Gibson’s Robot Guitar features a special bridge and motorized tuners. You turn the knob, it automatically tunes your strings. You want an alternate tuning, it twiddles the tuners for you. MSRP: $4000, retail around $2500.
When I heard about it, I was skeptical. When I saw and heard it myself at CES this year, I was convinced by their own demonstration that it was a bad idea. And now — no surprise at fucking all – it’s on clearance. $1400, anybody? (That’s still $300 more than a standard SG Special.)
Why did it fail? Because innovation is bred by need, and failures are bred by gimmicks. Musicians do not need this technology. If you are blessed with perfect pitch, you already have an electronic tuner on your pedal board, or a $3 tuning fork. I don’t need hundreds of dollars of extra shit on my headstock to do what my ears already can. It’s actually pretty insulting. And this is a classic dumb move where a company comes up with a product and tries to invent a need for it, only to find what any real consumer could have told them before they wasted all that money: no need exists. So suck on the excess inventory of your failure, you arrogant bastards.
Gibson, if you want to drag guitar technolo into the future, stick with the MAGIC system and the HD.6X-Pro digital Les Paul. Bring the costs on that down to levels normal human beings can afford and you might have a cool creative tool. Someday, someone will improve on what Les and Leo did in 1952. Automated tuners? Fail.