NEWS: Gibson launches Dusk Tiger – latest Robot Guitar evolution

Why do you do this to me so close to Christmas, Gibson? Gibson has officially launched the Dusk Tiger, the latest evolution of the technology used in the Robot Guitar and the Dark Fire. The thing that really strikes me about this model is that it reminds me of the Les Paul Studio (the original old-school version preferred by Les himself, not the current stripped-down Les Paul model). The wood finish, the flat top and switchable Hi-Z pickups all bring to mind that classic model.

The Dusk Tiger features both magnetic and piezo pickups with separate outputs for each string; 18 user-programmable alternate tunings with third generation Robot Tuning Technology, Chameleon tone editing software (see pic below – create your custom tone and tuning presets on your computer then transfer them to the guitar via the RIP box, then apply 4-band EQ to the magnetic and piezo pickups individually); myriad coil-splitting options including single coil, humbucker, humbucker out of phase and humbucker parallel; and LP-Z switchable impedance (named in honour of Les Paul himself, a huge advocate of low impedance pickups).

The body is a Grade-A marblewood top joined together with strips of ebony on a tone-chambered mahogany back. The neck is quarter-sawn solid mahogany with an ebony fretboard and 12 inch radius.

I really dig the metal pickup surrounds parts and the rounded diamond shape of the pickup selector switch plate. I saw Jimmy Vivino playing one in the Tonight Show Band a few weeks ago and it looked great on camera, which is really important, hehe.

The Dusk Tiger is available now, with only 1,000 to be sold worldwide.

CLICK HERE for my Dark Fire review.

LINK: Dusk Tiger on

NEWS: Gibson Dark Fire on sale December 15

The good news is that Gibson has set a December 15 on-sale date for the Dark Fire, the latest incarnation of the Robot Guitar. The bad news is that they will be produced in a limited run of 2,000 and will only be sold at 400 stores worldwide, with each store getting 5 guitars. I guess that’s still slightly better odds than, say, the 1,987 Ibanez RG550MXX guitars produced a few years ago (I have one in Roadflare Red, woo!!!) but it’s still not a lot. So as of today you have 12 days to be very, very good so Santa will call in a few favours for you on the 15th. Failing that, get a blanket and thermos and be prepared to camp outside your local guitar store overnight like a Star Wars fan on opening weekend.

Here’s the press release:

Gibson Guitar announced today the limited availability of the Gibson Dark Fire guitar. Embracing the spirit of innovation and technical advancement that inspired the original Gibson Digital guitar in 2006 and Robot guitar in 2007, Gibson’s Dark Fire guitar is poised to change the music industry overnight.

The world’s most technically advanced guitar will rock the music industry to its core and will soon become the most sought after musical instrument of its time.

An Exceptional Look

Gibson’s flowerpot inlay graces the headstock of the Dark Fire as seen on other classic Gibson models such as the Byrdland and the 1911 F4 Mandolin. In addition to traditional touches, Gibson developed an entirely new look that required many changes in the manufacturing process.

The Dark Fire has a nitrocellulose finish created especially for this exclusive 1st run. The mahogany back and neck of the Dark Fire are given a satin finish, while the headstock face is sprayed with a gloss finish. The Dark Fire’s chambered mahogany body helps deliver an optimum combination of tone, balance and weight.” The result is a comfortable, lightweight guitar that is acoustically louder, with increased sustain and resonance.

Outstanding Playability

Taking much of its inspiration from the 2008 Les Paul, this instrument features a super fast and comfortable ergonomic neck shape with asymmetrical carving and with Perfect SetupTM. This is made possible by a computerized PLEK system, a computer controlled device scans and dresses a guitar under actual playing conditions, strung and tuned to pitch.

The tune-o-matic piezo bridge has been redesigned. It is much sleeker and the bridge now locks to the studs with new technology and works better. The nut is made of a new high tech material which includes Teflon (allowing for the tuning action to be smoother and faster [without breaking strings] and has a higher density than bone.

The bridge lock and the new frictionless faux bone nut insure maximum tone and sustain. The locking tuners insure that tuning and string tension are maintained during lots of hard playing.

The instrument will feel like butter in your hand even after 4 or 5 hours into a gig.

Tone Monster With Chameleon Tone Technology

The Gibson Dark Fire combines two of the most popular pickups, the P90h in the neck position and a Burstbucker 3 in the bridge position. Both are capped with new carbon fiber-like pickup covers, designed to match the Dark Fire’s finish. There are 6 low noise relay switches giving you more than 20 separate combination of pickup coils leading to an incredible variety of tonal possibilities.

