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  1. #1

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    Can't wait to get my Roland GR 55 midi synth guitar unit. I may be hoping for more than it offers. But I plan to experiment with chord melodies using big-band horns with bass guitar and guitar. Trumpets, trombones and saxes are greatly improved now with better sounds and tracking is greatly improving . . I started playing midi synth guitar in the 1980s But the tracking and usable sounds were very limited Now with improvements you can emulate all of these horns woodwinds stringed instruments and keyboards which more effectively


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    The limitation that immediately comes to my mind is that the same synth patch will be applied to every note you play on the guitar at the same time. For "big band" sounds, don't you want different horns in the background, and then yet another voice playing the main melody?

  4. #3

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    Guitar synth....sound delay/latency/ problems.
    I've used all kinds of guitar synth started from Casio midi guitar/1990/...
    I do not know what guitar synth. is really fast and acurate.

  5. #4
    I had a guitar synth in 1985and it was B A D ! They have come a long way. One way to look at guitar synth improvements is to think of the first PCs and DOS or Win 95, 3.1 and the problems they had same with the " process " of refinement and progress and increased reaction time in the more recent roland units Best if you read the general promo that is on the www to respond to there claimed specs ..... I dont have mine yet and will not be able to claim performance thanks

  6. #5

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    Good luck with new Roland gr-55.

  7. #6
    I will try to post music with the set up hoping my clean jazz old style big chord method is fattened and deepened without losing traditional feel ..... stay tuned

  8. #7

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    With the modern Roland synths, a different sound can be assigned to each string, then the Big Band arrangements are possible, although difficult. I have found that the RMC pickup system tracks far better than the Roland magnetic pups supplied with the synths. Of course, the Roland pickup won't work at all on nylon strings, while the RMC is a small miracle.

  9. #8
    ......hearr very good things about the RMCs but I must settle for my budget of $1200 for an amp roland ready ibanezyl and gr 55 .......

  10. #9

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    I have a Roland GR-33 and the Godin Multiac SA Nylon. It really tracks great.

    Two guitarist with two Roland synths and loopers sure presents some great possibilities. Imagine Guitar 1 (G1) playing melody while G2 comps plays fretless into a looper. 2nd chorus G1 still playing melody and G2 plays a swing ride cymbal and some synchopated snare hits into the looper. 3rd chorus, G1 takes a solo on flute, G2 comps and the looper continues to loop the drums and bass.

    Next song maybe you just play a guitar duet for variety. Next you do a loop and synth thing again.

    On the GR-33 a couple of my favorites are, the fretless bass, and blending nylon strings with just a touch of strings (strings with a soft attack). And the 'Jazz Scat' sounds really cool with jazz chords, think Manhattan Transfer voicings.

    I wish the GR-33 had a better drum kit. I hope that is were the GR-55 steps it up. With the way the prices of memory has dropped there is no reason not to put great drums and cymbal samples in the GR-55.
    Last edited by fep; 04-04-2012 at 09:31 AM.

  11. #10

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    I don't know what went into Roland - with thousands of guitars equipped with RMC-pickups, Roland makes the GR-55 (that I own) and on some sounds (especially the GR-300 sounds) the RMCs suck! Richard offers a filter (not very cheap) to improve tracking on those sounds, it works to some degree.
    But this is Roland for you.
    I even bought a GK-3 for my strat and that works best - my expensive RMC-equipped guitars are collecting dust when it comes to playing the GR-55

    I've owned every guitar synth starting from the GR-300 and for what it does the GR-300 is still best.
    Most of the presets in the GR-55 suck big time, there is no editor from Roland, tweaking is not too easy...

    I think we're witnessing the death of the guitar synth.

    Nowadays I only use the Gr-55 for the Gr-300 sound - which I tweaked to be quite comparable to the original. Now I can leave my GR-300 at home...

    Just my take - maybe you have more use for the GR-55, good luck.

  12. #11
    Grand Piano players are often still purists who sneer at the electronic keyboard. Horse lovers predicted the demise of the car and people laughed as the Wright bros crashed ...... progress is not always as fast as we hope but the heart of guitar synth will keep beating ......

  13. #12

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    I think the sounds are decent. I think the tracking is very darn good. This isn't anything fancy but a demo I did using just the gr55:

  14. #13
    I like it more everyday. I will not be able to post here for this time of learning and
    tweaking but have not adandoned my plans to share what is learned...... thanks

