Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Everybody, Point and Laugh


What the hell were you thinking, Gibson?

The all-new, 'revolutionary' Firebird X.

It's a non-reverse Firebird with robot tuners and built in effects run by toggles and sliders all over the body of the guitar. It's chambered, unbound ash and it must be close to hollow because the whole damn thing weighs in at under 2.5 pounds.
Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz introduced the new Firebird X at a packed press conference today held at the Hard Rock Time Square. During the press conference Juszkiewicz talked about the leaders of innovation and the history of technology, all leading up to the unveiling of the Firebird X, a guitar which will change the music industry forever. Stunned press looked on when Juszkiewicz smashed a guitar into pieces in front of the crowd ushering in a new era of guitar technology.

The Firebird X Guitar takes the guitar instrument to new heights of functionality and usability for the professional player and the aspiring enthusiast. Using technologies that did not exist even a few years ago, Gibson has enhanced an already outstanding instrument to unbelievable performance and creative heights. The enhancements touch every aspect of the instrument from using improved manufacturing technologies to the latest electronics.

Gibson’s design goal is to bring more creative options to the player while he or she is playing. Thus the user interface has become richer and simpler. Fundamental musical effects are now available with a minimum of motion and disruption from playing the music. At the same time, the player is able to see what is happening with the guitar very easily, again without disrupting his making music.

Juszkiewicz introduced luthier Frank Johns, who took to the stage to demonstrate the Firebird X guitar and then answered a round of media questions. The guitar will be produced in a very limited quantity worldwide and available on December 11, 2010. They will not be reproduced after the initial offering.


Pure theater. Pure bullshit.

How do we know that this is not a revolutionary product that will usher in a new era? They will be produced in limited quantity and will not be reproduced. If Gibson believed for a second that this guitar would do any of the things that their marketing department claimed for this product they would be tooling up to produce them the way that they do the Les Paul.

I'd love to have a Gibson, but I'd buy a vintage one. No sense in buying anything new from them when the last new idea they had was in 1958.

Fender is more forward thinking. They at least have the foresight to take advantage of new trends and offer something like the Rock Band 3 Squier Strat. Putting music in the hands of a new crop of players and giving them a fun way to learn to play for $280 could be pretty revolutionary if any of those players decide to break out of the pop cover mold.

But a $5000 guitar that combines a bunch of existing features into one piece of complicated hardware?

Not that I'm claiming that using the Firebird X is complicated. I don't know. Nor do I care. My point about complicated is that the guitar is set up to run on Windows or OS X. It has a bunch of IC chips built in. When one of those fails -- when Gibson decides to quit offering tech support for the software once MS and Apple come out with new OS -- this guitar goes back to being a regular guitar. Assuming, that is, it still works and can bypass all of the extra circuits in the first place.

Wah pedal. Revolutionary. Added new sounds and new possibilities for guitar players. Plug your guitar into it, plug it into any amp and it works. If it breaks you fix it or buy a new one. It's modular.

Firebird X? No new nothing. Just a lot of existing stuff crammed into a guitar where it's harder to get to if it breaks.

No thanks.

Meanwhile, if you want actual innovation and a revolutionary design, check out Teufel Guitars. Not going to sell a ton of these either, but at least they are genuinely new and innovative.

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