About robot guitars---Is it true?

Yori Halford

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Hi all,

I was surprised to read the caption about Gibson robot guitar in a guitarshop site in Japan.

"The circuit of the robot guitar cannot be repaired if it is broken."

Is it true??

P1010381.jpg

My daughter is now 20 months old. Time flies! :)
 

Tony M

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Yes, fly it does. Mine just turned 26 and I could swear she was not born that long ago.
 

Col Mustard

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Good Question! I want to know the answer too. When the Robot guitar first was announced, I had a moment of 'AHA!" feeling, because I had been predicting that someone would invent something to address the tuning issue. I'd thought for a long time that this was a great thing for Technology to do: motorize the tuners and link them to a sensor. I had joked with other musicians that when you bent a note, your guitar would bend it back to 440... ;D

But I did not buy one. Neither did very many other players, because Gibson stopped hyping them and discontinued the Robot, (I think). I looked at them in wonder, loving the idea of it. But I thought they were too expensive. I believe that many players, myself included, suspected that the technology would be unreliable, and were unwilling to bet $3000 on a promise from Nashville. We weren't willing to bet even when they marked them down. When you prepare for an important gig, you make sure everything works perfectly in the week before. Who needs a mystery when it's your turn at bat?

Who needs a guitar you can't fix with a screwdriver, a soldering iron and some chewing gum? That was my conclusion. I'd like to live in a world where the computer controlled tuning is built like a battle tank and works flawlessly, and where if the chip fails I can pull it out with a needle nose plier (or my fingers) and insert a spare from my guitar case and go right back to the music. And where my guitar has a 'manual' switch so I can bypass the offending robot and tune it like my 2007 SG Special. Are you listening, Gibson?
 

Dorian

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This interested me, too, so I did a bit of browsing and found something right away on wikipedia. The first sentence is not well-written, but it seems that even getting batteries is a problem(?)

Post-sale service and repairs

So far, there are no spare parts for sale to the general public from Gibson, nor from Tronical, and the batteries and another lesser importance adds are long ago out of stock, so in case of maintenance or repair needed, the owner should send the guitar to one of the four Gibson robot guitar maintenance authorized dealers in U.S. There are forums specialized in commenting the multiple electronic and mechanical issues in the robot tuning systems. [9] The Dark Fire production was closed (v2), and new -Dusk Tiger and Firebird X - are the new versions. The v2 is radically different from v1.
 

dbb

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Great info on this thread....and I had a feeling that Robot idea was a lot better on paper than in reality.

I always though a player should be able to tune by ear, no tuners, like we did forever back in the day. Tuners are great for certain uses, but never replace an ear.
 

RodS

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I have a 2009 Ebony Robot SG (Second or Third Gen), I bought it because it was a great deal. Robots are not big sellers and will probably go the way of the dinosaur but it plays and sounds awesome. The tuning works great, I have never had an issue with it, and the Gibson website lists spare robot parts in their online 'store'. It can be tuned manually, you just pull out the tuning pegs to disengage the servo before you do it and push it back in when done. All in all it is a great guitar, I really enjoy playing it.
 

Col Mustard

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that's great to hear! I still love the idea of the Robot, and I'm glad to hear from someone who has one and uses it, and has a good experience. Personally, I don't know anyone who owns one, which is why I like this forum so well.

dbb's right (as usual). ya gotta be able to tune yer axe, or you have no future as a performer. us old guys tend to say stuff like that, because we learned our craft when you had to tune to a harmonica (?) or a tuning fork (b*tch), or the old Fender Rhodes, but not the piano onstage (suspect) or yer band mate (are you kidding?)...

for the younger guys... who knows. IMHO, our civilization is less reliable than Gibson's Robot guitar, and we may all be making music on acoustics when the power browns out. when that happens, all this technology we like to mess with becomes inert and we are left with our ears, our fingers, voices, sense of rhythm and timing and our souls, which is really all we need. But before that happens, I predict that the Robot guitar will become cheaper and more reliable and everyone will buy one. Then our old analog SGs made out of actual wood will be cooler and more special than they are now, if you can imagine that.
 

RodS

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I have only scratched the surface of what the robot tuning can do, I don't play in alternate tuning's and I am not a professional that plays hard onstage all the time. What I like about the robot tuning is as a casual player it is accurate, relatively fast (faster than manually tuning it) and a charge last a long time for me. I charge the battery once a year. Who knows, if they give up on robot guitars because they don't sell well, then maybe it'll be collectible one day. For know, I am going to enjoy playing it because the tone is great and it is much lighter than my Les Paul.
 

dbb

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[quote author=Col Mustard link=topic=22081.msg264102#msg264102 date=1327260158]
we may all be making music on acoustics when the power browns out. when that happens, all this technology we like to mess with becomes inert and we are left with our ears, our fingers, voices, sense of rhythm and timing and our souls, which is really all we need.
[/quote]

Great point - and that's when solar and wind and other alternative energy sources will be useful, to occasionally power up the batteries and run a few amps!

