Gettin' in tune...

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gibson is introducing a guitar that will tune itself, and that will retune to alternate tunings with the selection of a switch.

As far as the latter part goes, the only novel thing is that the guitar physically retunes: players using gear like the Roland VG-88 have effectively had this capability via MIDI for years now.

Apparently, and not surprisingly, there are guitar players complaining about the thing. Most guitar players are pretty conservative when it comes to the instrument, and that's why this isn't the least bit surprising. My thoughts, as someone who has dabbled in guitar for half my life, is that this thing is basically a toy. Not because it's a bad idea, but because I expect that a machine with that many fine moving parts isn't going to like being knocked about in the case on the way to gigs, then pulled out and rattled around under the hot lights while a guitarist sweats all over it. And gigs strike me as the one place where this thing might be useful to a serious guitarist--I'm not sure the ability to instantly change tunings has as much application in a studio, where it might be just as effective to switch guitars not just for the tuning but the tone.

The argument that this will just make new players lazy isn't one I can take seriously: the difficult art of turning a knob until a string is at pitch (once the exclusive domain of monks in a remote Tibetan monastery only accessible to those who carried an exquisite and rare blue flower from the mountain's base to the top... no, wait that's how you become Batman, not how you tune a guitar, never mind...) ... as I was saying, this fine and rare art of guitar tuning has survived the transition from pitch pipes to affordable digital and strobe tuners. It's not really the most essential part of the art, you know, more like a brief inconvenience at startup. (And you realize, don't you, that pianists don't even tune their own instruments themselves at all, right? Wusses!)

But given that the first generation of this thing will probably spend all its time in the shop, and that guitarists in general have been loathe to adopt all sorts on innovations (there are still guitar players who treat digital delay the same way the Amish treat automobiles), I don't expect this thing to ever become cost-effective enough to be ubiquitous. It'll be a cute parlor trick for people with lots of money who occasionally play guitar, pulled out to impress friends with the "neat guitar I just got; see it's tuning itself, look at the knobs!" And that's as far as it'll go.

I think. Hey, I've probably been wrong more often than I've been right....


Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting! Because of the evils of spam, comments on posts that are more than ten days old will go into a moderation queue, but I do check the queue and your comment will (most likely) be posted if it isn't spam.

Another proud member of the UCF...

Another proud member of the UCF...
UCF logo ©2008 Michelle Klishis international gang of... international gang of...
смерть шпионам!

...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.

...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.
GorshOn! ©2009 Jeff Hentosz

  © Blogger template Werd by 2009

Back to TOP