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Originally published Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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World's first robot guitar takes care of the tuning

Musicians of the world are getting a new kind of artistic freedom with technology that eliminates the challenging chore of tuning. Robotics technology developed by...

The Associated Press

TOKYO -- Musicians of the world are getting a new kind of artistic freedom with technology that eliminates the challenging chore of tuning.

Robotics technology developed by German company Tronical Gmbh in partnership with Gibson Guitar Corp. enables Gibson's newest Les Paul model to tune itself in about 2 seconds.

For users who purchase the add-on technology, the guitar recognizes pitch. Then, its processor directs motors on its six tuning pegs to tighten or loosen the strings accordingly. Tronical has offered its Powertune System online and through retailers in Germany since March, according to the company's Web site.

The Gibson Les Paul guitar model with blue silverburst finish goes on sale globally this Friday.

Nashville, Tenn., guitar maker Gibson and Tronical said Powertune is the world's first self-tuning technology, and Gibson says it is particularly useful for beginners, who tend to find tuning a headache.

The Les Paul Silverburst model is to cost about $2,780 in Japan and $2,499 in the U.S., with self-tuning offered for $900 extra.

Gibson guitars with the technology come preset with six types of tuning to play different kinds of music. They also can remember a player's additional original tuning styles, by listening with a microphone to the sounds of the strings.

Gibson hopes to sell 4,000 of the first limited-edition "robot guitars" worldwide.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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