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.