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Guest MarriottLuvr

G-Force/Tronical - the Inside story.

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Guest MarriottLuvr

Hi guys. First post here so I thought I would show something I have never seen online, though I have looked. I actually joined here on the back of a really interesting thread I found in a general Google search. There were actually people there arguing that Gibson's G-Force system had merit! That is a first for me. It really seems the world and his wife cannot wait to put both Tronical and Gibson out of business for having the audacity to replace the stock tuners with something more technologically advanced. In particular I doffed my cap to Searcy and his refusal to put up with the same uninformed crap that is bandied about amongst haters when a few supporters were discussing it amongst themselves. He made a lot of really good points about the way the hatred is proliferated without any real factual evidence to support it. Here's to you Searcy if you are still around. I laughed out loud.

 

Anyway, I digress. (I'm very digression prone!) I have the system on a couple of my guitars, one from birth and one transplanted because I like it so much. It has served me well on a workhorse LPJ which I gig with and use for slide. It really is a boon to be able to just swap tunings at the push of a switch. I'm a big boy and have a note from my mum which says I'm allowed to tune my own guitars now but why take the time when the system can do it for you. I can cook anything from scratch pretty well but I still order in a pizza from time to time. After a good bit of use and not too much abuse, (I have very rarely hand cranked it just to show it who is boss), the G tuner started to slip and wouldn't always pull up to tune immediately. I run with a set of 12s and usually play in open E so they are tighter than the norm. It gave up the ghost the other night and tuned up then clicked down again so replacement time. No big deal!

 

Then I got curious. I have a long engineering background (mainly electronic/software) and my techy curiosity got the better of me. So here is the result of an hour of playing around and a few observations that may be of interest or even assistance to a couple of you.

 

post-99531-069354300 1552931111_thumb.jpg

 

post-99531-012500900 1552931131_thumb.jpg

 

You can see the tuner opened up and its innards splayed out for inspection. They comprise of the motor unit with its attached contact block, (more on that later), the tuning post assembly and the gears. If you look carefully you can see there are two straight pins inside the unit which hold all of the gears. The gear wheels are all the same piece with 34teeth/10teeth except for the top one which engages the tuning post which is 34teeth/9teeth. The tuning post has 22 teeth and the motor cog has 10 teeth. They are all the same way up, smaller cog on the top, so you can't get them wrong as far as I can see. (No liability is implied by... [scared] ) To my surprise all of the parts are metal with the single exception of the motor cog which is nylon(ish).

 

Now to the unhappy part, the warning of dire consequences. If you choose to open one of these up it is a piece of cake. You need a jeweller's crosshead screwdriver, don't even attempt it with anything which is big enough to call normal. There are two tiny screws on the peg face of the unit. With these out the tuning peg assembly comes free and Robert's your Mummy's Bro! The motor assembly can be slid out in one piece. DANGER WILL ROBINSON! The contact assembly is in the plastic block you can see on the side of the motor. IT IS NOT SECURED IN ANY WAY, IT JUST SLIDES ON AND OFF TINY SHORT PINS!!! It contains four tiny tiny springs no bigger than 1mm diameter which carry current from the terminal pins on the outer face of the tuner to the motor terminal pins which stick out sideways and hold the spring down in the plastic block. If you are not careful it will slip and release the springs and, once they sense freedom, they will streak off into the sunset and never be seen again. You absolutely MUST keep that assembly together and whole. Once it is split it will be an absolute nightmare to get it reassembled again, even if you still have all four springs. You have been warned.

 

The tuner handle ties in with this gear assembly via a larger round gear which is on the inner side of the housing and it simply connects with one of the large gear wheels in the stack. It's the one below the top one which you can see in the picture so it connects via its lower edge.

 

So there it is, the innards of the tuner. Very simple and very technically impressive whether you think it is a useful item or not. I couldn't fix it! I could disassemble it and reassemble it, I greased it with Contact Treatment grease which I have but it remains unable to pull the string up to tune. I think the problem is in the tension which is near the limit Tronical specify, (13s in standard tune, remember I'm 12s in open E) which seems to somehow loosen the fit of the gears into each other rather than damaging the gears themselves. It's no big deal to me to have this happen, I am used to engineering things having a limited lifetime, not like when Gibson used to make REAL guitars [flapper] . I'll replace it and go on happily using my autotune while the rest of the band can start the next number. Now if it leads to the others letting go too I would have to rethink. Anyone have any horror stories to put forward on that score?

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Guest MarriottLuvr

Yep, me and food, bestest buds! [love]

 

It just seems to be an apt way to point out that, just because some people like to use the Tronicals it doesn't mean they can't tune their guitars. The "But I can actually tune my own guitar" point always seems to be an argument trotted out by the Tronical haters.

