Gibson G-Force

I was first interested in automatic tuning for the obvious live performance reasons—tuning a guitar is boring, and changing to an alternate tuning even more so. But I’ve found G FORCE is just as useful, if not more so, in the studio. (If only I’d had it back in the ‘70s when I was doing session work I could have ruled the world… or at least made producers happier.) Anyway, here are five ways that G FORCE is essential for me in the studio.

Loop recording. With loop recording, you repeat a section of a tune and play take after take without stopping. This is great to get “into the zone”—but pausing to tune is a great way to get out of the zone. With manual tuning, I have to stop or at least take off the headphones because if I hear the guitar playing in the background, it’s really difficult to tune. G FORCEcan tune the guitar while the loop recording process continues.

Single-pass recording. This the opposite of loop recording—you want to do a pass all the way through, from start to finish, to maintain a particular vibe. But you’re hosed if the guitar goes ever-so-slightly out of tune between, say, the first and second verses—and you don’t realize it until you play back the track. Fortunately, most songs have some kind of break where the guitar doesn’t play so I can do a quick tuning touch-up. It’s not always needed, but sometimes it can make the difference between keeping a take and re-recording it.

Overcoming the curse of “varispeed.” Many recording programs can tweak pitch a little sharp or flat to match a singer, or can change tempo (which might also change pitch). When I get a project like this that requires a guitar overdub, a conventional tuner is useless unless you re-calibrate it. With G FORCE I can tune one string to the track, tell G FORCE that’s my new reference, and have the tuning match the track whenever I need to tune. (If it’s a project I’ll be working on a lot, I save the “fine-tuned” tuning as one of the presets.)

String Up, String Down modes. I use a thumbpick and hit strings pretty hard, so strings can be an endangered species around me. With G FORCE’s automatic string winding modes I can not only change strings faster to keep a session from stalling, I’ve become much more conscientious about changing strings so the tone’s better, too.

I can give better answers for “Hey, could you try…?” I like slide guitar, and alternate tunings, but converting a guitar over to slide (or picking up a guitar that was already set up, checking levels, checking tuning, etc.) and tuning to alternate tunings could kill momentum. G FORCE takes care of the alternate tunings, which complements the Zero Fret Adjustable Nut when you want to try a slide part.

The only drawback is it takes more time to return to a standard guitar setup than it does to go from a standard setup to slide. If only the Zero Fret Adjustable Nut let you have two “preset” heights…nah, that’s crazy talk. Then again, I suppose automatic tuning was crazy talk at some point…so you never know.