5. Retrofit Pickup Systems
Fortunately, if you already own an electric or acoustic guitar or bass you can make it work as a synth controller using an external pickup or a retrofit kit combined with the module of your choice. Choices include Rolands GK-2, GK2a and GK-3 pickup systems, a piezo bridge, the Axon AIX-101, Graph Tech Ghost or Yamahas G1D divided pickup.
Roland GK-3 PickUp
This pickup is suitable for the installation into virtually any six-string guitar. The pickup can be fastened with double-sided tape, glued or screwed to the guitar. The pickups curved shape may be adjusted to suit different guitars in order to maintain a uniform distance between the string and sensor; a clever attachment plate allows mounting to the bridge screws of Les Paul style guitars. The connection cable retracts for a clean look. Rolands GK-3B is a similar product designed for bass.
Yamaha G1D/B1D Divided Pick-Up
The G1D guitar pickup attaches to a 6-string electric or steel-strung acoustic guitar and transmits the signal generated to the guitar processor. It was designed to work with Yamahas G50 guitar to MIDI converter and mounts easily with double-sided tape or permanently if so desired.
AXON AIX-101 Pickup-System
Like the Roland GK-3, the Axon AIX 101 is a magnetic pickup design, which can be adapted to any guitar. The Axon system uses an early recognition process that analyses the impulse at the very instant a string is played, recognizing the pitch of a string before it fully vibrates. Dynamics and length are then computed as the string continues to sound.
Piezo Re-Tool Systems
This type of system involves inserting the components within the guitar body and may involve some additional routing or drilling so the use of a qualified luthier is strongly recommended dont attempt to do this work yourself unless youre a skilled woodworker.
The RMC Pickup Company supplies pickups for many GK-compatible guitars and they offer a number of high-quality replacement pickups for acoustic and electric guitars.
Graph Tech Ghost
This unit features custom-engineered piezo crystals for better acoustic output, String Saver saddles for longer string life and a proprietary harmonic dampening feature for more accurate and faster tracking. The Ghost is compatible with a variety of MIDI controllers including Roland and Axon systems and is available for a variety of bridge types.