Miscellaneous Rumbles

Gibson 2015 - first impression of min-etune…

1

I went over to a buddy's place last week, and he was very excited to show me his latest acquisition - a pretty little SG in Pelham Blue with the min-etune system. The guitar exemplified everything you'd expect in finish and build quality from contemporary Gibson.

There are few things in life that will conjure up an equipment failure faster than the phrase "check this out!" He turned on the min-etune system, strummed the guitar, and all the tuning heads started simultaneously and impressively moving a bunch. He strummed it a few more times and the tuners only twitched a bit.

Being the ardent listener, I asked the question "Do you have that in some sort of open tuning?" - to which he replied, "Nope, standard tuning."

And then he took the amp out of stand-by mode... Not one string was pitched in anything I could describe but "pure chaos mode", and it sounded simply gawd-awful. I've heard 9-year-old boys tune bent up Teiscos better.

He quickly acknowledged something was amiss and started the whole process over. 15 extremely tedious minutes later, he had something grossly approximating standard guitar tuning, with the G string left somewhere between an A# and a G (closer to A# but still not on it). The other strings were what I would call "close enough for punk music".

All I could do was shake my head while he was looking for his USB charger to re-charge the min-etune system and ask the question: "Can't you just turn it off and tune it manually?" - to which he dejectedly replied, "What's the fun in that?"

I thought (but did not say): "Actually playing the guitar would be more fun than this... This is kinda painful to watch."

After 30 minutes or so of charging, he tried it again. Still no go, but he continues to assure me that everything was working fine before I came over. Apparently, I'm now the gremlin, the jinx, or what-have-you...

I've owned a couple of Gibsons over the last two decades, and they were all solid work-horses that I would take on stage without any fear. The min-etune just seems like unnecessary junk to me, and I can't see any serious professional depending on something like this on stage.

If that were my guitar, it would have a standard set of Grover Roto-matics on it - right freakin' now - end of story.

One thing is for certain - I'm sticking with Gretsch!

2

I played around with it at NAMM and it worked fine on the LP I was checking out. Not my cup of tea though, you kinda need to be able to tune an instrument to play one, I think.

3

I can't play it, but at least I can tune the damn thing.

4

Maybe that's why Gibson has moved on to their third automatic tuning system GForce and their new brass nut system. I still don't like it and that's why I bought a 2013 Traditional. It's actually traditional.

5

This reminds me of the late '60's when the gov't brought in emission controls.....a little bit more each year and these add-on bits only served to make a mess of driveability. Very quickly mechanics learned how to by-pass these power and driveability robbing devices. They never did work on any existing engine. The only solution was to re-design the engines to be cleaner burning to pass the standards and this worked, but an awful lot of cars suffered for many years.

This BS device is yet another example of trying to build a better mousetrap but it's an abject failure. You talk about a feature that will turn off a buyer of [a few years from now] used guitar! This is a great example of the old adage "just because you can do it, it doesn't make it a good idea."

6

It worked fine for me too after trying some of the LPs. I love my 2014 Traditional though and really don't care much for the Min e-tune.

7

I had a similar problem trying out some New Gibson Les Pauls, SG's that came into my local GC recently.

To complicate the problems ,,, alot of the floor people didn't know how to work it ,,, nor turn it off!!!

It's got a thumbs down from me too :(

It also feels and looks Awkward!

8

If this aggravation isn't enough of a headache, wait till folks have to begin paying to fix this bad idea!

9

I think I will just keep giving my money to gretsch and fender. And deal with tuning my own instruments.

10

ELECTRIC guitars?? Bah humbug!

11

I'm with Bonedaddy. if you can't tune an instrument, you have no business trying to play it. I suspect that Gibson has so much invested in these auto tuners that they have to use them up or lose millions.

Just how hard would it be to change to normal tuners and bypass the robot?

12

I don't really get how the chain of command at a company like Gibson allowed for those tuners to be put on pretty much 75% of this model year. I can't think of anyone I know going "oh, hey, that really looks like a great idea!!".

As for the general Gibson bashing on principle and the "I know which company will be getting my money!".....really? I'll agree there's some fairly undeniable "proof" that Henry J is a complete twat, but I don't really get the "corporate entity X or Y is cool, yo!" in reply. So you're a stockholder?
FMIC has about as much to do with Leo Fender or Brooklyn Gretsches as Henry J does with Orville Gibson or Ted McCarty.

13

They (Gibson) have wasted a lot of energy on this (automated tuning) over the last couple of years so there must be a focus group of players telling them people want this?

I've not heard one person indicate this is a function that is necessary.

