View Full Version : Help: Which Midi Guitar? Fripp, Bowie Inspired
01-17-2012, 02:22 PM
I'm putting a Graph Tech Ghost Midi Guitar System into a `54 Gibson Les Paul Custom Replica with GT Staple P90 Pickups. I had to custom make 2 dual concentric 500k pots, to streamline the pot configuration. Magnetic pickups are going through a great tube amp. Pretty well stacked on the cabs, and different guitars: Teles, Strats, and Pauls.
I do not need amp, guitar, pickup, speaker modeling. Nor do I want to be a one - man band. I built this guitar as a tribute to Robert Fripp. I love his work in King Crimson, and along with Bowie, very cutting edge. His work with John Paul Jones is amazing too. Eno's work, with Fripp, Bowie, Roxie Music, and Devo. Kraftwerk is amazing too. You get the idea, progressive rock, ELP, Genesis, Yes....
I'm hoping to get more abstract, atmoshperic, bizarre, and just really cool different sounds. And maintain a tasteful approach. I've heard about the GR 55, and GR 300, and came across the Moog Midi guitar system here in the discussions about the GR 55.
If you me, what system would you take a closer look at?
01-17-2012, 02:48 PM
The Moog guitar will just give you a 13-pin out (just like your Ghost system will). The real question is what you will control with it. My understanding is that the GR-300 re-processes the actual guitar signal, so you don't get tracking issues. The later Roland guitar synths actually figure out what note is being played and convert it to a midi note value. The "figuring out" part is not easy to do, which is why they tend to be glitchier and have tracking problems. The GR-55 is supposed to be better at tracking, but the tracking is optimized for a magnetic hex pickup and supposedly does not work as well with piezo based systems like the Ghost or the Moog guitar. The GR-55 does have a signal reprocessing section, though (like the VG series processors) - more akin to the GR-300, so you should be able to use that part of the unit without tracking issues.
01-17-2012, 02:59 PM
I used the GR55 for the biggest part of 2011 live... Nice unit... there are some serious "wins" in it... the VG modelling is pretty darned good... Acoustic guitar sounds are excellent... Alternate tuning... Nice to be able to do a convincing Banjo when needed. It does great GR300 analog sounds too... though the Ghost and RMC piezo pickups pickup a "LOT" of handling noise and really low frequencies that will make some nasty sounds in the GR55's GR300 patches... The GK-3 doesn't suffer that, and it's not that the GR55 was optimized fro the GK pickup... it's just the nature of the Piezo being a direct contact pickup causes a lot of extra noise. The Ghost is much better behaved and quite usable out of the box than the RMC, though RMC makes a Highpass filter for a premium that addresses that for the most part. The regular Synth sounds are pretty darned good and the tracking is quite nice. I too have a Ghost Equipped guitar... and it performed nicely (I had the Acoustiphonic setup on it too... but the GR55's modeled acoustics blew the graphtech acoustic sounds away...)
01-17-2012, 04:04 PM
I don't recall where, but I read somewhere that the GR-55 tracking algorithms were optimized for the GK pickup - which makes sense. The range of detected overtones is probaly pretty different just based on position alone . . . if I can figure out where I read it, I'll post a link.
01-17-2012, 05:38 PM
Fripp also uses a Fernandes sustainer for those long Soundscape notes. You may want to look into a looping device- one that allows control over manipulating the playback. This leaves most loopers out, but check out the Digital Echoplex Pro, the Looperlative LP1 & LP2 and any delays that allow control over feedback and can delay at least 5 seconds for Frippertronic type stuff.
01-17-2012, 05:40 PM
thank you for the heads up guys.
01-18-2012, 01:30 AM
Bit late to the party.....
Roland VG99 is another great device. It has two completely separate COSM/virtual instrument signal paths with *ZERO* latency, while GR55 only has one. On the other hand the GR55 has all kinds of typical synth sounds in it. Pianos, flutes etc....
But for weird noises the VG99 canīt be beat at the moment. YMMV.
That being said I have a GR55, because itīs way cheaper that the VG99, already comes as a floor unit (no extra midi-pedal needed) and you can get a lot of mileage out of it too. Really impressive toy/tool for the money. I use it with a Godin LGXT, but will check a GK3 soon, because I have the same crosstalk/sensitivity issues as other users. The GK3 seems to be the proper/better pickup with Rolandīs COSM technology.
Also, donīt rule out a Fernandes sustainer with - say - an Line6 M13 or a HD500. Have a look/listen on the Ambient guitar thread in the efx-forum here on TGP. A lot of guys use that kind of stuff with amazing results for ambient/looping. You donīt *HAVE* to go MIDI or COSM for great textural sounds...
01-18-2012, 01:52 AM
I recommend the Gr55.
I own the gr55, the vg99, yamaha g50 and several Variax models.
The vg99 is cool, and has more signal routing possibilities, and is a more powerful unit in some ways, but ive found it can not match the diversity of sounds which the gr55 can do with its two internal fully customizable PCM engines.
COSM HRM modelling (which both vg99 and gr55 can do) is akin to the old gr300 (think pat metheny synth tone/allan holdsworth synthaxe tones). Fripp used one as well.
Both units have a 'software' gr300 inside their HRM sections. With the vg99 you can do two gr300s simultaneously, but the extra cosm modelling path doesnt match having 2 extra PCM synths (each having over 900 tones to pick from and manipulate through various oscillators/filters). Pretty much almost any sound you make with the vg99 can be closely matched on the gr55, but the inverse is NOT true.
That said, the vg99 is more robust in terms of alternate tuning (both can alternately tune your guitars to whatever you want, with the same exact performance latency -practically nil), but the vg99 is also able to make your guitar a 12 string WHILE putting it into another tuning. Ie having a 12 string in DADGAD tuning. The gr55 does one or the other at the same time (12 string emulation or alternate tuning), just not simultaneously like the vg99 can do.
The vg99 also has a polyphonic intelligent harmonizer if thats important to you. The vg99 can be picked up used for around the price of a new gr55.
The gr55 is extremely portable and easy to use live. With the vg99 you need the stand, plus the FC300 foot controller (figure an additional $300-$400)
I do highly recommend you use the gk pickup for either of these units.
Piezo's in general dont perform as well in HRM COSM modelling due to their wider frequency response range. That said it will still work, but you will get extra noises, and a boomier sound from the modelling. Not all piezo's are equal, I owned a Godin XTSA years ago that was pretty bad in this regard, but my current Godin LGX-SA is much better. Its still however, not as 'clean' as a GK equipped guitar. The reason for this issue is Roland has not included a High Pass filter on their input jacks to filter out offending lower frequency on the E-A-D strings, which the aforementioned Mod available from RMC seeks to fix.
01-22-2012, 12:12 AM
Thank you guys, you all have given me quite a lot to think about.
01-25-2012, 07:23 AM
Here's some great NAMM news for all MIDI guitarists .
I own the GR55 and VG99. I also own a GR30, GR33, VG88 and VG8ex.
The GR55 tracks great but so does the GR30, in fact Belew still has one in his rig to drive the VG99. I still love some of the sounds from the VG8ex. Hard to dial-in some of the patches I have on that unit. I wish there was a patch translator that would allow some of the older patches to be available to be programmed or uploaded onto the new units.
01-25-2012, 08:01 AM
Here's some great NAMM news for all MIDI guitarists .
I'm all over the triple play as soon as it's available... I miss having the GR55. (Don't miss COSM though)
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