NAMM: Gibson Launch Digital Guitar

Les Paul with separate outputs for each string      27/07/04

NAMM: Gibson Launch Digital Guitar
The Sockets On A Digital Les Paul

The big news from Gibson at the Summer Namm show has been their digital guitar. The digital system is 100% compatible with existing Gibson guitars and the only visible difference to the Les Pauls fitted with the system at the show was the hexaphonic pickup next to the bridge and the extra outputs where the single jack socket would normally fit. Gibson's MaGIC system takes the signal from the hex pickup and sends it from the guitar down a single ethernet cable (up to 2000 metres with no loss of quality!) to a breakout box where there is a standard output for the normal guitar sound from the humbucking pickups plus separate outputs for each string. This opens up loads of possibilities in being able to process each string independently in terms of panning, volume, EQ, distortion and effects. The guitar signal could, in fact, be sent to six different amps with a different sound for each string. This was in effect what Gibson were doing at the Digital Guitar demo at the Gibson cafe on Broadway in Nashville where the signal was sent to six different channels on a computer-based sequencer (Cubase on this occasion) so that each string could be processed separately. Output from the channels was sent to six separate speakers spread across the width of the stage so that the panning posibilities could be fully appreciated. With the strings from low to high spread right across the soundstage the sound was simply huge. Using an amp simulation plug-in like Amplitube on the sequencer channels it is possible to give each string or group of strings a different amp sound or level of distortion and/or a different effect - how about a Marshall Plexi on the bottom two strings, an AC30 on the D and G and a Fender Twin on the top two? Gibson demonstrated several possibilities including heavy distortion on the bottom three strings with a clean sound on the top three allowing cool low string riffs to be easily juxtaposed with some funky chords. Overall this is one impressive system that will certainly open up some exciting sonic possibilities when it ships later this year, particularly in the way guitar can be recorded and manipulated in the mix. We'll leave the last word to Gibson chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, " The Gibson Digital Guitar opens up a virtually unlimited world of possibilities to guitarists by removing some of the limitations that have been inherent in electric guitar design throughout its history."

Gibson's guy demos Digital Guitar through six speaker system

Peter Stroud from Sheryl Crow's band has a blast
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