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#1
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/industry_news/this_3d-printed_invention_could_change_the_way_we_play_guitar_for_good_local_bands_will_benefit_the_most.html

There's a link to an article on the UG front page. I figured I'd make a thread here since the comment system is a horrific way to have a conversation.

This concept has been done before, but the inventor raises an interesting topic; is the guitar industry stagnant in the terms of innovation? I've got thoughts, but I want to hear yours first!
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#2
No. There's hundreds of gimmicks out there. It's just that nobody wants them.

Innovations such as making the manufacturing process less costly without sacrificing the quality of the end result are legit though.

Your turn, OP.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Sep 10, 2015,
#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
No. There's hundreds of gimmicks out there. It's just that nobody wants them.

Innovations such as making the manufacturing process less costly without sacrificing the quality of the end result are legit though.

Your turn, OP.


You already said what I was going to say, though.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#4
This is cool and potentially useful, but there's this other company that makes pretty modular instruments, of which I make no secret of being a fan. I think it's called Fender or something.

Being more serious, I do think it's a reasonably cool idea, but I don't think there's a very fundamental advantage to be had from this. People who want to change pickups have basically always been able to do it.

Things like this and the Gibson robot tuners (let's just imagine they worked properly) and stuff I do consider quite useful in theory, at least in certain situations, but I don't consider them innovation in the same way something like the Floyd Rose was. Not to say they're not to be considered worth using or advantageous, but "change the way you play guitar" I reserve for things like the multiscale and ERG explosions in recent years; I'm not sure that makes very clear sense. What I mean to say is that I find it hard to consider things that don't directly/immediately affect the "business end" of the instrument (i.e. playing and sound, as opposed to speeding up maintenance/modding jobs) of very great importance.

Also what ^he said.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Sep 10, 2015,
#5
Far from innovative, more like a copy of 1970's Ampeg guitars or more recent 1980's Steinberg guitars that had very similar concepts which never caught on

Guitars are as innovative as they need to be at the current time. Most people would rather have a different guitar with different pickups rather than 1 guitar with multipul pickups to choose from.
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#6
The is in innovation in a the market, but much of it goes unnoticed because the innovations are usually subtle, incremental, and much of it is being done by small makers.

Look at Codella, for instance.
http://www.codellaguitars.com/features/

Nothing revolutionary, but some nice ideas that could make ownership of their guitars a more plaeasant experience. Once upon a time, pin-lock tuners were rare...but they're becoming much more common. And all they do is make life easier.

Looking around a bit more...there are several luthieries using 3D printing tech. And you're seeing all kinds of new materials pop up- delta metal, carbon fiber, etc.

Flaxwood is among the pioneers in using artificial woods.

Godin has their HDR system. Reverend has the Bass contour knob and standardized necks- that translates into cheaper manufacturing costs and easier QC. We're seen new pickup tech introduced- piezos, Lace Alumitones, optical pickups. Onboard Kaoss pad-style control pads. MIDI. Sustainer systems. Fanned frets.

Who knows? Maybe someone will get automatic tuning figured out. If I were a getting man, I'd put money on Moog or one of the optical pickup makers to succeed...and if THEY do it, it won't involve changing the actual tension in the strings. Instead, the pickup will be programmed to what note a string is tuned to, and possibly even what its thickness is, and interpret that data to deliver a note.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 10, 2015,
#7
Simply making pickups interchangeable has nothing to do with innovation. Dan Armstrong did that back in the late '60's.

The guitar industry IN PARTICULAR within the music industry, is plagued with manufacturers who are perfectly willing to push out the same old shit year after year. Fact is, we've LOST options over the years. In 1970, speaker cabinets were showing up that had 15" speakers, tweeters, folded horn construction. Bass players currently use cabinets of lighter construction with multiple speaker sizes (mine have a single 15, a 6.5" mids driver and a 1" tweeter) able to handle more power. But guitar manufacturers have carpenters cranking out 4x12, 2x12 and 1x12 cabinets as if the 12" speaker was the only size capable of reproducing guitar. Pro Audio gear is coated with Duratex or even LineX, but we continue with Tolex, which is easy to rip and much more difficult to repair.

