Gibson Dark Fire: An Innovative New Design
The Gibson Dark Fire being advertised as the most innovative guitar in decades certainly backs up the title with a large variety of features that can make this a very versatile tool for many musicians. With Powerhead Tuners, Chameleon Tone Technology, the compact Robot Interface Pack, and fully upgradeable electronics, this guitar has a lot to offer to justify its slightly higher than average price tag.
The fact that the heart of the guitar is still a great Gibson Les Paul model also means that you still have a solid, classic guitar design behind anything you use this for.
The Powerhead Tuners were one of the main features of the original Gibson Robot and have received a substantial upgrade in the Dark Fire model. These tuners are lighter and smaller than the original Robot versions, and can change to any tuning preset in under a second. On top of that, they have 18 different presets that cover a variety of tunings that should be useful to almost every guitarist. The only really notable tuning missing is Drop B, which isn’t that common. Even so, the Dark Fire does have C# Standard (which simply requires the 6 string to be downtuned a step for Drop B) and B Standard available. Many people miss the point of this system, thinking it is merely for beginners who can’t tune a guitar. However, this feature is highly useful and practical for performing guitarists (particularly cover band members). It eliminates the need to carry around a separate guitar for every tuning used, and the fast tuning speed allows the tuning to be swapped mid-song.
Look at songs like “Shattered” by the Rolling Stones or “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. Switching from the standard tuning rhythm to the open tunings used in the solos of the recorded version would not be realistically possible outside of using a double neck guitar, but rather easy on the Dark Fire, even in mid-song. Carrying one guitar certainly is a lot easier than carrying one for every tuning.
Chameleon Tone Technology
The Dark Fire offers 8 distinctly different tones through use of the Chameleon Tone Technology installed in the guitar. The usefulness of this is going to vary from player to player, but it certainly gives a lot more power to the guitar’s own tone controls than the standard tone knob would.
Most people will probably find this more useful for direct box recording, though it does open some non-traditional tones, like the “Twang” setting not normally associated with Gibson Les Pauls, which could be a nice addition for live performers that want those types of tones for one or two songs.
Robot Interface Pack
The Robot Interface Pack is a nice addition to this guitar which allows most people to make simple, easy recordings from their own computer. In addition, Ableton Live 7 Gibson Studio Edition and Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig 3 are both provided with the Dark Fire, giving anyone with this guitar access to home recording software.
Even people that don’t necessarily have the expertise or equipment for really high end studio recording can still use this to easily make demos or trade ideas with other members of the band through the internet.
The Dark Fire is also designed to be upgradeable so your investment won’t go to waste if the years down the road a next generation Gibson Robot has a feature you want. In fact, the original Gibson Robot will be upgradeable to the Dark Fire tuning technology once the upgrade kit is released. Down the road, it will be a matter of changing a few electronics rather than buying a brand new guitar to get the newest features. Such variety and versatility certainly makes this one rather tempting guitar, and it doesn’t hurt that it is pretty as well.