Most advanced guitar ever...

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by walrus, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    It's interesting that bass players seem much more open to instrument innovations than guitar players.
     
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  2. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    The only place I really see this being practical is in the studio. You wouldn't wanna be swapping pickups mid-gig.
     
  3. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Some...

    Its clear that a lot of musicians want to hang on to the past - the Valve Amps, the basic Strat/Tele/Les Paul and all 'analogue' pedal board. Its as if the likes of Jimi, Jimmy, Clapton etc had the perfect formula and how dare anyone deviate. The fact that there 'gear' was 'new and innovative', that helped them become the icons that pushed past the old guard, helped them create 'new' genres etc on 'new' and innovative (for its time) gear is irrelevant today. If you go chasing those tones, as a band, you get labelled 'copy cats', not as good as the originals (look at Greta Van Fleet as an example). The innovation didn't really stop in the 60's as we know - 70's and 80's too pushed innovation in technology, took musicianship to a whole new level beyond 'Hendrix' (its not Blasphemy - Hendrix stopped at 27, the people he inspired were playing Hendrix at early stages in their development and then had to 'push beyond' because they would of stagnated) - hence we had musicians like Satch and Vai, using technology and talent to create something special and unique. The 90's, though rebelled against the 'technical wizardry', the technical speed freaks which made 'guitar' accessible - like Punk had.

    The Les Paul is a 'great' example of the musicians pushing back against innovation. Despite Gibson releasing a traditional Les Paul - a guitar with no weight relief, no push/pull splitting and just the 3-way with Humbuckers, even going so far as to call it a 'Traditional', the majority (on the internet at least) were angry that the Gibson Les Paul Standard had weight relief, angry that it had 'push/pull' splitting and a push/pull phase changer even more angry at the 'High Performance standard that added the HP circuit so you could choose whether the Push/Pull split or tapped the coils for either pick-up among other things given more option to the guitarist to decide which they preferred. It also had the contoured 'easy access' heel joint, titanium adjustable nut, cryogenically treated Frets (I assume for harder wearing), Richlite fingerboard (no CITES issues, behaved like Ebony but was incredibly uniform and very hard wearing) etc. I can understand the 'robo-tuners' as that added too much mass to the headstock but I do think its a shame that Gibson are being 'forced' to go back to 'basics' instead of trying to be innovative, trying to give musicians as many options as they can to be creative. Not just 'sticking' to the basic formula.

    Personally, I think their biggest issue wasn't innovation (which I think some attributed to the 'price' - maybe rightly but they could still of paid a lot less for a 'Traditional') but the QC they had (or didn't as the case may be) chain. PRS have QC checks at numerous stages through out the build and, at the end of the chain, when that guitar leaves the factory, it will be an incredible and consistently superb instrument. You don't have to from shop to shop to shop to find a 594 that not only sounds amazing, but also doesn't have flaws in its fit, finish etc and in the 'colour' you want. If you want a 'Blue' 594, well you can buy a 'blue' 594 and it will be 'perfect' and within minor difference tonally (as all wood instruments are) but you may find a blue LP that sounds a lot worse than the tobacco burst but the tobacco burst has lumps of glue round the neck where it wasn't cleaned when the neck was joined and the blood Orange one sounds amazing but you can fit a finger nail in the gap in the neck pocket and the binding has stain bleeding into it in several places.... Issues and inconsistencies that a $3k guitar should NEVER have.

    PRS can get away with 'innovation' in a sense because he is always striving to improve the models he created without impacting on the quality. Whether that's putting mini-toggles to individually switch pick-ups between Humbucking and Single so guitarists can go from a single neck to humbucker bridge in just 1 flick of the blade. Innovations like the 513, 509 and 408 - now the 'Paul's' guitar with TCI PU's. Improving the tuners and bridges too. Even when he makes a 'traditional' Guitar because people can't afford to buy a 58 Les Paul or a 63/4 Strat, the 594 and Silver Sky have modern day improvements, PRS build quality and people wanting to buy them so much that PRS can't cope with the demand. Arguably though these are not 'innovative' in a sense but they do have parts that have been improved on over years - like the Gen 3 tuners and it was the development of the 635 PU's in the Silver Sky that led to the TCI pick-ups.

    Innovation doesn't always mean you have to come up with a whole new 'body' shape, new materials, new way of wiring/switching etc - it can be innovative in the way a split PU sounds, a new 'bridge' that adds much more to the resonance and sustain etc.

    I am sure Fender (or some other brand) could do something 'similar' with their Pick guards as the PU's are mounted on those. Some way to un-clip the pick guard and clip in a different one, one with a different PU arrangement. If you want to swap from an SSS to a HSS, HSH or HH arrangement, just unclip the old one and clip in the new one. It can be all wired up to the switches and knobs and the way it clips in connects to the output jack - no need to unscrew the pick guard and Fender (or who ever - even 3rd Party after market PU manufacturers) can sell additional Pick guards with different PU's all ready wired in so all you need to do is unclip the old and clip in the new - maybe without needing to remove the strings either - although that would maybe require a redesign of the Pickguard as this does go round the Trem and Neck on the top side. The 'cavity' for PUs and switches would also need to accommodate easy switching and some cushioning around the Guitar or Pick guard to prevent any movement and rattling. Sure beats having to buy a whole new guitar (not that I am adverse to adding more NGD's to my future) but a system like this could 'exist'. It may be cheaper than buying a Set of Humbuckers, sending them to Relish so they can wire them in to there pick-up holders and send to you. Also more versatile as you could have single coils and humbuckers in any arrangement already mounted in to a Pick guard with appropriate switching - inc mini toggles or push pull pots for Humbucker splitting too - just an idea and doesn't mean we will ever see something like this or that others don't see it as a 'gimmick'.
     
