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#2291920 - 04/13/11 01:39 PM GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right?
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
This one's for my fellow guitar synth geeks - my faithful old GK-2a was showing its age, so I decided to go ahead and upgrade to a new GK-3 - not really an improvement. Been tweaking it ever since, and it's been a few months, now. String Sens. is jacked up to 8 on my GR-30, and I've set Play Feel at Tap for everything - it mostly works, like 85 per cent, but that other 15 per cent is killing me. Anyone else done battle with one of these? I was able to move my old GK-2a through a series of guitars (Strat, SG and finally LP Special) with minimal adjustment, and if I could have found a NOS GK-2a somewhere, I probably would have bought it - I could actually Tap with the old pickup, too!

Right now, it's mounted on a PRS SE Custom 24, using the spacers & the double-sided tape. I wanted to be sure it would work, before I drilled any holes. I'm going to change the strings in the next day or two, so I'll probably add one more super-thin spacer, and see if that helps. Like I say, it's almost there, but almost isn't working for me.

Thanks, WP.
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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GP Island
#2291955 - 04/13/11 04:00 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
J. Dan Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 7198
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Just out of curiosity, what problems are you having - just not tracking the notes properly, or trigger/release, etc? Are the problems specific to any particular strings, range, or style of playing?
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J. Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2292021 - 04/13/11 08:19 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: J. Dan]
pinkjimiphoton Offline
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Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: new england, usa
this may seem crazy, but you may need to back off the sensitivity..i've had similar problems in the past if the pickup is too "hot"..make sure the strings are within 1mm of the strings if possible, and don't try to set the sensitivity one string at a time..we tend to hit them differently when we're not actually playing. find your weakest string, make that one set the loudest, and try to find a balance with the other 5. THEN adjust the play feel, and you will hopefully get in the ballpark. i've used gk2/2a's only, so can't really comment further on the k3, but i'd imagine it's similar.
if the k3 mounts like the earlier ones, you may wanna make a bracket if the guitar (not familiar with prs models, either) has a les paul style bridge...we made one for my lp out of a piece of slot cover from an old pc, put two small springs and screws into it, and cut slots so it mounts on the bridge posts between the thumbwheels and the bridge, that way once you adjust for the spacing of the gk to the strings, if you raise or lower your action with the wheels, you don't need to readjust the gk. hope this helps, mate, good luck! grin

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#2292086 - 04/14/11 05:51 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: pinkjimiphoton]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Couple of things - note tracking is off, & sensitivity isn't quite right - the 1st string is the worst, of course. I used to be able to tap with the GK-2, but I practically have to hammer the strings, with the GK-3.

Strangely, I was playing with a friend the other night, and ran a MIDI cable out from the GR-30 to my friend's keyboard, and it almost seemed that it tracked better through MIDI, than through the GR-30, which shouldn't happen.

The PRS SE is more like a Strat set-up, in that the bridge/tailpiece combo is pretty low to the body, but I still need to raise the GK pup a little to line up w/the strings. I've been chasing this down online for a while, and a lot of people have problems with the new GK design. There's not much help on the PRS boards, because no one is crazy enough to screw one of these into a $3000 custom guitar, and not much more help from Roland/Boss. I'm going to make one more try at this, then it's off to my local repair shop.

BTW, Jimi - I do happen to have a douchebag-approved black Gibson SG, and while it's not pre-1969, it does have the old-style "batwing" pickguard - maybe I should have put the GK on that!


Edited by WPsmith (04/14/11 06:00 AM)
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2292253 - 04/14/11 04:00 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
pinkjimiphoton Offline
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Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: new england, usa
i'm one of them douchebags that loves them old batwinged sg's...but seriously, if ya wanna mount it on a gibson, let me take a couple pics of the gizmo we worked up. makes life a lot easier, gets the pickup spacing right, and is easy to make outta crap that's probably lieing around.

btw...the only dif between a gk2 and 2a is the sensor part. well, and the paint on the logo. you can order replacements that you solder in yourself, and i've put gk2a pickups on gk2's when i needed to. i find a 2a works better on a strat, a 2 on gibsons cuzza the bridge radius.

i asked the guy at roland, he wouldn't answer. so i guess i got my answer, i put it on and it worked.
wink

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#2292433 - 04/15/11 08:26 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: pinkjimiphoton]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Thanks for the offer, Jimi, I'll let you know if it comes to that.

