Watching the Kemper Profiling amp video and then Variax, it suddenly occurred to me that the development and future of the guitar especially if you want to have one guitar do all, is going to be the luthier who comes up with a made to measure profiling guitar.
A luthier that can measure your hand and design the perfect neck, Ola Strandberg has done research into his patented applied neck, but probably there is a slight step further to go so you hold the neck you would fall in love with and choose it just like comfortable shoes.
Kemper has gone to extremes with processing to profile any amp or stomp box, so you carry your exact sound in the profiler and recall it. In a package that is 5 kgs with a small footprint, rack or their design you can carry it around easily without having as I have 12 extra stomp boxes with old fashioned wiring. I also have a Boss ME80 which is a cut down version of the Kemper. That would go, as would my need to carry the 12 pedals. It also has some 500 amps profiled to choose from and a community and website to create and download new profiles. So if you want a Marshall, Dr Z, Bognor, Fender you dial it up and the sound is exact, what’s more it has exact EQ and exact reverb or whatever comes with the amp. Clever device and sworn as a must for today’s studio recording. Fractal Audio Axe FX II is similar, but I am told the Kemper is better made and more accurate. The Axe is used more by big artist live as they have been given them I understand!
Now to the guitar. William Gelvin has started down a similar path as with his VIP 6 pickups you can turn the frequencies to different types of pickup needs, with split coils he can model a humbucker set and a single set. Not cheap as about $450 a pickup, but very reasonable if you think of the Kemper.
Variax takes a different approach as it has built in models about 12 that allows you provides similar to the ME80. Interesting now Yamaha has Line 6, will they do what they did with pianos and build in a box that goes with guitar so it plays on its own and makes a better sound than a Steinway. They rule that market, will they develop the guitar in the same way?
Next is to make a pickup set that models other pickups by listening to them and attuning the frequency as they are. They would be a lot more expensive as is the profiler, but once down you could dial up a diMarzio illuminator, or air norton S what ever has gone before. You probably need two guitars, one with three and one with two pickups. Woods wise you could dial the resonance and frequencies for different wood settings.
In terms of what the body was built out of it could be anything and probably whatever is best of low control of sound with the neck, therefore could be extremely light in weight.
Neck wise, I would go for fretless, but with fret markers as action can be lower and the fingering more accurate. My experience with the Ibanez GW45 bass fretless is that it is far easier to play than my fretted Warwick and in fact my right hand takes more of a beating than my left. You also get those beautiful slide sounds which are easily controlled.
So in future, looking for either Lace or Gelvin or Yamaha or somebody completely new to event a pickup that profiles other pickups, electronics like Variax that profiles woods and other guitars. So you mic up a guitar and load the sound into your guitar electronics. Of course digital pickups would be the way forward, then you just profile the sound into your guitar. You would plug the profiler into the guitar rather than the amp and play settings. It would download the electronics, frequencies blah blah just like the Kemper does for amps. You would then download that into your guitar profiler electronics.
If you then had a guitar profiler and kemper you could make any guitar and amp sound that exists, job done!!
Focus would then be on playability in terms of neck and support for finger style or picking a la Ibanez GW45 which has a unique finger board for finger style so you do not go to deep when plucking.
Development into a new way of exchanging necks that did not require an expert would then mean you could have several necks rather than several guitars. Some sort of connection that is fool proof. We have it in many other things developed, but we have not really developed a slot in neck system as yet to my knowledge, that makes it fool proof and no need for an expert. Looking at guns which do have this capability may be the way forward.
Headless of course to be smaller. If easy to assemble then also you could half the foot print and make it easy to carry.
So is a guitar profiler set of electronics and pickups the next way forward for the innovation of the future guitar?