G Force Tuning System: Gibson?s Automatic Tuning System

Published Categorized as Other

G Force tuning systemIf you haven’t heard of the G Force Tuning System yet, then you might be surprised to know that you can get a guitar that can automatically tune itself!

The Gibson automatic guitar tuning system isn?t the only one available but it’s one of the most well-known.

What is the G Force Automatic Tuning System

Essentially it is what it sounds like it is. It is an electronic system that automatically tunes your guitar for you.

Like, really.

it’s not like an electronic tuner that tells you how far off you are from being in tune.

It figures out how far off you are and then tightens or loosens the strings automatically until they are in tune.

All you have to do is turn it on, strum the strings?and it does it for you. You can also choose to do each string one at a time. But at no point do you ever touch the tuning pegs. They are tightened and loosened automatically.

Importantly you do still have the option to tune manually. But make sure the G Force unit is turned off before you do.


How it Works


Basically there are small, lightweight motors inside each of the machine head. These motors can tighten or loosen the strings. The motors are attached to a controller module.

The controller can sense the vibration of the strings. From those vibrations, the controller calculates the frequency. If the frequency is not what the string is programmed to be, then the controller sends a signal to the machine head motor and instructs it to either tighten or loosen until the string is vibrating at the frequency that the string is programmed to be at.

Tuning All the Strings at Once (speed tune)

To tune all strings at once all you have to do is to push the on button, strum all of the strings open and then when the G Force is done tuning (when all the LEDs are green) it turns off automatically.

If any of the LEDs remain red then simply pluck that individual string until it is green.

Tune Each String Individually (precision tune)

If you want to tune each string individually (for more precision) then you hold the on button until the LED for the E string turns red. Pluck the E string – once that turns green, the next string will come up. Then pluck that string.

Keep going until each string has turned green (again it will turn off automatically once all the LEDs are green (i.e. once all of the strings are in tune.

Alternate Tunings

The G Force tuning system is set to tune for standard tuning as default.

However, there are also several alternate tunings that you can select – plus you can program in your own custom tunings too.

The tunings that are pre-set are separated into Green and Red pre-sets. The blue pre-set is where you enter in your custom tunings. It starts out as standard tuning until you program in your custom tunings.

There are also low tuning pre-sets. These are the white and the yellow pre-set banks. Then there is a Magenta pre-set banks where you can do custom low tunings. The Magenta defaults to C tuning (which is C, F, A#, D#, G, C)

The pre-sets are outlined in the table below.

RedGreenBlueWhiteYellowMagenta
StandardOpen ECustom (user programmed)C TuningOpen CCustom (user programmed)
DADGADOpen ACustomLow COpen C6Custom
Whole Step DownOpen DCustomC SharpOpen BCustom
Drop DOpen GCustomB TuningDouble Drop C#Custom
Half Step DownDobroCustomDropped CDouble Drop CCustom
Double Drop DAll 4thsCustomDropped BDouble Drop BCustom

>>For more on alternate tunings click here

Once you select an alternate tuning and have the G?Force tune to that tuning it becomes the default. So the next time you use the G Force to tune it will tune to that.

To make Standard tuning the default again you simply go to the red pre-set bank and select standard tuning.

Re-Stringing

The re-stringing process is slightly different – and you can use the G Force to wind your strings too.

However, you cannot use a string winder when you have the G Force tuning system.

Other functions

You can also set the G Force to tune to another instrument. This requires some tuning by ear – but still makes the process faster.

For example – you are playing with a pianist and the piano isn?t tuned perfectly. You just tune one of your strings to the piano and then the G Force can tune the rest based on that one string.

Can I add this to an Existing Guitar?

The tech that goes into this has to be pretty precise. So currently you can’t just buy a g force unit and install it on a guitar. To take advantage of the system you need to buy a Gibson guitar that already has the system.


Does it Work Properly?

A lot of people are skeptical of this type of thing actually doing the job properly. But this?was also the case when electronic tuners first made it to the market.

Yes, a lot of those weren?t great initially but now a lot of guitarists stake their reputation on them.

Now, even if you haven’t heard of guitar automatic tuning systems before, don?t make the mistake of thinking they are new to the market. They have been around since 2008. So they?ve had 8 years and counting to actually make these things good.

That said, there are still people who think that jury is out on this. Whilst, there are others who wouldn’t buy a guitar without it – because?they spend so much more time playing their guitar and a lot less time tuning it.

What’s been your experience? If you?ve tried, or own a guitar with the G Force tuning system, how well do you think it works?

Is it a Good Thing or a Gimmick?

Is this kind of technology actually helpful? Or is just a selling point?

Some seem to argue that this is something for lazy guitarists who don?t want to tune themselves – or for poor guitarists who can’t tune themselves – and that everyone should tune by ear.

Others say it’s simply a convenient and fast way to tune – and that it doesn’t replace tuning by ear but simply allows for quick tuning saving time – and for a quick convenient way to tune on stage or if you playing with an orchestra. You can quickly and silently get in tune.

What do I think?

I think that it would be more than handy to have for a stage situation. And for tuning to other instruments.

I also think that some guitarists could use it exclusively and never learn to tune by ear – which wouldn’t be a great thing – particularly if your G Force ran out of batteries! And also because it’s a skill worth knowing.

However, like electronic tuners didn?t, the G Force tuning system isn?t going to breed a generation of guitarists that can’t tune by ear.

