Gibson Digital Guitar and Microsoft

   Alright! Time for my first off-topic post on here, now I get to be a real blogger. Just last month at NAMM, a music industry trade show, Gibson introduced their new digital guitar. The guitar looks and performs like a typical Les Paul, expect for two main differences. First, there is a hex pickup placed right between the bridge and the rear humbucker. The hex pickup picks up the vibrations for each string seperate from each other. But this string seperation would not matter if there was no way to output the seperate string information. So the Gibson digital guitar has a CAT-5 jack next the usual output jack. The signal from the CAT-5 is sent to a breakout box, which can output that data in one of several ways. It can sum all the data and output it to one amp, it can also send the three bass strings to one amp and the three treble strings to a different amp and finally it can send each string an a serparate output to a seperate amp. By sending the signal digitally to the breakout box, you avoid the usual treble bleed off that a long normal guitar chord causes.

   Of course, instead of outputing to an amp you could also send this individual string data to a computer that can record 6+ inputs at once. Then you could use a DAW (audio editor like ProTools), to run individual effect chains on each string, allowing you to create some very original sounds. Tying this all together is Gibsons new Audio/Visual transport protocol called MaGIC. While I'm not very qualified to give a summary of the nuts and bolts of this technology, you can look at Gibson's information to get a grasp of what it will do.

   As a guitar player, I would love to see Microsoft working with Gibson for some sort of connection with this technology. Currently music and video are two areas where Microsoft doesn't have as strong a showing as they usually do. The combination of upcoming 64-bit versions of Windows, along with some solid software apps to work together with MaGIC could be a killer combination.

   On the profiler side of things, Part 2 of my walkthrough of using the Visual Studio Team System profiler in the IDE with be up by Monday, make sure to check out Part 1 if you missed it.

Comments (6)
  1. Jeff Parker says:

    Ohhhh, now this is sweet. Thanks for blogging this. I play guitar as well, used to play in a bar band in the late 80’s.

    I still play and enjoy it, I am still with and old early 80’s American Made Kramer and an Early 80’s American Made BC Rich and a Early 80’s Les Paul. I still have my good old Marshall Tube Half Stack. Now I have seen a lot of amps over the years really go full digital all while searching for the old Tube sound. While I am excited to see digital actually bleed to the instrument itself. I wonder eventually in the future will people be looking to get the old EMG hard wood sound in a digital age. But still this is exciting. Now if I can start programming my guitar in .net 😉

  2. ianhu says:

    Yeah, digital really is catching up in some crazy ways. I’m using a home-build super strat through a Vox Valvetronix amp, and I’m a huge fan of the Vox. It uses a tube in the preamp of a modeling amp, and it really warms the sound up.

  3. Jamie says:

    Let me see, what’s wrong with that statement? How about the Microsoft part. Get real.

  4. ianhu says:

    Actually Jamie, the Windows platform may very well be a much bigger player in audio then you expect. Apple ticked off Digidesign when they purchased Logic and released Garage Band. So Digidesign has been talking up improving ProTools on the Windows platform.

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