Roland GR-100 "Electronic Guitar" (w/Demo)

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chromium
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Roland GR-100 "Electronic Guitar" (w/Demo)

Post by chromium » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:56 am

I've been using a Roland-ready Strat with a GR-1 from time-to-time, but I always found myself going for those classic subtractive-synth sounds. Why fight it? I need knobs!

On the eve of this epiphany came a fateful Craigslist search, the sale of my GR-1 setup, and, well... :hyper:


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This is the Fuji Gen Gakki-made (Ibanez, Greco, etc...) Strat-esque Roland controller, dubbed the G-505, paired up with a GR-100 "Electronic Guitar" multi-effects floor unit. I think it is basically six compressor/sustainer/distortions and 6db/oct resonant filters (one for each string), with the classic Roland chorus, and a vibrato that can be activated via touchpads on the guitar (adjacent to the bridge pickup). I've always been intrigued by that hexaphonic fuzz sound (Fripp, Andy Summers, etc...), and it can at times give the impression of a synth.

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I'm not much of a guitarist, but I have to say that the guitar itself is an absolute joy to play. I was suprised by it. Someone modded this one with a Kahler, and its got its share of road rash - but everthing just feels so right. I will not be missing my Strat!

I haven't had much time to record anything new lately, but I did manage to use this thing (very subtly) on an track that was already mostly complete:

http://www.hillscloud.com/music/Passage-to-Infinity.mp3

It can be heard doubling the Multimoog melody in spots, and also in the bridge sections. That phasing effect on it in the bridge is from an Encore Frequency Shifter, and you can kinda hear a bit of that synth-like vibrato (from the touchpad) going into the synth solo. Other stuff in there includes a CS-40m for the pad, and an old Gibson EB-2D for the bass & solo (which was - and continues to be - a real beast to EQ! Emits enough low frequencies to remove sheetrock :domodance: ).

I hope to record some new stuff with these soon - with them more up-front in the mix. I have a G-808/GR-300 system incoming too - the full-fledged-synth and "bigger sibling" to this setup. That one will replace my Gibson SG, which I had to liberate in order to keep Paypal's goons from breakin' my kneecaps :smack:

:chug:

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:55 pm

:eek:

i'm seriously jealous! as a big Fripp fan i love the sound of all those old guitar synths. that's going to be a great setup when the others arrive too.

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Post by parasitk » Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:07 pm

Wow that thing is pretty cool. Dig the wide flat type connector - hard core!

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Post by zerosum » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:54 pm

:eek: :sb:
Great stuff! I would have a lot of fun with one of those.
Thanks for sharing that with us :mrgreen:

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Post by chromium » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:58 am

More GR porn!

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:hyper: :spin: :love:

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Post by parasitk » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:24 am

Now we're talking! That guitar is much more my style :love:

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Post by Kent » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:07 am

Y'all definitely need to visit this guy's website:

http://www.joness.com/gr300/RC13.htm

Lots of GR-Synth goodness and ways to blow your money.

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Post by chromium » Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:41 am

parasitk wrote:Now we're talking! That guitar is much more my style :love:
Haha - me too! I seem to have this "brown 1970s/early-80s theme" going on here. If its got mahogany and humbuckers - I'm in! :sb:

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The build quality of that Roland guitar is very impressive! Right on par with that Alembic Distillate bass hanging next to it.

The Japanese guitars from that era were/are completely overbuilt (in a good way) and still represent a great value - even though they're getting to be expensive (luckily I found these setups *outside* of Ebay :eek: ). I sold a 70s Ibanez Jazz Bass copy to help fund these Rolands, and that thing was a serious player too! I'll miss it, but I'm mostly playing the Alembic and Gibson Triumph out these days - so it just wasn't getting used enough.

I'm very familiar with Wayne Joness' site! That is such a great resource - thank god for people like that! That site probably did more to fuel my interest in these than anything. There's a page on there that describes technically how the GR-300 differs from the modern guitar synths in the way that it derives pitch with very little latency. When people say these old beasts track better - they are right! The thing I'm most impressed with is the way the notes sustainnnnnnnnnnnnnnn - its amazing. And when they do eventually drop off, there is a nice subtle decay - not abrupt like my modern GR used to be. Don't get me wrong- I liked my newer rig a lot, but the difference in playability is immediately apparent.

