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If "Unable to initialize guitar" during firmware update - Reset DF using function 109


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Hi everyone. Firstly, hats off to Gibson. At about 8PM my door rang and there it was... my RIP shipped direct to Japan by Gibson at their cost. Very impressive. They didn't skimp and send surface or anything. All good so far.


Followed the instructions to the letter and installed the software. Updated the RIP firmware and when it came to update the guitar I got this darned message ... "Unable to initialize the guitar". Ok, thought maybe I should fully charge the guitar. Didn't help. Thought maybe I should reboot the PC. That didn't help either...


In the RIP console I see the bar on the far left go up and down when I pluck a string so I have reason to believe there is some communication between the DF & RIP -> PC. When I initiate the DF firmware update I hear relays clicking in the DF etc but then it comes back with this message.


Any ideas you might have will be most welcome while I go snatch my daughters laptop to give this a go on another PC as a last resort! Thanks in advance.

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MCK, just got my RIP in yesterday, but won't have a chance to try the update till tomorrow night, so no help here. I will let ya know what mine does tho. Hopefully, one of the other DF owners can help ya out sooner than I can.

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MLB, thanks for your note of solidarity. This sucks. I'm like a kid on the other side of a candy store display with my nose pressed on the cold glass... I found a MacBook at home and want to give it a try too but its lockup and its owner (my other daughter) is away at school camp for a few days. How low can one go just to get DF going... Now investigating ways to hack into my daughter's MacBook! Yay yay yay... Keep well.

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You can go lower:


Boot from an OSX CD and reset her passwords...


beware she might not talk to you for a while after that, I definitely would not :-)


Or buy yourself a MBPro!


But perhaps the problem is elsewhere, TRS cable OK?, is the DF set to the the right mode when connecting it? RIP is powered with right PSU?

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Actually its past midnight here and I'm on a conference call with my day-work folks from US so calling Gibson is out of question for now. I see Mr. Tronical on this thread so fingers crossed... cavalry might be on the way!

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You can go lower:


Boot from an OSX CD and reset her passwords...


beware she might not talk to you for a while after that' date=' I definitely would not :-)


Or buy yourself a MBPro!


But perhaps the problem is elsewhere, TRS cable OK?, is the DF set to the the right mode when connecting it? RIP is powered with right PSU?[/quote']

Thanks. This is her school issued computer so I don't have the MacOS CDs and you're right if I mess this one she might not only not speak with me but also fail her classes since she has school work on it. So I think I'll pass this one for now.


But putting the Mac aside, I think out of 2 Vista machines (32bit) one should be ok. I have the feeling the problem lies elsewhere. Using the cable that came with the DF, charges well. RIP seems to be ok... makes all the right clicks & lights up etc. Not sure what to look for at this stage.

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Verify you have a good high speed internet connection = not Dial up

Remove the TRS cable on RIP Input.


Connect the RIP to PC


Connect the DC power pack to the RIP


Launch the Gibson RIP Console App

Perform a Manual "RIP Update" - from "Settings, About"


Its OK to reapply the RIP Update - just to be sure its there before proceeding.


Upon completion of RIP update


Connect the Dark Fire to RIP with TRS cable


Pull the MCK out.

Spin it to "Peg"

tap it once

strum lightly and it Powertunes the guitar to standard tuning.


Leave the MCK Out (up) and on


Perform a Manual "Dark Fire Guitar Update" - from "Settings, About"


Follow all online instructions during the Dark Fire Update.

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Might dive into the Dark Fire Manual and see if you can figure out what version Firmware is in your Dark Fire.


Its one of the cryptic "Clickstream" procedures - at the end of the Owners Manual.


When I connected my Dark Fire to RIP the 1st time - it said it was already up to date - but I did the update again anyway.


Mine was probably updated by Gibson Jan 14 when they had it for my RMA repair before the NAMM show.


MCK - you have a 1st shipment version - its conceivable that you may have an early Firmware in your Dark Fire that the current updater cant "see"


Where is that Firmware check procedure/?


Be sure to get a camcorder and film the MCK while it scrolls the version info

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The following documentation shows the various Functions in Setup Mode and the “clickstreams” required to 

execute them.   