The resulting pickup combinations are directed through optimized traditional volume and tone controls and then through a studio grade 4 band parametric equalizer/preamplifier. This awesome Chameleon Tone Technology is a pure analog signal path preserving the authenticity of instruments tone while giving unimagined tonal possibilities.

Add A Little Acousticness Please

The Gibson Dark Fire gives you the ability to adjust and blend the acoustic sound from the piezo bridge pickup with the sound from the guitar’s traditional pickups using a revolutionary rotary potentiometer which is part of the pickup toggle selector. Twisting the toggle head blends the piezo acoustic sound from 0% acoustic sound [100% traditional pickups] to 100% acoustic sound [no traditional pickups].

The piezo bridge pickup consists of six individual piezo pickups, one for each saddle/string, which can be brought out as individual audio channels.

TV On Control Knob

The key to controlling the new functions of the Dark Fire is the Master Control Knob (MCK), which incorporates a sophisticated, full color matrix display (mini TV screen). The Dark Fire’s new MCK also controls the ability to change pickups, coils, EQ settings and tunings allowing the ability to adjust all quickly and simultaneously even several times during the same song.

There are 8 tone guitar settings that cover the most popular guitar, and 18 different guitar tunings. In addition, there are 24 user defined guitar setting. All can be accessed with a quick use of the MCK.

Robot Gets Steriods

The redesigned power head tuners on the Dark Fire are radically faster and significantly smaller, compared to the original Robot Guitar tuners. You can access any preset tuning in less than one second, so you can change tunings in the middle of a song.

The powerhead tuners are lighter than traditional tuners. The tuners can be used either by hand or automatically without the need to engage them. The battery uses new technology that results in exceptionally long life and light weight.

Computer Hardware And Software Included

The Robot II comes with a small box about the size of a pack of playing cards that acts as a high quality studio preamp and a full interface to a computer using a firewire port. We call it a Robot Interface Pack [or RIP for short]. RIP can be used live, in real time.

With a headphone out, you can carry RIP in you guitar case and set up your playing environment anywhere with or without your computer. The RIP’s front panel carries a single 1/4-inch stereo input for the Dark Fire, a 1/8-inch headphone out with level control and a pilot light, which changes from dim blue to bright blue when the Dark Fire input is detected.

The rear panel carries two balanced 1/4-inch line outs, a FireWire connector to link to your amplifier or sound system and a hex connector that carries the analog outputs of each string, which can drive Roland or Axon guitar-to-MIDI converters.

To make full use of your laptop or computer, Dark Fire comes with two of the most powerful and popular software packages being sold today; Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig 3 (recognized as the industry’s most flexible amp and effects simulation software), and Ableton Live 7 Gibson Studio Edition (a multipurpose recording environment for everything from songwriting, to demos, to full-blown productions).

Both companies have collaborated with Gibson to ensure you can install all the software wand be using it in minutes (on any contemporary Microsoft or Apple operating system) and be harnessing the enormous music-making power of these studio tools. By working with the software developers, Gibson has fined tuned the software specifically for Dark Fire and included simple and powerful templates.

The combination of Dark Fire’s on board Chameleon Tone Technology and the software tools, dozens of effects and emulations puts a truckload of sound and thousands of dollars of capability in the hands of the player simply and easily.

Dark Fire Gets An Internet Community Site

Gibson is setting up a Dark Fire community site to allow the lucky owners of this exceptional guitar to share tips, get new information, and discuss how to best use this state of the art instrument.

One amazing capability that comes with the guitar is software that allows you to use your computer to change user presets and store them. Users can then publish their personal favorite preset designs.

More Dark Fire Gear Being Designed

Gibson Guitar is already developing a range of audio equipment designed specifically to work with the new Dark Fire, some of which is already scheduled for release in early 2009, including a small transmitter module designed to work with Bluetooth wireless technology, allowing you the ability to connect wirelessly to your computer or laptop.

Limited Quantity 400 Stores World-Wide

The world’s 1st run limited edition Gibson Dark Fire guitar will go on sale on December 15, 2008 at 400 dealers throughout the world. Each store will be limited to carrying only 5 of the sought after guitars and no guitar can be sold before 5pm on Monday, December 15, 2008. Once the guitars are sold out they will not be reproduced.