  15. #14
    After my purchase test practice tweak program practice tweaki period that tested my patience and cognative ability . ( I THOUGHT I HAD PRE ALZHEIMERS) ......... I STILL LOVE THIS UNIT
    ON JULY 14 with my BLUES BAND I played my first live gig with my GR 55 ......
    I prepped for this gig primarily so all my main gig specific patches were in the first 15 numerical slots ...... OVER ALL AS I PROGRAMMED AND PREPPED I realized that the quick edit is better later for tone and effects after spending precious time on sound shaping .....
    I think a 9 band EQ would have been nice for players but with an amp and quick edit you can get close
    I tried to program slide guitar patches four clean guitar a bagpipe patch for Amazing Grace memorial request and two organ patches finally a patch that brought a twin lead sustain patch for more progressive sounds
    any time you can use COSM PATCHES use them under with or alone because tracking is of course superb stay away from any crisp percussive PCM sounds like grand piano vibes marimba xylophone guitar etc. They drive you nuts with latency noise ghost notes poor tracking FYI BEFORE I FORGET PCM sounds are N O T fun or good when any string overtones hust happen with us less then perfect players ...... these overtones that happen when you slightly touch above certain frets sound AWFUL so muting strings when you are not playing or using them is suggested .......
    I wanted a strong realistic horn brass sax patch ..... this turned out WELL rather then just finding a preset patch that seemed to be "called" something that fit I found ones preset that tracked well and had low noise or ghost note sounds .... here is what I did .... using the COSM BRASS BEHIND I GOT A STRONG ALTO SAX ON ONE PCM AND TRUMPET ON THE OTHER setting the volumes and getting rid of the obnoxious preset vibrato was time consuming .......
    Last edited by chazz; 07-18-2012 at 05:46 AM. Reason: spelling

  16. #15
    Smart phone editing and posting does not go well for me ..... excuse the mistakes .....

  17. #16
    I HAVE played slide for 35 years got bored with it NOW I FEEL ENERGIZED the slack tuned cosm and other patches and capabilities are making me wake up everyday with new ideas ....

  18. #17
    Smart phone editing and posting does not go well for me ..... excuse the mistakes .....

  19. #18

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    Is it fast...?

  20. #19
    I do find it fast and an improvement to my Gr 33 gr 20 gr 1 and Ibanez XING but I have reservations on speed in that it is fast on some types if sounds certainly use THE COSM ones wish there were more and hides latency on them while other sound are just embarrassing with noises & slowness WHAT IS BEST IS to think of it as a (volume on each) mixing console for your normal guitar, the COSM channel and the two synth channels with a volme/wah/ note bender an an effects unit built in think of having one floor unit that performs from great to mediocre as opposed to three or 9 floor units and two or three rack units ( also performing great to mediocre) and possibly having to use a mixing board ....8-(/)

  21. #20
    WOW after the initial phase or learning tweaking I am very happy finding my original plan to layer bass notes on the two low strings ( e and a sub octaves) i can now perform live with a drummer ............ Am happy with the options to do this .. here are three options
    1. USE COSM L4 jazz guitar with two synth bass sounds but it is slower in tracking then number 3 option 2 use Cosm on nylon or steel for bass but set it on sub octave and option three is favorite is using normal neck pickup on your chosen guitar with a jazz mellow sweet sounds with a little reverb and programming the lower A AND E string alone to a cuombination of fretless bass on PCM CHAN 1 UPRIGHT STAND UP ACOUSTIC BASS AND COSM JB ALL TOGETHER FOR A WONDERFUL COMBO FOR MY BASS SOUND ..... each string has a volume so strings 1 - 4 are set to zero and strings 5 - 6 to 100 or something close .... with this patch i get a slight fretless reso buzz a punchy electric jazz bass in neck pickup and the dead low sustain acoustic bass sound mixed together each one is volume adjustable you can save it into five patches and change each one a little ...... side note that you may love is you an pan all sounds right or left and run them into a bass amp with a 15 inch and tone for more control and run guitar into the opposite ....... you get what I mean with those varied options?
    Last edited by chazz; 07-18-2012 at 09:14 AM. Reason: adding

  22. #21
    For some of the jazz guitarists who miss a big fat low note this technology is something to consider. I realize many are purists and may oppose this type of approach. So this may be targeting the progressives, cross over players and others who welcome tech. The fun and fullness of having a mixture of fretless, stand up and electric bass on low strings is hard to describe ......... Sliding the bass notes creates a reso buzz from the fretless and little solo riffs are punchy with the predominant JB electric patch and all the while there is that hollow stand up sound mixed in .. .
    Last edited by chazz; 07-21-2012 at 06:32 AM. Reason: sp

  23. #22

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    Must have this toy at home!

  24. #23

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    Yes, I've been using my 55 whenever I back singers, a nice string pad on ballads, some electric piano or vibes on swingers, etc. Some of the synth pads are pretty dramatic for intros. My Godin Multiac tracks well once I worked on tweaking the sensitivity, and if I use another instrumental sound for soloing I always blend it with the guitar sound. One of the tricks that is most useful is to run separate cables: one from the synth output to the PA, one from the 1/4" to the amp. This seems to clean up some of the tracking and crosstalk problems and gives much better control over the dynamics, especially if one uses, as I do, the expression pedal on the synth and a volume pedal for the guitar sounds. A small mixer can be useful if you have an amp with only one channel, $50 buys a functional Behringer or Yamaha line mixer.

  25. #24

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    Love to hear what you are doing with it. I still have a Roland VG8 EX that I used with a Frameworks Nylon classic RMC pickup guitar that I have since sold but kept the Roland . I'm not a fast player but it never missed a beat and it tracked perfectly. Presets were at best " suggestions" but the controls are more than deep enough to allow for some great user created patches. I think 64 user created patches on board and with the extension memory card I have another 64 available. I can't for the life of me understand why Roland abandoned the VIO algorithm from the VG8 EX it was amazing.

    VIO sounds

    Sting used the VG8/VIO for a while, as did Joni Mitchell each for different reasons but there you go

    Last edited by WillMbCdn5; 09-04-2017 at 11:30 PM.