“Clickstream” is the term for the order of execution and the values selectable in a Setup Mode Function.   

Note:  In each clickstream operation that follows, the ‘#’ sign means to rotate the MCK fully 

counter-clockwise and press display momentarily.   

Utilizing each Function begins by Entering Setup Mode, selecting the Function number followed by #, then 

selecting a value to apply to that function, followed by #.   

Some functions are the “on/off” type, and some have a range of values to select from.  “Reset” functions also 

have a safety feature where one must press a red “Y” on the display.  This is the same sort of security that PCs 

employ when asking “Are You Sure?” 


Setup Mode 

In Setup Mode, many of Dark Fire’s system parameters are user-definable.  There is a list of Setup Mode 

Functions which follows, but to utlize them you must first enter Setup Mode.   

To enter Setup Mode, pull out the MCK and turn it to the "#b" symbol in any Bank.  Press the display until a 

pink "Enter" symbol is displayed, then release the MCK.    Now press down the MCK again until a cyan "Enter" 

symbol is displayed.  You are now in Setup Mode.  You will see a cyan “Enter” symbol and the ”b” LED will 

shine yellow as confirmation.  


How to select a Function Number

Enter Setup Mode as described above.  Rotate the MCK to select each digit of a number (in the range of one 

through 9), followed by a momentary press of the display.    Each number selected will flash red to confirm it 

has been entered.  When all the digits of the Setup Function no. have been entered, rotate the MCK fully 

counter-clockwise and press momentarily.  MCK will give a confirmation signal as described below.  The MCK 

will show a cyan “Enter” symbol and the “#” LED will shine magenta, indicating that you now can enter your 

desired value for that function.   Values are also selected one digit at a time.  After the desired value for the 

Function has been selected, rotate the MCK fully and press it momentarily.  The MCK will give a confirmation 

signal as described below.   

For example, to select Function Number 16 and give it a value of “2”: 

1. Enter Setup Mode 

2. Rotate MCK until the number “1” is displayed.  Momentary press causes the “1” to flash red—it has 

been entered.  

3. Rotate MCK until the number “6” is displayed.  Momentary press causes the “6” to flash red—it has 

been entered.  

4. Now rotate the MCK all the way counter-clockwise and give a momentary press.  The “Enter” symbol 

flashes red and back to cyan.  The selected Function Number will scroll by in yellow.  Now you are 

ready to select your value, indicated by the shining magenta “#” sign.   

How to select the value for Function number 16 to “2”:   1. Complete the process described in nos. 1-4 above.  Leave MCK out.   

2. Rotate the MCK to the number 2 and give a momentary press.  Momentary press causes the “2” to 

flash red—it has been entered.  

3. Now rotate the MCK all the way counter-clockwise and give a momentary press.  Perimeter LEDs on 

the MCK flash green 3 times, and the value selected scrolls by in Yellow. 

4. Note that the “b” symbol shines yellow again, indicating you can access another Setup Mode 

Function.  If you are done and want to exit Setup Mode, push the MCK back in.  Your new value for 

the Function you selected will be operative until you change it by either selecting it individually in 

Setup Mode again, or by Restoring Factory Defaults in Setup Mode.  


Function: 99

Name: Display Software Version

Purpose: Displays the software release number of the body CPU.

Clickstream: 99#

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Dark Fire Guitar Version Same as I had checked a while back so definitely no new firmware joy here. On a related note though, I gave GR3 a go and wow was I amazed. First time user so just clicked a few sounds and was amazed beyond belief. Good note though is that I get the modified sounds through the RIP headphone socket so this tells me basically RIP & cable etc is ok. Whatever it is its somewhere else. I am still suspicious of the Vista PCs. Let me go try hijacking my wife's Vista laptop.

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Thanks for that. I am throwing in the towel and going to sleep now. Tried an XP computer and yet another Vista box and all the same. Meanwhile played around with GR3 a little and noticed that only the left input VU bar is flickering when I play the guitar. Wonder if this is expected or an anomaly. I am wondering if I might have a bad cable. Can someone with a working GR3 installation kindly verify for me? Cheers

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