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Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer  Black With GK-3 Divided Pickup

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Roland's GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer is a revolutionary new product combining PCM synthesis with digital instrument modeling derived from the respected ...Read More

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OVERVIEW

The seamless fusion of PCM synthesis and COSM modeling.

Roland's GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer is a revolutionary new product combining PCM synthesis with digital instrument modeling derived from the respected VG-99 V-Guitar System. The GR-55 represents Roland's latest breakthrough advances in guitar synthesis, offering playability, features, and sound quality that far surpasses the capabilities of previous generations of guitar synthesizers.

Driven by Roland's newest proprietary digital processing technology, the GR-55 delivers lightning-fast tracking performance and previously impossible sound-making capabilities. It features two independent synthesizer sound engines, each loaded with over 900 of Roland's latest sounds, including pianos, organs, strings, vintage and modern synths, percussion, and many more. A third sound engine is driven by Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM), the guitar modeling technology behind Roland's famous VG-99 V-Guitar System. With COSM, the GR-55 can emulate electric and acoustic guitars, basses, and other instruments, as well as guitar and bass amplifiers.

The GR-55 allows players to combine all three sound engines, plus their guitar's normal input, to create any sound from the familiar to the original. An independent multi-effects processor is available for a huge array of tone-shaping options, plus global reverb, chorus, delay effects and EQ to add final sweetening to any sound.

The GR-55 puts guitarists instantly in touch with a huge library of amazing sounds, with no editing required. The onboard lineup of ready-to-use presets takes the pain out of the process, from pop to rock and beyond, with quick-access category buttons. Creating and editing sounds is a breeze for guitarists as well, thanks to a large LCD display, simple front panel, and the intuitive EZ Edit and Sound Style features. Also, onboard is a phrase looper that lets players capture on-the-fly recordings with unlimited sound-on-sound style overdubs.

The GR-55 also features a USB song player that lets users play WAV files stored on USB flash memory, and song playback can be controlled with the onboard pedals. The GR-55 also functions as an audio/MIDI interface for computers, with a rear-panel USB 2.0 port for a quick and easy connection. Users can easily integrate with their favorite digital audio workstation software, recording GR-55 sounds as audio in the DAW and using the GR-55's super-fast pitch-to-MIDI capabilities to trigger MIDI sounds such as virtual synths and samplers with their guitar.

The GR-55 is equipped with Roland's industry-standard 13-pin GK interface. To access the GR-55's enormous palette of sounds, guitarists must use an instrument equipped with a GK-compatible pickup such as Roland's GK-3 Divided Pickup, which is available with the GR-55 (see dropdown menu to the right and select the "With Pickup" option). The GK-3 can be easily installed on most steel string guitars with no modification to the instrument. In addition, many different GK-ready instruments are commercially available from various top guitar manufacturers.

FEATURES
  • Combines PCM synthesis with COSM modeling
  • Lightning-fast tracking performance
  • 2 independent synth engines each with over 900 sounds including pianos, organs, strings, vintage and modern synths, percussion, and more
  • Third sound engine driven by COSM modeling can emulate electric and acoustic guitars, basses, other instruments, and amplifiers
  • All three sound engines can be combined with dry signal
  • Independent multi-effects processor adds a huge array of tone-shaping options
  • Ready-to-use presets and easy editing/saving of your own creations
  • USB flash drive input with song player for playing back WAV files
  • Functions as an audio/MIDI interface with USB 2.0 connection
  • Equipped with 13-pin GK interface for GK-compatible pickups
  • Large LCD display
  • Simple front panel and intuitive EZ Edit and Sound Style features

The pinnacle of Roland's advancements in guitar synthesis over the last 35 years. Order it now!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
RolandGR-55 Guitar Synthesizer
 
4.4

(based on 44 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (27)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

96%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (23)
  • Versatile (23)
  • Good selection of effects (22)
  • Responsive (19)
  • Compact (12)

Cons

  • Difficult to use (3)

Best Uses

  • Performances (19)
  • Professional recording (18)
  • Home studio (16)
  • Amateur recording (12)
  • Outdoor events / games (9)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (17), Professional musician (13)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Astounding....beyond belief

Six months ago I started with a used GR-20 and a used Fender Squire to see if I liked the guitar synthesizer. I love it. Eventually, my cheap, used GR-20 stopped...Read complete review