Guitars never seen to go much past something with origins in either strats or LPs.

There is some innovation. Modeling owns ampdom. There are still those who swear by tubes, but they're declining. Line 6 is attempting to do the same with guitars (Variax guitars), but they've been out of reach of beginners.

The real problem is that guitar bands no longer provide the sound track for a generation as they once did. People don't listen to the same radio stations; they have their own mix on computers, iGizmos, etc. The current Billboard Top Ten artists are one-name chick singers and a couple of hip-hop artists, none of whom rely on guitars for most of their sound.
#8
they go to 11.
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#9
Quote by dspellman
Simply making pickups interchangeable has nothing to do with innovation. Dan Armstrong did that back in the late '60's.

The guitar industry IN PARTICULAR within the music industry, is plagued with manufacturers who are perfectly willing to push out the same old shit year after year. Fact is, we've LOST options over the years. In 1970, speaker cabinets were showing up that had 15" speakers, tweeters, folded horn construction. Bass players currently use cabinets of lighter construction with multiple speaker sizes (mine have a single 15, a 6.5" mids driver and a 1" tweeter) able to handle more power. But guitar manufacturers have carpenters cranking out 4x12, 2x12 and 1x12 cabinets as if the 12" speaker was the only size capable of reproducing guitar. Pro Audio gear is coated with Duratex or even LineX, but we continue with Tolex, which is easy to rip and much more difficult to repair.

Guitars never seen to go much past something with origins in either strats or LPs.

There is some innovation. Modeling owns ampdom. There are still those who swear by tubes, but they're declining. Line 6 is attempting to do the same with guitars (Variax guitars), but they've been out of reach of beginners.

The real problem is that guitar bands no longer provide the sound track for a generation as they once did. People don't listen to the same radio stations; they have their own mix on computers, iGizmos, etc. The current Billboard Top Ten artists are one-name chick singers and a couple of hip-hop artists, none of whom rely on guitars for most of their sound.


I would counter that at least part of the blame for a perceived lack of innovation can be seen simply by looking in mirrors. Amp & guitar manufacturers can't sell what guitarists won't buy.

As for the pop singers...well, many of them actually DO work with live musicians on stage and in the studio, so guitars are still being heard. They're just not the focus.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 10, 2015,
#10
Quote by dannyalcatraz


Who knows? Maybe someone will get automatic tuning figured out. If I were a getting man, I'd put money on Moog or one of the optical pickup makers to succeed...and if THEY do it, it won't involve changing the actual tension in the strings. Instead, the pickup will be programmed to what note a string is tuned to, and possibly even what its thickness is, and interpret that data to deliver a note.


Wait, you STILL haven't tried a Variax yet?

They've been doing this for over 10 years.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngaBmMd8aqA

At the end of this, there are three different tunings assigned to three different switch positions.

You can tune a Variax up or down a full octave...without ever changing the tension in the strings. Want Open G for eight bars? No problem. Want to switch to Drop B for a while? Stomp on your Pod HD500X and it's instantly changed.
Last edited by dspellman at Sep 10, 2015,
#11
something to keep dandruff off my guitar and dont say shampoo (it spoils the finish)
#12
Nope!

I have no need for a Variax- I play in E standard and NST, and that's about it. I flirted with DADGAD for a day. I keep making noises about learning slide guitar, and if I do, I'll probably tune to Open G a la Keith Richards. More maybe setting else.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#13
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I would counter that at least part of the blame for a perceived lack of innovation can be seen simply by looking in mirrors. Amp & guitar manufacturers can't sell what guitarists won't buy.