Edited by MarriottLuvr

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Guest MarriottLuvr

Absolutely FZ. I have a Snark and it works well. At least when it isn't chewing its way through batteries with its dodgy on/off mechanism. There are musicians who have perfect pitch and can tune without using an aid of any kind. You pays your money and you takes your choice. We all just have to do what we feel works for each of us.

Edited by MarriottLuvr
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Welcome aboard! :)

 

Very interesting, Nice write up and pics, thanks!

 

 

I don't mind the G-Force system, And unlike the Richlite fretboards, at least it's easily replaceable for the folks that don't like or want to use it. ;)

 

 

2015fambk.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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I saw a video of of a fine guy who goes by the name of Nelson that took one of these things apart and I did not like what I saw in that video...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IYgQ1Lo8GA

 

plastic gears and the sort... Those things won't last forever no matter what someone claims that "mine's had no problems, had mine for years..." Only a matter of time... like a time bomb. They are garbage IMO. What about charging the thing... What happens when the battery dies on it - have to replace it somehow. Hope it's easy... And just watching someone press the buttons to take a damn string off is just painful. I'd prefer locking tuners - best thing since sliced bread if you ask me.

 

So that's my take on these things. Slap some Grovers in them there holes and twist away like we all love and know. But hey, not my money. If someone loves these things, have at it - you know what you're getting here. Something like this would drive me nuts and annoy the piss out of me once it starts to take a crap on me. Never had good 'ol tuning machines that haven't been abused take a crap on me in 25 years of playing. I'd hate to be at a practice - or a show - and these things start to do stupid things to me. I mean, just buy another guitar for an alternate tuning if that's the big sell here. How many tunings does someone have to go through in a set? Geez 'O Peets!

Edited by NighthawkChris
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Yeah. They never really worked well. I wonder how many millionen they lost on those things. It's easy to get some big idea about how to change the world. Not so easy to actually engineer something that works. [crying]

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Yeah. They never really worked well. I wonder how many millionen they lost on those things. It's easy to get some big idea about how to change the world. Not so easy to actually engineer something that works. [crying]

 

They didn't pay the bill, so they lost very very little. The t00ner company lost lots. Just sayin.

 

rct

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does anyone recall what the straight drop in replacement tuners are?

 

I looked for the thread that had that in 2015/6 couldnt find it

 

In the video I shared, if you look through Nelson's channel you can find a video where he replaces these robo-tuner Gibsons with Grovers. I have learned quite a bit watching this fella do some of the things he has to various guitars. I'd trust him with my guitar(s), so take that FWIW...

 

But to cut to the chase here if you don't want to go this route, I believe Grovers MIGHT be a direct replacement. Probably have to pilot some holes in the headstock for the screws, but it would be worth the trouble to get rid of that wicked contraption. I think the difficulty of this lies in making sure you don't askew the tuners. But if one is careful, probably can do a magnificent job.

 

EDIT:

Here is the video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3LUzKIoMx0

 

Edited by NighthawkChris
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1553001099[/url]' post='1983092']

I saw a video of of a fine guy who goes by the name of Nelson that took one of these things apart and I did not like what I saw in that video...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IYgQ1Lo8GA

 

plastic gears and the sort... Those things won't last forever no matter what someone claims that "mine's had no problems, had mine for years..." Only a matter of time... like a time bomb. They are garbage IMO. What about charging the thing... What happens when the battery dies on it - have to replace it somehow. Hope it's easy... And just watching someone press the buttons to take a damn string off is just painful. I'd prefer locking tuners - best thing since sliced bread if you ask me.

 

So that's my take on these things. Slap some Grovers in them there holes and twist away like we all love and know. But hey, not my money. If someone loves these things, have at it - you know what you're getting here. Something like this would drive me nuts and annoy the piss out of me once it starts to take a crap on me. Never had good 'ol tuning machines that haven't been abused take a crap on me in 25 years of playing. I'd hate to be at a practice - or a show - and these things start to do stupid things to me. I mean, just buy another guitar for an alternate tuning if that's the big sell here. How many tunings does someone have to go through in a set? Geez 'O Peets!

 

As far as the battery goes, it just pops in and out the back of the tuner with a "push/click" like a memory card does. After you pop the card out, it just plugs in the included charge cable. Pretty simple really.

 

Batteries and Chargers (if needed) are readily available.

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I'll seriously consider buying it when the Custom Shop releases next year's "Molecular Level Historically Accurate G-Force Re-Issue" set.

msp_smile.gif...

