Roland GR Systems: Some Questions and Answers (part 03)
Is there a particular brand or type of string that Roland recommends for the GR controllers ?
The choice of strings depends on the style of music and technique of the individual player.
But it is important to use a set of strings that has a uniform "core" between the first wound string and unwound string. For example, on a typically gauged set of light strings, the thicknesses are .10, .13, .17, .26, .36, .46.
For an even response, the core thickness of the third string (.17) and the first wound string, the fourth (.26) should be the same.
If your technique causes an excessive amount of glitching or tracking errors on the lowest string (low E), you may want to substitute a lighter gauge string.
In some cases, a lighter gauge set, perhaps beginning with a .009, would work better for you. Avoid using flat, semi-flat, or tape wound strings.
These strings do not provide a strong enough fundamental note for the synth module.
Remember, if you change string gauges, your controller should be intonated again.
What is that bar on the G-707 ?
The bar is called a stabilizing bar.
The purpose is to eliminate un-wanted neck and body vibration, so that the string can vibrate without interference.
It also lowers the resonant point of the body well below the lowest string's fundamental pitch. This eliminates "dead spots" on the neck.
I have noticed that sometimes when I play relatively soft with my pick or fingers that no sound will occur at the module. Or sometimes when I play hard the module will glitch. Why is this happening ?
A guitar controller is a sensitive instrument which can easily be adjusted to respond to your particular playing style.
As on a standard guitar, the overall height of the synthesizer pickup can be raised or lowered according to the guitarist's playing style and the type of strings being used.
The optimum distance should be within 0.5 mm for the first string and 0.8 for the sixth string.
The next adjustment can be found on the back of the guitar con-troller.
There are a series of six individual trim-pots for adjusting the sensitivity of each string.
Since each controller has a somewhat different layout, the instrument's owner's manual should be consulted to determine which trim-pot is for which string.
Care should be taken not to force the trim-pots past their detents. Damage to the trim-pots can invalidate the instrument's warranty.
On the front of each guitar controller you will find a 3-way mini-toggle switch that can be used to adjust the overall sensitivity of the synth pickup.
In the bottom position, only the sound of the guitar pickups will be available at the synth outputs.
In the middle position, Touch Sensitivity I is located.
This position requires a harder picking style to trigger the synthesizer. In the top or third position, Touch Sensitivity II is activated.
This sensitivity setting only requires a very soft picking technique to trigger the synthesizer.
The key to making the synth react with accuracy is experimentation.
Adjust the guitar and learn which sensitivity setting works best with your style.
Sometimes when I'm playing on my G-707, the GR-700 module will play notes that I haven't played on the guitar. What causes this?
This situation can be corrected in two ways.
First, make sure that the guitar is set-up properly and that the Hex pickup sensitivity has been adjusted for your playing style.
Second, it is important to understand that your GR-700 module is very sensitive.
Your technique should be as clean and precise as possible.
If you touch an adjacent string and it vibrates long enough for the module to read its pitch, the module will respond by playing that note.
Also, many songs require that you play in the open position of the guitar.
Although this may be effective for the song, please be aware that the strings on the controller vibrate just as they do on a normal guitar and they may cause the open strings to vibrate sympathetically.
In short, avoid "ghost notes" and play as often as you can in closed positions on the guitar.
Remember, your fingers now control a synthesizer.
I play a lot of techno-pop and R&B styles. It's necessary to play very staccato notes and chords accompanied with muting techniques. Most of the time when I play like this the GR-700 won't respond to what I'm playing. Is there any way to correct this problem ?
Just as in the preceding question, make sure all adjustments are made to the guitar controller.
The GR-700 will follow most guitar techniques if it receives a strong enough signal.
Extremely short or muted notes may not send enough of the strings vibration for the module to read.
For the styles of music you describe, we recommend that the staccato effect you require be programmed into the GR-700's memory as a patch.
From Roland USERS GROUP magazine 1984