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GR-55

COOL GEAR ALERT: The PUC

PUC_w_PodstaThe PUC is a wireless MIDI interface designed specifically for iOS devices. It allows you to wirelessly connect any MIDI device (keyboard, DJ controller, drum pad, floor pedal controllers, etc.) directly to your iPad, and an also work with any platform that supports a MIDI connection over WiFi. It communicates directly to the iPad via WiFi directly as a device, so no “host” WiFi network is necessary, and it uses an open standard for Core MIDI over WiFi. Once your legacy MIDI signals are translated into Core MIDI by the PUC, any Core MIDI compatible app can recognize it. You have an iPad loaded with synth and music creation apps but you’re sick of the cable tangle tango, PUC makes it easy to connect your MIDI stuff. You just plug your controller into PUC’s MIDI port, establish your WiFi link and get on with it. PUC also connects to your Mac for Wireless Core MIDI control. And yes, for those of you who use gadgets like the brilliant Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesiser, you’ll be able to plug your GR-55’s MIDI out into the PUC so you can get your MIDI data into your app of choice. Go here for more info including ordering, and check out the video below. Continue reading

Unleashing The Acoustic Within Your Electric

acousticpicSome of us start out on acoustic guitar before ‘graduating’ to electric. Some of us stay on acoustic our whole lives. Some of us are electric shredders who don’t require an acoustic guitar often enough to actually plonk down enough cash to own one, but we might need the sound of an acoustic on our tracks from time to time. This post is for them. So, what do you do if you want to lay down some acoustic guitar on a track you’re recording, but you don’t have one at hand? Technology to the rescue! There are few tricks you can use to conjure up the spirit, if not the sound, of an acoustic guitar.

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Guitar Synthesis – What Are You Missing Out On?

LPGuitar is the greatest instrument in the world. I know it, you know it, the other dudes in the band know it. It looks cool, it’s sexy, and like you can’t stop at just one. But the sad, sad truth is that the guitar can’t do everything. It’s great at sounding like, well, a guitar, and in the right hands you can use it to make the sound of a rocket or a racecar or maybe a chicken, but when it comes to flexibility, you just can’t beat a synthesiser. A synth doesn’t just make a sound that’s ‘like’ a particular instrument: most synths actually trigger samples of the instrument you’ve dialled in. Call up a piano patch and you’re triggering actual samples of a real piano. And you can’t do that with a guitar. Wait, yes you can! Guitar synths have been around for decades now, and therefore the technology is pretty damn tight at this point. So there are now plenty of ways to integrate synthesis in your sound. Let’s have a look at a few of them. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Steve Stevens

Photo: Hristo Shindow

Steve Stevens is about to hit Australia for a clinic tour (an earlier scheduled tour was cancelled when Allans Billy Hyde went under – don’t worry, they’ve been bought by new owners now, but that’s another story). Stevens will be showcasing the latest and greatest gear from Roland and BOSS, including the Roland G-5 VG Stratocaster and Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer, as well as offering insights into guitar playing and generally sharing his decades of knowledge and experience. I Heart Guitar caught up with Stevens to talk clinics, gear and his new project with Sebastian Bach.

I Heart Guitar has two tickets to give away in Melbourne and two in Brisbane. Enter by emailing iheartguitarblog AT gmail dot com with STEVENS in the subject line and answer this question: which 80s rocker did Stevens work with in 1993?

Every clinic is different: what can we expect from yours?

Well Roland are bringing me to Australia, and I’ll be demoing the new GR-55 as well as their new G-5  which is made by Fender, and also their Virtual Guitar, the VG Guitar. Regardless of the whole electronics side of it, the guitars themselves are really great. You’re going to get a great Fender Stratocaster, to begin with, and all the other stuff is like an added bonus. I’ve found that touring with it I end up carrying a lot less guitars with me because one guitar can replicate a 12-string, a Dobro and all these other things. So it’s been really handy for me.

g-5-3st_front_gal

That technology has really come of age recently. I remember trying some stuff about 20 years ago that was cool for the time, but you look back on it and it’s like “…Oh.”

