Now this is cool: Gibson just announced a “robot guitar” with a built-in auto-tuning system. Servos in the string winders are coupled with pitch detection to let the system automatically put itself in tune. You can choose both standard and custom tunings, letting you switch between standard and, for instance, Drop D tuning in a couple of seconds with the touch of a button:
(Music Trivia: ever wonder why Big Rock Musicians lug about 30 guitars onstage with them? It’s not just the guitarist’s gigantic ego…OK, most of the time, it’s not just their gigantic ego. Sound and style are part of it, but the need to quickly switch between different tunings depending on the song is at least as much, if not more, of a driving factor. It’s just no fun waiting for the guitarist to retune six strings to another set of notes while trying in vain to keep up stage banter, so they just bring extra guitars, pretuned to the various song requirements)
The tuning system was created by German engineer Chris Adams and his company, Tronical GmbH. It’s available both as an after-market add-on to many existing guitars under the name PowerTune, and as part of the limited edition Gibson pictured above.
For more details of this cool (but still a bit pricey) technology, check out the Gibson site at http://www.gibson.com/robotguitar/index.html.