I was at the Music & You music expo in Paris last weekend. While I was there I get to speak with Trev Wilkinson about a guitar I wrote about a couple of months ago: The Fret King Super-Matic. I’ve had a couple of questions to ask him about the self-tuning system of the Fret king so I asked him in person.
I was wondering why he chose to install it in the bridge instead of using motorized tuning pegs like most robot guitars do? His answer is rather logic! As a guitarist you don’t want anything to mess with your tuners! This is a good argument because when you think of it, once the tuners are motorized it makes it tricky to adjust your tuning by slightly turn the tuning peg while playing for example. And I have to admit that just like Trev Wilkinson does, I do like my tuners perfectly in line too.
I had some doubts on the reliability of the system, especially for those who dig extreme alternative tunings. But Trev’s answer reminded me that the real point here is a matter of strings gauge. Indeed the stability, and the strings tension with such open tunings mostly depend on the use of an appropriate set of strings.
Cherry on top of this guitar: the whole system is rather discrete, and very easily programmable. It only requires to press a single button, and strum the 6 guitar strings. To select the presets you will only have to successivily press on single button. That couldn’t be easier than that.
The Fret King’s bridge system is adapted to a large variety of guitars available in the market. Trev Wilkinson is keen to see it used on other brands of guitars. That’s why he and his team thought this bridge as a transposable system. Though the bridge would also work on a vibrato bridge they are not planning to go that way yet. The reason is that most open tunings users rarely use a vibrato. I still think they could give it a thinking because that would be a killer feature!
I was expecting that, and I had the confirmation at Music & You expo: the Fret King Super-Matic, and its bridge could be one of the finest solutions for the alternative tunings guitarists who would like to have only one guitar on stage instead of 6 different axes (6 is the number of presets available: standard E, and 5 programmable presets).
For more information check Fret King website.
(I wanted to publish a video but I had some camcorder, and camera issues at this salon so I don’t have a lot of material available! Bummer!)