Guitar Auto Tune – The Future is at Stake

Broken Guitar

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Broken Guitar

Antares brings a two things to mind.  The brightest ball of gas in the Scorpio constellation and the development team that programmed the plug-in that auto-tuned Taylor Swift straight to the Grammies.  Well.  Now they represent a third thing to me.  The harbinger of the guitar apocalypse.

Guitarmaggedon… only not as cool as that display of wordsmithry.

Yes.  That’s right.  The people that offered anyone regardless of the ability or time spent actually practicing to develop a skill the chance to sound like a professional singer with enough production has extended this offer to guitarists as well.  Antares just recently announced a new auto-tune plug-in for guitars.

Now everyone that can’t be bothered with developing an ear for tuning or practicing those bends to keep them in key can just shortcut to the end result.  Why does this exist?  I mean, really.  I can’t be the only one that finds this to be lamentable.  With this program you can retain perfect intonation at all times, out of tune bends will correct, and guitar’s natural tendency to go out of tune along the way will be taken care of.

Of course Antares is marketing it innocently at the moment, but who doesn’t foresee the onslaught of over produced, under talented guitarists storming the world already?

I’m trying to look at it objectively, but all I see is a shortcut to honest to God practice.  Hell.  I think it’s what makes guitar playing fun – for the guitar to go a bit out of tune by the end of a song anyway.  The authenticity is appreciated in my book.

Hey, I’ll be the first to say that some of my playing could probably use a bit of pitch correction and with the videos I make here I’m pretty much putting all of those moments on display, but you know what?  It’s not gonna happen.  At least the few of you who care enough will get honest suckiness from me.  Doesn’t that just make you all happy?

Guitar Auto Tune Updates:

There have been a few updates in the world of auto-tune magic since this article was published, starting with Peavey’s AT-200 guitar that they unveiled at NAMM 2012. Using Antares technology, this axe can take a pretty embarrassingly tuned guitar and make it sound pretty good. For all of the screaming my mind is doing about exactly how wrong this seems – the end result is pretty damn impressive. Check out the preceding link for a video demonstration. You’ll see how it can also convert itself into a baritone guitar with the flip of a switch.

I can see the real benefits here – I guess with all this auto tune stuff, the real element here is how you use it. If you use it for practical purposes, it seems more OK than if you use it as an excuse not to learn how to do things right.

That said – there are two elements to auto tune. One is the more practical tuning / intonation side, the other is the less respectable stuff – like correcting bad bends.

The AT-200 goes for around $500 – which in my mind brings up question on the quality of everything else – tuning issues aside. Is the quality of the neck or bridge lower because things like intonation aren’t as much of an issue? How is the tone? You’ll have to play one to see!

It seems that Line 6 might be addressing that issue with their Variax series – which can swap tunings with a twist of a knob. We know from talking to Rich Renken from Line 6 that the Variax is extremely well thought out and quality isn’t an issue. It can also do some pretty dramatic things with alternate tunings – of course with perfect intonation.

At the end of the day – it’s all about how you use the technology. Use it as a feature instead of a crutch and you won’t permanently damage your brain.

What’s your opinion?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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10 years ago

Ya cant think why this exists and that it’ll only lend success to no talent hacks do ya? Tell sammick, gibson, fender, jackson, ibanez, etc to age their wood properly, install string nuts correctly, learn what a fret level is, and develop a QC program that isn’t QC in name only.. and perhaps I wouldn’t need what is basically a computer to correct my guitar for me. Do you think I like finding out IF a BRAND NEW guitar can even play in tune at the store with a bunch of idiots making a ton of noise trying things out at the same time? Or, being stuck with something that a few months later is going to develop some issue? It’s simple, they offer us crap and these things should never be an issue. I’ve had ONE guitar I never had tuning and intonation issues with.. I think maybe it was supposed have been delivered to an endorser and instead ended up at my GC. Jut once, I’d like to NOT have to worry that my guitar is going to turn traitor on me and refuse to cooperate. Thats what women are for..

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