Misa Digital announced a new “guitar” this week that is more computer than guitar.  Instead of frets and strings, you have buttons and a touch-sensitive panel.  Instead of Bending the Soul of The Blues, you get to Press the Electrosynchrisity of Midi.


Here’s the Misa in action:

Is that guitar playing? Or is that just playing around?

A guitar is classically known by its natural ability to sustain sound — and sustain is found in the neck wood and not the body — but when there are no strings to vibrate the wood and no wood to sustain the vibration… do you have a real guitar or not?  Is the Misa Digital more Clapton Strat or Rock Band button thumper?

Button thumping leads us directly into asking the same question of guitar authenticity when it comes to the new “Gibson Buckethead Signature Les Paul” with bright red arcade buttons as on/off switches.  Do we have a real guitar in the Buckethead, or are we only a stringless step away from a Misa Digital cloning? 

Gibson’s new “Dusk Tiger” is sold upfront as a “Robot Guitar” that self-tunes and re-tunes itself to different signature keys as requested.  You’ll pay around $4,000.00USD on the street for the honor of not having to really touch your computer to set it up — you’ll do everything from the computer interface. 

Are we still in the guitar realm, or have we moved far into the spooky future?

Speaking of spooky, here’s a fine explanation of the Dusk Tiger’s electronic soullessness — watch with me in horror as the tuning pegs move on their own as they change tunings:

I don’t think we’re very far away from having “self performing” guitars that we’ll put on stage in a stand and, like the player pianos before them, they will strum themselves and bend their own strings and make music without any human interaction whatsoever — except, of course, for the dry original computer programming — and we’ll all be well on our way to the end of real musical performance as we’ve come to know and love it.

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