It’s been a while and I want to bring everyone up to speed on what I’ve been working on and where I’ve been. Last year, Gibson embarked on one of its most ambitious projects in the history of the company, the Firebird X. It all started as an extension of the robot guitars, namely the Dark Fire and the Dusk Tiger. These guitars coupled self-tuning with digitally EQed pick-ups that took guitar technology to new heights. Gibson has always been known for cutting-edge guitar tech and now we are pushing the envelope even further.
Every time a new guitar technology comes along, there are doubters and naysayers. Master classical guitar genius Andres Segovia decried the electric guitar, which he thought would ruin all guitars forever. Countless musicians complained when the first solid bodies came out. Who in the world would want to make and play a slab of weird-shaped solid wood? Visionaries and revolutionaries, that’s who. It takes courage and a lot of vision to drive the status quo into new realms of thinking. It also takes times time. None of these historic innovations caught on right away.
The Firebird X is a radically new digital eco-system for the new millennium. My journey with the FBX started in the summer of 2010. The developers had been working on the ideas for a while and it was time to see what response the Firebird X would receive. In the summer of 2010 we had our first prototypes presented to the professional community in beta tests with top guys in NYC, Nashville and L.A. These beta tests provided unbiased feedback to gather info on players’ opinions.
I worked on the project with Echo Audio, Tronical Gmbh, Craig Anderton, Gibson’s Frank Johns (R&D), Julie Hining (head of Gibson USA), David Billen (software) and David Wright (outside software). We took the feedback from the beta tests and made design and software changes. Driving it all was our leader, Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s Chairman and CEO. Henry is smart – he is a visionary! After more feedback from trade shows, long days and nights in the R&D studios, and round table discussions, we finally launched the FBX in September of 2011. My major contributions came fairly late in the game when I was working on the sound design and helping the developers to bring the project home. In my next blog I will talk about the development process and the truly amazing features of the FBX.