Gibson's limited-edition Robot Guitar was undeniably cool when we played with it last year, and it looks like the sequel's going to be even hotter -- say hello to Dark Fire. The flame-red axe features a second-generation Robot tuning system can get up to pitch in less than a second -- and not only is it smaller and lighter than the weighty original, battery life has been significantly extended to 500 tunings on a single charge. Once you're in tune, you'll be able to make almost any noise you want with the Chameleon Tone system: in addition to a P90 and a bridge-mounted humbucker, there's a third piezo pickup in the bridge that can be blended with the standard units for what Gibson called an "incredible array of tonal possibilities." In case that's not enough for you, the Dark Fire also ships with the Robot Interface Pack, a powered breakout box that lets you integrate your axe into almost any digital audio workflow you can dream up: there's two quarter-inch balanced line outs, headphone out, FireWire (sorry, MacBook owners), and a special hex connector that carries the output of each string from the piezo pickup -- these can either be broken out into individual quarter-inch outputs or used to control MIDI guitar controllers with an adapter. Original Robot owners aren't being left out: Gibson says it'll upgrade them for "close to cost," after the Dark Fire launches on December 15th. Pretty wild, all in all, but we'll wait for pricing information to hit before we consider trading in our battered old Tele.

[Via Music Radar]

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Gibson kicks out the Dark Fire second-gen Robot Guitar