The physical design of the guitar synth has seen many changes over the years, ranging from dedicated MIDI controllers such as the Synthaxe and the Step, with their supposedly idealized redesign of the guitar shape and layout, to the outlandish Roland GR-700 system with its space-age, harmonically damped G-707 guitar controller. These days the general approach is to use an ordinary guitar and modify it by attaching a special split/Hexaphonic pickup (more on this later) which drives a separate external synth engine/sound module (which could be a floor unit or rack-mount) via a dedicated multi-core cable. Since Roland developed its GK2a pickup, other manufacturers have followed suit by offering compatible pickup designs resulting in, at present, a high degree of standardisation. You can even purchase guitars - electric and acoustic from the likes of Fender and Godin which have the required pickup already built-in invisibly. |
Roland GR-700 Plus G-707 Controller
Lets now take a closer look at some of the practicalities of setting up and using modern guitar synth technology.