True enough. Thing is, we mostly have folks with training wheels out there that have NO clue what else might be available outside of a Guitar Denter. That puts control in the hands of larger manufacturers capable of filling shelves of over 200 GCs. In short, we not only have guitar playing sheep, we have *clueless* guitar playing sheep.

Quote by dannyalcatraz
As for the pop singers...well, many of them actually DO work with live musicians on stage and in the studio, so guitars are still being heard. They're just not the focus.


Meh. Artists are fully capable of doing an entire album with a Korg Kronos X, and have done so. Producers often don't want to pay for cartage and day rates for a guitar player and his stack of guitars and amps only to find that they can't get exactly what they're trying for. A lot of the time the artist isn't present for most of the music tracking anyway.
#14
Quote by dannyalcatraz


I have no need for a Variax- I play in E standard and NST, and that's about it. I flirted with DADGAD for a day. I keep making noises about learning slide guitar, and if I do, I'll probably tune to Open G a la Keith Richards. More maybe setting else.


"I have no need for a Variax" happens with a lot of musicians. Until they've used one for a while. Then it's "Don't bother opening those cases; I'll just do it with the Variax." It's like crack.

That's okay, though -- the reason I put up that post is that you said "Maybe someday someone will get automatic tuning figured out."

Just thought I'd point out that "they" have, and you're about a decade behind with that one

It also solves the issue of alternate tunings with a Floyd. That's why I have a pair of those JTV89Fs.

Again, not something you see much at GCs.

I've been doing quite a bit of Open G (Keef stuff) lately. *Click* done.
#16
Quote by dspellman
"I have no need for a Variax" happens with a lot of musicians. Until they've used one for a while. Then it's "Don't bother opening those cases; I'll just do it with the Variax." It's like crack.

That's okay, though -- the reason I put up that post is that you said "Maybe someday someone will get automatic tuning figured out."

Just thought I'd point out that "they" have, and you're about a decade behind with that one

It also solves the issue of alternate tunings with a Floyd. That's why I have a pair of those JTV89Fs.

Again, not something you see much at GCs.

I've been doing quite a bit of Open G (Keef stuff) lately. *Click* done.


Oh, I know WHY you posted the Variax info.

Thing is, although there is some overlap, for the most part. The axes tuned to E differ in pickup arrays, etc. from my NST axes. It is almost as if the 2 tunings make me play differently.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#17
The thing I would say about the Variax though, is that it has been going for 10 years. It's gained some market traction.

I'd try one, but shops around here never seem to have them in stock.
#18
THAT is another issue. If it were not for he Internet, a lot if stuff would simply be unknown. He big retailers would dictate almost the entirety of market availability.

But the Internet lets us know about this stuff, and where we can get it. That translates into some Balkanization of the retail market, letting smaller shops compete with bigger ones by selling things the big boys won't touch.

Still, enough people still want to try before buying that rare products remain rare...in your local stores, at least.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#19
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Balkanization

This is my favourite new word I've learned this year
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#20
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they go to 11.






That is true innovation right there. Make it one louder.
#21
Quote by Tony Done
^^^ You mentioned Floyd. How do they go in general with bends?

Re tuning. Some of us just want an excuse to own lotsa guitars. But I think you do that anyway.


I was working on excuses to own lotsa guitars before I knew what an alternate tuning WAS.

