13 pin guitar synth products (iguitar content)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by earache33, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. earache33

    earache33 Member

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    I don't know much about this topic at all. Thinking about getting a Brian Moore (iguitar) equipped with 13pin and usb. How much "other equipment" i would need to utilize the 13pin system and how much it would cost.

    How many different varieties of these units are there? I saw a few of the rolands, some of the sounds seem a bit "cheesy". Anyone have experience with these. Are these guitars compatible with any MIDI synths out there, korg, etc.?
     
  2. camitchell

    camitchell Member

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    Axon MKII is a great midi system. You can also use external keyboards, modules, etc with it.
     
  3. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    If you want to control softsynths via USB and/or have a lower budget, the Axon AX-50 might be worth considering.

    Also, check out Roland's Virtual Guitar products. The latest is the VG-99 - it does guitar and amp modeling like you'd expect, but can also do some good synth sounds that respond more immediately and expressively to your playing than MIDI synths. Like any programmable product, the VG-99 needs some tweaking to get the sounds you want, but it's not rocket science.
     
  4. earache33

    earache33 Member

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    so if i understand correctly, the 13 pin plays more accurately (less latency) than midi, but the number of boxes available to process these synth sounds as compared to traditional MIDI is limited? And i would need a seperate box to convert the 13pin into MIDI (to access sounds off a micro korg or something similar). Seems like this would get real expensive real quick. The 13 PIN seems like an expensive one-trick pony.

    On the other hand, replacing the 13PIN with a MIDI hookup (if available) will open up the possibilities without sinking more money into everything.

    The USB built into the guitar is more my cup o tea. This will allow me to access the avialable sounds on a mac (garagband, moog software, etc).
     
  5. JohnLutz

    JohnLutz Supporting Member

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    The coolest 13-pin product that I've tried is the original VG-8 from Roland. It doesn't have the features of the latest VG but the sounds are more interesting I think.

    John
     
  6. hour9

    hour9 Member

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    I'd recommend you start cheap with a Roland GR20 and see if you like it first. Buy one used so you won't loose money on the resell. The GR20 is really easy to use and has decent sounds in my opinion. If you decide you like midi guitar you can then upgrade to an Axon or a VG99. You may decide that the GR20 is good enough. I did.
     
  7. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    According to this, the USB option for Brian Moore iGuitar will NOT give you any MIDI capability - it will be used only for audio:

    http://www.iguitar.com/pdf/iGuitarusbQSG.pdf

    The 13-pin output from your guitar simply takes 6 audio signals from the hex pickup system on your guitar and sends them out. It does not do anything else - no MIDI.

    The VG-99, VG-8, VG-88, etc. all require 13-pin connection from your guitar. Both current Axon models require 13-pin connection from your guitar.

    A major advancement of the VG-99 over earlier VG models is that it can be used to process your 13-pin audio signals into VG-99 synth sounds (no MIDI needed) AND convert your 13-pin signals into MIDI for use with MIDI-compatible synths at the same time. Earlier VG models did not have built-in MIDI converters.

    If you just need to play some synth parts on guitar and don't really need MIDI, the VG-99 is a one-stop solution.

    An example application where you might need MIDI is if you are using guitar to record parts for an orchestra (strings, brass, mallets, woodwinds, etc.) that will eventually be converted into sheet music for your orchestra players.

    On the other hand, if you're playing in a band and need to cover an organ part one song, synth brass for another, and aren't going to do anything else the VG-99 by itself is fine and you don't need MIDI. You might even get by with an older VG model.

    Cheaper alternative to the Brian Moore would be to get a lower cost guitar and Roland GK2a or GK2 pickup - either of which would have the 13-pin output that you would need to use a VG and/or MIDI .
     
  8. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    I did some research on this some months ago and arrived at this list...

    13-pin Midi Synthesizer Box with Midi Conversion Interface
    Roland GR-20 - $495 to Synth/Sound Module Box with hex guitar conversion to 5-pin Midi (needs $40 5-pin Midi to USB Midi I/F for computer integration) Converts faster than GR-33.
    Axon AX-50 is a midi box + usb + general midi + some synth $499? (converts faster than Roland units)
    Roland GR-33 (discontinued but packed more features than GR-20)
    Axon AX 100 MKII is the original, more sound feature packed unit at $699 (converts faster than Roland units)


    These are all 13-pin to midi conversion boxes with synth/sound module built-in (available within)
     
  9. earache33

    earache33 Member

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    thanks for all the respones. that cleared up a lot of the confusion. my last question is do you need a second amp for the synth processor output? The iguitar claims to be able to blend synth sounds with the regular pickups. I havent been able to actually play around with one of these, so it is very foreign to me.
     
