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Post new topic Roland Guitar Synth for Pedal Steel - Any Interest?
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Author Topic:  Roland Guitar Synth for Pedal Steel - Any Interest?
Karl Truitt


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 9:41 am     Reply with quote

Hi Guys

I am building a pickup for my Roland Guitar Synthesizer model GR-20. The pick-up will be positioned over strings 3,4,5,6, 8,10 (E9) and will interface with the GK-3 controller. I'm not really sure how it will mount but I'm shooting for a non-destructive method just behind the regular pickup. I'm wondering if there is any interest out there for something like this. You would need to buy or own the Roland system and I modify the pickup for you.

Thanks
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 8:33 am     Reply with quote

I'm mildly interested in this, Karl. Any general idea of what the price would be? Would string 9 be part of the synth mix as well?
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Duane Brown


From:
Reno,Nevada USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 9:33 am     Reply with quote

I'm interested in this, Karl. Any idea of cost? Would it work with any synthesizer?
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Larry Allen


From:
Anchorage,Alaska & Kapaa,Hawaii
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 12:40 pm     Roland Reply with quote

I set mine up to pick up 10-3 on a Sho-Bud Ext E9..Larry Smile


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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 12:56 pm     Reply with quote

I'd be interested. Very Happy
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Nathan Guilford


From:
OKC, Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain)
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 1:35 pm     Reply with quote

Me too.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 1:51 pm     Reply with quote

Karl,
Are you re-working the Roland pickup or coming up with your own?
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Terry Sneed


From:
Arkansas,
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 10:49 pm     Roland Reply with quote

Karl is this the Roland synth that gives you a sax sound fiddle etc? If so I'd be interested for sure!
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Dan Kimpel


From:
Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 12:34 am     Reply with quote

I've got a gk3 pickup I'm not using, hadn't even thought about putting it on a psg!
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 5:41 am     Reply with quote

Dan,
The pickup spacing isn't right for a pedal steel guitar.
The pickups are too far apart for a pedal steel.
I've seen them used on a lap steel where the strings are farther apart.
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Doug Hall


From:
Alabama, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 11:22 am     steel synth Reply with quote

The innards of my GR1 Roland synth and GK2 are string-specific, designed for a six string / channel input. That's why it's possible to simultaneously program each string to a different sound (patch). In other words, each pole is a separate independent channel running to the synth along the 13-wire cord. It'd seem this synth-pickup couldn't do more than 6 strings, without some magic. BUT, electroharmonix has a killer organ synth in a stompbox (one's for sale in SGF now). Totally different approach, for any electronic instrument signal on a guitar cord.
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Richard Delucchi


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 2:40 pm     Reply with quote

i have used the guitar synth on a six string and had tracking problems. i'm pretty sure the tracking on a psg will be a big problem. the only six string it really works well on is a goden. it has a built in midi p/u. just a thought.
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Richard Delucchi


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 2:41 pm     Reply with quote

i have used the guitar synth on a six string and had tracking problems. i'm pretty sure the tracking on a psg will be a big problem. the only six string it really works well on is a goden. it has a built in midi p/u. just a thought.
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Richard Delucchi


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 2:42 pm     Reply with quote

i have used the guitar synth on a six string and had tracking problems. i'm pretty sure the tracking on a psg will be a big problem. the only six string it really works well on is a goden. it has a built in midi p/u. just a thought.
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memphislim


From:
Austin, Texas
Post Posted 17 Jul 2017 5:32 am     Reply with quote

Check this one out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfijp9TdQuo
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Tal Herbsman


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 17 Jul 2017 9:50 am     Reply with quote

There's also the Roland SY-300. Again a different approach. No special Hardware or pickup. Tracks flawlessly. I borrowed one from a friend last month and screwed around with PSG. Tracks pretty flawlessly up until very high range on the neck. The downside is that it does not generate midi data.
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Peter Harris


From:
South Australia, Australia
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 6:41 am     Reply with quote

I would suggest that anyone who is vaguely interested in these concepts, join "vguitarforums.com".

From there your exploration will be a lot easier and more complete.

There are other options aside from using the original Roland GK pickup that will allow you to access both 'hard' and 'soft' synths, and ways of "breaking-out" separate string signals for individual processing as well.

