Peavy AT-200 Guitar Review

Review: Peavy AT-200 guitar with Auto-Tune Technology
Auto-tune technology usually gets a bad rap from music fans. But what about the same technology for the guitar? I decided to try out the Peavy AT-200 guitar with auto-tune in my guitar lessons. So did it turn out to be a soulless quick fix or a useful resource for open minded musicians? Here’s what I think.

First impressions
I have to admit that my first thought when I saw the guitar was about the standard gimmicky red it comes in. This is slightly lacking in imagination in my view. When I actually started using the product in my guitar lessons, I was impressed at how quick and easy it is to set up and start using. The guitar comes with a full set-up kit. As this review by Paul Ridden [link to review] points out, there is lowering of the overall output volume from the guitar once the auto-tune is active, but the company are making a free update available through their website.
Great idea
To make sure my trial was a fair one, I used the Peavy AT-200 during my guitar lessons over the space of a week. That gave me a good idea of how it could work. At the end of that time, my main thought is that it’s a great crutch or resource, for example, when it’s not practical to tune a guitar, such as when you’re about to go on stage or you’re giving guitar lessons. It’s definitely a time saving device on that score.

Time saving
But – and I make this point as someone who has given many guitar lessons over many years – playing a guitar isn’t just about just playing. Ear training matters just as much as the technical fingerwork. This is where the product falls down. While it was interesting for my students to try out the Peavy in their guitar lessons, they did miss out on ear training. The guitar provides a short-cut which could become a dead end to their learning further down the line. Tuning a guitar is a really important way to get to understand music. I make it a key part of my guitar lessons. Auto-tune certainly speeded up the process for my students in their guitar lessons, but ultimately I think they missed out on something important.

The verdict
My verdict on the Peavy AT-200 guitar with auto-tune technology? I’m pretty sure it will continue to divide opinion. In my view, it’s not so great for guitar lessons when you want to help people fine tune their ear and improve their understanding of the link between the strings and the sound. But having said that, I do think this is rather interesting technology with some potential when very carefully applied.
Rob Greco

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