Friday, November 18, 2011

Gibson Firebird X

Gibson has released a guitar loaded with 20 mind blowing features. Gibson didn't stop there, they include the robotic tuning system and more.
I'll list the features then get into my take on the instrument.
  1. Dynamic audio 
  2. 3 mini humbuckers that you can configure in many ways
  3. Gold tone switching capability
  4. Pure analog firmware that you can update
  5. Patch morphing 
  6. Acoustic guitar sounds
  7. Hex output - i.e., piezo
  8. Open architechture, i.e., apps available
  9. Robo tuner has new battery
  10. Blue lightning foot pedal blue tooth compatibility
  11. Effects software
  12. Revolutionary pedal interconnects
  13. Computer interface (i/o type of box)
  14. Low impedance active output
  15. ADAT output
  16. Revolutionary Digital varitone tone control
  17. Revolutionary case
  18. Revolutionary real time on board pedal control
  19. Revolutionary Live performance modes - lock out
  20. Revolutionary Robo tuners
Sheeesh, a lot of revolution on this guitar. Maybe they should have called it the Firebird Revolution?

The guitar - Over all I liked the guitar because it is light, has a lot of options and is very easy to play. The shape takes getting used to aesthetics of the top is pretty and unique. There are tons of functionality. It has low profile frets and maple finger boards. Most of the control are easy to reach and work well. The robo tuners have a new battery so you don't have to worry about the battery dying in less than two hours. Watching the robo tuners work is amusing, amazing and addictive. If you take away the revolutionary upgrades, the guitar plays well and is well balanced. I love the togpots!

Would I buy one? Yes, I find that Gibson has a poor reputation for supporting its electronics. I see this past inability or lack of interest to be an Achilles heel of Gibson innovation. I have had to repair a lot of their older equipment and found that the electronics used where 3 party companies that are not longer in business. In the past, rather than using mainstream electronics, custom electronics were manufactured (nice that they keep it in the states but...) by Gibson but Gibson obsoleted the hardware. The market for exclusive Gibson guitar parts is too small, making manufacturing of parts too expensive to foment a third party electronic hardware source. See Chet Atkins SST, SSC types of guitars for reference. That said, everything worked while I was testing the guitar. I was fascinated with the many sounds I could get from this guitar. Messing with the guitar's knobs  reminded me of have a pedal board built into the guitar. Honestly, could get lost for hours in this guitar.
Dislikes - Robo tuners. Very cool and brave under taking but - No thanks! I'll try to briefly state why I don't like it. It can break - all things have that potential. Support - see above! What would it cost me (COE cost of ownership - potentially expensive replacement parts) to replace a tuner and machine head? More than my first car I am betting! Second reason (keeping it simple), it's ugly. It's nice to flick a switch and be in alternate tuning but when it breaks it will be a watershed moment, you will be able to feel the money being sucked out of your bank account!

Potential cool Factors? - TC electronics has an app where you can use your iphone to download patches and upload patches to your pedals through your guitar pickups. If you can do similar things with this guitar (I had missing documentation - another thing that annoyed me) then this is UBER cool guitar! I also love the togpots! Did I mention that already?? In addition, the Gold tone effects are cool because on board effects alleviate your need to bend down and adjust effect and the built in effects are handy because the guitar makes it possible to show up to any drop gig with a guitar, cord, and amp! Keep it simple!

Caveat Emptor - Is this Gibson's Iphone? Maybe not. For me, the features grant the comfort of an old shoe while making you wonder how you ever lived without it. If you love to noodle on your guitar - this guitar is for you!

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