This highly collectible guitar will be available in the Dark Fire finish only. To find the list of exclusive Gibson Dark Fire guitar dealers go to

For more information, visit their web site at

NEWS: Gibson Dark Fire makes Robot Guitar look like tin toy

Just saw this one on the mailout. Gibson has refined its Robot Guitar technology to create the Dark Fire, which combines the self-tuning capabilities of the Robot Guitar with various connectivity options including regular analog, firewire or, oh sweet jebus, a hex connector that carries the outputs of each string and a composite piezo output. An optional adaptor connects this hex output to MIDI guitar interfaces such as those made by Roland and Axon, or allows you to divide out the six individual signals to their own balanced one-quarter inch connectors.

So it pretty much looks like this guitar is a hi-tech chimera combining elements of Gibson’s Robot Guitar, HD.6X-Pro, and BFG models. That’s a hell of a lot of firepower. Now all it needs is a Floyd Rose, hehe.

Here’s the press release from Gibson:

Gibson has released its new Dark Fire guitar. Analog or digital, the Gibson Dark Fire gives you a number of tonal possibilities to let you change the tone of the Dark Fire to match your environment. And it begins with a guitar’s most basic element — the pickups. The Gibson Dark Fire combines two of Gibson’s most popular pickups — the P90h in the neck position and a Burstbucker 3 in the bridge position. Both are capped with new carbon fiber-like pickup covers, impeccably designed to match the Dark Fire’s advanced fade.

Each of the Gibson Dark Fire Limited Edition First Run guitars features a dramatic Dark Fire nitrocellulose finish created especially for this exclusive run. It is one of the most striking finishes ever to leave a Gibson factory and is achieved by combining the time-tested techniques of applying a standard nitro finish with several new procedures that help bring out the natural beauty of the wood. The result is a stunning, deep gloss color that naturally highlights each piece of wood’s distinctive grain patterns. The mahogany back and neck of the Dark Fire are given a satin finish, while the top and peghead face are sprayed with a gloss finish.

Other exclusive design elements limited to the Dark Fire are a distinct nut made from a special Teflon-based material that allows for smoother and faster tuning action, a truss rod cover made from anodized aluminum, black top hat volume and tone knobs with chrome inserts, and a super fast and comfortable compound radius neck with Gibson’s PerfectSetupª, which is made possible by the revolutionary computer-controlled PLEK system, acknowledged as the most precise guitar set-up technology in the industry.

The original Robot Guitar took the guitar world by storm when it was first introduced in December ’07, but the new Dark Fire from Gibson is simply the most advanced guitar system ever developed. In fact, many of the technological advances on the Dark Fire were virtually inconceivable just a few years ago. The new Dark Fire is a virtual upgrade in every respect. The powerhead tuners, the tuning brain, the battery functions, and even the unprecedented sonic capabilities of a fully digital guitar and Chameleon Tone Technology. Imagine the ability to change your guitar’s tone to better match your environment. Everything is here to give you a new, stunning level of tonal and functional freedom that allows you the uninhibited release of your creative potential.

Gibson is also running a competition where you could win a Dark Fire and a Trip for 2 to New York City visit here for more details.

For more information, please visit

Are you reading this and spitting with terror cos you just forked out for a Robot Guitar? Never fear! The Gibson website states:

These incredible advances are not limited to owners of the new Gibson Dark Fire. Gibson players who bought the original Robot will be offered an opportunity to convert their guitars to Dark Fire specs with an upgrade kit that will be made available at a price significantly lower than its standard retail price (in fact, very close to cost). In both scenarios, Gibson’s aim is to keep all Robot products current and cutting edge, for all Gibson customers.

NEWS: Gibson robots multiply

Gibson has unveiled a few new additions to the self-tuning Robot Guitar line. The first Robot Guitar was a Les Paul, followed a little while later by an SG. I guess it was only a matter of time before the technology became self-aware, Terminator-style, and insinuated itself into Explorers and Flying Vs.

Both the Robot Flying V and Robot X-Plorer have a solid mahogany body, 22-fret ebony fretboard on a one-piece mahonany neck, and Gibson 496R neck and 500T bridge humbcuckers. The neck profile is a hybrid of the 50s rounded contour and 60s slim taper profile. Both guitars are offered in a red metallic finish, and each comes with a charger and power plug, battery pack and a black reptile pattern hardshell case with white plush interior and silver Gibson USA logo on the front.

The Robot Tuning System defaults to EADGBE but the guitar can also tune itself to Eb, drop D, Open G and more – as well as custom tunings. I reviewed the original Robot Guitar for Australian Guitar Magazine at the start of the year and I found it especially useful for going back and forth between standard tuning and the classic Devin Townsend tuning of CGCGCE.