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Self-tuning guitars?
Written by Gizmo   
Sunday, 07 October 2007 20:27
That's right, Gibson Guitar have announced the introduction of an automatic tuning system for their high-end electric guitars.  The system, which uses piezo-electric pickups and powerful servo-driven tuning pegs, is capable of automatically tuning a guitar within just a few seconds.  It can even re-tune a guitar to pre-selected alternate tunings.

According to MIT's Technology Review, the system was developed by Chris Adams of Tronical.  Adams, a german engineer and avid guitar player, has spent roughly the last ten years developing the system, for which Gibson aquired exclusive distribution rights in January.

The system uses a special auxiliary set of pickups constructed of piezo-electric materials rather then the normal magnetic pickups, because the piezo-electric devices have a more narrow focus and can thus 'zero in' on the particular string in question, for more accurate tuning information.  This information is then routed to a DSP inside the body of the guitar.  After processing by the DSP, commands are sent directly down the strings to the servos in the neck, which then adjust the string accordingly.

The system is generally intended to be turned off, because normal playing can confuse the tuning system and cause it to fight the musician.  Rather, the idea is to switch the system on for just a few seconds between songs, strum an open chord to allow the system to retune, and then turn it back off.  The system is controlled by a 'master control' knob mounted on the body of the guiltar.

While the system is not the first of it's kind (there have been automatic electronic tuning systems available as custom-made devices for several years) it is apparently the first of it's kind to be available any where near the $900 price point that Gibson is targeting (plus guitar, of course).



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