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June 2017 Giveaway

Roland GR-55 Tracking with Modeling Tips

We’ve heard from a few 13-pin synth guitar players that certain Roland GR-55 sounds seem to track better than others — that some have extra noise in them. After investigation, we’ve discovered the cause of the situation: There are two types of “synth” sounds in the GR-55: synthesized and modeled. In certain situations, with the modeled sounds, you may get some extra noise.

This isn’t a problem with the GR-55. Rather, the GR-55 is creating the modeled sounds based on whatever signal you send into it (as it should). If you’re sending in a “clean” signal, the modeled sounds will also be clean. However, if the guitar/hex pickup you’re using is sending in extraneous signal, such as thumping when your hand hits the bridge, crosstalk between strings, and other “noise,” the GR-55 is going to faithfully model those noises as well. This seems to mostly be an issue with bridge-mounted piezo synth pickups. It is not an issue with Roland GK-3 and other magnetic hex pickups.

Some tips for achieving clean modeled tones using the GR-55:

  • Be sure the tracking controls are set correctly.
  • Minimize the noise you make as a player — this may mean not resting your hand on the bridge if your guitar uses bridge-mounted piezo elements to generate its 13-pin signal.
  • Adjust the high and low EQ in the GR-55 to reduce lows and highs; this way the tracking circuitry will focus on the midrange, where the guitar fundamentals are located.

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