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Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth - Black - Without GK-3 Pickup Reviews

4.5 stars based on 19 customer reviews
Questions about the Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth - Black - Without GK-3 Pickup?

Questions about the Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth - Black - Without GK-3 Pickup?

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  • from Tempe, AZ April 21, 2015Music Background:
    40 year player, open mic nights, blues band

    A guitar gear-head's dream come true!

    Tried a GK first gen pickup and synth module about 7 years ago and was disappointed. Then I saw a friend use one of the GR55s and was blown away with what it could do! I toyed around with it for an hour or so and was convinced I wanted one. Once it arrived, I had to get the pickup installed by my tech guy. The results exceeded my wildest dreams. I immediately purchased a Godin Freeway SA as another synth access guitar and they both track perfectly. I am a very fast player (from the 80's metal scene) and this keeps up with every note! Bob Mondock has been my sales advisor for 7 years and has always been there for any of my tech-head questions that annoy and stump other sales people at other stores. Bob is a great source for info and 100% supportive. I love Sweetwater and doing business with them! Would rather wait a couple days for shipping and buy from them. I know they have my back!

  • from KUCHING,SARAWAK,MALAYSIA January 1, 2015Music Background:


    Been using this for a year and it never let me down. Truly amazing gear for guitarist like me and i can easily penned my idea on every note whenever the needs are there..THE BEST from ROLAND...

  • from Grand Island NY September 10, 2014Music Background:
    Pro musician

    Great piece of equipment

    I've had this unit for almost two years and it's fantastic! One of the excellent functions of this unit is the ability to store user presets on flash drives. You tweak the presets to your liking and then save them to a flash drive which also allows you to store them on your computer.
    With the help of the Gumtown editor and the Librarian the editing possibilities are endless. I have different presets for different bands that I'm in which allows me to load via flash drive any combination of presets for any band I happen to be playing with.I can make my guitar sound different with every song. The acoustic guitar emulations are beautiful! The WAV player is great for practice sessions and jamming along with any song. I will be buying another one in the near future.

  • from Dayton, OHio February 24, 2014Music Background:
    Semi-pro musician, recording enthusiast

    Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth

    Exceptional unit. Great for live use or recording. Can be used as direct-out to your amp/sound system, recording rig and/or use the midi-out to record instrument tracks to use with virtual instruments. Want to lay down a rich string background track or kick-butt organ track playing your guitar? Well now you can with GR-55 and suitable GK-series guitar or pickup.

  • from October 8, 2013

    GR 55 Synth

    I just have to say that it's just what I was lookin for many time and It's a great bank of sounds and colors.

  • from Murfreesboro Tn. July 18, 2013Music Background:
    Producer / Engineer / Artist

    Studio Tool Extraordinaire

    If you are a guitarist, or studio owner, you seriously need to read this honest review. Being a studio owner, I have seen a lot of gear come and go as far as the actual usuage and pupose of the product whatever it may be. Trendy guitar foot pedals, a new compressor type, preamps, guitar simulators, whatever. Very rarely, have I ever seen such a ground breaking product come along as this one.
    So here is the review, to the point, step by step.

    Opened the box, and was very suprised by the build and weight of the GR-55. This unit weighs about 8 pounds.Very heavily built.

    LARGE SCREEN: well lit, extremely easy to see and read. Much larger screen in real life than it appears in corralation to the size of it shown in stock photos of the GR-55. Its about a quarter of the size of the entire unit. When is the last tme you saw a 4000 dollar synth keyboard with a screen that was 1/4 of the size of the entire unit?......you haven't. There is no such thing. Its large on the GR-55.

    POWER UP: in about 5 seconds, ...no waiting.

    BUILT IN TUNER: There are actually 2 of them. One can tune all six strings simultainiously, meaning it shows all six strings at one time in a vertical line, so that you can tune all six strings with a single strum of the strings at once, in mere seconds!!... and shows on each string whether they are sharp or flat, or you can set it for the old standard one string at a time style tuner. You can set it at 440 hz, or whatever tuning you desire. I have a big name 500 dollar tuner in the studio ....that can't tune 2 different strings at one time, let alone all six. And thats just the tuner folks.

    MANUAL: Comes with a VERY in depth manual of operation. They did not miss a thing. Has a fast start guide in the begining, which we all love to see that in any manual to get up and running right now.

    SET UP: Plug in your 13 pin synth cable, page over to the System screen for guitar set up, hit GK set up, scroll to the synth pup that you have on your guitar, and exit out. It is that fast. You can even fine tune it for your guitar and playing style.

