The Gibson Dark Fire is one of Gibson's truly outlandish attempts to make a guitar "for the ages." When it was released it had all kinds of hype surrounding it and Gibson touted it generally as the next generation of guitar. Whelp... here we go!
The Gibson Dark Fire is based off of a Les Paul design, and most of the features are pretty true to a Les Paul. It has a mahogany body with a figured maple cap, a mahogany neck, an ebony fretboard with carbon fibre inlays, the infamous ROBOT tuning system, and some unique electronics that combine a P90, a Burstbucker, some complex switching systems and a piezo pickup to round things out. It features a typical tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tail piece and the GENERAL layout of a typical LP to round things out. They're made in the USA.. well, were anyway, before Gibson took sense and discontinued them.
The guitar like many Les Pauls is a monster of a guitar. They're heavy clunkers generally, and the Dark Fire is no exception. Given all the electronics and other do-dads inside the guitar, I'm surprised it doesn't weigh a metric tonne. It's heavy and not a guitar I'd want to gig with for hours on end by any means. The upper fret access is decent on these guitars due to the satin neck finish that is used on the guitar's back and neck.
Getting a good sound out of this guitar... well, if I could concentrate on getting a good tone or ya know... playing guitar, maybe I'd notice. However there are so many distractions whilst learning the intricacies of the ROBOT tuning system and all the different switching that it's almost difficult to sit down and play the thing! When I had it dialed in I could get some nice Les Paul tones or acoustic type tones with the piezo, but it took me a space odyssey to get there.
I've tried the Dark Fire through a few different Fender and Mesa Boogie amps. Admittedly, the guitar doesn't sound all that terrible, it's just a bit of a pain to find a sound and stick with it. The P90 offers a cool warm sound that is close in nature to many of those classic '60s or '70s blues and rock tones, and the Burstbucker pickup takes things up to another level with some more raunch and filth applied... perfect for '70s hard rock right into the present day. Fortunately Gibson didn't throw the typical Les Paul tone out the window when they were designing sounds for this contraption, so all's not lost. There is such a myriad of switching that it's difficult to go into details about each specific mode. All I can say is that some sounds worked (the thicker Gibson esque tones) and some fell kind of short (the more jangly Fender type sounds).
All in all I think the Dark Fire is just utterly hilarious. When I first heard the name, I had to hold in a serious laugh... c'mon Gibson. It sounds like I'm 5 and going to battle with my Pokemon or something. Jokes aside, I'd say that the Dark Fire is basically just... misguided. It has some great features (like the P90/humbucker mix and the piezo) mixed with some weird ones (Robot tuners and all the fairly needless switching). If they had of made a simpler guitar with less FOR less (The Dark Fire sold new for about $3,700) I bet it might have really been the next generation of guitar. Gibson's not known for their product launches and after a while they just quietly removed most traces of this guitar... probably for the best.
This is Gibson's way of stepping their foot into the future of what they think guitars will be. It has tons of features, but that's really about all it has going for it. The guitar features a mahogany body with a maple top, mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, trapezoid inlays, pickguard, binding, hard tail bridge with a piezo, one humbucker, one P90, a funky knob that can select various tunings/tones and a few other things here and there.
This guitar has tons of technology built into it, but it seems all wrong to me. The guitar tunes itself, for one. However, I noticed that people online keep having issues with the high e snapping. I noticed that I couldn't get it into perfect tune with the tuning system it had when I put my strobe tuner against it. To me, it seems like a gimmick thing, and I'm hoping Gibson will realize that this kind of technology really isn't needed in guitars. We're more traditionalists that want a solid guitar instead of a computer. The fretwork was average, but the edges were a touch sharp. The finish looked cool, though.
The guitar didn't sound that great, to be honest. First of all, the guitar was extremely light, and I found that it lacked the normal resonance that a normal Les Paul has. It had this kind of airy top end to it. The bridge pickup was decent, but that's about it. It didn't sound like the other Les Pauls I had in the shop. The P90 in the neck was pretty cool, but the technology that was thrown into this guitar is really what ruins everything, in my opinion. The piezo was fun to mess around with, but it's pretty limited as to what you can do with it because it sounds sterile when compared to a normally miked acoustic guitar.
I really don't recommend these at all. They're overpriced, lack the tone of a normal Les Paul and seem to be stuffed with tons of things a guitar player really doesn't need. Maybe I'm too stuck in the past, but I just found myself battling this guitar the entire time. Combine that with some of the issues I've read about on the web, and it's more of a guitar to avoid than a guitar to buy. Maybe I just had a dud. Who knows...
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Qill's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)
Les Paul by Gibson made in U.S.
