#1
What guitarist out there would not love a guitar that they can pick up and tune within seconds? No longer having to take long breaks between songs to check your tuning onstage, while the singer makes up stories to bide time until your guitar is back in tune. Or how about having to take 2, 3 or even 4 guitars to a gig just because they are either in different tunings, or have different pickups.
Wouldnt it be nice if there was one guitar, that you could have access to instant tuning functions? Maybe different tunings entirely? What about emulating a humbucker? Or a single coil? Or a p-90? Or an acoustic? Or why not a 12 string?
Different capo tunings? Sure why not! How about a doubler? Ok, throw that in too!

Well, with the Peavey AT-200, thats what you get! One guitar that does just about any tuning you can think of (and a bunch you never thought of), doubling effects, and guitar models, and perfect intonation and tuning, every time you pick up the guitar!

I recently picked one of these up, out of curiosity, and was frankly, surprised. I did not want to like this guitar. "A guitar that has Antares pitch correction built in? Why would I want that? T-pain has already done it, and frankly, if I wanted a stair-stepped guitar solo, I would have bought a keytar!" Well, immediately out of the box, I was floored. For a guitar with a street price of $499. I was not expecting much. A slab of wood bolted to a neck and a bunch of fancy electronics to destroy the tone. Well, thats not it at all.
At first glance, this is a nice, solid, mid priced guitar. It has two humbuckers, a three way switch, and a master volume and tone all sandwitched into a solid basswood body. It has a 24 fret maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 15:1 sealed die-cast tuners. All the hardware is solid, and right out of the box it was ready to play. With most guitars in this price range, the first thing I do is change the strings and do a full professional setup on them, but with this, right out of the box it was intonated, and the action and playability was well within most guitar players comfort zone. Before even checking out the advanced features of this guitar, I played it just like any standard that you would buy out of the store. The neck is comfortable, its easy to hit the high frets (thanks to a 5 bolt neck design, and a semi-oval cut allowing your fingers to get way up there) and the built in passive humbuckers sound good enough to play without adding anything! The entire guitar feels well built, and theres nothing loose, or rattly about the hardware. All the knobs turn with just enough friction to let you know that your moving them, but not enough where you feel if you really "rock out" that your going to accidentally turn down your volume. Even the output jack feels solid! It takes a bit of effort to get the cord in, but you wont worry about it feeling so loose that it will fall out.

So a fair bit of warning here, this is one guitar that you WILL want to read the manual on. The first couple of times I plugged it in, I had not gone through and given it a proper read, and, well, my ignorance of technology showed. I spent a good hour trying to figure it out and map everything in my head, only to just get hopelessly lost with a baritone tuned, dropped b with an octave 12 string. After giving the manual a quick read though, I learned how this thing was set up, and wow! The guys at Antares and Peavey must have really listened to some guitar players! When you engage the auto tuning function (simply making sure the system is "on" with the tone knob pushed in, and then strumming all 6 strings and holding down the volume knob) the guitar makes a scoop sound, and lets you know that the system is activated. When you start playing, you instantly hear the guitar being played in tune. If your amp is not loud enough, you can even hear the difference from your regular strings and the output! So I highly suggest having a bit of volume behind you, or be relatively close to being in tune anyways.
When you engage the extra functions, this thing really comes alive. Each additional function is activated by individual strings and notes. So you would engage the tuning like normal, then hold down the volume button, hit say, the g string on fret 2 and get a 12 string electric. You can even do these in multiples, so you can have a detuned 12 string in DADGAD! You can also save presets right on the guitar, so you can instantly switch to your own presets with just one button instead of having to do 3 or 4 different things before playing.
All of that, and we have not even gotten to the most interesting part of this guitar! The software! With the Antares software, you can edit presets on your computer and download them to the guitar, and do software updates, like adding pickups and emulated guitars!

The most suprising thing to me about this guitar was how quickly it started becoming one of my favorite players. I will be honest, I changed the strings, and set it up a little more to my liking (I like thick strings, and really, really high action), but other than that, its entirely stock. Every day I realized that out of the 8 or so guitars I have on my rack, that one kept moving closer and closer to the front of the line. Its a joy to play, and its incredibly versitle. Most guitar players I know think its unheard of to have a guitar that has pitch correction in it, but honestly, there was a time where guitar players didnt want distortion in their amps, or batteries in their guitars. This is just the next step in the evolution of the electric guitar. To be honest, I cant even hear any "software" sound that you normally get with emulations, and to me, that puts this guitar way up on the evolutionary food chain for me.
Will it replace your beloved 60's strat? Probably not. Or that ancient beat up les paul that was your dads in the closet? Once again probably not. Will it be a guitar that you bring out to your gigs, and everyone laugh because you have 4 key changes, and half the set is acoustic, and they think your unprepared, and you show them up, and .. oh wait... Its already in tune? Yes, thats it.. Its the Peavey AT-200.
#3
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