Six months ago I started with a used GR-20 and a used Fender Squire to see if I liked the guitar synthesizer. I love it. Eventually, my cheap, used GR-20 stopped working. The problem is in the box. Immediately, I got my money together and ordered the GR-55. It's response is faster and the whole unit is well designed. You can tell they strive to improve and overcome any problem and just make it better.
It's still new, I have spent about 3 hours on trying out the sounds and I'm only through the "lead" and the "rhythm" sounds/instruments. I've still got the "other" section to try. Sheer fun. There is still so much about the GR-55 that I still don't know how to do, yet. I photocopied the 2&1/2 pages of instruments/sounds and I highlight the ones I like as I go through. I'll make a list of just what I like later. And, after a while go back through them all again. I suggest you note what you like for fast reference. There's just so many sounds/instruments.
I am a home musician and do home recording and beginning to pitch background music for use in film and on TV. To give you an idea of the level of playing you need to be at to use the GR-55. Here is my level: I am an extremely skilled amateur musician that hasn't played at all in a decade because I quit everything. (I probably, pulled out the guitar or keyboard and played a total of 10 hours in 10 years.) I started with the GR-20 for 6 months.
For playing some instruments, you should "think" like the instrument. A Grand Piano does not stretch strings/notes. So, think like it's a real piano. Playing may need to be more precise/exacting without being sloppy, and this is on some instruments. But, I adapted fast. It's utterly amazing. I suggest, on some instruments, to get rid of the pick and fingerpick. It works great on the piano. And, some lead orchestra instruments, I move my vibrato/whammy bar just slightly to sound like a real bow or other. And, to my surprise, on some instruments, you can "mute" strings with your palm that sounds like the hit song you are playing. I did not expect "mute" to translate to digital.
Guitar pickup: I have a "Brubaker" guitar, handmade in Maryland. It's neither a Les Paul or Strat setup. But, it works just fine. The hardest thing was to come up with a way that to protect the finish on the guitar. My GK-3 (the pickup) has to sit on top the chrome pickup cover on this guitar. I cut a piece of clear, thick plastic that products come in to fit over the chrome pickup cover. I used the pickup screws. Then used the sticky strip to attach the GK-3. I want to set up other guitars, too and they will be different. Roland has every combination you can imagine to help you attach the GK-3.
I love the GR-55. It's just shear fun. I did get the full warranty because I WANT to keep it working without worry and that the used GR-20 did quit working and I bought a new GK-3, then a new cable and they were not the problem. I went into the box to try to fix it and you might as well forget it, it's circuit boards and not even a good way to test the cable connection internally. I closed it up, got my money together, and ordered a new GR-55. I'm happy. The GR-55 is fun and blows the top off my musical ability.
Also, I almost forgot, using MIDI. I have not done much MIDI in a decade, but I experimented with the GR-20 and it's as astounding as the playing the GR-55 live. You can assign any instrument you want. You can even add or subtract notes, copy and paste. That is also astounding beyond belief. If play a wrong note, just drag it to where it should be. In fact, you can create music on the screen that plays through the GR-55 and record.
There's more than I am even getting to. But, if you're just a guitar player and you just want "Guitar" effects, this does it, but it may be something else that you want without needing the GK-3 pickup. Actually, I found several guitar sounds on the GR-55 that I can play lightning fast, powerful, full energy leads covering the whole neck of the guitar. It seems I can exceed my fastest speeds because of the GR-55. I can play lead faster than my brain can keep up and just hang on. And, with MIDI, I can edit it.
The sounds (patches) are very realistic. I can play piano, trumpet, organ, sax, and on. Listening to my home recording, you can't tell it's not a real instrument. But, again, I think like the instrument is played and how it really sounds and I concentrate enough not to be sloppy. So here's your test, if you can't play a clean sounding "Barr F" chord, it's probably too much for you at this time. If you cannot fingerpick just a little (think with your fingers alternating) versus straight strumming or note picking, you are limited only a little. Think of a beautiful piano solo part, rarely ever would it be strummed chords. A little fingerpicking goes a long way. And, actually, you don't need a guitar pick with the GR-55. I'm playing leads and chords sometimes with and sometimes without a pick, even lightning fast leads with or without a pick. I did set my GK-3 extremely close to my strings. I mean extremely close. And, I don't know if that matters.
I emailed Roland a technical question and they answered it promptly and with expertise.
I hope I have helped.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

it plays you

Rating the GR-55 at two stars (below average) hardly seems fair considering that there just isn't much out there for comparison, but this seems to be the very reason Roland dropped the...Read complete review