To be serious for a minute; I think quite a few of the folks here who didn't want G-Force completely understood that there was considerable merit in them for a great number of players and for several different reasons. What a large number of folks here stated at the time was it was the lack of choice in the matter which folks REALLY hated; not the actual units themselves. I don't play in alternate tunings and hate excess weight at the peghead end of a neck so from my point of view, the unit is both unnecessary and something which would totally upset the balance of a guitar.

 

Pip.

Edited by pippy
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I'll seriously consider buying it when the Custom Shop releases next year's "Molecular Level Historically Accurate G-Force Re-Issue" set.

msp_smile.gif...

To be serious for a minute; I think quite a few of the folks here who didn't want G-Force completely understood that there was considerable merit in them for a great number of players and for several different reasons. What a large number of folks here stated at the time was it was the lack of choice in the matter which folks REALLY hated; not the actual units themselves. I don't play in alternate tunings and hate excess weight at the peghead end of a neck so from my point of view, the unit is both unnecessary and something which would totally upset the balance of a guitar.

 

Pip.

 

I think you're softening depth of the hysteria about the 2015 models, not limited to G-Force, the "outrage" was extended to the neck, LP sig, and hologram. The vast majority of the comments were *not* of an appropriate "not for me" nature, but all sorts of nasty negative comments directed at those features. Besides being egocentric, I found the most disturbing were the totally disrespectful descriptions of Les Paul's signature. Pretty shameful bashing coming from a lot of narrow minded people.People did have a choice. There were other model offered during the year w/o the any of those features. The hysteria was totally uncalled for. What a bunch of babies.

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I have the G-Force in one of my guitars and I actually like it. One thing I'd like to point out is that between 2015 and 2016 the G-Force was greatly improved. In particular, on the 2015 models it would take drastically longer to tune your guitar. However the G-Force that came in the 2016 models and subsequent years were much faster. I conjecture that part of the hate G-Force received was due to its performance on the 2015 models. Some of the criticism carried over even though a lot of the 2015 G-Force related issues were addressed. Personally, the thing about the 2015 models were that the fretboard width wasn't, shall I say, my preferred brand of bourbon. If my G-force ever breaks on me, I have a spare set of locking Grover laying around that will go right in. However, it hasn't let me down so far. It remains to see if that will last. Also, when the battery is out, I just tune it by hand just fine and the spare battery that I've got comes in handy as well. You don't need to have a perfect pitch to tune a guitar by ear, its actually pretty easy using the harmonics technique, especially after you've done it a few times. However, in a noisy environment, such as band practice or gigs, I've often used a snark or a tuner pedal with my other guitars. To press a button on my guitar to tune is is just more convenient and faster to be honest.

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...I think you're softening depth of the hysteria about the 2015 models......What a bunch of babies....

Really? Ah, well; there we are. I was commenting only on the views expressed by, in the main, sentient people who were discussing, specifically, the G-Force system (as per the OP) here in this forum on pretty much a daily basis.

YM, as always, MV.

 

P.

Edited by pippy

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Guest MarriottLuvr

Oh dear. When I posted I really wasn't wanting to open the whole can of worms of the For/Against war again. I only wanted to put factually correct technical details about the construction and inner workings of the units. I realised that there would be those who still consider the system rubbish for whatever reason was relevant to them. We can't change that. So first, the technical truths. (And I say truths as, NOT opinions, facts).

 

All of the driven gears in the chain are metal, none of them is plastic. NightHawkChris please take note. Have another look and see if you can spot the plastic gears you reckon are present in your video? The final badly damaged brass cog is that way through abuse and the crown gear will obviously not mesh correctly when the top of the gear chain post is not located and held tight and vertical in the outer casing! That critical video itself is utter rubbish. The guy is an engineer like I'm the head of a Buddhist monastery. Look back over the posts here to see how the plastic myth hangs on! The only plastic in the whole drive chain is the cog on the end of the motor shaft. At the high speed end of the chain that is fine and normal. There is more tolerance for the backlash that wear inevitably creates and there is less torque required to push the system around from that point so it is not an issue. My own mysteriously not working unit has no wear at all on the gears which I can see even under a low power microscope.

 

The battery is a fantastic example of what modern types can do in my experience. I use mine for weeks at a time without needing to recharge. Occasionally I get months out of it. I make sure to keep a fully charged spare with the guitar at all times which is only professional, (in attitude I mean). As has been pointed out earlier, it pops out with the simplest of pushes from a slot in the body of the unit. It is neither enclosed requiring opening the unit up to replace nor is it awkward in any way. Changing it takes about 4 seconds on stage live if that.

