It’s interesting that the Gibson Dusk Tiger, although Les Paul shaped and with the same basic configuration of two pickups, bridge and tailpiece, pick up selector and three aside machine heads, is not actually called a Les Paul. According to Gibson, this may be a natural successor to the Darkfire, although incorprating the Robot electronics. Whatever it is, it’s still a shock on first viewing. But why? If this guitar was a new release by ESP or Kramer, would the trauma be so intense?
Opinions of this instrument on the guitar forums are polarized; there is utter amazement and loathing amongst the diehard traditionalists as you would expect, and a sort of stoicism amongst the rest. The latter believe that it’s perfectly natural for a guitar company to launch innovative products now and then and that Gibson should be no exception.
Reading the blogs, the venom is not so much for the guitar itself which, after all, you don’t have to buy, but for the Gibson company. The feeling is that they are going seriously off the path of righteousness and only ought to be making Les Pauls, SGs, ES-335s and the like. This is understandable – guitarists who love their Gibson guitars and therefore have an inherent loyalty to the company simply don’t want it to stray too far from turning out the established models.
The fact is, Gibson have always experimented. In the 1950s there was the Explorer and Flying V, in the 1960s there was the Firebird, in the 1970s the Les Paul Recording and the RD series. In the 1980s the company got really wacky with the MIII, Corvus and Sonex models. Only in the 1990s did we see a return to basics with the formation of the Custom Shop which, once it was established began to turn out the Les Pauls that everybody had been asking Gibson for all along.
The Dusk Tiger offers the electronics from the Robot model, with the self tuning system, and a programmable 4-band active parametric EQ system. It also features both magnetic and piezo pickups and a switchable Hi/Lo impedance output option, reminiscent of the aforementioned Les Paul Recording. The top is flat, and the body weight relieved, but the details of the material used for body and neck is as yet undisclosed. The back view shows a wide tiger skin finish. Also included is the RIP (Robot Interface Pack) and a firewire cable. The pickups are mounted on what looks like brushed ali,with ‘Batman’ type extensions. The whole guitar has a futuristic vibe to it, which makes it an exciting prospect for a lot of players. I can see it being promoted in the lifestyle mags along with the latest wide screens, micro laptops and digital streaming devices.
We need to get over the fact that this is a Gibson, and that Gibson should only be making Les Pauls. Instead, take the Dusk Tiger on its own merits.