Frampton comes alive for The Performer automated guitar tuning system

peter frampton digital self tuning system
Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Peter Frampton knows first hand how much time guitarists spend tuning their instruments, and now the guitar legend is leading a crowd funding effort to market a product that automates the process. Called The Performer and produced by AxCent Tuning System,  the computerized rig can be controlled through a simple keypad on a guitar, allowing players to quickly tune their guitars with just the press of a button. It also gives guitarists the ability to change from one tuning to another through user presets — while they’re actually playing.

“The main thing for me is I can at a moment’s notice go from one tuning to another,” said Frampton to Billboard. “I’m always writing songs in different tunings, so you can put your custom tunings into this guitar and it remembers them for me… and within a second or two you can change it from that particular tuning back to standard [tuning] and you can play a solo. And it’s incredibly precise.”

Frampton mentioned in a promo video (above) that Jimmy Page initially turned him onto the technology when he saw the guitarist playing a guitar that tuned itself — and changed to a different tuning immediately. The device, which can fit on any guitar and be controlled through your guitar or smartphone, is currently in the midst of a $1 million crowd funding campaign. AxCent plans to sell the device, which has also been used by Graham Nash and Collective Soul’s Ed Roland, for about $400.

While there are other devices available that perform a similar function, AxCent claims to have built a superior tuning system based on every musician’s favorite subject: math. According to the AxCent website, the system is designed to be more accurate than devices that use analog feedback by employing a computer which uses “calibration equations” to sense the exact motorized movements needed to increase or decrease string tension.

Along with the motors, the system is comprised of string sensors, an LCD display, push buttons to program the tunings, and a computer with the ability to store up to 96 personal tunings on top of 336 preset tunings chosen from thousands of possibilities. And the system goes much deeper than that, offering lux features like adjustable speeds, tuning progressions, and “quick capo touch up,” which adjusts the strings as if capoed. You can also activate tuning changes via push button, or foot pedal.

Since every guitar has its own “calibration” due to its physical design, The Performer is designed to adjust to your individual guitar’s harmonics with exact equations that its computer system learns and stores during installation. The system can be installed in several guitar models, including “Les Paul, Les Paul Special, Telecaster, Stratocaster, and Chet Atkins SST body shapes and their replicas.”

Backing the tuning system makes sense for Frampton, a self-proclaimed ‘gadget freak’ who has been tinkering with music electronics since he was a kid. “I made my own electric [guitar] out of an acoustic when I first started to play and realized through my dad that the tube radio in the living room could actually work as amplifier as well as a radio, so that was my amp.”

While Frampton didn’t assist in creating The Performer, he’s a regular user of the device. “This is one of the very few things that I would actually get involved in to go and raise some [funds] because I’ve used it for many years and actually believe in it.”

You can catch the guitarist with his self-tuning guitar on tour this summer with Cheap Trick. If you’re interested in helping the legend back AxCent Tuning Systems, perks include concert tickets and backstage passes to his shows, but they’re only looking for investors willing to shell out tens of thousands.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Podcasts

The MoviePass dumpster fire, Star Trek's new Spock, robot actor

This week, we'll talk about the epic dumpster fire that is MoviePass, Crazy Rich Asians hits theaters, two Captain Kirks take a hike, and the American History X director hopes to cast a robot in his next film. All this and more, so tune in!
Music

How to clean your records to keep them looking good and sounding sweet

Vinyl records are back in a big way, but the sound quality can suffer if you don't keep them clean. Check out our tips for keeping your vinyl and stylus immaculate, so you can hear every note of your favorite tunes.
Home Theater

TV calibration 101: Here's how to tune up the picture of your new TV

You’ve got your new TV out of the box, but now what? Our TV picture adjustment guide takes you through the simple steps to get the best picture from your brand new TV so you can set it and forget it.
Music

Spotify may eventually allow free users to skip all ads

Spotify is rolling out a new feature that may allow free users to skip ads whenever they want. Currently, the test is being conducted in Australia but if successful, it may be spread to other countries.
Product Review

Optoma’s NuForce BE Free5 wireless earbuds cut the price, keep the good sound

Taking out all the wires and glossy paint, Optoma still gives its NuForce BE Free5 the goods to play audio better than Apple’s AirPods at a cheaper price. But are these the affordable true wireless earbuds for you?
Home Theater

Do you need an $8,000 gold-plated digital music player? Sony made one anyway

Sony's new DMP-Z1 digital music player features "audiophile-grade" sound quality and a gold-plated volume knob to let everyone around you know you take your music extremely seriously.
Music

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Mobile

T-Mobile partners with Live Nation, Pandora to offer customers more perks

T-Mobile made a few other announcements today: Not only has the carrier partnered up with Live Nation to provide offers, but customers will also be getting a free year of Pandora Plus.
Home Theater

Let your vinyl sound even better with one of the best phono preamps

Whether you're looking for a quick fix to set up your first turntable or a long-term audio upgrade for higher-quality sound, here are the best phono preamps you can buy that won't empty out your wallet.
Mobile

Verizon Unlimited users can now sign up for 6 free months of Apple Music

Verizon's latest offer stands to benefit both Apple Music and its own subscribers, as the one-of-a-kind deal is likely to be compelling to both existing and potential new subscribers. .
Music

Say a little prayer for Aretha Franklin: Iconic soul singer passes away at 76

Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin has passed away at age 76. Considered among the most powerful voices of her generation, Franklin inspired millions with compelling songs about respect, prayer, and love.