This week a self-tuning guitar with robotic technology will launch to the delight of robot enthusiasts and rock stars alike. The guitar will let you jam out some heavy metal chords and then instantly retune for some lighter fare. The robot has a better “ear” than humans, which allows the guitar to instantly self-tune to a standard setting with six tuning presets the musician can switch to by pushing a button as they’re rocking out. The instruments are the first of their kind to have robotic ability. It works by a device in the bridge monitoring the pitch of the guitar. Motorized tuners automatically adjust the pitch of the strings.
The robot guitar automatically retunes itself within seconds after string changes. Its purpose is to make the instrument quicker and easier to tune than by doing so manually. Gibson believes the automatically tuning version of its Les Paul model will reduce tuning problems for not only novices, but for professional stage performers who don’t like to annoy crowds with lengthy manual tuning sessions between music sets.
Gibson explains, “every music lover and performer has had to suffer through the show—halting, mood-killing atonal droning of a loudly amped guitar being brought into tune…not anymore.”
Surprisingly, the robot guitar was not invented by a roboticist, but rather by a frustrated musician, Chris Adams. After getting annoyed with having to frequently tune his instruments, and not finding anything good on the market, he started envisioning a system that could switch effortlessly between multiple tunings, keep a guitar perfectly intonated, and even change strings for you. It took him 10 years to perfect the lightweight and foolproof auto-tuning system on the revolutionary guitar, but he says it was worth it. He adds that plenty of famous musicians have already made the switch such as, “Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins, he loves it. Matt Bellamy from Muse put it in his guitars. Uli Jon Roth, former guitar player of the Scorpions, says he actually can't live without it anymore.” He adds, “Steve Vai couldn't believe it unless he saw it, and once he saw it, it was still very hard for him to believe. He's telling everybody about how great it is. Steve Lukather really loves it. I showed it to Pete Townshend, and he wants to get to know more about it. That's just the start of it."
In fact, Adams says he has yet to meet a performer who doesn’t see the benefits of the robotic upgrade.
“I haven’t met anybody who doesn’t love it,” Adams says. “This is a dream for guitar players. They don’t have to think about tuning anymore. Many artists have told me that having this makes them so relaxed because they know that, no matter what, they will be in tune. If you are more relaxed, you have a better performance. You can be more creative.”
Gibson Guitar chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said, "We expect the Gibson Robot Guitar to sell out within hours on December 7, and have been taking reservations for orders as fast as we can answer the phone lines."
The instruments go on sale later this week at 400 Gibson dealers worldwide and cost about 2,900 USD. A maximum 10 self-tuning guitars will be available at each store in the Blue Silverburst Les Paul model. If successful, it is likely that other top name guitar manufacturers will jump on the robot bandwagon.
Posted by Rebecca Sato
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