    SOUNDS: This is where it all happens. I have never heard , or seen anything like it...ever. 26 different guitars, 17 different basses, expensive boutique amp heads, and some of the guitars are very high end guitars, like Gibson, Martin, Rickenbacker, Guild, Stratocaster, Telecaster, etc. And these are not your everyday crappy modeling software wannabe type sounds...these are the sounds of the REAL THING. And every single sound, whether it be the guitar, synth sounds, effect sounds, are completely adjustable to your liking. Lets just cut to the chase at this point.

    EXAMPLE: Imagine having a old acoustic Martin D- 28, which today is worth about 4-6000 dollars, which sounds beautiful in and of itself.
    And, as if that wasn't good enough for any of us to ever own a guitar like that in the first place? Just click a footswitch, and there it is, in your hands. Now, imagine being able to just click a button, and it is now a 12 string version...of itself!! And I mean a REAL12 string. Not the thick chorus effect, with the pitch shifted a few cents to get it to simulate a make believe 12 string. NO, I said a real 12 string.
    You can even tune all 12 strings individually. Simply put?...UNREAL.
    Want to hear a beautiful 6 string electric, or 6 string acoustic, or nylon classical acoustic with orchestra strings fading and swelling like the real thing, with every note and guitar chord that you play?
    You have two individual synth patches,as well as your own guitar sound on top of it all, which you can adjust ALL to your liking, then hit the WRITE button, and its saved forever, to be called up at the click of a foot switch. Need a Mandolin? Banjo? Harpsichord? Sitar?
    Every style of tuning and drop tuning invented by mankind? Strings? Quartet Strings? Orchestral Strings? Cello? Synth leads?12 String Guitars? and on, and on? Its one of those products, that if you write songs, you will be writing endlessly just by the inspiration of the sounds that you are hearing. This unit is endless in sounds. So the inspiration never stops.

    TRACKING: Once you set it to your guitar pup, you have just entered a whole new world of sound. This is not the garbled, warbling sounds of guitar synths of the 80's and 90's, this thing is a dead nuts on, note for note, strum for strum tracking synth. Whether you have a GK-3 pup, or graphite Ghost pup, or a RMC pup, doesn't matter.

    OVERALL GR-55: Once you start working with it the first day, it is seriously ....a jaw dropping experience, just to hear the sounds that are coming out of this unit. As a studio owner, and as a guitarist, I could never afford all the instruments that are in this unit. It would cost 100's of thousands of dollars to even attempt to do so. A Gib 335, Les Paul Std, a Rick 360, a Martin D-28, a Guild D-40, a 5150 amp head, a Matchless amp head, a priceless Marshall head, just to name a few??? and synth sounds from Rolands most expensive keyboard synths?.....You get my point. As a studio owner, it is probably the most valuable instrument piece of equipment that you will ever own as put into its proper perspective for sound creation.
    As a guitar player, you have no earthly idea, of what this machine is capable of doing until you actual have one in your possesion. It is stunning to hear it.
    Lead guitar players? Your world just changed...forever.

    OUTPUTS: It can be configured so many different ways, too many to even list. Even has USB to go direct into your DAW.
    THE GR-55...IS A BEAST.

    VALUE: I will be using it in the studio until the motherboard fries.
    And will then, buy another one. You can't place an actual value on this unit, you really can't. Dollar wise? Roland could have sold it for 2000 dollars, and no one would have even raised an eyebrow.
    This thing is a monster piece of professional equipment, that you will be using non stop. And for a guitarist?, it will allow you to define and create, your own original sound that you have never even thought possible. Roland said the GR-55 was a culmination of 35 years of building guitar synths...I am here to tell you..there is no hype involved. A 5 star rating?, is a very huge understatement.

  • from Shemya Alaska July 1, 2013Music Background:
    Professional Guitar Player and singer.

    GR55 Guitar Synth is awsome

    Its a great tool. Easy to work with. It has amazed the rest of the Band members. It's like adding another musician. Tones are great. There is so much you can do with this that I haven't even scratched the surface.

    When you order make sure you get the GK-3 included in the kit. I goofed and didn't realize I needed the pick-up for it and ended up spending an extra $200 dollars I didn't need to. So you HAVE to HAVE the pick-up for the GR55 to operate.

    Awsome gear!!!!

  • from Cary, NC May 7, 2013Music Background:

    A world of possibilities

    IMHO just as a midi controller this unit is worth its price. I personally do not like most of the factory patches but that can be remedied by controlling some other synthesizer or hooking it up to a computer that has virtual instruments software. Yes that would meam more gear to acquire. Nevertheless, the point is if you are not satisfied with the sounds you do not have necessarily settle. I have been playing live with it for a little while and my band mates have been impressed. While it takes time to master the sound possibilities seem limitless. Along with computer virtual instruments this has become a one stop all in one solution for all my needs.