 

In my own experience the tuning does not slip easily despite repeated claims that it does. I find that, once tuned it stays that way sometimes for an entire gig. I strongly suspect that those who find it does slip for them are not reading how to string the tuners properly and using their common sense in dressing the string around the peg when they do. I bothered to learn it and improve my technique until it is now sound.

 

The system has an amazing array of capabilities, far too much for the average person's technical memory nowadays. In my honest opinion many detracters are people who are frightened off by this as they hate having to admit they need to look up the button push sequences to access the things they need. Or maybe they are just too lazy to do so? It shouldn't need dumbing down to suit those who can't take it all in, I can't and I work in electronics design, you only need to remember the very basic things you actually use. (You should consider the story of Albert Einstein and his phone number Einstein's phone number). I only remember how to set it to tune, how to change a string, how to change the selected tuning and even then only the few tunings I use. The rest I "refer to the manual". I'm not threatened by that, too many are. (Sadly nowadays that is often only because it involves reading and thinking!)

 

I absolutely refute the idea that it "sucks tone". I have a Les Paul traditional and I loved this system so much that I bought a cheap swapped out set from someone who removed it from a new guitar before even really trying it as he "knew" it was crap because people on the internet told him so. His loss, my gain. My Trad sounded exactly the same afterwards. Tone was no different and feel and response was just as good. There is absolutely no factual evidence that I can find for this in any way, only insistence from many people that it is the case, mostly with reference to the following final point.

 

For me there is a worrying feature to consider in this G-Force/Tronical system debate. It is the same perhaps on both sides. There are those at fault who argue for and those who argue against. People now make a decision on matters like this without any first hand experience of them. As someone here said a while back on this issue, 95% of the people who are basically openly anti-AutoTune have never played with the system themselves. Their chosen gurus have told them it sucks, so they hear it sucks! We are in the days of "my sister's boyfriend's auntie's milkman's next door neighbour" read it on a blog and his opinion is such so it must be true. The internet is a repository for uninformed opinion and everyone thinks theirs actually counts no matter how uninformed it truly is. This leads to myths and in this musical field there are a shed load, and it can make feeling on both sides polarised, radical and unsympathetic to any opposing evidence.

 

What is needed is for people to realise the lack of factual backing their own opinion has and listen to the factual case of the other side to find out why they feel differently. Differences can then be considered rationally and the resulting position will have some merit. Of course there will be differing opinion but it won't be based on myth and legend, and it should be without even a mention of the dreaded "mojo". If I change my position on any issue in the face of some well made argument then I consider it a good thing. I have actually become better informed and wiser. You don't improve in anything by insistently staying the same. You find where you are wrong, you embrace it happily and you are better.

 

I'm all for people not liking this and any system for a variety of their own reasons which may not match mine but these have to be argued truthfully, openly and be factually correct. Just repeating internet scuttlebutt and mojo myths is not enough to make a good case. Your choice is your own and is very valid either way, the arguments you put forward to justify it may not be.

 

Unless I have offended anyone else's feelings on this matter, let's let the thing lie and quieten down again. At least there is some more factually correct info available in this thread for those who may be looking for that. I really don't want to start another "state of tension" here by my interests.

Edited by MarriottLuvr
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It is great to have a thread like this with a truly objective look at a useful innovation, like it or not. Especially when at any time one has the option to "opt out". You're not committed forever.

If one doesn't like it, fine, don't use it. Nobody has to justify not wanting it. To say that it is "ticking time bomb" is just more bias against it. Of course it won't last forever. A car engine is not called a ticking time bomb, it is just something that can be replaced when it "wears" out. The G-Force doesn't, and probably shouldn't need to be repairable, just replaceable like any other modular component as is being done nowadays.

I'm along for the ride with my 2015s that have them. As long as they work decently they stay. I may replace some and keep some. It is pretty cool to use them.

I expect that like most electronics, they will get better and cheaper over the long run.

 

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What a bunch of babies.

 

The tuners were garbage. The guy lost his company three years later mostly because of his bad decision to use the tuners. You don't have to be some kind of sack waving he-man to take notice. It's more about common sense than manhood. in fact, what kind of man uses those dumb things to tune his guitar anyway. A sissy! [tongue]

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In the video I shared, if you look through Nelson's channel you can find a video where he replaces these robo-tuner Gibsons with Grovers. I have learned quite a bit watching this fella do some of the things he has to various guitars. I'd trust him with my guitar(s), so take that FWIW...