Yeah. I was actually the first person to bring the GR-700 into the States. I was in Japan to do press for Rebel Yell and they brought me up to this very secretive room at Roland and they had the GR-700 there. I convinced them to let me bring it with me because we were getting ready to do the Flesh For Fantasy video. That was like the first guitar synthesiser I had from them. Continue reading

Steve Stevens Roland demo webcast

Here’s something cool that is bound to at least partially cheer up some of us Aussies who were bummed out that Steve Stevens’ planned Australian clinic tour was cancelled: he’ll be broadcasting his first hands-on public demo of Roland’s V-Guitar series of products at Guitar Center via GuitarTV. The event takes place at 7pm Pacific time on November 8 – click here to figure out what time that is if you’re in a different time zone.
I’ll be tuning in. Can’t wait to check this out. I messed around with the Roland GR-55 for about half an hour a while ago and utterly fell in love with it.
Here’s the press release.
STEVE STEVENS ROLAND V-GUITAR EXPERIENCE 
Live Broadcast From Guitar Center Hollywood

WHAT: Roland Corporation U.S. and Guitar Center bring guitar legend Steve Stevens to Hollywood for his first hands-on public demonstration of Roland’s innovative V-Guitar series of products. Roland will also be giving away a Powered by Roland G-5 Strat® autographed by Steve Stevens.

WHO: Steve Stevens is perhaps best known for his nearly 30-year association with ‘80s icon Billy Idol and his pyrotechnic playing on Idol tracks such as “Rebel Yell” and “Eyes Without a Face.” Additionally, Stevens boasts an impressive resumé of achievements as both a solo artist and sideman, working with a diverse range of artists, including such greats as Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil and many others. In 1986, his contributions to the Top Gun soundtrack earned Stevens a GRAMMY® Award. Join Roland, Guitar Center and Steve Stevens for an evening of insight, discussion and live performance.

WHEN: THURSDAY, November 8, 2012 – 7:00 P.M.*
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Steve Stevens V-Guitar demonstrations
7:30 – 8:00 p.m. Q&A with Steve Stevens followed by autograph session

*GuitarTV.com will broadcast the event live beginning at 7:00 p.m. PST.

WHERE:
Guitar Center #110
7425 W. Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90046
http://stores.guitarcenter.com/Hollywood

Roland Guitar Friend Jam

This has got to be the coolest thing to happen to jamming since the music store notice board: Roland’s Guitar Friend Jam. It’s a social media application which hooks you up with other guitarists and lets you share your rockin’ with the world. It requires a few specialised pieces of gear to work: either a Fender GK-Ready Stratocaster GC-1 or a guitar with a Roland GK-3 hex pickup, and either a Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer or Roland V-Guitar System VG-99.

Personally I have a huge crush on the GC-1 and GR-55 (almost to the ‘Put Money In A Jar Labelled Roland GR Stuff’ level). When I was all of 16 years old a local music store loaned me a much, much earlier version of Roland’s guitar synth technology so I could figure it out and do a demo/clinic in-store. I loved having that thing to play with for a few weeks, but as soon as I brought it back to the store somebody bought it and they didn’t need me to do the demo any more. Booo!

Here’s the press release:

Continue reading

NEWS: Roland GR-55 guitar synth hits the streets

Los Angeles, CA, March 10, 2011 — Roland is extremely proud to announce the release of the GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer, a revolutionary new product from the world’s undisputed leader in guitar synthesis technology. Combining PCM synthesis with digital instrument modeling from the respected VG-99 V-Guitar System, the GR-55 represents Roland’s latest advances in guitar synthesis, offering playability, features, and sound quality that far surpasses the capabilities of previous generations of guitar synthesizers.

The GR-55 is the pinnacle of Roland’s exhaustive efforts in the field of guitar synthesis over the last 35 years. In 1977, the company created the GR-500, the world’s first guitar synthesizer. This milestone product ushered in a new era of guitar expression, allowing guitarists to play an entire palette of sounds that were previously available only to keyboard players. Since then, Roland has remained steadfastly dedicated to guitar synthesis, constantly developing and improving the technology to make it accessible and easy to use for all guitarists.

Continue reading

NAMM 2011: Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer

One of the first and, coincidentally, coolest things I saw at NAMM this year was the Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer. I checked it out myself (Roland had some killer pickup-less guitars set up with Roland GK-2A synth pickups to demonstrate the system) and I was blown away by the guitar tones and synth flexibility. You can run two synth sounds, a COSM-modelled guitar sound through a PA while simultaneously sending your natural guitar sound to your regular amp. Imagine two different synth sounds, a COSM-modelled amp rig and your ‘real life’ setup all running at once. Oooh the possibilities. I’m putting this on my ‘If I get rich this year I’m totally gonna buy one’ list. I’ve been messing about with (borrowed) Roland guitar synths since the old GR-09 (and even the old V Guitar) back in the mid 90s and this really is the maturation of the concept.

