Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

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Dennis
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Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

Post by Dennis » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:29 am

I know roland makes some really great sounding guitar synths, but what does it do that is different from a traditional synth.

Many synths have an audio in feature that uses a guitar as the oscillator, but unfortunately most sound like c**p, and key tracking is usually off.

What makes a Roland GR55 differ from say a Microkorg with guitar input?

Thnks

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Re: Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

Post by rodgre » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:37 am

Modern digital guitar synth tone engines are no different from any other digital synth, except perhaps that the choice of presets might be geared toward what a guitarist might find useful.

This is very different from both older analog guitar synths (which use pitch-to-voltage converters to control analog oscillators) and from synths which allow you to use a guitar signal as the tone generator and just running it through filters. There are other units, like the Electro-Harmonix Guitar/Bass Microsynthesizer that make synthy sounds by fuzzing up, rectifying and octave dividing the signal. Its not the same as controlling an oscillator's pitch, but it can make cool sounds.

So to answer, a new Roland guitar synth like a GR-55 is basically a box with a pitch-to-midi converter and a regular old rompler/digital synth.

The 3 major early guitar synthesizers from the 70s/early 80s were real analog synths controlled by a guitar, and in Roland's case, the GR500 and GR300 are unlike any other keyboard-based synth. On the other hand, the ARP Avatar was basically an ARP Odyssey with a mono p-v converter. The other unit worth mentioning is the Korg X-911 mono guitar synth which took some of the technology of the MS series mono synths and put it into a stripped-down, mostly preset-based guitar synth.

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Re: Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:18 pm

One difference in Roland guitar synths is that they are designed so that each string can be treated differently...in some cases this is multitimbral (i.e. the E string triggers a different sound than the A string) in others it's individual control of pitch bend by string so that bending the G string doesn't bend the notes on all strings.

Roland adapted this controller architecture to their VG series which are not true guitar synths, rather they are complex guitar processors/modellers that use the same GK series pickup interfaces as the GR guitar synths.

The actual synthesizer engines Roland used were taken from polysynths that were current at the time. For instance the GR77 uses a JX3p (analog!) engine while current models are based on JV or XV series synth engines. The only exceptions are the very first two generations (pre-MIDI).
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Re: Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

Post by Dennis » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:41 pm

Thanks guys, perfect answers.

Appreciate it,
-Dennis

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Re: Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

Post by max badwan » Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:54 am

FWIW, MIDI Mono mode was implemented for guitar controllers

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Re: Difference between Guitar Synth and Traditional Synth?

Post by V301H » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:14 am

The Oberheim Xpander was an early favorite for Guitar Synth as each of the 6 voices could be set for MIDI Mono Mode. This was good for having a voice dedicated to an individual string for independent string bending or a different sound on each string as long as the guitar supported multiple MIDI channels.
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