Chambered mahogany body, flamed maple table
Channel profile Gibson Standard (50 and 60) Mahogany glued key 22 boxes Ebene carbon inlay
P90H Micro Piezo + + Burstbucker 3 in the Tune-O-Matic
1 tone 2 volume 1 master control (tuning)
Flycase white special Dark Fire
1 box for Firewire settings via PC or MAC with Ableton Live 7 Gibson
electronics running on battery
Suffice to say that electronics acordage with such diffrérents fashion no pun I emit a soft B because all the modes do not suit him as saying that I have several each with their guitar tuning for use in very specific example Telecaster Open G plans for Stone, Black Crowes .. Stratocaster Flat mode plans Hendrix, Extreme ... Les paul in flat mode for Guns, A Dan Armstrong open for the slide, Les Paul and Telecaster in normal mode Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz ... well you understand me despite its versatility this guitar does not sound in any circumstances, useful or not I personally do not find it super useful since it has several guitars after live in a small bar OK as it is more difficult to bring all the heavy artillery
So the advantage of this guitar apart from the different tuning as possible is the Piezo and both say that it is convenient but not bluffing is just a blend to mix the signal nothing more than just turn the selector knob microphones and voila, live is a bit of a pain wimp if you must switch from one mode to another I would have preferred a 3-position switch: single piezo / off / blend like the Gibson Slash Custom
Otherwise microphones so I would say that the sound of a tone more P90H comes in he seems less organic it not this round and velvety hand / vintage against by it mixes very well with the Burstbucker 3 in middle position with respect to a BFG or the mix was a little off topic
The Burstbucker 3 remains true to himself is the big sound he sends his vintage race less than the Classic 57 + in bridge, but for rock-type planes Aerosmith it's all good mics that I know very well so no bad surprises
In summary it was a rather modern kit vintage vintage modern look, depending on the set that can not all agree
I got € 1,500 used, it is mainly a favorite I already own two Les Paul Trad 50 and 60 besides the Flying V, Explorer, SG, ES ... brief retrospect I would not have taken because in the end I think it does not match what you expect from a Les Paul I broke out more about my other guitars because they have such an identity that remains legendary Goldtop so that a Dark Fire guitar it's more the inspector gadget
After the body Chambered we like it or not like it's a matter of feeling knowing that this is my first real Les Paul Chambered I think it sounds better than Standard because I hate Burstbucker Pro and I've always liked the P90 and Burstbucker 3 so the question for me between the two does not arise
Finally check that all the kit works well because the parts detach Gibson is then to help scratch that is no longer manufactured ...
Les Paul type guitar, made in United States.
Mahogany body, flamed maple table
Mahogany neck, Ebony + carbon fiber inlays.
Pickups: Burstbucker P90 + + piezo
Robot tuning (automatic tuning) + modeling of electronic sounds by mixing sounds of three microphones
Rechargeable battery incorporated (no batteries), can recharge during play
High-end finishes, delivered in the name box of the guitar.
The guitar is very enjoyable to play, easy access to acute, sensitive and responsive touch. It is light enough for an LP.
There are a multitude of possible sounds settings, which mix finely and electronic signals from the three types of microphones present on the guitar. These settings are accessed via a dial on the electronic guitar, configurable using a computer and a dedicated firewire interface.
Simulates the guitar sound of dozens of types of guitars by switching the selector, very quickly.
It should however be an adjustment period large enough to discover all the subtleties / possibilities of this guitar.
Gadget that will not please purists, but that suits me well: automatic tuning ... I have not bought this guitar for that, but I got taste pretty quickly ... the guitar fits in 3 seconds, and you can choose between many different tunings ... Live too cool, it lets you play a piece of stones and just 3 seconds after rembrayer on a classic tune without 2 guitars ... SUPERCOOL, especially in small cafés or was not much room to put full of gear.
We obtain virtually all types of sounds with this guitar, acoustic to death metal, playing with the switch, making it an extremely versatile guitar. Like all LP, mahogany and ebony fingerboard gives sustain madness, and flamed maple top brings a warmth characteristic of LP that users are familiar.
I play with a VOX VT100 modeling, which allows me to be perfect all-rounder also output. I was considering buying a MesaBoogie LoneStar Special to get a better crunch and clear sound (already tr! S good with vox, note ...)
Sounds the least friendly are those from the piezo logically, clearly not at an acoustic electric guitar, or even models like the series hybrid electric LGXT Godin, whose acoustic sound is much more accurate ... Moreover, there is no setting on the preamp with Darkfire (basic / medium / treble / volume) as the Godins, but a single volume pot, much less flexible to use. In short, I do not is almost at hand to record a quick acoustic riff for a component without going all the stuff making its ...
I use the guitar for 6/8 months, and my opinion is shared:
-On the visual appearance, functionality and sound I would say the guitar is very successful.
On-the ergonomics, and connectivity computer I'd say it's way: the system is far from intuitive, and it must bone up the manual to understand how it works. Provide a LOT of time, eager to retreat.
-On reliability, I'd say the guitar is VERY fragile ... I had a lot of problems with bad contacts, particularly at the stereo output of which a portion of the signal was cut. generally unacceptable for a product in this range.
On-the price, I would say it is high, but for a Gibson LP United States is in the range ... One might almost say that for the same price, you have a LP standard, without the functionality of the DF, so why deny it?
Note: the firmware (the firmware for friends ...) of the DF is rotten. It is upgradeable to the following model of the range of robotic guitars, the DuskTiger ... I did the upgrade in the first hours of use because the interface is much better in this version of firmware, I recommend it to all ... Moreover, Gibson tolerate the practice, and the same documents ... Not affect the Service.
To conclude, it is a good guitar-road, with a good grain, easy to play, and with features that allow it to shine on stage and in studio, it suits me well.