn it on? I’m assuming that you have it clipped to the headstock of your guitar? If you’ve just put on brand new strings, you will need to tighten them enough so that they will produce a note when you pluck one.

  • Anthony October 30, 2010, 9:49 am

    Hey everyone i have just discovered this tuer an it sounds awesome! Would you advise me to but that one or the upgraded one, intelli 600?

    @julie, which store on ebay did you talk about? (the link is dead.


  • angel chavez January 6, 2011, 7:08 pm

    I just got my intelli imt 500 from but I can’t figure out how to use it, I got new strings. I thought that when I pluck a string the intelli would tell me what string it is and to tighten it or loosen it. I have tightened it while I pluck it to see if it’ll end up saying the right letter for the string but it doesn’t and my strings end up getting really tight and and I don’t want to break them. Its somewhat tuned and I play it so I got the strings a little used to the playing but I still can’t figure it out….someone please tell me everthing about how to tune with it

    • Julie January 6, 2011, 7:53 pm

      @angel The tuner won’t tell you which string number that you’re plucking, but it will tell you the note that the string emits when you pluck it. Are you using it with a guitar? You’ll want to tighten the new string close to the right note and then hone it in with the tuner.

  • mika January 14, 2011, 11:42 pm

    I love the Intelli IMT-500 works amazing and love the fact that I can be anywhere (noisy environment or not) and still be able to tune my guitar. It was recommended by a music shop here where I live and it was only $24.99. It is also easy to tune…definitely recommended…

  • Kyri June 20, 2011, 9:27 am

    the tuner is great and works with my acoustic, classical and electric guitar fine I have recently bought an acoustic bass and will be starting to learn that however the tuner isn’t picking up the notes because I think it maybe to low what do I press for it to be able to pick up bass notes?

  • don stewart March 25, 2012, 11:36 am

    l broke the clip on on my Intelli chromatic tuner Imt-500,can l purchase a replacement

    • Julie March 25, 2012, 5:12 pm

      @Don I think you’ll probably have to purchase another tuner. I doubt they sell just the clip part…

  • Janet Cloninger March 25, 2012, 2:23 pm

    @don stewart You’ll need to contact the manufacturer. The Gadgeteer is a product review site. We don’t sell or support products.

  • cori February 24, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Thanks so much Intelli IMT-500. I’ve had it for years and never knew how to use it.

  • Graeme March 24, 2014, 1:22 pm

    I have two of these great little tuners but they have both broken from the clip. Is it possible to get replacement clips? I have tried superglueing which works for a while but….

  • mike December 7, 2014, 11:09 am

    Is there a way of turning the light on? I can’t read the tuner in dark environments.

    • Julie Strietelmeier December 7, 2014, 11:59 am

      @mike With mine the light is always on. If it’s not coming on with your tuner, it might mean that the battery needs to be replaced. Just a guess.

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