The Gibson Robot guitar is a revolutionary limited edition guitar that was produced in December 2007. Given the fact that these were produced in limited quantities, they have become collector's items fetching large amounts of money at auctions all around the world. In this post, we'll take a look at the development of these musical pieces, from their inception, invention, premise and advantages over other conventional guitars.
The Gibson Robot Guitar, also known as GOR is essentially a Les Paul since the body construction is typical of the Les Paul design harking back to the 1950s. At the same time, this guitar uses a dedicated computer that tunes the guitar regardless of whichever genre you are playing.
Invented by Chris Adams, the guitar took this individual ten years to perfect the technology. Chris came up with a system that would use only a few seconds to tune a guitar, whilst enabling it to switch effortlessly between tunings. Known unofficially as the Mercedes Benz of guitars, the Gibson line of guitars is synonymous with unmatched quality and progression in terms of inclusion of top-of-the-line technology.
Tune-o-Matic : The Evolution
The tune-o-matic design is the Gibson robot guitar's defining characteristic, and is a standard for all Gibson guitars. It's important to note that guitar strings are essentially strings and that they aren't the best vibrators. As a result, the tune-o-matic system allows for varied distance between guitar strings to enable the guitar player to come up with a number of different tonal variations. This system can prove really difficult for someone starting out with guitars, since getting the right amount of tuning can take trial and error, wasting time that could have been spent working on their music and getting better at it.
The Gibson robot guitar departs from this norm, and includes an onboard computer that helps the guitar tune itself. This guitar has a Master Control Knob which can be rotated to the desired preset, after which the player can strum the strings and give the computer a few seconds to analyse the sound and adjust the strings as needed.
The technology behind the Gibson robot guitar tuning system is based on the Powertune system. Individual piezo saddles transmit the variations in pitch to the guitar's microprocessor, which is then directed to a small servo motor that determines the amount of tension needed on each string to normalise pitch.
The robot guitar has four knobs which play the part of controlling tone and volume. However, the Master Control Knob, also known as MCK takes over the bridge pickup knob's space, which acts as a push-pull knob; when it's in the down position, it acts as your ordinary standard control would act. When in the up position, the knob accurately coordinates the tuning process by sending guitar power and tone to the PCB found on the neck of the guitar. When you play the guitar, the robot tuners are automatically activated.
Each Gibson robot guitar features a blue nitrocellulose finish, giving it a unique look and extending its durability. You get a certificate of authenticity, as well as a power adaptor to charge the system's Lithium Ion battery.
Intonation is made easy with the Gibson robot guitar due to its Master Control Knob Function. Acoustic guitars have the tendency to throw out awkward notes every once in a while. For someone just starting out, this can be discouraging and enough to send them off looking for a more 'compliant' musical instrument. You can access the Gibson robot guitar automated mode by turning the MCK to "I". After this, you can press the control button for three seconds, after which you can pick up your desired string and tune it accordingly. When the green LED light on the MCK lights up, turn the saddle screw half a turn clockwise. If the LED light comes up red, turn the screw anticlockwise. All the strings should take you less than two minutes, and you have yourself a perfectly-tuned instrument.
One for The Hall of Fame
The Gibson robot guitar joins an illustrious list of other limited edition Gibson guitars. Examples of those that made it to the Gibson hall of fame include the following:
The 1958 Flying V (only 81 produced).
The 1958 Explorer (only 100 produced).
The 2006 Jimmy Page Custom Authentic Les Paul (the first 25 were signed and now typically sell for about 49,000 to 61,000 pounds).
The 1958 Les Paul Standard (only 434 produced).
Charging Your Gibson Robot Guitar
Charging your Gibson robot guitar only takes 90 minutes given the lithium rechargeable battery system which allows you to tune your guitar for up to 200 times before requiring another recharge cycle. Make sure to use a shorter charging cable to cut on the time it will take you to charge the robot guitar.
The Gibson robot guitar is made of a carefully carved out mahogany chamber that incorporates perfect tone, balance and weight. This instrument is light enough to give your back and shoulder a break whilst using it, and provides an acoustic loudness incomparable to other guitars currently in the market. We hope that this post has given you some unique insight into the workings of this limited edition guitar and given you the reasons why you should consider getting yourself one to keep and play for a long time to come.
Joseph Sedillo is a guitarist and songwriter. He enjoys blogging about many music-related topics, especially ones related to music technology. If you're looking for a Gibson, try Music Shop Leicester.