Gibson HD.6X-Pro Digital (2006) - At first glance, the Gibson HD.6X-Pro Digital appears to be a regular Gibson Les Paul. It has a single-cutaway body, two humbucking pickups (each with its own volume and tone controls), 3-way-toggle pickup switch, and traditional neck and headstock. However, upon closer inspection, the hexaphonic pickup, which is mounted between the bridge and the bridge pickup, becomes visible (see image below).
A hexaphonic pickup, also known as a divided pickup or MIDI pickup, is essentially a pickup divided into six segments, allowing each string to be isolated, output and processed separately. The output interface of the Gibson HD.6X-Pro accommodates a XLR cable output, a headphone output, a regular 1/4 inch guitar jack output and a Cat-5 Ethernet cable output, which transmits the digital audio signal between the guitar and the breakout box (see image below). The breakout box then has individual outputs for each isolated signal.
The ability to process each individual string separately presents guitarists with a powerful system that could be utilised in a number of ways, opening up whole new sound worlds never before explored in guitar performance. For example, the signals from each string could be processed separately through a number of guitar effect pedals. One string could could be sent through a delay pedal, the other through a tremolo pedal etc, or all strings could be sent through six separate delay pedals, all of which have different delay times and feedback rates, creating some interesting textural sounds.
Furthermore, these processed signals could then be sent to six separate speakers placed around the performance area, moving the guitarist into the realm of spatialisation performance. This would totally remove the sound of the guitar from its original context, expanding its sonic vocabulary whilst at the same time introducing a new element to guitar performance.
To read Craig Anderton’s take on the Gibson HD.6X-Pro Digital, click here.
IMAGES: performing-musician.com & 2dayblog.com