1st foray into guitmosynths: Trials & Triblulation w/GK-2A mounting

Discussion in 'rec.music.guitar' started by Don't forget to bring a TOWEL!, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. Okay, so I got this Roland GR-50 & GK-2A via
    eBay, as I was saying. Good, cheap, supposedly
    a good option to paying ~$700 for the newest
    synth in the fleet, the GR-33. The synth itself is, of
    course, dated, but the tracking seems fine, and
    the GK-2A is compatible with all the Roland synths
    thusfar, even after, what? 13 years? Heh... I dunno
    exactly when the GR-50 came out, but it was a
    while ago.

    First trial: Unit arrives sans mounting bracket for the
    GK-2A. Well, that's cool -- the guy selling it had it
    permanently screwed down to his axe, and didn't
    say otherwise. So, off to Home Depot for a micro-
    clamp, and that does a fine job of getting the
    control box of the GK-2A to stay on the Hamer. I
    place an order for the "official hardware" direct to
    Roland that day.

    Then comes placing the "divided pickup" (hex pup
    for those so inclined). Just need to get that puppy
    closer to the strings... Roland suggests 1mm between
    the pup and the string when fretted at the highest
    fret. Q: Why in the hell aren't the poles adjustable?
    The GK-2A's pickup has a curved profile... for what
    radius, what guitar? Sheesh. Anyway, a $2 bit of
    balsa was employed to create a riser, and we're off
    and running in test mode (supply of double-face
    tape used to adhere pup to balsa, and balsa to
    Hamer). It tracks okay, but the E strings are too far
    from the pup to register when picking with normal
    force. Hmmm. Decide to wait for the Roland
    mounting bracket before trying to figure out how
    to resolve this.

    Trial Two: Bracket arrives. Oh, it mounts via the
    strap pin at the south end of the guitar. Looks like
    the Hamer is out -- it has countersunken Schaller
    StrapLoks, which I thought was a great feature...
    up until now. :)

    I take the Ibanez Sabre off the living room wall,
    and start wondering about how that might work
    out for the GK-2A. With a couple of wood blocks,
    perhaps; the body is so incredibly thin at the edges,
    it'd take 3/4"+ shim inside the bracket's clamp to
    make *that* happen, grrrr. Also, pushing the bracket
    north (towards the headstock) meant that the
    assembly would interfere with the vibrato tailpiece
    on the guitar. Again, a wood block and a longer
    wood screw to attach the strap pin, and... well,
    hell! I have other guitars!

    Trial Three: Bingo. It seemed an unlikely choice,
    given its extremely flat fretboard radius of 20", but
    I went ahead anyway, installing the GK-2A on my
    Carvin H2T. Oddly enough, the tracking works well,
    and the bracket fit the "southwest" strap pin with
    no intereference with other controls, and with
    excellent results (the H series guitars all have two
    "southern" strap pins). Again, balsa was used to raise
    the pup to the appropriate height.

    So NOW begins the real adventure. I should have
    64 different patches available to me, and the
    previous owner already saved some of his own on
    here, of course. He has a decent glockenspiel patch
    that I've been foolin' with for the last 30 minutes.
    Looking at the manual, I am freaking out trying to
    make sense of it all, but I WAS warned about the
    complexity of this unit (and the Japanese TechWriter
    Syndrome, heh). I downloaded the GinoSoft MIDI
    patch-editor/librarian from the net, and have a low-
    octane Toshiba laptop (normally used for OBD-II work
    with my car, heh) available to run this... should I suffer
    the pains and arrows afforded by the steep learning
    curve which only *might* make it possible. :)

    Any advice, RMMG? Prayers? Support groups? :)

    --
    Toucan
    "I could never force
    A Three-Legged Cat
    To do anything like that
    To do anything like that"
  2. Monkey

    Monkey Guest

    I've always wanted to set up one of those systems for my Strat. I think
    that they're probably well worth the learning curve. Just think of all the
    cool tones you'll be able to play with once you've learned it.

    Sorry to hear about your difficulties with the mounting. I can't even
    imagine trying to set one of those up on my Les Paul. I've been really
    looking at the Graph Tech Ghost system that includes the 13 pin output in
    it. I know it is more money, but if you use it you could set it up on the
    guitar you use most.