Rating the GR-55 at two stars (below average) hardly seems fair considering that there just isn't much out there for comparison, but this seems to be the very reason Roland dropped the ball in so many places - they can afford to because they don't have any competition. The reason I bought this was because I wanted a multi-effects unit with good amp modeling and I figured that, while I was at it, I should get the crazy midi-guitar-synth-monster. I wanted a one-unit solution for my guitar rig to run into FRFR speaker setups (and headphones) so that transitioning from playing live to practicing to recording would be filled with less tonal guesswork - don't get me wrong, the GR-55 can do this if you're willing to play by its rules.

It just isn't as flexible as I thought it would be, mainly due to the way Roland botched utilizing all the pedals - you can't assign the three left-most pedals to do anything - they just switch patches. This wouldn't actually be a problem if it weren't for the giant silent gaps that occur when changing patches (not just banks, patches). There are ways to get around this by working with the "assigns" that you do have, but they don't offer you a full-featured type of "manual-mode" or "stomp-mode" without buying an external controller - and what's more, you're still a bit too constrained by the signal flow options (there are essentially two). Another problem with switching patches is that your delay and reverb tails don't spill-over, they get cut-off (the same problem apparently exists on Boss's new GT-100).

The dual(ing?) synth engines have a million different keyboard tones that just aren't very good. I'm used to the keyboard tones that come with one of the Ableton Live Suites and Roland's just don't compare (which is really sad in my reckoning - doesn't Roland actually make keyboards!?!?!). You can trigger external midi stuff with your GR-55, but you can't use it as a sound module (but who would want to?). The responsiveness of the individual keyboard noises varies and you'll be wanting to tweak them on a per patch basis because the global settings that manage how the midi stuff works are not one-size-fits-all. I wouldn't rely on any of the keyboard noises that require a short attack (piano = no) in a live situation because bunk triggering does happen even if your have amazing technique and a great setup.

Speaking of a great setup - it can be a achieved without being a Roland certified synth-guitar luthier. The GK-3 pickup goes on easy when the instructions are followed and the process of getting it talking to the GR-55 is fairly simple - I think it took me about an hour and half after opening the box before I was playing. The problem is that you have just ruined any good looking guitar by allowing the Borg to assimilate it - that black hex-pickup is just plain ugly (especially when you run a patch cable from your regular guitar jack into it) and it adds weight that you will notice when playing with a strap.

But don't worry, you won't be using your strap much after buying the GR-55, because you'll be sitting down surrounded by a computer, the GR55 and a mess of wires (including that extra long 13-pin cable) so that you can tweak it with the software that a generous man named "gumtown" made - look up the GR-55 Floorbaord Editor, it's fantastic. But wait, didn't Roland make some software for it? Ya, but...well...it sucks - don't bother. Gumtown's software makes the unit much more usable in that it becomes very straight forward to change things and the GUI is arranged in a visually and functionally intuitive manner. There is nothing bad to say about Gumtown and his Floorboard editor - it's free and Boss-Roland should hire him for a number of reasons beyond his software abilities, but I digress. The real issue is that it is likely you'll spend more time tweaking than playing. I'm someone that likes tweaking, but I like playing more which is why after almost a year of dealing with my dysfunctional relationship with the GR-55 I am now selling it having already moved on to greener, simpler pastures.

...and that why you always leave a note.

Reviewed by 44 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Lightning-fast tracking – NOT.

By electronman

from Calif.

About Me Professional Musician

Pros

  • Versatile

Cons

  • Difficult To Use
  • Not Responsive
  • Poor Sound Quality

Best Uses

  • Performances

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

My one star rating is mostly in response to Roland's grossly exaggerated claim of "lightning-fast tracking." As regards the synth triggering, this is patently false. The GR55's synth latency is about as bad as my '80s Ibanez guitar-to-midi unit. The problem is that a guitar-to-midi converter needs to track at least one half of the string's cycle to determine what note is being played, and the lower the note, the longer this takes. So at the very high range, triggering latency is tolerable, but as you move down the scale it gets progressively worse, till at the bottom notes you're hearing delays that qualify as slapback echo. With all Roland's hype, I thought they'd found a way around this, but nope.

