Hyper Touch Gibson (HTG) The New String-less Guitar from Gibson
Submitted by Jason on Fri, 04/01/2011 - 08:56.
GuitarSite.com Exclusive: A disgruntled employee has leaked details to us of a new guitar under development at Gibson that literally has no strings attached.
The new Hyper Touch Gibson is apparently CEO Henry Juszkiewicz's vision for where the guitar is ultimately destined, and continues their technological lead that began with the Robot Guitar, and later the Firebird X.
Our source said that once he'd seen recent reports that he believes were leaked from the company partnering with Gibson on the design, that he could no longer stay silent and has revealed that rumors the HTG is a joint project with Gibson are true.
The HTG has been conceived with a tablet computer style multi-touch interface. As you can see from these pictures - this is a purely digital guitar with no strings to pluck or strum.
When we first received the astounding leak early this morning, I found it hard to take it seriously, after all, who would want to play a guitar with no strings? I don't think it even deserves to be called a guitar - it's more like a game controller in the shape of some futuristic battle axe.
However, our source provided us with documentary evidence that the HTG runs on the Android operating system and has a long list of built in features borrowed from the Firebird X such as on-board effects, bluetooth foot pedal, and guitar tone emulation of famous guitars. We're told many of the accessories will be interchangeable with the ones first produced for the Firebird X.
Having removed the strings, some other new features, never before available in a guitar, have been developed for the HTG. These include such features as instant tuning changes (eg Drop D tuning), a virtual Capo, backing tracks for practicing, automatic pitch correction, and intelligent note bend (patent pending).
It can also switch between Bass, 6 string, and 12 string modes - in fact you can program it to have any number of strings you like. It also has a bottle neck mode.
Apparently the Gibson factory workers are also up in arms over the Hyper Touch Gibson due to the fact that outside sources have been used to work on the design, and because they believe the new space-age materials, which are not ones their factory is equipped to work with, means there could well be major job losses, particularly amongst the skilled luthiers.
We were told that the reason management decided to abandon wood in favor of the new polycarbonate materials, is due largely to the legal problems Gibson is facing over their alleged use of protected species of trees in recent years.
The following quote shows just how serious the situation was when their factory was raided by the FBI... "They were SWAT guys, you know, with automatic weapons and bulletproof vests, and they were pretty mean-looking guys," said Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.
This is planned to be the first "Internet Enhanced Guitar" with Gibson planning an online community where you can exchange programs and presets - much like the Fender Fuse service. We've been led to believe that B.B. King is one of the many famous Gibson devotees who have already provided Style Patches® for the online service, which allows you to switch into "Iconic Guitarist Emulation™" mode where you instantly sound like your favorite guitar hero.
But don't start thinking you'll be able to flawlessly shred your favorite licks just yet... insiders tell us that they're worried the company is losing the plot, and one of the things that has most angered the employees is Gibson's capitulation on the use of DRM (Digital Rights Management).
It seems the release, which was slated for Summer NAMM in Gibson's hometown of Nashville, has been delayed due to the music publishing companies insisting that HTG incorporactes DRM. Essentially the onboard processing systems will monitor the songs being played and block any tune that hasn't been appropriately licensed, although it will come pre-loaded with licenses for over 100 standards such as Smoke on the Water and Smells like teen spirit.
Staff are worried that this could lead to DRM being forced into all guitars including the Les Paul Standard, clearly the increased costs would be devastating for cover bands. We were told that during a shouting match overheard in the company's toilets that a manager said "Well they should learn to play some original material for a change - you don't see our great endorsers like the Jonas Brothers playing damned covers!"
We have identified Givingshape Design Studio as the outside designer working on this project, however at the time of publishing, neither they nor Gibson have been asked to comment.