    Rick


    "Don't forget to bring a TOWEL!" <touscan4kin@com-diddley-castaway.net>
    wrote in message news:FA2dnRkPGbavAdCiXTWJjA@comcast.com...
    > Okay, so I got this Roland GR-50 & GK-2A via
    > eBay, as I was saying. Good, cheap, supposedly
    > a good option to paying ~$700 for the newest
    > synth in the fleet, the GR-33. The synth itself is, of
    > course, dated, but the tracking seems fine, and
    > the GK-2A is compatible with all the Roland synths
    > thusfar, even after, what? 13 years? Heh... I dunno
    > exactly when the GR-50 came out, but it was a
    > while ago.
    >
    > First trial: Unit arrives sans mounting bracket for the
    > GK-2A. Well, that's cool -- the guy selling it had it
    > permanently screwed down to his axe, and didn't
    > say otherwise. So, off to Home Depot for a micro-
    > clamp, and that does a fine job of getting the
    > control box of the GK-2A to stay on the Hamer. I
    > place an order for the "official hardware" direct to
    > Roland that day.
    >
    > Then comes placing the "divided pickup" (hex pup
    > for those so inclined). Just need to get that puppy
    > closer to the strings... Roland suggests 1mm between
    > the pup and the string when fretted at the highest
    > fret. Q: Why in the hell aren't the poles adjustable?
    > The GK-2A's pickup has a curved profile... for what
    > radius, what guitar? Sheesh. Anyway, a $2 bit of
    > balsa was employed to create a riser, and we're off
    > and running in test mode (supply of double-face
    > tape used to adhere pup to balsa, and balsa to
    > Hamer). It tracks okay, but the E strings are too far
    > from the pup to register when picking with normal
    > force. Hmmm. Decide to wait for the Roland
    > mounting bracket before trying to figure out how
    > to resolve this.
    >
    > Trial Two: Bracket arrives. Oh, it mounts via the
    > strap pin at the south end of the guitar. Looks like
    > the Hamer is out -- it has countersunken Schaller
    > StrapLoks, which I thought was a great feature...
    > up until now. :)
    >
    > I take the Ibanez Sabre off the living room wall,
    > and start wondering about how that might work
    > out for the GK-2A. With a couple of wood blocks,
    > perhaps; the body is so incredibly thin at the edges,
    > it'd take 3/4"+ shim inside the bracket's clamp to
    > make *that* happen, grrrr. Also, pushing the bracket
    > north (towards the headstock) meant that the
    > assembly would interfere with the vibrato tailpiece
    > on the guitar. Again, a wood block and a longer
    > wood screw to attach the strap pin, and... well,
    > hell! I have other guitars!
    >
    > Trial Three: Bingo. It seemed an unlikely choice,
    > given its extremely flat fretboard radius of 20", but
    > I went ahead anyway, installing the GK-2A on my
    > Carvin H2T. Oddly enough, the tracking works well,
    > and the bracket fit the "southwest" strap pin with
    > no intereference with other controls, and with
    > excellent results (the H series guitars all have two
    > "southern" strap pins). Again, balsa was used to raise
    > the pup to the appropriate height.
    >
    > So NOW begins the real adventure. I should have
    > 64 different patches available to me, and the
    > previous owner already saved some of his own on
    > here, of course. He has a decent glockenspiel patch
    > that I've been foolin' with for the last 30 minutes.
    > Looking at the manual, I am freaking out trying to
    > make sense of it all, but I WAS warned about the
    > complexity of this unit (and the Japanese TechWriter
    > Syndrome, heh). I downloaded the GinoSoft MIDI
    > patch-editor/librarian from the net, and have a low-
    > octane Toshiba laptop (normally used for OBD-II work
    > with my car, heh) available to run this... should I suffer
    > the pains and arrows afforded by the steep learning
    > curve which only *might* make it possible. :)
    >
    > Any advice, RMMG? Prayers? Support groups? :)
    >
    > --
    > Toucan
    > "I could never force
    > A Three-Legged Cat
    > To do anything like that
    > To do anything like that"
    >
    >
  3. Don't forget to bring a TOWEL! wrote:


    >
    > So NOW begins the real adventure. I should have
    > 64 different patches available to me, and the
    > previous owner already saved some of his own on
    > here, of course. He has a decent glockenspiel patch
    > that I've been foolin' with for the last 30 minutes.
    > Looking at the manual, I am freaking out trying to
    > make sense of it all, but I WAS warned about the
    > complexity of this unit (and the Japanese TechWriter
    > Syndrome, heh). I downloaded the GinoSoft MIDI
    > patch-editor/librarian from the net, and have a low-
    > octane Toshiba laptop (normally used for OBD-II work
    > with my car, heh) available to run this... should I suffer
    > the pains and arrows afforded by the steep learning
    > curve which only *might* make it possible. :)
    >
    > Any advice, RMMG? Prayers? Support groups? :)


    Yer doomed. Buy a sampler, and a MIDI foot switcher unit, and a VG-8, and...

    Oh yeah, that'd be me; been there, done that. I put a *lot* of hours
    into patch editing. My advice: just find about 4 patches that are
    genuinely useful, and spend a year or so really learning how to use
    them. Sitar/banjo with wah will lose you lots of friends <G>.

    BTW, here's a look at my GK2A installation:
    http://www.passing-wind.com/gear photos_5.htm

    It actually complements the guitar headstock pretty well, no?


    .cE
  4. "Charlie Escher" <charliejane@gorge.net> wrote

    > Yer doomed. Buy a sampler, and a MIDI foot switcher unit, and a VG-8,

    and...

    Oops. Can I bring a towel?

