Barrier Buster: TheToneKing.com Takes a Look at Peavey’s AT-200 Auto-Tune Guitar

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Peavey-AT200When Peavey looked at the landscape of what other manufacturers were offering in auto tune guitars, they had a choice to make. Either do it the same way as everyone else, or do it their own way and really bring Auto-Tune technology to the next level at half the price. They chose to do that second thing with the AT-200. TheToneKing.com had another chance to look at this guitar from Peavey and check out what puts it in a class of its own.

 

The first thing that sets Peavey’s AT-200 apart from many other auto tune guitars is that the AT-200 doesn’t have any moving parts. Rather than having a digital interface twist your tuning keys like some kind of unfeeling robot that you know is going to become self-aware someday and reek havoc during that choice solo, the AT-200 bypasses the gears and just concentrates on what’s important: the sound coming out of the guitar. This allows the AT-200 to be more accurate and reliable because it knows that it’s not wise to rely on gears or motors…

…or robots.

Oh. And, don’t worry about any heavy bricks tied to the headstock weighing you down while you’re playing. Everything that makes the AT-200 what it is is internal. So, it looks, plays, and feels just like a conventional guitar.

But what comes out?

Anything but conventional.

Using the Antares Auto-Tune system with String Tune and the Solid-Tune intonation system, players can move between tunings without having to worry about string tension, feel, neck stress, or any of the other problems that usually accompany alternate tunings.  When engaged, the only

at-200-guitar-3

thing that changes on the AT-200 is the sound that comes out of your guitar.

Let’s talk about intonation a bit.

There’s a reason why a lot of players who don’t know what they’re doing sound like shit when they tune down. It’s because the only thing they do when they tune down is…well, tune down. They ignore the neck, the saddles, the strings, and the nut; all of these things are imperative when adjusting for intonation. If any of these things is out of whack, then so are you. And, nothing muddies up tone quicker than a guitar out of intonation.

Because you are wise beyond your years, I’m sure you already realize that the reason I’m even bothering to mention intonation is because Peavey’s AT-200 has that shit covered. For players that don’t want to screw with adjusting their intonation, the AT-200’s Solid-Tune intonation system keeps those notes in tune, even compensating for finger pressure, position, and physical limitations of the instrument. Screw you physics! Peavey’s AT-200 lets players concentrate on their tunes and not their tuning.

There is one downside: If you don’t sound good, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Peavey-AT-200-Auto-Tune-Guitar-2But what about bending and vibrato?

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Do you really think that you can outsmart the AT-200 with a few half-step bends or some EVH-style vibrato? Peavey is a company of players making gear for players. Of course, they’re going to make sure that their Solid-Tone intonation system is smart enough to know when players are intentionally manipulating pitch.

That’s right!

Peavey’s AT-200 can read your freaking mind!

Kidding aside, intentional manipulation of pitch carries different characteristics than a note that is simply out of tune. The AT-200 recognizes the difference and lets bends and vibrato come through with greater clarity than players can realize on conventional guitars.

Peavey’s AT-200 always tunes to the nut. It’s easy to access tunings like Drop D, Open G, and Baritone instantly by adjusting finger positions on the fretboard. This feature is particularly cool for tuning on the fly. Don’t have time to dick around with some buttons in the dark while people are throwing beer bottles at you? No problem. Fret accordingly, engage the AT-200’s Auto-Tune feature, and play away like a bastard.

Other tuning upgrades will also be available from their website. Tunings that would be impossible or improbable with a conventional guitar will be available through the Antares site. Six-string bass? Oh yeah! Twelve-string? You bet your ass! Polyphonic Octaver? I don’t even know what that means, but they got it! Any tuning that players can imagine is at their fingertips. Literally.

Peavey’s AT-200 offers a ton of options for not a lot of dough. For players that are looking to break down those tuning barriers that are inherent in stringed instruments, Peavey’s AT-200 is the hammer that’s going to break down those walls. Whether it’s recording in the basement or quick tuning-changes on the fly, the AT-200 opens a whole new world of opportunity for alternate tunings. Ever since the beginning, TheToneKing.com has watched Peavey break down barriers to give players the ability to create without hindrance, and the AT-200 is another weapon that can be added to that arsenal.

Don’t forget to check out The Tone King’s video review of Peavey’s AT-200 below!

 

Features:

 

  • Amazing automatic tuning via Antares(r) Auto-Tune(tm) for guitar system
  • Sealed diecast tuners, 15-1 gear ratio
  • Master volume with momentary switch to initiate String-tune and Solid-tune™ function
  • Master tone control. Pull up to turn off active system and change to passive pickups
  • 2 Peavey custom designed humbucking pickups
  • Three-way switching selector for both the active Auto-Tune system and passive pickups
  • Dual action torsion rod
  • Full Size MIDI input
  • String thru body for maximum sustain
  • 1/4″ and 8 pin DIN connectors. 8 pin DIN connector included for use with optional AT200-B breakout box. (more details on following pages)
  • Battery powered via 4 AA cells. Can also be remotely powered with AT200-B breakout box
  • Upgrade software packages available through Antares via http://guitar.auto-tune.com. Please visit the website for a listing of available software upgrades
  • 25.5″ scale
  • Solid Basswood Body
  • Available finishes: Black, Candy Apple Red

 

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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  3. Nick Othen says:

    Still very unsure, been looking at one for some time but I think I’m going to wait.

  4. hotrod V says:

    Ok. I got it. I love getting TTK updates and have for years, but this AT-200 has been covered here what, 3 or more times already? I get that it may be a good answer for someone who is a beginner, maybe a cover band guitarist, and even for some home recording one size fits all stuff. Fine. But…
    There is much more to a guitar than just tuning and intonation (which of course is quite important!), as well as pickup modeling or modulation:
    There is the carefully chosen woods,
    a truly unbelievable selection of great pickups,
    and point to point wiring.
    These things make up a true guitar and cause all makes and models to sound and play differently and uniquely because of it. If not for the true craftsmanship of world class luthiers, there would be no guitars or pickups (or amps) to model anything after.

  5. Foe says:

    If I correctly understand how this works technologically, there is no way to resolve the problem with the underlying dissonance between what the strings are vibrating at versus what is coming out of the amplifier. There is much to be said for the acoustic tone and feel of a resonating guitar, solid body or not. Consciously or subconsciously, that will have an impact.

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