If you’re a lifelong guitar player like myself, the question always is: How many guitars do you really need? The answer? One more.
Well, here’s your next one, and the reason why.
Gibson’s new 2016 line of high performance guitars now have the revolutionary new G-Force tuning system, from the low-end Faded Series SG Special all the way up to the famous Les Paul Standard. And while they’re also all still available as part of Gibson’s traditional product line, progressive players will surely prefer this new high performance series, which also come with a new, zero-fret titanium nut, a slimmer neck profile and a contoured neck heel.
Built-in tuners themselves are not that new, but self-tuning is, and the G Force also features new firmware which updates faster and more accurately. It comes pre-loaded with 12 different tunings and the option to customize another six and store them into the system.
To check it out, I got to play and play-with a Gibson USA 2016 Les Paul Performance Standard with genuine mother of pearl inlays, AAAA maple top, push-pull pod for coil tapping the pro Humbucker pick-ups, and of course, the new G Force tuning system. I radically un-tuned the guitar first when I picked it up, specifically to test the new tuning capabilities. The room was noisy, but the guitar actually retuned itself in seconds, as if guided by a Gibson guardian angel. Maybe it was Les Paul himself.
To tune the guitar, you literally just hold down the power button for two seconds and hit each string just once, one at a time. As if by magic, each string actually tunes itself. And although that only takes a few seconds, if you’re in a big hurry, you can actually even strum all the strings and once and still get great tuning results. It’s so very quick and also, unlike old tuning systems with which you still had to listen and gingerly turn the frets yourself, it allows no outside noise to interfere at all. Plus, they’ve increased the life of the lithium battery. When fully charged, you’ll get more than 100 tunings out of it.
“We’re really excited about things in 2016 and so far we’re getting really positive reception on our new high performance lines,” said Gibson product representative Christopher Oliphant at CES 2016, a rockin’ guitar player himself. “We’ve brought back our Point-V guitars, the Firebird and the Flying V, plus an Explorer, all available in both traditional and high performance. There are also new hollow bodies this year, the Gibson Memphis and the Les Paul, and our exciting new J-45 Progressive, our first USA-made acoustic guitar into which we’ve implemented our G-Force tuning system.”
They seem to have split the difference on everything, still catering to their traditional market while continuing to innovate with their high performance line. There’s about a $350 price difference between the two, with the high performance SG Special only going for around $1200. That’s a great price for a USA-made Gibson guitar. And there are new cases this year, too. All the high performance guitars come with a super futuristic-looking aluminum case bearing a natural mahogany handle.
Besides the fact that Gibson has always been known for making some of the finest stringed instruments on the planet, I highly recommend 2016’s models with the new G Force tuning system. They’re even more fun than a lightsaber.