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Building a Guitar out of a Peavey AT200 Part 1

I got a Peavey AT200 Guitar when I visited the Peavey Headquarters in Meridian, MS. I couldn't believe the technology inside this guitar. It has 6 independent (Autotune) chips inside the guitar controlled by 6 piezo pickups. Mine is fully loaded with all of the upgrades. This thing can do it all; capo up, capo down, doublings and global transpose, alternate tunings, different pickups, acoustic guitar models, bass, and any tuning combination imaginable. The Autotune chips inside the guitar processed this information in real time. This means, it is not a "modeling" guitar necessarily. It's not a "profiling" guitar either. It's a magnificent guitar. Check out the manual

This is also very hard to find and I found it useful. Its the Installation Guide for the original Auto-Tune for guitar luthier kit (here)

Why did it fail?

Great question. I have a few theories.

  • The Peavey AT200 was released around the same time as the Line 6 Variax. I strongly believe the AT200 was a much more powerful tool but it was Peavey's marketing team vs the Line 6 Marketing team.

  • It was very cost effective. Much more inexpensive than the Line 6 Variax. The downside to this was that they didn't look very appealing. They only came in red or black and looked like a pretty normal $200-$300 guitar but with a higher price tag.

  • The AT200 was also marketed with an "Autotune" trademark printed right on the headstock. At the time Autotune was the "Cher" saying. Or commonly known as the "Autotune Effect". This was a turn off for many serious guitar players.

My Custom AT200

I decided that I love the technology but cannot stand the actual guitar. I know exactly what I want but I'm not able to find a guitar that I could use to install all of the Autotune hardware into. Trust me, I've done tons of research. I even emailed one of the head engineers at Peavey to see if it could be done. He said as long as it had the same scale length and nut width that it would work! (25.5" Scale Length and a 1.69" nut width). After hours of research I decided I would have to build this myself. I am not a luthier by any means but I'm giving it a shot.

Here's a look at what I was working with from the original AT200...

My idea is to remove all of these electronics and put them in a new guitar. Since I could not find the exact pieces. I decided that I am going to refinish the neck, reshape and refinish the body and remove the humbuckers. I have other guitars I like the sound of that I'll use for "normal" playing. I want this to be a full on Autotune guitar.

(The circuit board uses Mini Micro ZH 1.5 JST Connectors)


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