How do *Floyds* do with bends, or how do Variaxeseses do with bends?
If you've got your Floyd set up for a very light touch, you'll end up pushing your bends farther because the Floyd's rear end will tilt up, which effectively negates some percentage of the bend. If it's a bit stiffer, than normal, you can usually get through a bend before it realizes that you're bending <G>. And if you've got a big brass aftermarket sustain block on your Floyd, there'll be more inertia, so you can often get in a fairly quick bend before the Floyd moves much.
#23
personally i kinda wonder if the electric guitar itself really needs "innovation" as an instrument it is what it is already. great thing is that the amp and the fx have been moving forward and that takes the electric guitar with it. you can't really seperate them as they are a unit that together produces the sound.
#25
There's lots of invasions if you look for them true temperament, fanned frets, Evertune bridge are all things that I like and are gaining popularity. Modding amps are constantly getting better and closer to tube amps. The problem is a lot of this stuff is more expensive to make with less demand for it.
#26
I think it comes down to want vs. need. Most musicians, gathering from discussions on here, generally like the way the guitar is in its entirety. If it isn't broke then don't fix it, applies here. At the end of the day innovations are unique and add diversity to the instrument, but most (not all) stick with what has worked. Not saying the variax, headless guitar, midi guitars, don't have their place, but it seems that ideally most are satisfied with the way things are.
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#27
Quote by Tony Done
I was wondering more how the Variax deals with ordinary string bends. Does it give a smooth change in pitch, or is it "bitty"?


No bits. Sounds like an ordinary guitar.
#28
I don't think the guitar industry is stagnant at all. I can go out and buy a cheap 100 USD interface, have an amp sim on my PC and blast pretty cool sounding guitar out of my living room sound system with nothing else than a guitar and cable needed.

It's an innovation happening right now, right under our noses. Now, I don't think the high-end products are the driving force behind this change, because most wouldn't trade their Marshall rig for a computer that costs as much (Hello Kemper), but if the cheap stuff continues to get better in the future...

Who would prefer carrying a 20 kg fragile all-tube Marshall head everywhere if you could get a modeling solution that was as good for no money at all? Tube technology will not get cheaper or more reliable - digital stuff on the other hand... Maybe it happens on the Line6 Spider Series #492, but when it does - when no one can tell the difference, I believe traditional tube amplifiers will become obsolete.
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#29
Quote by bobafettacheese
At the end of the day innovations are unique and add diversity to the instrument, but most (not all) stick with what has worked. Not saying the variax, headless guitar, midi guitars, don't have their place, but it seems that ideally most are satisfied with the way things are.


We don't do that with cars. We've added ABS braking, traction control, wider tires, bigger brakes, disc brakes, IRS, nav systems, backup cameras, air bags, seat belts, carbon fiber bits, aluminum bits, more gears, some very fancy auto transmissions, turbo chargers, fuel injection (several types), alloy wheels, aero bits, catalytic converters, lane warnings, front and rear collision warnings (and braking), self-parking, keyless ignition, yada yada.
#30
Quote by mhanbury2
There's lots of invasions if you look for them true temperament, fanned frets, Evertune bridge are all things that I like and are gaining popularity. Modding amps are constantly getting better and closer to tube amps. The problem is a lot of this stuff is more expensive to make with less demand for it.


It's the other way around.
It's cheap and easy to produce a modeling amp these days, and getting less expensive all the time. And the Spider series amps made Line 6 the largest amp manufacturer as of several years ago. Fanned frets have become a lot less expensive; they were a custom-only item at prices well over two grand, but are now available as production items for well UNDER a grand. True temperament hasn't gotten more popular, and it's too early to tell with Evertune bridges, but most in the industry don't see more than a tiny niche market for them.
#31
It's not electric, but could certainly be applied to electric, but I think this is real neat.

https://youtu.be/MYK_PF9WTRE

Although I don't see it being useful to most guitarists, it certainly could be neat for guitarists looking to go outside 12-TET while keeping the sound and ease of frets. Though maybe I just like it because I am fond of the bağlama.
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#32
Quote by dspellman
We don't do that with cars. We've added ABS braking, traction control, wider tires, bigger brakes, disc brakes, IRS, nav systems, backup cameras, air bags, seat belts, carbon fiber bits, aluminum bits, more gears, some very fancy auto transmissions, turbo chargers, fuel injection (several types), alloy wheels, aero bits, catalytic converters, lane warnings, front and rear collision warnings (and braking), self-parking, keyless ignition, yada yada.

...all added incrementally over a span of more than a century, sometimes mandated because of government regulation.

