Consider attempts to “improve” on the guitar. MIDI guitar was supposed to be the “next big thing” and while it has definitely earned its place and evolved, it currently maintains minority status (but we'll see if Fishman's Triple Play can change that). When Line 6 came out with the first Variax in 2002, it didn’t matter that it nailed the sound of iconic electric and acoustic guitars; people didn’t understand why such great electronics were saddled with such a pedestrian guitar. And when Gibson introduced Robot Tuning, you could hear the snickers as forumites world-wide said “Puh-leeze . . . I already know how to tune a guitar.”
But then cracks started to appear in the walls of traditionalism, and those cracks are getting bigger. There’s a confluence of events that’s sweeping guitars along into a future that, while it might not replace the guitar of the past, is certainly re-defining what a guitar can be.
Gibson keeps refining the robot tuning concept to the point where it’s now an optional-at-extra-cost add-on (called Min-ETune) for their latest models. You want Robot tuning? You got it. You don’t want it? That’s fine, too. And for me, their high-tech guitars have worn well. I still love my Digital Les Paul—because it’s a great guitar first, and a high-tech showcase second.
Now we have the Peavey AT-200 with Antares Auto-Tune, reviewed in issue #199. Peavey knew they had to hit a price point, and $500 street is pretty amazing for a guitar with those kind of capabilities. But the guitar itself has the Peavey cred: Great value, by sacrificing frills to retain feel and playability.
The lesson of these three guitars is obvious: The guitar is what matters. You can trick out the chassis all you want, but that chassis had better rock.
And that’s crucial, because there is a downside. The marriage of high-tech electronics with any musical instrument is an uneasy alliance; the instrument might be forever, but the technology is, by definition, doomed—it may be a few years, or it may be decades (I have digital synths over two decades old that still work fine). At some point, technology will move on—but in these three examples, it will leave behind a fine guitar that can be used on its own merits.
So what’s the next gen guitar? Simple—a classic guitar with a high-tech overlay. And should the fateful day come when that overlay is no longer relevant, your next gen guitar returns to being a classic. —Craig Anderton
by Craig Anderton
For either bundle, the claim to fame is audio quality combined with Pro Tools software—so we dig deep, with real specs, to find out the true story
by Phil O'Keefe
by Craig Anderton
The Effects forum's long-running yearly pedalboard contest is on again, and it's shaping up to be a really close one in several categories. It's all about sharing the latest version of your board, and seeing what everyone else is rocking. Lots of great boards—as well as ideas that may be useful to you—are on display.
|Gaps Between Songs—How Do You Fill the Space?
Sometimes you need a few minutes between songs to prep for the next one—to change instruments, call up different settings, or load presets. What are some of the best ways to fill that time when you're not actually playing? This thread delivers the answers.
|Does Your Band Wear Costumes Onstage?
Popular music styles are often associated with performance art, and "the show" is a big part of the concert experience for many fans. Does that mean you have to wear matching suits or suitable costumes? Sometimes it's not a bad idea.
|Do You Use Hardware Controllers or Analog Mixers for Mixing? If Not, Why Not?
It's hard to beat a mouse or trackball for ultra-precise, detailed mixing work, but don't overlook the utility that a good hardware controller or analog mixer can add to your setup. In what ways, you might ask? Click the link to find out…
|I Have a Peavey AT-200 Guitar with Auto-Tune Here
The AT-200 is causing quite a stir—not just for the Auto-Tune technology, but for the musical implications that extend far beyond simply playing in tune.
|Where Are the Next Generations of Audio Interfaces?
USB 3 has been around for a while now, and even Thunderbolt is starting to show up not only on Apple's latest computers, but also on PC systems—so where are the new computer audio interfaces to go with them?
|Dave Smith and Ikutaro Kakehashi Receive 2013 Technical Grammy Award for the Development of MIDI
All of us at Harmony Central congratulate Dave Smith and Roland Corporation's Ikutaro Kakehashi for earning the 2013 Technical GRAMMY Award, which was awarded for the development of the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) specification.
|Hal Leonard Publishes “Behind the Boards”
"Behind the Boards: The Making of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Greatest Records Revealed" features intimate, first-hand accounts of the making of some of rock’s greatest hits via interviews with the producers who recorded them.
|Radial introduces the SixPack 500 Series Power Rack
The SixPack is Radial's sixth power rack in their ever-growing 500 series range; it accommodates both the 15 500-series modules already available from Radial, as well as those made by other companies.
|Shure Accepting Entries in the 2nd Annual “Get the Gig” Internship Competition
Entries are now being accepted for the summer 2013 program, where one winner will get an “inside look” at the music industry and learn how to outfit some of today’s most talented artists and bands with the right equipment to produce the best sound possible—in the studio or on stage.
|DigiTech’s Dirty Robot Synth Pedal for the iStomp Offers Sub-Harmonic and Filter Synthesis
The Dirty Robot e-pedal for DigiTech’s iStomp programmable pedal transforms the sound of a guitar with sub-harmonic and filter synthesis, providing low-end sub-octave and synth-like filter sweeps.
|Toontrack Expands their New York Studio Legacy Series with Third Volume
New York Studios Volume 3 is the much-anticipated continuation of this series. Recorded in the renowned Avatar Studios and featuring several vintage and custom kits, this session was also recorded by the same team: engineer duo Neil Dorfsman and Pat Thrall, together with drummer Nir Z.
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