And the GR-300 is versatile too! What waveform did ya want- sawtooth, right? Great! Got plenty of that! :party: Haha Even though its limited as a synth, it seems to do its thing seriously well. I'll record and post something with it soon, hopefully.

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Post by parasitk » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:13 pm

Yeah I have a thing for brown/natural guitars. I have a walnut 1979 The Paul and my bass player has some really nice natural wood basses and guitars: 2 Les Godfrey Dragonetti Basses (fretted with tremolo, and fretless), a Carl Thompson 6 string fretless, and a Travis Bean that had a damaged body that was redone by Les Godfrey.

No synth hookups with any of those though! I'd love to have an old Roland to fuck around with. Maybe one day (modular and studio gear is higher priority at the moment).

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Post by chromium » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:38 pm

parasitk wrote:Yeah I have a thing for brown/natural guitars. I have a walnut 1979 The Paul and my bass player has some really nice natural wood basses and guitars: 2 Les Godfrey Dragonetti Basses (fretted with tremolo, and fretless), a Carl Thompson 6 string fretless, and a Travis Bean that had a damaged body that was redone by Les Godfrey.
I had a late model SG, but prior to getting that, I was gunning for a "The Paul", 335-S, Firebrands, etc... from that era. All of those are great instruments, and still a bit undervalued despite the vintage guitar craziness in recent years.

Man - now those are some basses! Sweet!! I'd love to get something with a bass trem. I've been eyeballing those Birdsong basses, but like yourself I've been trying to make an effort to buy other needed (wanted) gear - studio stuff, synth stuff, guitars, signal processing, etc... Add's up like a mo-fo!!

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Post by Kent » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:47 pm

Arrgh... Chromium; you are killing me. The EB-2 is one of my all time faves... SERIOUS lust there.

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Post by chromium » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:08 pm

Kent wrote:Arrgh... Chromium; you are killing me. The EB-2 is one of my all time faves... SERIOUS lust there.
Oh don't get me started on Gibson basses! :hyper:

I had stopped playing for about ten years, and when I came back to it, I started playing a lot of short scale basses. I had carpal tunnel developing, and think that might have been the main motivation there. That's resolved now, but I found that I love these obnoxious little beasts in the process!

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I've done some interesting wiring mods on the EB-2D and EB-0, and they really are capable of a wide range of sounds. I don't play a lot of slap-style bass, and I doubt they would fit that well, but I've found they work great for a lot of other styles. Those huge neck pickups are big, overwound humbuckers (~30K impedance), and they put a tremendous amount of low frequencies. What I usually do is notch the sub-bass and let 'em roar. The have a great mid-presence that helps them cut thru in a live setting, and they're really a blast to play! Especially with a subtle bit of grit/overdrive :twisted: I usually run them thru this rig:

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I've been using the Triumph a lot lately, as it has low-Z pickups like the Alembic, and as a result exhibits better definition across the whole frequency range. The old EBs - which are rewarding in their own way, especially for recording - tend to be more low and midrange focused.
Last edited by chromium on Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by chromium » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:42 pm

...oh - and as long as I'm traveling down this rabbit hole... here's a clip you might like, Kent



(WARNING: FUSION CONTENT :mrgreen: )


That's probably the best live action footage I've ever seen of an EB-2. Check out Steve Swallow's lyrical bass solo at 3:22, and his chordal underpinnings throughout the song. I'm speculating that the distortion was not intentional, but probably rather a case of the bass overdriving the board. Anyways- it's rare to see one of these in action, let alone one being played so eloquently.

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Post by Kent » Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:26 am

Jeez, you even have an Ampeg Scroll bass... :bang: Thankfully, I can cop out as "I'm really a guitar player"... :sb:

edit: I like how the bass distorts every time that he plays more than one note; especially on those chordal strums. I'm going to guess that he is distorting the DI for the recording as Mr. Engineer could have easily turned down the gain. I just noticed, during his solo, that he has added another humbucker to that EB2. The Power! The Power!

Oh, snap! Is that one of those Alembic F2-B pre-amps in your rig?!

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Post by chromium » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:55 am

Kent wrote:Oh, snap! Is that one of those Alembic F2-B pre-amps in your rig?!
Yep. I love that preamp. The controls are more art than science, but I don't think I've ever gotten a bad sound out of it. I even use it with guitars and synths sometimes:

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