Further, I thought the modeled sounds in this unit would be an upgrade to my 20-year-old VG8, but, amazingly, they're mostly worse. I've read several reviews now with this complaint, so can accept that it's not my imagination. For some reason the Roland engineers didn't incorporate the same attention to detail in the GR55's models as in the VG line. Given the vastly more powerful CPUs now available, and the fact that they could have just COPIED the VG algorithms, this is utterly mysterious.

To be clear, my hope was to use this in the studio – for live use the GR55's convenience and flexibility may outweigh these failings. If you just want to trigger a string pad behind your guitar part, the latency won't be noticeable – it will be masked by the guitar (which has virtually no latency). And if you want to play a quick and dirty marimba solo in your dance band, you can learn to play ahead of the beat to compensate for the latency. But trying to play any synth part with reasonably tight timing and accurate dynamics will be an exercise in frustration.

With my old VG8, I was able to create a mandolin so spot-on that I could record solo parts with it. I'm finding nothing even close to that in the GR55...

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4.0

So far, very pleased.

By Ridiculousdream Recordings

from Seattle, Washington

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

  • GK-3 Installation instructions faulty

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Home Studio
  • Performances

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

Very cool device. The sounds are actually great. I was fearing some cheap midi squashy sounds, but the synths and virtual instruments are good. The GK-3 has some faults however. It is very difficult to set up properly, with some minor ambiguous inconsistencies. Still trying to get it to work 100 percent. I am in contact with Roland. Mine was an open box and is missing an instrument cable that comes with the product. I contacted MF and they don't know it exists and the rep I chatted with seemed not very informed. He or she has not yet gotten back to me.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfect for me but maybe not for everyone.

By Charlie Quatro

from Virginia

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Events
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

    All I can say is wow, wow, and WOW! Actually I will say more. I've been playing guitar and bass for close to 30 years. One of the bands I'm in is a Worship (Church) band and I am called on to cover guitar/other parts in various styles. This works perfect for me. I am able to cover piano, orchestra, violin, strings, and just about anything you can name once I learn the part. The presets are excellent and even better with a little tweaking. So this is everything I could ask for and just floors people when they hear it. so it's probably the best and most inspiring piece of equipment I have ever bought. Given that, I believe there are some people that it wouldn't be a good fit for. I play bass in another band that is rock and the guitar player in that band owned one and absolutely hated it. What it boils down to is your technique needs to be totally spot on, right and left hand, every slight movement is tracked and you will hear it. So I think if you are playing rock or blues or shredding all the time you may not find it so useful. But if you like to play other types of music and would like to have many beautiful sounds at your disposal this thing will do it.

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    4.0

    Would buy Again, Inspiring.

    By Proaudiosoft

    from Saint Louis, MO

    About Me Professional Musician

    Ask me a question

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Good Selection Of Effects

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

      I use this for recording at my home studio. Its very inspiring, and makes a guitarist more versitle. I would buy it again.

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      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Worth the money

      By ir1ru12

      from florida

      About Me Professional Musician

      Ask me a question

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact Design
      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Good Selection Of Effects
      • Responsive
      • Versatile

      Cons

      • Difficult To Use
      • Needs A Line Out

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Events
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

      I use this with a godin lgx-sa guitar. Many have said it lacks. It talks very very well. With the guitar su the sounds playing leads it won't skip a beat. You have to go into sons and set it up for the type of pick-up your using.

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      (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      GR-55: will you marry me?

      By Replicand

      from Tokyo

      About Me Experienced

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Mind-boggling
      • Possibilities
      • Responsive
      • Uber-fast Tracking

      Cons

      • Too Much Ambience

      Best Uses

      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

      Whenever music technology advances, so does creativity - think about it: the first drum 10,000 years ago; the first pipe 6000 years ago; the first string 4000 years ago; the first violin 400 years ago, the first piano 300 years ago and most recently, the first synthesizer 50 years ago. So, if guitar synthesizers became as common as guitars are today, tomorrow's music will sound radically different than today. Enter the GR-55.

      Effectively, the GR-55 is two layered synths and a multi-effects unit, controlled by your guitar. This description doesn't really give justice to the crazy sounds that come out of this box.