    > Oh yeah, that'd be me; been there, done that. I put a *lot* of hours
    > into patch editing. My advice: just find about 4 patches that are
    > genuinely useful, and spend a year or so really learning how to use
    > them. Sitar/banjo with wah will lose you lots of friends <G>.


    Heh. Being a fan of Randy Newman's brother,
    Tom, I've been dinking around with the keyboard
    percussion patches first & foremost. There was a
    decent preset for marimba that I used last night
    to record a bit of what will probably end up on
    the next RMMG CD.

    > BTW, here's a look at my GK2A installation:
    > http://www.passing-wind.com/gear photos_5.htm
    >
    > It actually complements the guitar headstock pretty well, no?


    Yeah, it does. That's one o' them Kalamazoo
    geetars? And that's the normal headstock...?

    http://home.comcast.net/~orenzero/_GK2AH2T.jpg

    --
    Toucan, four can
    Hey man jam
    the Tou-Wang Clan
    Reply to me @ toucan@mailblocks.com
  5. Don't forget to bring a TOWEL! wrote:
    > "Charlie Escher" <charliejane@gorge.net> wrote


    > Heh. Being a fan of Randy Newman's brother,
    > Tom, I've been dinking around with the keyboard
    > percussion patches first & foremost. There was a
    > decent preset for marimba that I used last night
    > to record a bit of what will probably end up on
    > the next RMMG CD.


    I like the vibes patch on my GR-09. Mixed at near-subliminal level under
    regular guitar, it does some really cool things. If you turn chromatic
    mode off, and do bends, it's really interesting.
    >
    >
    >>BTW, here's a look at my GK2A installation:
    >>http://www.passing-wind.com/gear photos_5.htm
    >>
    >>It actually complements the guitar headstock pretty well, no?

    >
    >
    > Yeah, it does. That's one o' them Kalamazoo
    > geetars? And that's the normal headstock...?


    That was an early model, which is quite an oddity actually. That is the
    "normal" headstock, but I don't think Heritage made too many like that.
    The guitar is not very Gibson-ish, it's even Fender scale. That guitar
    just came to me, broken and in pieces. I wasn't looking for it at all,
    it just showed up one day when I was trying to trade a few junkers.
    Funny how that works sometimes.
    >
    > http://home.comcast.net/~orenzero/_GK2AH2T.jpg


    Did you check out the bass photos on my site? Pretty similar body wood
    to the one in your picture, no? What is that one anyway?

    .cE
  6. "Charlie Escher" <charliejane@gorge.net> wrote

    > That was an early model, which is quite an oddity actually. That is the
    > "normal" headstock, but I don't think Heritage made too many like that.
    > The guitar is not very Gibson-ish, it's even Fender scale. That guitar
    > just came to me, broken and in pieces. I wasn't looking for it at all,
    > it just showed up one day when I was trying to trade a few junkers.
    > Funny how that works sometimes.


    What did you have to do to it to get it up &
    running again?

    > Did you check out the bass photos on my site? Pretty similar body wood
    > to the one in your picture, no? What is that one anyway?


    Yeah, some coincidence, that. It's an Ibanez
    Prestige model, SR3000? MIJ, very new... just got it
    this year. It's quickly become my favorite instrument.

    --
    Toucan
    "I could never force
    A Three-Legged Cat
    To do anything like that
    To do anything like that"
  7. Don't forget to bring a TOWEL! wrote:
    > "Charlie Escher" <charliejane@gorge.net> wrote
    >
    >
    >>That was an early model, which is quite an oddity actually. That is the
    >>"normal" headstock, but I don't think Heritage made too many like that.
    >>The guitar is not very Gibson-ish, it's even Fender scale. That guitar
    >>just came to me, broken and in pieces. I wasn't looking for it at all,
    >>it just showed up one day when I was trying to trade a few junkers.
    >>Funny how that works sometimes.

    >
    >
    > What did you have to do to it to get it up &
    > running again?


    The guy I got it from told me he was quoted $175 to glue up the broken
    headstock, dowel it, and refinish the top. I took it to the same place
    he got the quote from, in Portland OR. They charged me $50 for a simple
    glue-up, including strings and a complete setup. They told me to forget
    about the perfectionist approach. I can alway get it refinished later,
    but it looks pretty good actually. It was just the typical Gibson green
    stick fracture, even with the Fenderish headstock. It plays great,
    plenty fine for a hack like me.

    The electronics were wired in a pretty funky fashion, but I just
    restored things to the standard EMG wiring.
    >
    >
    >>Did you check out the bass photos on my site? Pretty similar body wood
    >>to the one in your picture, no? What is that one anyway?

    >
    >
    > Yeah, some coincidence, that. It's an Ibanez
    > Prestige model, SR3000? MIJ, very new... just got it
    > this year. It's quickly become my favorite instrument.


    Sweet, I've played some really nice Ibanez basses. I can never find any
    fretless ones in stock anywhere though. I've barely touched my guitars
    since I got my new bass back in April.


    .cE

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