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Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive: 2007 » Archive through April 21, 2007 » Roland Guitar synth for guitar. « Previous Next »

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Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 796
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 11:52 pm:   Edit Post

A few years ago I got the roland GK-2A and the matching floor controller to use with my strat. Mainly for sequencing as I'm not a keyboard player. However I've recently been thinking of trying it out live.

Is it just me or does anyone else think the sound of the guitar when taken from the floor mounted unit sucks?

It sounds like the guitar sound has been digitised by the unit and all the meat taken out.

I think for live use i'd have to use a separate cable from the guitar out my guitar amp and then have the synth outputs di'd into the pa if I wanted to maintain my unadulterated guitar sound.
I recall that alembic have installed these pickups on guitars for customers. I wonder if they modify anything to avoid the roland kit messing with the original guitar tone?

Intermediate Member
Username: jorge_s

Post Number: 140
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 4:49 am:   Edit Post

Yes, I completely agree with you. I've been using a synth for quite a few years. I thought it was because my synth unit was quite old (I use a GR-50). The newer units don't seem to be much better. The "guitar" output from the synth has no power at all. I always do as you proposed. Go straight from the guitar's output to the guitar amp and the syth output to the PA.

The only exeption is one guitar I have that has a piezo pickup that does double duty. It triggers the synth and also has a lovely "acoustic" sound. The only way to access this sound is to go through the 13-pin cable.

I requested a Roland pickup for the guitar I am having built at the moment. So far Mica has not mentioned any modification. I believe the signal loss is something inherent to the Roland electronics.
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1360
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 5:07 am:   Edit Post

If the signal loss is so bad, then instead of a true bypass they must be converting analog-to-digital, then have a split for the 'clean' signal and the control signal for the synth module, and then a digital-to-analog conversion for the "guitar" output. Each conversion will take a bite out of the signal.

You do need a reasonably flat signal for controlling the synth modules (for instance your sustained notes would drop off early) so that's probably why the digital signal is lifeless.
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2221
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 5:43 am:   Edit Post

I use a GR-33 and RMC pickups (individual peizos in each saddle). I've never noticed any difference between going directly into my amp vs. using the 13 pin cable to the synth and the guitar out from synth to amp. Now you've got me curious. I'll have to check this out this weekend.

Bill, tgo
Advanced Member
Username: paulman

Post Number: 230
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 10:03 am:   Edit Post

I can attest to the weak signal, I ran one cord for Electric output, and the 13 pin cord for only synth.

When I had the Godin with the Synth and Piezo output, I left the piezo in the 13 pin since they would both run to a full range JBL EON 15PAK amp and sound quite good. Regular electric pickup output sucked though.

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