The GK-3 comes with a whole mounting bracket, for Gibson-type bridges, so it shouldn't be any more of a pain to attach it to my SG, than it's been trying to adjust it on the PRS. Part of the trick is that the GK-3 also comes with a little munchkin-scale screw, to adjust the GK's radius to match your guitar - while this seems like a great idea in theory, half of the posts I've seen have dealt with people trying to find just the right setting for the pup & the radius adjustment, together. The GK-3 also seems to have more of a curve than the -2, or -2a, which means that getting that 1mm. spacing is trickier than it should be. Ah, well . . . if I'd had the money at the time, I'd have bought a Godin, and been done with it. I'm going to make one more try this weekend, and then I'm handing it over to the repair shop. I'll let you know what happens. BTW, I'm happy to share synth patches with anyone who's interested. Along with my GR-1 & GR-30, I've got a Matrix 1000, a Kawai K4, a Casio CZ-1 & a MicroKorg - my TX81z is due for a battery change, so it's taking some time off, for now. Let me know . . .
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2292558 - 04/15/11 11:57 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
GuitarPlayerFL Offline
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Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 2089
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: WPsmith
Along with my GR-1 & GR-30, I've got a Matrix 1000, a Kawai K4, a Casio CZ-1 & a MicroKorg - my TX81z is due for a battery change,


How old are you? shocked grin

(I have a TX81Z also.)

I have both GK-2 and GK-3 pickups and from the GR-33 to the new GR-55. I have never had a problem with either. Might be that you got a dud?
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#2292856 - 04/16/11 12:58 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: GuitarPlayerFL]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
I'm old - 56 - I guess having a stack of 80's synth modules is a clue I'm not 25, or close to it anymore.

Never had a problem with the GK-2a, even moving it from guitar to guitar. Get the pickup height fairly close, tweak the Pickup Sens. and all was good. The GK-3 is a different animal - I had one repair guy tell me he refuses to do the GK-3 installations anymore, because he could never get one adjusted so it would work right. Admittedly, this is the first time I've tried mounting one onto a PRS guitar, so maybe it's me.
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2443978 - 10/08/12 02:20 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
KingoftheRock Offline
Member

Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 1
Loc: Oregon
You need the specific 18volt kit (its the battery boxes in gangs) EMG sells it for active pickups , as it is the basic difference (I aint bought one yet, but) with the GK 3, in sensitivity. Look in active pickups on Amazon, it matters (the induction or something on the dual battery installations are messing with your groove.
Unless they're humbuckers in which case I don't know.

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#2444065 - 10/08/12 08:32 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: KingoftheRock]
webe123 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 883
I had so many problems with a GK series pickup, that I went to RMC...never looked back.

And YES, I did EVERYTHING to those pickups to try to get them to act right, but when you can only adjust on one side or the other, it makes it harder to get the sensitivity right.

It was a nightmare for me, I will never go back to those pickups again.

So to answer the OP's question do they ever act right? Not for me they didn't!


Edited by webe123 (10/08/12 08:33 PM)

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#2444159 - 10/09/12 08:49 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: webe123]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
I thought I finished the rest of this story, a while back - I guess not. Thanks for reminding me, webe123.

I really thought about a Godin guitar, with the built-in Hexpander system, and if I'd known how much trouble I was going to have, I probably would have made the leap. The combined cost of the PRS SE and the GK-3 was about what a Godin Freeway SA would have cost me, without all the aggravation.

Anyhow, I'd sent an email to Roland's tech support, and never heard back, so finally, I wrote to the guys at my FLMS, where I'd bought the guitar & the GK-3, asking if they could help. Their local Roland rep offered me a brand-new GK-3, to try out, being convinced that I had a dud. I swapped out the pickups, made a minor adjustment to the radius, checked the Sens & Play Feel settings in my Guitar Synths, and everything worked again!

The GK-3 doesn't track exactly like my old GK-2a, but the differences are minor. Still, I won't be in a hurry to try this again. The next time I need to upgrade my Synth Guitar rig, I'm getting something with a hex pup already installed.
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2445007 - 10/12/12 02:47 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
pinkjimiphoton Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: new england, usa
glad it worked out, brother

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#2445015 - 10/12/12 03:17 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: pinkjimiphoton]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3154
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Quote:
The GK-3 doesn't track exactly like my old GK-2a, but the differences are minor. Still, I won't be in a hurry to try this again. The next time I need to upgrade my Synth Guitar rig, I'm getting something with a hex pup already installed.


God willing, by the time you need to do this again, you'll either be dead and in Jimi Hendrix's noontime jam band in the skies or there will be enough out there from various makers for them to be more affordable.