      Let's start with the bad news: the user's manual setup is not as in-depth as it should be - merely by happenstance someone explained to me the baseline parameter settings which made the unit respond with significantly fewer ghost notes / trigger errors; sounds programmed with FAR too much ambience, rendering some of the sounds unplayable - unless you play ambient soundscapes; I have zero interest in triggering piano / chromatic percussion-type sounds with a guitar; most preset "guitar" sounds (from the amp modeler) have a certain...je ne sais quoi. I will explain all these points in further detail.

      Otherwise, your guitar will produce a ridiculous amount of sound. There's quite a bit of new territory to discover, though it's also quite nice when you find a sound that perfectly fits a song you've already written. Yeah, that happened.

      One of my strats had a GK-2A on it but I didn't like the way it looked, so I ordered a Godin xtSA specifically for use with the GR-55. If you aren't using a GK-ready guitar, stick the included GK-3 PU on it, set the base parameters and go! Within five minutes of plugging in, I'm accurately tracking 32nd notes. Pitch detection is nearly flawless.

      The presets are somewhat inspiring, but overkill. Too thick and too much ambience. I once read somewhere that synth presets are designed for the floor of a musical instrument store, where several other sounds (sources) are competing for your attention. And that's exactly what these presets sound like. This unit is actually begging for you to dive in to discover what it can do.

      As mentioned there are two layered synths, an effects processor plus your normal guitar sound. All programming is menu-based, so lots of pages, arrows and dials to get that sound you hear in your head. Though the synth is COSM, the menu paradigm is "subtractive": oscillator, filter, envelopes, modulation - so keeping this in mind will speed your workflow.

      The effects / amp modeler section is *supremely* comprehensive. So if you decided to add one of the 30-odd distortion pedals (or 11 guitar simulations or 30 amplifier simulations or....), you have complete control over pickup configuration, gain, power amp volume, EQ, modulation depth, on and on, which I have not even scratched the surface of (the unit arrived yesterday).

      So I decided to create a patch from scratch, just to see what I could come up with. The Godin xtSA outputs electric and "acoustic" guitar, so I added a COSM 12-string acoustic, a strings patch and a modeled Les Paul through a Marshall with an overdrive pedal - in essence, one guy playing five guitars at the same time (you can independently mix the levels of all of these). The possibilities are mind-boggling.

      Preliminary observations suggest that at least with the amp models, ambience is tied to whatever cabinet you're using. Even turning off the synth multi-effects, I have not yet been able to produce a completely, 100% dry signal, which is unfortunate. Thus, the four-star rating. Otherwise, I will be discovering all sorts of fun things the GR-55 can do for years to come.

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      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Studio Sounding

      By No nickname

      from Chicago,Il

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Good Selection Of Effects
      • Responsive
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

        I have tried and used many guitar synths over the years.Always looking for more sounds.The good points: 80% of the tones first class,response time to the guitar,very good,but as with all guitar synths,takes a bit of time to adjust playing to suit the unit,as every guitar synth is different.I think the choice of guitar will have a lot to do with use of this unit.I have been using the Godin LGXT,running 3 outs,one to GR55,one to old Marshall etc.rather then go on and on,I will say that for home or pro studio use,and you have the time to really get into the synth,5 stars.For live,gigs the road?I could not say.

        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

        (0 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Five star

        By deppard

        from Bangalore

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Good Selection Of Effects
        • Responsive
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Events
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

          Placing an order for the Roland GR 55 from India on Musician's friend was not an easy task. I had many a query on the product, payment & shipment. Thanks to Musician Friend's service it was a fast, informative and effective transaction.

          My only grudge, guys, seems most guitar accessories are not on the India shipping list. That's funny! My Roland wasn't either. I had it delivered to a pal's address in the US. Much easier if we could have the global shipping

          Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

          (11 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Astounding....beyond belief

          By TalentEast

          from Salisbury, Maryland

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Designed To Be The Best
          • Excellant Sounds
          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Good Selection Of Effects
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

