By EMIL MOFFATT • JUN 29, 2015
A Nashville instrument-maker has spent millions of dollars over the course of a decade trying to perfect a self-tuning guitar.
It wasn’t until this year, however, that Gibson, the brand behind the iconic Les Paul, started making automatic tuners a standard feature on most of its electric guitars.
With the press of a button, tiny motors twist the tuning pegs and within seconds, the guitar is ready to play. The tuner is a small black box tucked out-of-sight on the back of the headstock.
“You know, people see it and they’re kind of taken aback at first,” says Craig Anderton, a long time musician-turned-executive vice president for Gibson.
He remembers showing off the device to a longtime guitar tech in Santa Fe.
“I pushed the button and I strummed the strings and I watched it and he goes ‘I can die now. I think I’m in heaven.’”
Anderton says while there’s a common perception that a self-tuning guitar is only meant for beginners, he notes that it can save valuable time for even experienced musicians – whether they’re in the studio or on stage.
“Basically, I think that all that really matters is that once you try it, you can’t help but get addicted to it,” he said.
But many musicians who’ve tried the automatic tuning guitars say they don’t like them at all. Some of the pros who frequent Corner Music in Nashville are flat-out rejecting the 2015 Gibsons.
Find out why pros are rejecting the new tech, here:
Gibson Says Self-Tuning Guitars Are Here To Stay, Even As Purists Fret | Nashville Public Radio.