(I'm looking at you, Parker, Godin, and Moog!)
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2445027 - 10/12/12 04:00 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
webe123 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 883
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Quote:
The GK-3 doesn't track exactly like my old GK-2a, but the differences are minor. Still, I won't be in a hurry to try this again. The next time I need to upgrade my Synth Guitar rig, I'm getting something with a hex pup already installed.


God willing, by the time you need to do this again, you'll either be dead and in Jimi Hendrix's noontime jam band in the skies or there will be enough out there from various makers for them to be more affordable.

(I'm looking at you, Parker, Godin, and Moog!)


You can look at Parker Godin or moog , but I will put my money on the fishman triple play.

If someone was going to upgrade their pickup for MIDI guitar....that would be the one to get.

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#2445127 - 10/13/12 10:59 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Quote:
The GK-3 doesn't track exactly like my old GK-2a, but the differences are minor. Still, I won't be in a hurry to try this again. The next time I need to upgrade my Synth Guitar rig, I'm getting something with a hex pup already installed.


God willing, by the time you need to do this again, you'll either be dead and in Jimi Hendrix's noontime jam band in the skies or there will be enough out there from various makers for them to be more affordable.

(I'm looking at you, Parker, Godin, and Moog!)


Thanks for that, brother! I'd love to play synth guitar with Hendrix, in the next world. Regarding the Godin Freeway SA model - they compare favorably with the Roland-ready Strats, in retail price, and they have a better hex pickup system, as well. The new line of Roland-ready Strats have the GK-3 built in, the previous models had the GK-2, or possibly the 2a.

My only question about the Fishman Triple Play is that it seems to be a guitar-to-USB (MIDI & Audio) interface. I don't have any soft synths or plug-ins, and I don't record on my computer, so I'm not sure how much use it would be for me. Still waiting to see one at my FLMS . . .
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2446413 - 10/18/12 05:16 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Fumblyfingers Offline
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Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
The Freeway SA Ghost Modular pickup system is way, way better than the Roland GK-3. I have the Freeway SA that I run with an Axon AX-100MkII and also a Yamaha G50 Guitar to MIDI converter that I use with the Yamaha G1-D divided pickup.

But yes, the piezo in saddle Ghost Modular work pretty well. I can tell you honestly that none of these work perfectly. You can expect glitches and double triggers etc etc etc and there is no way around it.

For this reason, other than use in a studio where you have the ability to edit these out of a recording........ this makes it very limiting in a live band situation. There is no way I could tolerate or even risk several squarks and clucks going off LOUDLY during a solo or some attempt at a piano part or something, while playing in front of a crowd.

This, to my way of thinking, limits the LIVE synth guitar role to employing forgiving pads and single line patches that are simple tones that the synth guitar handles well. Like analog buzzsaw synth tones-these are easy and don't glitch much. But then you lose the killer big MB file multilayered patches. It's not just plug in and you are a flipping veritable one man orchestra. Well........this has not been my experience. YMMV.

Also, with the string failing to generate signal as it decays....you lose the triggering. So a hold pedal must be employed and these certainly fill that void but sometimes sound unnatural, especially between changes and you have to have the timing just right.

Essentially, there is a lot of learning curve in getting your synth guitar technique as good as you can. It is quite different to regular guitar picking. Your tecnique has to REALLY clean up....not just picking but the fretting hand as well, including the setup of the guitar....which may result in a higher action than you would typically enjoy........to eliminate fret buzz etc.

It's a journey. Great for the studio though and honestly.......in general the quality of the traditional instrument patches in these Roland floor dealio's suck-in my opinion. Plus if they are being sent to the same amp you use for your regular stuff.....maybe not the best. So you need an additional foldback system for the synth aspect. For really good synth tones, you have to go with Virtual Instruments to get the really good sounding patches or soft synths like Spectrasonic's Trilian and Omnisphere etc, Native Instruments etc etc etc.

This is just MY experience following many years of pursuing guitar synths. Others here have similar setups or the new Roland (which I do not know) and may have much better results than I do.

Good luck. BTW....ask away if there is anything I can help you with. I love my Godin/Axon setup and I would never sell it........I just know the limitations.

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#2446556 - 10/19/12 07:37 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed response, Fumblyfingers. Believe me, if I can work up the funds for two major guitar purchases anytime soon, the Freeway SA is one of them - still holding out for a double-neck, however.

I've had a fair amount of experience with the Roland GK pickups, and a number of 13-pin Guitar-to-MIDI devices, including the Yamaha G50, the original Boss/Roland GI-10, and my GR-1 & GR-30. I also have a little Sonuus G2M, Guitar-to-MIDI converter, which is fun, but very limited.