Several years ago I played at some CA hippy/new age festival and the stage was solar powered. Worked fine!
 

Col Mustard

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[quote author=dbb link=topic=22081.msg264112#msg264112 date=1327268826]
Several years ago I played at some CA hippy/new age festival and the stage was solar powered. Worked fine!
[/quote]

whoever set that up and did the sound and the lighting... those are the folks who might be able to fix your ailing Robot guitar... maybe unemployed Alembic techs... ;)
 

MKB

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One great thing about the Robot SG's; awhile back there were vendors that would buy a Robot SG, then part it out on ebay. You could get a Robot SG body in like new condition for $300-400. I bought one of these and installed a full Graphtech Ghost acoustic/midi system in it; the routing for the Robot electronics was a massive help in installing the Ghost hardware. It was really cheap; got a gloss red SG body for $300 or so, and it turned into a terrific SG. The battery compartment in the back is a perfect fit for a 9V battery.
 

oldrockfan

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I guess i am just old and stuck in my ways but I really don't have much interest in the robot guitars. I am very happy with the old school guitars that gibson has made for decades. Work fine to me and I'm very happy with the ones I have. Same goes for amps... the new digital modeling amps seem to be getting more popular but I still love the old school analog tube amps. Something about the sound of a tube amp that just does it for me. I am sure by the time my boys are in their 40s, musicians will be playing robot guitars and amps will be all computer based but I plan to keep my old school guitars and amps.
 

Col Mustard

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that's right, keep 'em... they'll only get more valuable as long as they're not modded or blown up... and if the Robot guitar is one that didn't sell... then maybe those still unmodified will become rarities and collectible in the future... ;D Imagine a truly useless and unplaybable Robot guitar, with obsolete PCBs inside and rusty strings from hanging on a pawnshop wall... getting snapped up by a collector and sold for big money, to hang uselessly somewhere else.

I think it's amusing that collectors usually focus on items that didn't sell well, because there aren't very many. I went through a period where I collected fishing lures. I liked the old wooden ones with glass eyes, hand painted, hand built in small factories in the midwest. when the prices started to get ridiculous, I quit buying them and decided I had enough. I have a nice set of about twenty. Old wooden lures seem to age quite well, and grow more attractive even if they are cracked and flakey. Like old guitars. *grins But the ones that command the highest prices on the collector market are the ones that weren't any good. They didn't catch fish, so fishermen wouldn't buy them, so they got discontinued quickly and now are worth $$$$$$$$. :funny: :idiot: :rofl:
"these lures only catch FISHERMEN..."

We'll see what the collectors of the future think of Gibson & Fender's Marketing experiments that fizzled. See the Zoot Suit SG on the auction block... step right up... place yer bids... next up: a Rusty Robot... played once by mistake...
 

gtone

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While it's true that Gibson has experienced some technical challenges with its robot guitar line, the company is fully prepared to back up their product. As a result, they will gladly exchange your defective robot guitar for a brand new, unplayed Reverse Flying V, as they inexplicably have a spare warehouse full of those (jk...) ;) ;D
 

Tony M

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"I think it's amusing that collectors usually focus on items that didn't sell well, because there aren't very many." - Col Mustard -

"Why are the original Explorers and V's so desireable? They were flops.........They are the Edsels of the guitar world." -Tony M -
 

dbb

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Most collectors are not serious players, of course with some exceptions, so rarity and snob appeal matter more than playability.
 

gtone

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The original Explorers and V's may have been initial sales flops, but arguably because they were so far ahead of their time. The '76 reissues and subsequent continued sales since then suggest they have achieved some level of "classic" status. The brutal, grotesque ugliness of the Reverse V almost assures it's place in history as the Edsel of the Gibson product line. I'd be surprised indeedy if they ever became some sort of classic or were ever reissued. Ironically, the latter might assure their collectibility in the future. Gibson brass is likely not too proud of that marketing ploy - win some, loss some, I s'pose...
 

RodS

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I like the robot I bought, it plays and sounds great. I have had the guitar for 2 years, obviously a blow out price because I bought it for more than 50% below the asking price and about 75%-80% below the listed MSRP on Gibson's website. It is a great guitar.
 


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