  10. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Some keyboard players prefer to run their stuff through guitar amps, actually - yes, even synths.

    No hard and fast rule here - your ears will be the ultimate decider. Most guitar/guitar-synth players end up getting separate amps - especially if you want to play a synth sound and a nice overdriven/distorted guitar sound at the same time.
     
  11. NyteOwl

    NyteOwl Member

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    The iGuitar, or it's Godin counterpart, will let you choose just the magnetic signal, just the piezo (synth) signal, or mix them both together. It is highly recommended you use a separate amp for your synth signal (preferable a keyboard amp) or run that signal directly to the board.

    As previously mentioned, the 13-pin cable is not a MIDI cable, and therefore has no MIDI capabilities. It carries the piezo and magnetic pickup signals, and routes the volume and tone controls and various switch positions selected as needed. lt has nothing to do with tracking and/or latency. Tracking is dependent upon the pickup system used, and the piezos in the iGuitar or the GraphTech Ghost system (used on the Godins) are far superior to the Roland GK-Series pickups.

    In my opinion, Roland took a giant step backwards when the replaced the GR-33 guitar synth with the GR-20. If you're buying used, pass on the GR-20 and get the GR-33; they're pretty close price-wise and the 33 will retain it's resale value should you decide it's not for you.

    Two more things you need to know, and anyone who plays a guitar synth will back me up on this: Guitar synths are not in the least bit forgiving, so if you are not a clean player, you'll get a lot of falsely triggered notes. Finally, when using a guitar synth, you have to approach it as a musician who plays the particular instrument(s) you've called up in any respective patch. For example, piano players can't bend notes, so those patches will make a clean, abrubt change between notes. Bend a D a full step up to an E and you'll here the D, then an Eb and then an E. Hope this helps...
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  12. earache33

    earache33 Member

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    Thanks for the replies, it is all very helpful. I've always been a guitar->pedals->amp guy, this is new territory fore me, so i gotta figure out is its worth the investment.
     
  13. subendo

    subendo Member

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    One thing that helped me with synth guitar tracking was to put heavier strings on my Brian Moore. I went from 10s to 12s and tracking issues were reduced significantly. Good luck with your entry into synth-land! Try not to make your piano player jealous...
     
  14. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Very happy to see Bill Ruppert's amazing VG-99 audio sample tracks are back online, and with new tracks! Some standout sounds of his include Kraftwerk synth, gospel organ, koto-flute, Buddhist gong, and tablatar:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=853668

    Should give you a good idea of the VG-99's potential for synth sounds.
     
  15. nitefly7

    nitefly7 Member

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    hear hear..!
    I like the single solo (synth) patch for some Metheny'esque sounds, and even the es335 and es175 sound pretty cool.. also the synthy pads sound very nice.. the detuning/altered tunings for acoustic guitar patches isn't really all that great though..
    i like it, but it needed guitar->midi conversion...

    but for more 'guitary' stuff, the VG88 is supposed to sound killer..!
     
  16. nitefly7

    nitefly7 Member

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    Nope, the 13pin is more accurately, when used with non-midi sound sources, like the VG-8(8) and VG-99; with those boxes, you're sound isn't translated to MIDI, it's just '13 pin sounds'; sound very direct and really 'alter the sound of your guitar'...

    The other option, if there's a guitar -> MIDI convertor involved, you could also use it as a MIDI-controller, allowing you to trigger about any MIDI-capable synth

    you need something to translate the 13pin hexaphonic signal;
    - either a sole guitar->midi convertor (Axon, Roland GI-, Yamaha..) that requires a MIDI-capable synth module (Axon ax100 has it built-in, as do the Roland GR-series, Axon-50 is really cheap, and has a USB-option for softsynths)
    - or a guitar->'virtual' convertor (Roland VG-series)
    - a machine that does both (Roland VG-99)

    [quoteo]
    On the other hand, replacing the 13PIN with a MIDI hookup (if available) will open up the possibilities without sinking more money into everything.

    The USB built into the guitar is more my cup o tea. This will allow me to access the avialable sounds on a mac (garagband, moog software, etc).[/quote]

    there's not a lot of guitars with 'real MIDI' plugs available, because of the 13pin standard...
    if you need USB-access for the mac, you're talking about MIDI-USB; which the AXON has, but the iGuitar doesn't (with USB-option)

    otherwise you would need 13pin->midi convertor -> MIDI-USB interface...

    13 pin access is a really great innovation, but it needs innovative thinking and playing to fully benefit from it all..

    to give an example, I practically only use a single solo synth patch on my VG-8 for some Metheny style; GR-300 guitar synth soloing...
     

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