Part of the reason I was so annoyed with the GK-3 is that the GK-2a tracked very well, after some initial set-up, and I'd been using it live, for years. I was able to play fast, single-note lines, and design some very responsive Synth Lead patches, but I could also get more complex, dynamic sounds, as well. I'd even used it on a series of guitars, over the years, without any difficulty when I switched it over. Of course, I design my own patches within the guitar synths, and tweak the Sens & Play Feel parameters for my guitar. It's a lot of work, but there's no point in having the system at all, if you're not willing to understand it, and use it fully. When I need sounds that are bigger and richer than the synth engines of the GR units can produce, I use the MIDI Outs, to drive external synths & modules, and again, I have to go in and program my external synth patches to respond to the GR units as controllers. None of these systems are plug-and-play, IME, which I think is part of the reason they haven't caught on, as much as they might have. A few farty horn blasts, and a couple of bent or broken piano tones will be enough to drive away the merely curious. Besides, if I just wanted to sound like a bad piano player, I already play the piano badly, I don't need a synth for that.

I'm fairly convinced that the first GK-3 I got wasn't quite right, somehow. It took me less than an hour to attach the new GK-3, adjust the height & radius, and start fine-tuning the patches in my GR synths, after months of screwing around with the first one. While the replacement doesn't track exactly like the old GK-2a, it works. At some point, I would be very interested to see how it works with the newer GR-55, as opposed to my older GR synths. On a number of the GR forums, there were posts about the Godin hex system being too 'hot' for the GR-55, which never seemed to be a problem with the earlier GR models, so I believe they changed some of the specs on the GK-3, without telling us.

Last word on this, from me. When all else failed, my guys at my FLMS, and the local Roland rep, fixed me up. I'd had the GK-3 long enough that they didn't have to give me a replacement, and the Roland guy even offered to drive down with his GK-3-equipped guitar, so we could do a side-by-side, if I couldn't get the second pickup to work. That's a lot of effort for one customer, and I appreciate it. If Roland comes out with a GK-5, I'll probably try it, but I'm in no hurry . . .
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2446613 - 10/19/12 11:13 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3154
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Personally, if I ever get the urge to mix synth & guitar, I'll go the other way. I'll get a ReacTable (after buying the app to gain some working knowledge) and store guitar parts as sound files for that bad boy.
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2446614 - 10/19/12 11:15 AM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1927
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Personally, if I ever get the urge to mix synth & guitar, I'll go the other way. I'll get a ReacTable (after buying the app to gain some working knowledge) and store guitar parts as sound files for that bad boy.


Fair warning - you get one of those, and I'm coming for a visit!
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

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#2446688 - 10/19/12 06:55 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
pinkjimiphoton Offline
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Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: new england, usa
i used roland guitar synths live in the smokin' herb band for almost it's entire existence, got the rhythm guy on one two.. didn't (couldn't, really) do piano's realistically, but man, we got some hellacious stuff going live...sounded way bigger than two guitars bass and drums. i had three of them slaved together, and the signals merged in various ways..a gr09 was my main controller cuz it was the better tracking synth of the three..with the gr30 and that connected in parallel with a us20, and a gr1 as a slave to both, all in stereo with a leslie and their own effects processor at 160 watts per side. it was sick.
had surprisingly few issues with it live like that, the big thing was phrasing was what i found..if you worked within the limitations of the tracking (and a trick, on some of them, you can set the attack time of the patches...the faster you set these, the better they track) and didn't get too "guitar" with your phrasing, you could pull off some amazing stuff live..

we used to do "pigs: three different ones" as a power trio.. i did the organ part with the sequencer in the gr1, and played the keys with the 09/30 combo thru the song..it was pretty slick.

somewhere, i think i have a really bad recording of it even. wink

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#2446703 - 10/19/12 08:41 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 3154
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
Originally Posted By: WinstonPsmith
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Personally, if I ever get the urge to mix synth & guitar, I'll go the other way. I'll get a ReacTable (after buying the app to gain some working knowledge) and store guitar parts as sound files for that bad boy.


Fair warning - you get one of those, and I'm coming for a visit!


If you have any kind of mobile device, you should track down their ReacTable app- basically does everything the real thing does, except with less power, flexibility, etc., on a tinier screen. Last I checked, it's a $10 app...so it's on my GAS list, too.

( http://www.reactable.com/products/mobile/ )

But yeah, if I ever do get one of those- a REAL one- I'm having a party!


Edited by Dannyalcatraz (10/19/12 08:42 PM)
_________________________
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap”.

