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Tronical to sue Gibson for $50 million

(Image credit: Future)

Tronical (opens in new tab), the German firm whose Powertune automatic ‘robot’ guitar tuning systems were first introduced in 2005, has announced it is suing Gibson for $50 million.

The company, which identifies itself as 'the exclusive licensor of auto-tuning', has today stated it is bringing legal action against Gibson Brands, which has been pending before the Hamburg State Court since December 2017.

In a statement issued to MusicRadar, Tronical CEO and founder Chris Adams said, "Tronical is claiming licensing fees to the amount of 23 million US dollars from the share in the profits agreed in the contract, and a further 27 million US dollars on the grounds of Gibson’s breach of contract of the exclusive research and development agreement with Tronical, which Gibson should have met by 2026."

Tronical’s technology has been marketed on Gibson guitars as the G-Force automatic tuning system (previously known as Min-ETune), and was first introduced to the guitar giant's electrics with the advent of the Robot Guitar in 2007.

The tech became standard issue with the launch of Gibson's controversial 2015 range (opens in new tab), but following a mixed reaction among guitarists, it was assigned to High Performance electrics only in 2016 and 2017, and appears on just a handful of models in the 2018 line-up.

The lawsuit will come as bad news for Gibson, which is already facing a potential $520 million in debt and even bankruptcy, leading to staff layoffs, factory closures and sales of existing brands, including Cakewalk.

For the full story on Gibson’s troubles so far and how we think the company can bounce back, have a read of our in-depth feature, Gibson: how did we get here?

Michael Astley-Brown
Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com (opens in new tab), in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).

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