When Gibson first came out with the robot a few years ago, there was a lot of debate about it. Personally, I didn’t see it as more than something that would allow Gibson to charge lots of money for a guitar that had it. My buddy Phil has a robot guitar and he loves it. Me? Based on what Phil has demonstrated, the system is definitely cool; not only does it tune, but it will give you alternate tunings as well. The alternate tuning bit is pretty cool IF you play in alternate tunings. I do dropped D occasionally, but rarely go to open G or E. Actually, I don’t ever do anything other than dropped D on electric, though I do use a few alternate tunings on acoustic at times. So for me staying mostly in standard tuning, I don’t see too much use for it, and besides that, my Les Paul stays in tune quite well.
To play devil’s advocate a bit, let’s take this Les Paul Standard 2010 Limited guitar. Nice looking guitar. It retailed street at around $3600 – $3700 while it was available. Now mind you, this is a Gibson USA Les Paul Standard. Not a custom shop model. I could see paying that for a brand-new custom shop historic model, but not sure I’d pay that for a regular ol’ Gibby USA guitar. A Les Paul Standard without the robot system goes for $2000 to $2800, depending upon the Standard type. So is the robot worth over a grand?
Yeah, I know that there are LP Studios with the robot. But as a guitar, I feel that’s a step down from a Standard. Call me a cork sniffer, but I’d never buy a Studio. I’ve played several over the years, and they just don’t live up to my personal expectations of a Les Paul. Maybe it’s psychological – I don’t know.
But Studio or Standard, I’m just not sure the extra grand is worth it…