          • None so far

          Best Uses

          • Expand Your Musical World
          • Home Studio

          Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

          Six months ago I started with a used GR-20 and a used Fender Squire to see if I liked the guitar synthesizer. I love it. Eventually, my cheap, used GR-20 stopped working. The problem is in the box. Immediately, I got my money together and ordered the GR-55. It's response is faster and the whole unit is well designed. You can tell they strive to improve and overcome any problem and just make it better.
          It's still new, I have spent about 3 hours on trying out the sounds and I'm only through the "lead" and the "rhythm" sounds/instruments. I've still got the "other" section to try. Sheer fun. There is still so much about the GR-55 that I still don't know how to do, yet. I photocopied the 2&1/2 pages of instruments/sounds and I highlight the ones I like as I go through. I'll make a list of just what I like later. And, after a while go back through them all again. I suggest you note what you like for fast reference. There's just so many sounds/instruments.
          I am a home musician and do home recording and beginning to pitch background music for use in film and on TV. To give you an idea of the level of playing you need to be at to use the GR-55. Here is my level: I am an extremely skilled amateur musician that hasn't played at all in a decade because I quit everything. (I probably, pulled out the guitar or keyboard and played a total of 10 hours in 10 years.) I started with the GR-20 for 6 months.
          For playing some instruments, you should "think" like the instrument. A Grand Piano does not stretch strings/notes. So, think like it's a real piano. Playing may need to be more precise/exacting without being sloppy, and this is on some instruments. But, I adapted fast. It's utterly amazing. I suggest, on some instruments, to get rid of the pick and fingerpick. It works great on the piano. And, some lead orchestra instruments, I move my vibrato/whammy bar just slightly to sound like a real bow or other. And, to my surprise, on some instruments, you can "mute" strings with your palm that sounds like the hit song you are playing. I did not expect "mute" to translate to digital.
          Guitar pickup: I have a "Brubaker" guitar, handmade in Maryland. It's neither a Les Paul or Strat setup. But, it works just fine. The hardest thing was to come up with a way that to protect the finish on the guitar. My GK-3 (the pickup) has to sit on top the chrome pickup cover on this guitar. I cut a piece of clear, thick plastic that products come in to fit over the chrome pickup cover. I used the pickup screws. Then used the sticky strip to attach the GK-3. I want to set up other guitars, too and they will be different. Roland has every combination you can imagine to help you attach the GK-3.
          I love the GR-55. It's just shear fun. I did get the full warranty because I WANT to keep it working without worry and that the used GR-20 did quit working and I bought a new GK-3, then a new cable and they were not the problem. I went into the box to try to fix it and you might as well forget it, it's circuit boards and not even a good way to test the cable connection internally. I closed it up, got my money together, and ordered a new GR-55. I'm happy. The GR-55 is fun and blows the top off my musical ability.
          Also, I almost forgot, using MIDI. I have not done much MIDI in a decade, but I experimented with the GR-20 and it's as astounding as the playing the GR-55 live. You can assign any instrument you want. You can even add or subtract notes, copy and paste. That is also astounding beyond belief. If play a wrong note, just drag it to where it should be. In fact, you can create music on the screen that plays through the GR-55 and record.
          There's more than I am even getting to. But, if you're just a guitar player and you just want "Guitar" effects, this does it, but it may be something else that you want without needing the GK-3 pickup. Actually, I found several guitar sounds on the GR-55 that I can play lightning fast, powerful, full energy leads covering the whole neck of the guitar. It seems I can exceed my fastest speeds because of the GR-55. I can play lead faster than my brain can keep up and just hang on. And, with MIDI, I can edit it.
          The sounds (patches) are very realistic. I can play piano, trumpet, organ, sax, and on. Listening to my home recording, you can't tell it's not a real instrument. But, again, I think like the instrument is played and how it really sounds and I concentrate enough not to be sloppy. So here's your test, if you can't play a clean sounding "Barr F" chord, it's probably too much for you at this time. If you cannot fingerpick just a little (think with your fingers alternating) versus straight strumming or note picking, you are limited only a little. Think of a beautiful piano solo part, rarely ever would it be strummed chords. A little fingerpicking goes a long way. And, actually, you don't need a guitar pick with the GR-55. I'm playing leads and chords sometimes with and sometimes without a pick, even lightning fast leads with or without a pick. I did set my GK-3 extremely close to my strings. I mean extremely close. And, I don't know if that matters.
          I emailed Roland a technical question and they answered it promptly and with expertise.
          I hope I have helped.

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          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Roland GR-55 Synth

          By Raco

          from Oklahoma City

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Good Selection Of Effects
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

          • None Found
          • None found yet

          Best Uses

            Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

            This is an incredible tool. As an old guy I will have a significant learning curve to get the most out of it. Some of the preset patches are very interesting, most I will not use, but the options to create my own sounds is impressive. So off we go into the world of creativity.

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