 

But to cut to the chase here if you don't want to go this route, I believe Grovers MIGHT be a direct replacement. Probably have to pilot some holes in the headstock for the screws, but it would be worth the trouble to get rid of that wicked contraption. I think the difficulty of this lies in making sure you don't askew the tuners. But if one is careful, probably can do a magnificent job.

 

 

That's great. Thanks for the link!

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The tuners were garbage. The guy lost his company three years later mostly because of his bad decision to use the tuners. You don't have to be some kind of sack waving he-man to take notice. It's more about common sense than manhood. in fact, what kind of man uses those dumb things to tune his guitar anyway. A sissy! [tongue]

 

Haha, careful what you say, you might get an essay coming back addressed to your discontent with the robo-tuners and to be convinced that they are quality pieces of equipment... And don't use the phrase "ticking time bomb" whatever you do because this has been clearly explained to me why this is not applicable msp_lol.gif To believe anything other than these are quality pieces of equipment and it's perfectly fine to not get mad when something that costs over $100 fails outright on you - when in reality, only ONE tuner has to fail for the thing to go into the heap, because the whole thing is useless if you can't tune ALL the strings - is just lunacy! I'll just blow another hundred bucks or whatever it costs to get another robo-tuner set. Always going to be able to get the same electronic module later in life for my fine Gibson guitar... No worries! That's why I don't buy cars anymore too BTW. Ticking time bombs man... I must be some sort of Luddite because I can't accept this innovation.

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In case anyone wanted to know, I’ve had a few Gibson’s with the RoboTuners. While I liked them, I replaced a few too. By default the guitars with the Tronical Tuners (Gibson G-Force and MinE-Tune) have only the peg holes drilled (10mm). There are no screw holes drilled.

So you can easily replace the Robo Tuners with whatever you want. Literally just install any other tuners. You will have to mark/drill new screw holes for new tuners. But you won’t have any extra holes to fill or have to re-drill.

I personally used Hipshot tuners specially because they could be installed without any screws or drilling whatsoever. They use a mounting plate and you don’t have to drill anything.

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The tuners were garbage. The guy lost his company three years later mostly because of his bad decision to use the tuners. You don't have to be some kind of sack waving he-man to take notice. It's more about common sense than manhood. in fact, what kind of man uses those dumb things to tune his guitar anyway. A sissy! [tongue]

 

Yeah, that's just how it came off. Objectivity at its best.

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The tuners were garbage. The guy lost his company three years later mostly because of his bad decision to use the tuners. You don't have to be some kind of sack waving he-man to take notice. It's more about common sense than manhood. in fact, what kind of man uses those dumb things to tune his guitar anyway. A sissy! [tongue]

 

I've felt like sissy since I stopped tuning by ear. Snark has emasculated millions.

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In case anyone wanted to know, I’ve had a few Gibson’s with the RoboTuners. While I liked them, I replaced a few too. By default the guitars with the Tronical Tuners (Gibson G-Force and MinE-Tune) have only the peg holes drilled (10mm). There are no screw holes drilled.

So you can easily replace the Robo Tuners with whatever you want. Literally just install any other tuners. You will have to mark/drill new screw holes for new tuners. But you won’t have any extra holes to fill or have to re-drill.

I personally used Hipshot tuners specially because they could be installed without any screws or drilling whatsoever. They use a mounting plate and you don’t have to drill anything.

 

Can you identify which exact Hipshots? I ask because this fellow found he couldnt install Hipshots without opening/reaming the headstock & so abandoned the job & fitted Gotohs instead. His LP was not G-Force though.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=g-force+hipshot&t=ffab&atb=v156-5a_&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=-kFpj6WJix8

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Guest MarriottLuvr

This is sad and disappointing for me guys. After hoping I could steer the thread towards a place where there was a bit of tolerance for the other side from both wings it's looking very like this forum is the same as every other guitar based one I have found, ruled by who shouts loudest for longest without any factual input or curiosity as to why people have a different view. You guys obviously just "know" what is right and no one who doesn't stand behind you is against you.

 

I'm an engineer and a good one. I believe in an engineered route towards better solutions. I believe in pushing the boundaries of what we try to achieve and how we achieve it even if the results are not perfect in every way. I know from many years of experience that there are different routes through any problem, all of which are equally valid, because there are different requirements to meet out there which are equally valid in their own circumstances. I try to have a tolerant view towards others who do not think as I do. I may not agree but I ALWAYS consider seriously what they have to say for reasons I posted previously. That is to my benefit as it keeps me growing. I'm sorry to say, it doesn't appear at first sight that there is too much of that here. The dogmatic approach I am seeing only leads to stagnation and ignorance.

 

As I said, sad. [thumbdn] I don't have anything to contribute to this place I fear.

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