PRESS RELEASE:

Roland UNVEILS GR-55 GUITAR SYNTHESIZER

Breakthrough Product Fuses PCM Synthesis and COSM Modeling

Los Angeles, CA, January 13, 2011 — Roland is extremely proud to announce the

GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer, a revolutionary new product from the world’s undisputed leader in guitar synthesis technology. Combining PCM synthesis with digital instrument modeling derived from the respected VG-99 V-Guitar System, the GR-55 represents Roland’s latest breakthrough advances in guitar synthesis, offering playability, features, and sound quality that far surpasses the capabilities of previous generations of guitar synthesizers.

The GR-55 is the pinnacle of Roland’s exhaustive efforts in the field of guitar synthesis over the last 35 years. In 1977, the company created the GR-500, the world’s first guitar synthesizer. This milestone product ushered in a new era of guitar expression, allowing guitarists to play an entire palette of sounds that were previously available only to keyboard players. Since then, Roland has remained steadfastly dedicated to guitar synthesis, constantly developing and improving the technology to make it accessible and easy to use for all guitarists.

Driven by Roland’s newest proprietary digital processing technology, the GR-55 delivers lightning-fast tracking performance and previously impossible sound-making capabilities. It features two independent synthesizer sound engines, each loaded with over 900 of Roland’s latest sounds, including pianos, organs, strings, vintage and modern synths, percussion, and many more. A third sound engine is driven by Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM®), the guitar modeling technology behind Roland’s famous VG-99 V-Guitar System. With COSM, the GR-55 can emulate electric and acoustic guitars, basses, and other instruments, as well as guitar and bass amplifiers.

The GR-55 allows players to combine all three sound engines, plus their guitar’s normal input, to create any sound from the familiar to the original. An independent multi-effects processor is available for a huge array of tone-shaping options, plus global reverb, chorus, delay effects and EQ to add final sweetening to any sound.

The GR-55 puts guitarists instantly in touch with a huge library of amazing sounds, with no editing required. The onboard lineup of ready-to-use presets takes the pain out of the process, from pop to rock and beyond, with quick-access category buttons. Creating and editing sounds is a breeze for guitarists as well, thanks to a large LCD display, simple front panel, and the intuitive EZ Edit and Sound Style features. Also, onboard is a phrase looper that lets players capture on-the-fly recordings with unlimited sound-on-sound style overdubs.

The GR-55 also features a USB song player that lets users play WAV files stored on USB flash memory, and song playback can be controlled with the onboard pedals. The GR-55 also functions as an audio/MIDI interface for computers, with a rear-panel USB 2.0 port for a quick and easy connection. Users can easily integrate with their favorite digital audio workstation software, recording GR-55 sounds as audio in the DAW and using the GR-55’s super-fast pitch-to-MIDI capabilities to trigger MIDI sounds such as virtual synths and samplers with their guitar.

The GR-55 is equipped with Roland’s industry-standard 13-pin GK interface. It is possible to use a GR-55 as an effect processor for a non-GK equipped guitar, but to access the GR-55’s enormous palette of sounds, guitarists must use an instrument equipped with a GK-compatible pickup, such as Roland’s GK-3 Divided Pickup. The GK-3 can be easily installed on most steel string guitars with no modification to the instrument. In addition, many different GK-ready instruments are commercially available from various top guitar manufacturers.

For more information, visit www.RolandConnect.com.

Here’s a cool video from Synth ME of Danger Danger’s Rob Marcello demonstrating the unit.

Rob Marcello demonstrates the Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer

 

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Peter Hodgson Hi! I'm Peter Hodgson. I write for Gibson.com, Australian Guitar, Australian Musician, Mixdown Magazine (including my instructional column, 'Unleash Your Inner Rock God,' which has been running since 2007), BluntBeat (including their weekly hard rock/metal column Crunch) and The Brag. And I'm Assistant Social Coordinator with Seymour Duncan. I've been playing guitar since I was 8 years old, and I've been writing for magazines since I was 18. I've also worked as a guitar teacher (up to 50 students a week), a setup tech, a newspaper editor, and I've also dabbled in radio a little bit. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and my hobbies include drinking way too much coffee, and eating way too much Mexican food. You can check out my guitar playing at Bandcamp or on YouTube, and feel free to email me at iheartguitarblog@gmail.com

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