  • from Baton Rouge, LA USA February 6, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Roland GR-55

    I have a custom made Carvin SH675 with a Graph Tech pickup. It was easy to set up my favorite patches so that I could select them from a switch on my guitar. I especially like the large display screen. The expression pedal allows me to fade orchestra sounds in and out especially on a pause in a song. I had fun with the Telecaster patch. It sounds just like a Fender Telecaster.

  • from Princeton NJ October 27, 2012Music Background:
    Recording/Pro Musician

    Roland GR 55

    I was looking to stream line my live set up. I have been using the Roland GI-20 and then to a Roland Rack Synth. as well as USB to a soft synth on my Laptop. The Roland GR 55 replaces all that gear and makes set up and tear down much easier. I am using it with a guitar that has RMC Pickups on my nylon string and a Fender Strat with the GK-3 pickup. The sounds are great to my ears and need very little tweaking. Just set up your pickup strength and your ready to play fantastic sounds from your guitar. Very happy with purchase the 3Ez pay make it very easy and Mark Magdich at x1265 is great to help you purchase the GR 55. Thanks Sweetwater and Roland

  • from Milwaukee,WI October 9, 2012Music Background:
    Praise and worship guitarist .

    Roland GR 55 Black

    The ultimate in guitar synth. Phenomenal sounds and great versatility from an affordable unit. The USB WAV player makes practicing a pleasure with studio quality backing tracks. If you take the required time to set up your patches correctly, you will blow away your audience . Also, my sales representative was terrific and would buy from again.

  • from Indianapolis April 6, 2016


    I've been a Roland fan for a long time. Starting with the GR01 back in the day (also the GR33 & GR20). I currently use this box for all gigs with no stage amp- direct to the board monitoring via in-ear or sometimes via wedge. You can get some very convincing tones with this system. I trigger it with a Godin xtsa (primary) and a Roland ready strat (backup). I installed the RMC OPT-01 on the circuit board to smooth out the triggering with the Godin RMC pickup. Download the GR55 librarian and the Editor to make programming and saving set lists more manageable.

    There is so much you can accomplish with this system it is unreal. On almost every gig, I have someone approach me to ask how I am getting such great tones. If set up correctly, this is a sound engineers dream. Helpful hints:

    level all your programs thru some type of metering system for even balancing of all programs.
    take the time to tweek each program you write for nuancing
    play with the EQ sections, they can really add or destroy the tones you are trying to replicate
    if you are playing piano/ percussive type programs- practice clean picking techniques

    the only downside for me is the pedals are so close together that in a dark club, you can step on 2 pedals and activate the tuner or the USB playback by mistake. The other downside is the split second of silence when switching programs. A delay spill over like Boss employs would be a big help. Maybe that will come in an update?

    Advantages: Flexibility....
    Drop D or other alternate tunings at the touch of a button. No more stopping to tune down between songs and no one (not even another guitarist) can tell the difference. I have several songs that are in weird keys (Bb or G#) and I use modeled electrics with alternate tunings to be able to play with open chords making a fuller sound and avoiding bar chord mania.

    Use the assign function for the control pedal and/or the exp pedal so that you have multiple instruments in on/off mode and lead boost/ delay/reverb (or whatever) controlled within the same bank location.

    Dial up an acoustic program and be prepared to be blown away (try in DAGAD too- way cool). Be prepared to sit down (take the time) with this gear and learn what it can do. It took me about a month to program a 50 song set list and really learn what this unit can do. Cheers!

  • from Sacramento, CA April 5, 2016

    WORTH Every Penny!!

    I bought this unit solely for the acoustic guitar and string sounds and the ability to play them simultaneously when need. I'm a rocker and don't really use most of the other incredible sounds, but it's definitely nice to know you can do realistic pianos, flutes, clarinet, sax, cellos, violins, percussions, drums, guitar and synthesizer basses when you need. For me, the acoustic guitars and strings are worth the price of admission by itself.
    What I wish could be better: ....are the Nylon guitar sounds. To me, it's a bit short of realistic sounding. It seems to lack a certain flavor that makes it a nylon. No matter what I tried to adjust it just isn't capturing that realistic nylon sound. Secondly, the COSM guitar modeling engine needs work. It's not bad for strumming a couple of power chord and/or ripping into soloing, but if you want to have that chug, growl and ump and that thick palm muting rock rhythm ...then you'll be disappointed. However the good thing is, it's got a dedicated guitar amp out to your amp and you can switch between your GR 55 and your amp. Just be sure to connect the GR 55 to your nice PA or studio monitors and the guitar out to your amp, which is dedicated to playing your favorite rock tunes. This way, you can have the best of both worlds. The GR55 alone is a fantastic unit with great effects and features that will make you wonder if your band still needs that keyboard player, who's always late for rehearsals. This unit does everything I ever needed and more. So if it was stolen or broken I'd buy another one. Now, I can finally achieve the sounds I often wished I could have a keyboardist for. And by the way, a very special thanks to Mr. Ian Roegels for an exellent service. I didn't give the unit a full five star because of the lack of qualities noted above. But other than that, it's a great unit to have for sure.

