Gibson Powertune Self-Tuning Guitars

gibsonknob.jpg

MIT’s Technology Review has a piece about the latest line of Gibson guitars that feature self-tuning mechanisms inside that can adjust string tuning on the fly.

The system begins with an additional set of pickups mounted underneath the strings that are used specifically for the tuning process. But unlike conventional pickups for electric guitars, which are magnetic, Adams uses piezoelectric pickups. These pickups are made from a material that creates an electric charge when stressed or pressured, such as by the sound waves coming from the guitar’s strings.

As the strings are played, the Powertune processor compares their actual frequencies with the desired notes and sends instructions–tighten the string this much, loosen the string by that much–to tuning pegs equipped with strong, tiny servo motors mounted on the back of the guitar’s head. Because onstage interference could potentially degrade a wireless signal, the system uses the strings themselves to send the signal.

Gibson’s Self-Tuning Guitar [Technology Review via Gizmodo]

This entry was posted in Art and Instruments, guitar, powertune and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Gibson Powertune Self-Tuning Guitars

  1. Anonymous says:

    You’re 3 years late with this post :P

  2. Not a Doktor says:

    and yet you’ll only play Stairway to Heaven (badly)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Personally…. going from Standard Tuning to Open G and then to Drop D… would be a life saver and not having to have 3 “other” guitars with me. Someone is still going to have to tune it up with new strings.

  4. pork musket says:

    Boo on this. There are already way too many ways for a guitarist to ‘play guitar’ without having to bother with that pesky ‘music’ thing. Being able to tune your instrument is fundamental. No shortcuts allowed.

  5. doggo says:

    Yep, that’s cheatin’. I’m with Pork Musket on this one. Enough of this, I gotta gig to get to, where’s my DS Lite?

  6. Halloween Jack says:

    Yeahhh… not a real good idea to not be able to tune your guitar yourself. (I’ve seen guitar tuners that clip on the headstock that can help you stay in tune, but you still have to twiddle the machineheads yourself.) On the other hand, that feature that lets you switch between alternate tunings is pretty handy.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m a guitar player, with a Gibson guitar, and no matter how many times I get it set up (by a Gibson tech, no less), it continuously falls out of tune after a song or two. This is terrible on stage, as it means I’m tuning almost between every song. Yes, it’s just that I need a new guitar, but my point is I don’t think this technology is meant to let guitarists “cheat”, but to help them. Duh.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Make it for violins, if for no other reason than having to tune 50 violins for 50 first-year-and-most-can’t-tune-it-themselves students every morning gets real old, real fast.

  9. skuatt says:

    D O N O T B U Y A G I B S O N R O B O T
    G U I T A R !!!!!!! just purchased a Gibson Robot guitar. It was DOA. I got Gibson to have it shipped to their factory. It has been over 3 weeks and I still have not heard a thing about it, even after over 6 phone calls and over a dozen e-mails. I suspect there are numerous problems with this technology and they are inundated with returns. Given that I paid for it over a month ago and still have no guitar is a statment for the incompetence of Gibson. They have really gone down the tubes since the days of Kalamazoo, Michigan. They are now a different company. I have numerous Gibson and Martin guitars as well a custom built and old collectors guitars. It is a shame that Gibson is so out of touch with their customers.I have been playing jazz for decades and the guitar for 40+ years. I have never experienced anything like this before.

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