There?s a bit of a debate in the link below (you can also learn more about how the G Force works there too). Check out the comments at the end of the article – there are two comments by Joe Quimby and Dlydianb7 near the top – then scroll further down and you’ll see the start of their debate – a total of 6 comments back and forth (in my opinion Dlydianb7 was the clear winner).

More importantly – what do you think?

Is this a good piece of technology?

Is this something that will enhance the guitar experience or dumb it down?

Is this something that you?d like to have on your next guitar?

Just leave a comment in the comments section below. I?d love to hear other people?s opinions on this.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

9 comments

    1. Hi John

      Yes, if you set the unit to Drop D tuning. Once setting the G Force to Drop D it will tune the Low E to D and the rest of the strings in standard tuning (as per what drop D is). You can also choose a number of other preset alternate tunings – and even set your custom ones that the unit saves for later.

      Once you select Drop D, then the G Force will automatically tune to Drop D every time you turn it on. That is until you select another tuning. So if you wanted to go back to standard tuning you would just select that and the G Force will adjust the tuning accordingly.

      Hope this answers your question

  1. Just got my first Les Paul I did not realize it came with the gForce. I do not like it. When you tune manually the tuners fight you it’s not a smooth experience at all. It seems like a really really good idea but the functionality just isn’t there. You can have the guitar tuned to standard tuning and then turn the unit on 5 seconds later and press it to tune and the keys move. It should not lose tuning that fast. Maybe I have a funky unit. Maybe it’s a production quality issue because I hear some people love it and some people don’t. So maybe the individual units just aren’t up to Snuff yet. I would think that after two years of putting these on guitars they would know that by now. I also wonder how much Havanese units on each guitar impacts the price. Because I certainly would not have paid extra to have this thing.

    1. Hi Duane

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s good to hear people’s experiences with the g Force. The impression I get also is that it seems to be a bit hit and miss. Maybe it’s something that they should perfect before putting them out there – like you say it may be your particular unit but if a few people are having issues with them then the quality control might need looking at.

  2. I think it is interesting that Gibson would address their known tuning issue by adding a G Force tuning system rather addressing the root cause. I have fender Strats and Teles and none of them, or any I’ve ever played for that matter in my 45 plus years of playing guitar have ever tuning issues or staying in tune once tuned. But, my Gibsons, a Les Paul, a Les Paul Jr and even a Melody Maker I bought for my youngest daughter, wouldn’t stay in tune for more than one, maybe two songs on a good night. And recording… damn, just frustrating. So, why doesn’t Gibson just address the root cause. After all, we are musicians and we know how to tune a guitar, what we don’t like is to have to do it 20 times per gig.

  3. I understand that their are g-force models for after-market installation. I am desperately interested in one for a 1974 Std LP. Also, I would like one for an Epiphone kona Flying V. By eye, the headstocks are indistinguishable, and I rarely carry calipers, etc. to music equipment stores.

    I have a PRS Custom 24 but think I’d prefer it remain entirely original PRS, an ’89. If, though, very minute change in the guitar’s surface would allow an auto-tuner, it wouldn’t be outside of the question.

    I don’t harbor any hopes at this point of there being one for a Gibson Firebird (I wouldn’t either, Stratocaster minions would retrofit the six strings on a side config. If there were by now one . . .

    This I would have done a while ago, but didn’t have reliably trustworthy backup. Since Uli Jon Roth has them on his Sky Guitars, and raves about them, I’m taking that as a fair recommendation.

  4. G-force on my Gibson Les Paul 100 anniversary model works great.
    when strings get very worn out, it has some trouble getting tuned.
    playing on it since 2016 (3 years) with much pleasure.
    saves a LOT of time tuning and its quick and precise.
    do need to calibrate when changing string thickness or setup (higher / lower / intonation),
    (which is easy after reading manual carefully).
    alternate tunings and capo- positions are also very good, quick and accurat.
    one can also tune per string individually (more time consuming, this gives better result ? but still quick).
    or can adjust settings to more time tuning automatic, with preciser results.
    although i find the standard time setting rather precise (my ears are well trained ? 50+ years playing semi-pro).
    ????

    ps. had some breakage due to cracks in the plastic pegs.
    because hand tuning goes a little heavy (the auto tuner motor turns as well).
    this caused cracks and breakage of 2 tuners.
    but Gibson replaced them all six ! quickly via Thomann.de. good service.
    since replacing these 2 broken, only tuning auto and no more problems….

  5. I bought a 2015 LP Studio new knowing it was G Force. I am a total amateur. I’m conflicted. The precise single string tuning seems perfect to me. But changing strings, especially using the GF to wind strings is a mess. Connecting new string to peg is a finger gouger. And when I tighten the string the GF just might decide to jump to the next string and wind/unwind that one too. Couple this with the fact that you work with strings from the top side of the head stock but all the controls are on the hidden on the bottom. So all I have to do is blindly select the main button three times and the enter button twice to get to manual wind mode. Then remembering that the GF always starts with the bottom E first, I have to hit the correct direction key however many……. I give up. Its ugly. But it sure tunes good. For now I think I’ll keep it just because its so unique…. and I like to watch peoples’ reaction to it when the keys spin.

    1. Hey T.

      If nothing else, this tuning system is worth it purely for, as you say, the novelty of watching peoples’ reactions when the tuning pegs spin of their own accord in the manner of witchcraft and wizardry. As you well designate in your comment, it also has its drawbacks, and it would be my advice to anyone thinking about purchasing a guitar with this system installed or installing it on their own instrument entirely to weigh these up with the potential benefits.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Nate.

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