  • from Colorado Springs, CO November 6, 2015Music Background:

    GR 55 Worth it.

    GR 55 daily use paired to my Godin ACS/SA Slim, through the house. Long time professional church musician. Previously, I used the GR 33.

    For the best price I could find and on time delivery (Thanks to Ken Davis and the Sweetwater shipping team!) I upgraded to the 55.

    I researched and read the manuals and a fair amount of the specific "forums" for the 55. A lot of folks have put in some serious hours and effort. Well worth your time if you make the same purchase.

    What I like and use:
    1. Ability to write patches and save them in a "gig" ready sequence
    2. Ability to have 1, 2, or 3 voices simultaneously.
    3. Looper (20 Seconds, enough for learning, and teaching).
    4. Tuner and COSM guitar effects, made my footprint smaller.
    5. Input/Output options, the variety allows me to get the most out of whatever the house PA is.
    6. The build is better than the previous model, this is built to match it's ability.

    What could be improved upon:
    a. Roland could make the Normal Guitar Out easier to set. A face-plate switch, like their EZ Edit, which provides Normal G On/Off. Yes, you can do this with some clicks/turns etc, but it would save time.
    b. Upgrade the Looper: Include Boss RC 1 or even RC 3's guts.
    c. Add on board sampling ability with cabled mic out w/phantom power on off switch.
    d. Fold-out GK3 Cable Protector. The 13 Pin connection while solid, would benefit from a little more protection.
    e. Shave the physical specs an inch or so all around, finding a case took longer than finding the best price (Again, Thanks Ken!)

  • from New Kensington, PA April 3, 2015


    I was going to look at some new pedals. Nope. You don't need any. As a matter of fact, you could sell off some. I can't imagine a better all around guitar interface. After some time, I began to forget it was all done through MIDI.

    BTW, I'm using a Godin Passion RG-2 with no problems.

  • from Northern California June 19, 2015Music Background:
    Non-performer. The dog doesn't howl when I play but I won't give up my day job, either.

    Powerful but hard to program

    This is a really powerful synth -- which is both a strength and a weakness. I'm a retired physicist/computer scientist and find it difficult to program. I use it in conjunction with a Roland/Fender GC-1 and am gradually learning how to get the most out of it. The device really does what the manufacturer claims but it's so complicated that can take hours to teach it a new trick. Construction is really solid, the display is very easy to read and the basics are well explained in the user manual. What is really needed is a complete multimedia tutorial for the details. It's a pain having to use forums, youtube and witchcraft to try out an unfamiliar feature.

    So far I've only found 2 minor shortcomings: Switching patches causes a brief period of absolute silence (0.2 seconds based on other comments). My other complaint is that COSM guitar modeling can't do both a 12 string and alternate tuning at the same time. While I understand the first issue from an engineering prospective, I think the second issue is a design flaw.

    My only regret is that I purchased the unit without the GK-3 pickup and cable. I have since spent more than the difference on a couple of cables alone. I should have done my homework better and I would have had a pickup for a second guitar.

  • from PA August 10, 2013Music Background:
    Working musician and recording enthusiast.

    Roland GR-55

    Great upgrade to previous Roland guitar synth offerings. Have had the GR-1 for many years and decided to upgrade. The marriage of Guitar Synth and COSM modeling is a winner. Tonal combinations are very usable and inspiring !!!

  • from Akron June 1, 2016

    Don't do it

    I bought this syth thinking it was like the GR -30 or GR-09. WRONG. TYhis GR-55 is confusing and impossible to change anything such as tones & patches. Do not buy this piece of junk.

  • from Boston October 16, 2015

    Buyer Beware - Main Board Failure after 1 year

    Buyer Beware - Main Board Failure after 1 year!
    After a few days of researching, I discovered there was a free 3rd party graphical editor called "GR-55 Floorboard Editor", that virtually made it super easy to configure my own patches with ease, instead of using the cumbersome manual push-button settings on the pedal. - It was this reason alone that I purchased this device.
    Well... after only one year of marginal use, for no reason at all, the USB interface stopped working. I tried reinstalling the USB drivers from the Roland website without success. I kept getting the error msg that there was a problem with the hardware device causing it to not be recognized. I contacted Roland tech support and we tried 3 separate PC's, 3 separate USB cables and many attempts to install the drivers manually without success. Roland Support and I deemed the GR-55 main board to have failed.
    I spent $750usd for this device that will cost as much to send it out for a replacement board.. Since I can't use the editor now, it's pretty much an expensive boat anchor.


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