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  4. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    I disagree that guitarists are all stuck in the past. Line 6 made a ton of money renovating gear, mixing SS amps with digital FX. I had a Variax guitar for a while. The axe fx and kemper have gone huge.

    At the same time, companies continue to market vintage-y gear, and fans of vintage sounds do buy them. Some have extra bells and whistles like MIDI.

    Lots of different approaches.
     
  5. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    I agree completely about Gibson being held back by their customers.
    Great idea for exchangable loaded pickguards too.
    Hey, have a 'like' :)
     
  6. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    Looked like Darrell would manage it mid song!
     
  7. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    True, but note that apart from the Variax, all that stuff is off-board of the guitar itself. Guitarists will generally devour every effect or amp tweak that hits the market, or at least try it out.
    The actual instruments themselves, though have a much harder time gaining acceptance if they're at all radical. Sometimes, this is just due to price. I'm sure Parkers would have been played a lot more than they were if they weren't so astronomically expensive. Same with the Moog guitar, which could do all sorts of tricks but no one but the very well off was in a position to even look at one, let alone buy it.
     
    #27 Acnestes, Apr 24, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
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  8. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    Jack Casady, back in the Jefferson Airplane days, played a famous Guild Starfire bass that was continuously and extensively modded by the primordial Alembic. It included a carved cavity in the lower bout that accomodated swap-out modules with various electronics.
     
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  9. John Beef

    John Beef Opaque

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    I don't know man, if you can't make good music with a Tele straight into a 5E3 Deluxe, you shouldn't be making music at all.

    /get off my lawn
    </sarcasm>
     
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  10. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Nailed it! 100%
     
  11. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    I think there are two things going on here. First, we needed some advances in electronics. The Variax relies on some pretty hard core dsp processing plus quite new battery tech. I had a Roland guitar synth back in the day and it was unusable.

    Second, other than Rage Against the Machine, not many people have found a lot of use for new sounds from guitar when they can use keyboards and DJ units. Frippertronix were interesting, but not terribly useful. Guitar is not the best platform for things other than guitar.

    Even this concept for changing pickups uses nothing new. Same old pickups and electronics.
     
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  12. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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  13. Black Plaid

    Black Plaid just another Alan

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    I have one of these, it's cool, but .strandberg* doesn't make em any where near as well as PRS does. I paid 2.5k for a Korean made instrument that PRS would have tossed in the bin. I kinda wish PRS would get into the ergo game and make something like this.
     
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  14. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    That's disappointing, though I had read some complaints in the reviews. Still, their design ideas are interesting, they look amazing and I'd love to at least try one out.
    It's an example though of what I said in an earlier post about some innovation being killed off just because of the price, which may well happen here. If they put out a model for $600-$800, which doesn't seem like a stretch, they might make a real dent.
     
  15. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    One of the biggest issues with innovation is that so many things look great at their face but simply don't work all that well.

    I've seen several patented ideas for guitar that went nowhere. Meanwhile, the humbucker and floyd revolutionized the instrument.

    A lot of innovations are solutions looking for a problem. Robot tuners are an example. A complicated and expensive way to do something that isn't difficult or very troublesome to begin with.
     
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  16. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    That's evolution, the same way nature does it. Start with a mutation, and it gives the subject a survival advantage or it doesn't. If it doesn't, it stops there. If it does, then you're off to the races. Maybe it's an extra claw if you're a crab, or maybe robotuners (admittedly, that one is pretty silly!) or fanned frets if you're a guitar.
    I've heard there used to be a sign up in Bell Labs thyat said, "You don't invent the transistor by trying to improve the vacuum tube!"
     
  17. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    You mean like 408s?

    And I love the tone of 408s.
     
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  18. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    Yup. Guilty as charged. However, I do like things that make life easier and less complicated as long as the quality isn’t too compromised. And I’m not making an argument endorsing the OP product necessarily.
     
  19. Whitecat

    Whitecat Goes home to Starla

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    Didn't Taylor try to do fairly easily-swappable pickups on their solidbody electrics quite a few years ago? Those didn't do so well, did they... and they were made from normal wood too...
     
  20. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    It's one thing to fail to embrace change. But often change is for change's sake. I try lots of new gear, and most new ideas are impractical or poorly implemented.

    Every decade maybe one new idea will hold up. That's not because guitarists are anti-advancement, it's because few truly good new ideas exist and are well-implemented. And guitar is a quite mature instrument.

    In the end, how many new ideas result in better MUSIC than a tele plus a deluxe reverb or a SC245 plus an Archon?
     
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