AND

Some old tech STILL gets used on cars- certain brake and suspension systems spring to mind- because of expense and the "it's good enough as is" factor. Watch Top Gear and notice how they critique American muscle car tech vs sports car tech used everywhere else.

A lot of the things you just ticked off? Less than 50 years old, most less than 30.

Electric guitars are half as old as the automobile. Give designers- and the buying public- a chance.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 11, 2015,
#33
I don't know how many of you are into world music, but like... compared to guitar, change comes very slow on other string instruments, with many instruments not having any major innovations over the few hundreds or thousands of years since their original inception other than maybe guitar tuners replacing traditional tuning mechanisms (such as on the kora) or creating basic electric versions.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Sep 11, 2015,
#34
Quote by theogonia777
I don't know how many of you are into world music, but like... compared to guitar, change comes very slow on other string instruments, with many instruments not having any major innovations over the few hundreds or thousands of years since their original inception other than maybe guitar tuners replacing traditional tuning mechanisms (such as on the kora) or creating basic electric versions.


A LOT of stringed instruments don't innovate nor do their players. And their roles have largely stagnated as well. There's a reason; they're mostly just single note instruments, designed to be part of a larger ensemble, much like a French Horn, bassoon, flute. Consider the roles of cello, Viola, double bass, etc.

There are really only three basic instruments that provide bass, rhythm chords and melody in one playing. Guitar, piano and organ (beginning with traditional pipe organ with ranks and pedals), and these are called "complete" instruments. You can include some permutations of the guitar here, such as banjos, harp guitars, the Chapman Stick, etc. This would also include some permutations of the piano, such as a vibraphone, etc. when played with more than one mallet per hand.
#35
Quote by dannyalcatraz
...all added incrementally over a span of more than a century, sometimes mandated because of government regulation.

AND

Some old tech STILL gets used on cars- certain brake and suspension systems spring to mind- because of expense and the "it's good enough as is" factor. Watch Top Gear and notice how they critique American muscle car tech vs sports car tech used everywhere else.

A lot of the things you just ticked off? Less than 50 years old, most less than 30.

Electric guitars are half as old as the automobile. Give designers- and the buying public- a chance.


Again, however, it's the manufacturers that hold us back. At some point in the early 2000's, GM revealed that it had a stockpile of engines that would last it another 25 years. They do NOT WANT TO CHANGE. It's cheaper that way.

At the moment, we have Chevy ads that tout the strength of old-style steel construction over the much lighter (and, truth be told, equally strong) aluminum construction of new Ford F150's. At the same time, it's generally well-known throughout the industry that next year Chevy, too, will be moving to aluminum construction, and their marketing departments will be tasked with a 180 degree change in bullet points.

When air pollution standards were made law (and MPG fleet minimums as well), the deadlines approached and US car manufacturers were called to the stand, where they complained that it was simply not technologically possible to comply. Next up was Honda, which testified that not only was it possible to meet the standards, but that it would be implementing and exceeding those standards a year early across its entire line.

By 1971, most amp manufacturers had faced the fact that US suppliers of tubes were nearly gone and they touted that solid state amps were just as good. Kustom, Acoustic, Carvin, Rickenbacker, Fender and others had solid state amps and cabinets with 15" speakers and mid-high tweeter horns. The Vox SuperBeatle came with four 12" speakers and two horns. I have a Carvin cabinet with two 15" Altec 418's and a mid/high horn tweeter. The head that goes with it has 275W. Acoustic had amps that featured the same speaker array and far more than 100W of power. When Nixon opened trade with the Soviet Bloc (China first), it gave us access to tube manufacturers who were supplying the Soviet military's antiquated electronics, and manufacturers decided it was far easier to simply continue with designs that were familiar to guitarists, and because it was cheaper to crank out volumes of old gear than it was to develop new gear, we are now stuck, over 40 years later with brainwashed guitar players who think that "if it was good enough for Jimmy Page..."

