Re: New Technolgy
The Gibson Robot (SG and Les Paul) is actually a really brilliant bit of kit. It uses a set of piezo pickups to work out the individual note of each string and corrects it accordingly. It'll even do the intonation! It also accommodates for alternate tunings like DADGAD, Drop D, Open C and the like - so it's a brilliant idea. It's just a shame they're only doing a limited run for now and whilst the tuners aren't strictly 'necessary' the idea is excellent.
Line 6's Variax is another cool piece of kit that models sounds from other guitars into its own signal and also does the alternate tuning, but in a different way. It doesn't tune the guitar, you do that, but it simply changes the output signal and it really is very convincing - I borrowed a Variax for about a month and I was seriously impressed. One more thing I borrowed was a Roland VG-88 which does essentially the same thing as the Variax (modelling, modelled instruments and tunings, etc) but is instead a floor unit - again, very convincing Rickenbacker 12 String sounds coming out of that and all it needed was a standard guitar with a special pickup mounted on it (again, a piezo).
Some of the stuff available to guitarists is simply mind-boggling and largely unnecessary, but us guitarists love our toys and gadgets. Not a day goes by when I think of another guitar I could buy or a gadget that might be useful. That said, I actually use everything I have, so it hasn't gotten to epically stupid levels yet.
Incidentally, Gretsch used to have a hideously complex stereo system whereby one pickup would send to one amp for the treble strings and one pickup the bass strings to separate amps. That was in the early 60's!