At least one company (http://www.cycfi.com/category/electronics/pickups/) manufactures individual string pickups that can possibly be adapted to the multi-string setups of steels, but it should be noted that all current (and past) Roland guitar-synth units are only capable of receiving and processing a maximum of six string signals; they also need a multicore cable with a 13-pin DIN jackplug to connect the output of the guitar to the synth unit, and that is AFTER the signal from the pickup passes through an on-board pre-amp board mounted somewhere on or in the instrument.

For any effects that also use a volume pedal in their creation, that pedal would have to be located between the eventual synth unit and the amplifier, or assign the inbuilt pedal of the synth-unit itself (incorporated in the Roland GR33, GR-55 or GP-10) to the 'volume' parameter.

The placement of a 'synth' pickup (of any sort) within the instrument is an important aspect of the design, particularly with regard to the eventual performance of the system in 'tracking' and 'cross-talk' (between individual string signals).

As has been mentioned, the Roland SY-300 is designed to accept a 'summed' signal through a normal 1/4" jackplug, but loses out in adaptability because it depends upon de-coding that signal to perform its results. Hitting it with more than six or seven strings will possibly make life even harder in that regard.

Playing 'technique' on a six-string electric guitar DOES have a lot to do with the success-or-otherwise of the effects that are ultimately produced, and the earlier Roland synths (GR-30 & GR-33 for example) are actually more 'forgiving' and produce better tracking results than the more recent models (GR-55 & GP-10).

Without a detailed R&D study first, it is certainly possible to spend a reasonable sum of $$$ without getting the desired result..

Much valuable information is to be gleaned from the vguitarsforum and it is basically 'required reading' for anyone contemplating entering the Guitar-Synth arena, BEFORE getting the credit card out.

Disclaimer:
I am not associated with Roland Corporation in any way, but am a member of the vguitarforums (aka 'gumbo') and manufacture after-market components related to guitar-synth installations under the Synth-Linx name.

HTH someone in some way..Wink

Regards,
Peter
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Tal Herbsman


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 8:28 am     Reply with quote

Here's the always inspiring Jim O'Rourke using the SY-300, around 8:10 he demos a couple of patches on his Zum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTDDdnKWxDc

I had no problems with 3 note chord voicing with that pedal. It did start glitching on 4 or 5 simultaneous notes if I remember correctly. Still a neat pedal albeit a tad pricey.

Tal.
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Karl Truitt


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 10:42 am     Reply with quote

WOW!....a lot of good feedback here. Thanks to all. I have actually been playing around with this concept for quite some time. That being a pick-up designed specifically for the PSG. Those of you who pointed out the spacing on the Roland pickup will not work are absolutely correct. That's why my pickup will consist of the Roland single string pickups mounted on a redesigned PCB. Doug is right in pointing out the Roland pickup works as separate channels. This provides much better tracking than the A/D conversion approaches. So why not design a 10 string PCB? you ask....because the Roland system only accommodates 6 string voicing. Again I'm only working with the Roland GR-20 and GR-30 because as Peter points out, these model just seem to track better than the newer ones. Attached is a pix of my "sanity check" mock-up before I order the PCBs. Basically the pickup will work exactly like the 6 string version only spaced correctly for the PSG. I'm not looking to get rich so if you're still interested, send me a PM. Meanwhile I'll order a dozen PCBs and post a video when It's working.......cheers

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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 11:39 am     Reply with quote

I took one of the pickups apart and moved the sensors closer together but afraid to try it because it might not work. Whoa!
I'd be interested in trying one of yours. Very Happy
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Gordy Rex


From:
Kernersville NC.
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 7:33 pm     Reply with quote



I've used the original pick like this for years with good success Velcro for the control and two sided tape for the pick up... that way I can remove it in seconds for packing... All you need to do is adjust the sensitivity of each string pick up via the control panel. You can also set the up down buttons on the controller to change instruments, I can go from piano to horns to dobro etc... with the buttons
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Current guitar '78 Rosewood Emmons PP 8 X 6
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 7:08 am     Reply with quote

I thought the pickup had to placed as close as possible to the bridge for accurate tracking.
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Gordy Rex


From:
Kernersville NC.
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 3:17 pm     Reply with quote

Erv,

tracks just fine and I cant outplay it.. however in most cases speed isn't an issue anyway.. depending on the instrument being used. Even when I play it using a distorted guitar setting it tracks and bends notes no problem...
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Gordy Rex
Current guitar '78 Rosewood Emmons PP 8 X 6
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 20 Jul 2017 7:57 am     Reply with quote

Gordy,
I'll have to try it. Very Happy
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