We might have been FAR ahead of the game now if not for that mentality. As it is, Line 6 cleverly developed modeling and solid state amps and delivered it cheaply to the entire entry level of guitardom. They flew well under most manufacturers' radar. There's almost no one who hasn't begun with a modeling amp of some kind. Other amp companies scrambled to follow suit, because those folks are moving up, out of entry level -- and NOT to tubes. And as we are once again faced with the progressive closing of tube factories, we may finally discover that there are a LOT of innovations available that are better than "good enough..."
Last edited by dspellman at Sep 11, 2015,
#36
Both instruments I mentioned, the bağlama and the kora, are often unaccompanied solo instruments, as are many of the non western folk string instruments I was talking about. Many are also chordal instruments that accompany singing in addition to playing unaccompanied solo pieces. Many are rarely even used in ensembles.

And in fact kora music typically consists of two parts, a melody played with the right hand, and an accompaniment played by the left hand, much like a piano. Many other traditional instruments such as the zheng and alpine zither also are played similarly, the the alpine zither is played more similarly to a classical guitar.

The banjo is also not a permutation of the guitar since the two were developed independently, with the guitar developing from European lute type instruments and the banjo developing from African gourd instruments, with the kora often being considered a likely candidate.
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#37
Quote by theogonia777
Both instruments I mentioned, the bağlama and the kora, are often unaccompanied solo instruments, as are many of the non western folk string instruments I was talking about. Many are also chordal instruments that accompany singing in addition to playing unaccompanied solo pieces. Many are rarely even used in ensembles.

And in fact kora music typically consists of two parts, a melody played with the right hand, and an accompaniment played by the left hand, much like a piano. Many other traditional instruments such as the zheng and alpine zither also are played similarly, the the alpine zither is played more similarly to a classical guitar.

The banjo is also not a permutation of the guitar since the two were developed independently, with the guitar developing from European lute type instruments and the banjo developing from African gourd instruments, with the kora often being considered a likely candidate.


Okee dokee. I've actually heard most of these (and some of these have similar instruments dating back a couple of thousand years, well beyond the guitar); the music department at Cornell not only has most (if not all) of these instruments AND some people who know how to play them. Some really serious motherpluckers.

As I recall, most of these are plucked/strummed, some have non-western tonality (everyone seems to have his own idea about how to divide up an octave) and most have some kind of bowl, gourd and/or sounding board attached to a stick with strings. The point, of course, is that the thing that distinguishes these instruments is that they're plucked rather than bowed or struck. Availability of the full human hand to play these instruments is key.
#38
^^^^ This discussion reminded me that while western music might now be dominated by equal temperament diatonic scales, there have been many other options historically, and still are globally. Instruments like the fretless oud and movable-fret sitar offer all kinds of opportunities for scales that don't have much in common with the western standard. Our modern concept of tones is pretty pedestrian if you take a global view.

This is one of my favourite vids in the context of temperament, Carlos Nunez playing "Bolero" on the Galician gaita:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ4Jl-uqIus&list=PLIeRRviu1HMkw6sKBtPFqfQzWSeQZqE4H

Just sufficiently "strange" to it make sound quite different from the common orchestral versions, without being really exotic.
#39
Quote by dspellman
Again, however, it's the manufacturers that hold us back. At some point in the early 2000's, GM revealed that it had a stockpile of engines that would last it another 25 years. They do NOT WANT TO CHANGE. It's cheaper that way.


Which was kinda my point: many advances in the auto industry were forced upon manufacturers by the government, not by the dictates of the market.

But no such governmental force is likely to be exercised on the guitar market.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#40
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Which was kinda my point: many advances in the auto industry were forced upon manufacturers by the government, not by the dictates of the market.

But no such governmental force is likely to be exercised on the guitar market.


Some were.

But in the automotive industry, most of the actual advances came from competition or research.
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