14

I tried one at the Gibson showcase store at the Memphis plant. The girl who worked for Gibson there at the store said she took her e-tune rig off of her LP, "...regular tuners will go right on, just put all that stuff in a bag and save it".

15

I don't really get how the chain of command at a company like Gibson allowed for those tuners to be put on pretty much 75% of this model year. I can't think of anyone I know going "oh, hey, that really looks like a great idea!!".

As for the general Gibson bashing on principle and the "I know which company will be getting my money!".....really? I'll agree there's some fairly undeniable "proof" that Henry J is a complete twat, but I don't really get the "corporate entity X or Y is cool, yo!" in reply. So you're a stockholder?
FMIC has about as much to do with Leo Fender or Brooklyn Gretsches as Henry J does with Orville Gibson or Ted McCarty.

– WB

So your saying you don't believe in being loyal to a brand that actually listens to its customers? And produces a quality product?

16

I have no idea why so many people think this robo-tune thing is new. I've been to Musikmesse many, many years ago - must be 10 to 15 - and exactly the same thing was exhibited as an aftermarket device by a company whose name I can't remember (for good reasons). The consensus was "Wow, that's cool... but not for me". It didn't find its way on any guitars worth mentioning until Gibson comes across with this now. Someone didn't do his homeworks.

Due to some design details I have close to zero interest in the 2015 standard guitar line - especially the Les Pauls with the scribbled very late LP logo on the headstock. That doesn't do the great man he was any honour IMHO.

On the other hand I love me a good Gibson any day. The company (or better: brand) makes guitars for decades now and there's so many good ones I'd be a fool not to watch out for them. I own two non-vintage specimen and they are great.

17

Of course I haven't measure the exact statistic but it appears that 95% of everyone who has posted did not care for the tuners on the Les Paul forum I am a member of. Actually it is spoken by many with hatred and disdain. I really would love to see Gibby sales this year as the result of all of the changes.

18

So your saying you don't believe in being loyal to a brand that actually listens to its customers? And produces a quality product?

– Hollerbody

No, that's most definitely not what I'm saying.

19

They (Gibson) have wasted a lot of energy on this (automated tuning) over the last couple of years so there must be a focus group of players telling them people want this?

I've not heard one person indicate this is a function that is necessary.

– bman

The focus group you speak of is a focus group of one-- the mind of Henry J.

Even Hitler hated the Min-etune.

20

For a guitar that has a headstock notoriously vulnerable to breaking/snapping, you'd think Gibson would want to keep the headstock mass as low as possible. That e-Tune/G-Force assembly places mass exactly where you don't want it, plus it does not work very well.

My guess is that this gizmo is aimed the great unwashed, inexperienced masses: it "seems like" a cool idea, just doesn't execute well. Probably Gibson's marketing dept's idea of product differentiation in an effort to ignite new customers/sales.

Another bit of marketing genius at Gibson a few years back was the introduction of "baked maple" fretboards, after they fell a-foul of the wood police. Watching Gibson juggle that one was amusing.

And the steep price hike on 2015 models? When a company resorts to things like min-e-tune or G-Force, and price hikes, it's a sign of desperation, imo. Or incompetence - see this 2010 article

According to D&B reports, Gibson Brands revenue & profits are declining rapidly, 2014 revenues about half of 2010's. I would not be surprised if Gibson gets swallowed up, soon.

Anyway, I'll stick with Grestch and Fender. I've owned a few Gibsons over the years, but I've never been happy with any of them, from a number of viewpoints.

21

If Jimmie Webster was alive, we probably would be seeing the same thing on our beloved gits! LOL

22

If Jimmie Webster was alive, we probably would be seeing the same thing on our beloved gits! LOL

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

You're probably right. Plus, every guitar would have a scalloped fingerboard and an onboard modeling amp-- in stereo.

23

2016 Gibson lineup comes with an onboard iPad. No strings required, no tuner required. Wave your hand across the iPad screen and it plays for you.

I've also heard that string changes are a total nightmare on these new tuning systems.

24

This is going to end up claiming the title for Worst Guitar Idea of the past 60 years.....since that idiotic mute system Webster convinced Gretsch "everybody wants".

25

If this aggravation isn't enough of a headache, wait till folks have to begin paying to fix this bad idea!

– Windsordave

That's what the tech at my local shop said, they've done some business replacing these things.

It's one thing to try new things, features that might appeal to the cutting edge, early adopter type person, another to force those on everybody who might want to buy a guitar. Previously the Dusk Tiger, Robot Guitar , Firebird X were expensive but limited edition models. Now it's hitting Gibson's reason for existence, which is a different situation.


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