A while back, Gibson unveiled its Robot Guitar. It was a pretty cool instrument with self-tuning technology, although it was pretty fiddly and while it was impressive at the time, in retrospect the tuning time was a little longer than most players would like. It also had to be built into the guitar, required a unique tailpiece, tuners, internal processor and pot system to operate, and was a bit fiddly to use. The latest self-tuning system used by Gibson (called Min-ETune) was developed by Tronical, and it’s not just available on a bunch of different Gibson models: you can also buy it separately to install in the axe of your choice, and it’s available in a variety of three-a-side and six-a-side versions. That’s right, you can install this system on your Strat, your Ibanez RG, your Taylor acoustic, your Gibson Flying V, your D’Angelico jazzbox and a huge variety of other instruments. There are downloadable templates for you to figure out which of the many available models suits your guitar.
I checked this system out at NAMM and I was really impressed by how flawlessly it performed. It’s much faster than the old Gibson Robot Guitar system, and can be easily installed with no permanent modification to your guitar. (In certain rare situations you might need to slightly widen the tuner post holes, but that’s pretty uncommon as far as I can gather). I think what I like about it the most is that it’s really streamlined and fuss-free: when you think about it, using an alternate tuning is one of the most organic ways imaginable with which to alter your guitar sound, and Tronical seem to have gone out of their way to make the system as unobtrusive as possible. As I write this I’m eyeing off my Les Paul and thinking about how handy it’d be to go from Standard tuning to Drop D to Drop C to Devin Townsend-style Open C at the touch of a button.
Visit Tronical’s website or watch this video featuring Coheed & Cambria tech Kevin Allen for more info.