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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#2446706 - 10/19/12 10:49 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
webe123 Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 883
Originally Posted By: Fumblyfingers
The Freeway SA Ghost Modular pickup system is way, way better than the Roland GK-3. I have the Freeway SA that I run with an Axon AX-100MkII and also a Yamaha G50 Guitar to MIDI converter that I use with the Yamaha G1-D divided pickup.

But yes, the piezo in saddle Ghost Modular work pretty well. I can tell you honestly that none of these work perfectly. You can expect glitches and double triggers etc etc etc and there is no way around it.

For this reason, other than use in a studio where you have the ability to edit these out of a recording........ this makes it very limiting in a live band situation. There is no way I could tolerate or even risk several squarks and clucks going off LOUDLY during a solo or some attempt at a piano part or something, while playing in front of a crowd.

This, to my way of thinking, limits the LIVE synth guitar role to employing forgiving pads and single line patches that are simple tones that the synth guitar handles well. Like analog buzzsaw synth tones-these are easy and don't glitch much. But then you lose the killer big MB file multilayered patches. It's not just plug in and you are a flipping veritable one man orchestra. Well........this has not been my experience. YMMV.

Also, with the string failing to generate signal as it decays....you lose the triggering. So a hold pedal must be employed and these certainly fill that void but sometimes sound unnatural, especially between changes and you have to have the timing just right.

Essentially, there is a lot of learning curve in getting your synth guitar technique as good as you can. It is quite different to regular guitar picking. Your tecnique has to REALLY clean up....not just picking but the fretting hand as well, including the setup of the guitar....which may result in a higher action than you would typically enjoy........to eliminate fret buzz etc.

It's a journey. Great for the studio though and honestly.......in general the quality of the traditional instrument patches in these Roland floor dealio's suck-in my opinion. Plus if they are being sent to the same amp you use for your regular stuff.....maybe not the best. So you need an additional foldback system for the synth aspect. For really good synth tones, you have to go with Virtual Instruments to get the really good sounding patches or soft synths like Spectrasonic's Trilian and Omnisphere etc, Native Instruments etc etc etc.

This is just MY experience following many years of pursuing guitar synths. Others here have similar setups or the new Roland (which I do not know) and may have much better results than I do.

Good luck. BTW....ask away if there is anything I can help you with. I love my Godin/Axon setup and I would never sell it........I just know the limitations.


I disagree...I use my axon mark II/Yamaha motif XS rack SOLELY as a "live" setup.

I do not record hardly at all, but I also do not experience anything really bad in the way of glitching as you have described or I would not use it.

I play it in church services every sunday. I play flutes with trills added, horns, strings... most of my sounds are classical instruments, but they sound great live!

I also use a godin ACS SA classical and from what I have read, the classical 13 pin guitars are best for a RMS pickup system and do not have as much glitching as a steel string.

Maybe that is why I do not experience the things you describe. I DO have to play cleanly, that will not change with any MIDI guitar pickup including the new Fishman Triple play.

But to say MIDI guitar cannot be played live because it may not track well, is a general statement and in my experience...wrong.



Edited by webe123 (10/19/12 10:56 PM)

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#2446781 - 10/20/12 12:40 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: webe123]
Fumblyfingers Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
Sure webe and I am glad it is working well for you. In all honesty, I have never tried a nylon/RMS pickup synth access guitar and have long thought of getting one. However, I thought we were talking steel for some reason.......essentially a rock guitar capable of doing synth stuff. Anyway, it matters not. I'm glad your mileage does indeed vary.

I'll just point out I don't think I said MIDI guitar "cannot" be played live....I just said it was limiting or one may be limited to playing more simple patches to avoid glitches.

Are you saying you NEVER get glitches or false triggers? For example, a lot of players have the same problem with MIDI guitar, which is the false trigger thing......especially with piano type patches. You pull or strum, using a piano patch....maybe Fender Rhodes..... and no matter how cleanly you do it or how precisely you hold/press your fretting fingers.......the chord sustains for a short while.....and then you might get several false triggers where it sounds like you triggered it 2-3 times with no sense of rhythm. It's the might part that makes me feel I would not use it live

I cannot tolerate mistakes I make by myself let alone made by my equipment. Perhaps this is a failing on my own but it really comes into play live for me. But if you tell me the nylon never glitches, never false triggers, never plays a mistaken pitch........ I'm looking to buy one right away.

Have you ever tried to play your MIDI guitar into notation software like Sibelius? I am interested to know how precise it is because I have so far not been able to get my Freeway to track perfectly into Sibelius. Most often I get a garbled set of notes in so many places it is easier to do it by hand.

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#2447040 - 10/21/12 11:14 PM Re: GK-3 Pickup - do they ever act right? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
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Registered: 04/05/02
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