Roland / GR500 / 1977 / Sunburst / Guitar

ROLAND SYNT GR-500 with original GS-500 guitar  EX+ code Va634

Roland GR-500 and GS-500 Guitarset including controllers and cables. very rare because you won't find this combination anywhere! only a few where made in the past. As used by Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Tech Specifications:

Mahogany body
Two piece Maple top
Set in Maple neck
Rosewood fingerboard
Controls for:
Polyensemble, Bass, Solo Melody & External Synth
Master Volume
Tone and a 3 way EQ switch
Remote switch
Portamento switch
Guitar/Dual/Synthesizer switch

The Roland GR-500 was introduced in 1977, which was actually a guitar synth system, with a comparison of an Ibanez-made Les Paul-style electric guitar/controller and a synthesizer design with more than 40 switches, knobs and controls. The Roland used a separate floor unit device, the PC50 footswitch. This unit allowed users to create and select from three different preset sounds. In that era, before MIDI, the GR-500’s components joined together with a bulky 24-pin cable about the diameter of a “garden hose”.

The instrument itself was an impressive looking guitar, with a beautiful honeyburst finish and an extensive knob-encumbered control panel on the top (like Les Paul) and bottom right (like Ibanez) that gave full-control over the synth unit’s four sections: Guitar, Poly-Esemble, Bass and solo-synth section called “Melody”. The guitar had a single humbucker pickup for standard guitar sounds and a hexaphonic pickup that allowed the synth-guitar to track the pitch of each string note with a fair degree of accuracy. In addition, magnets installed within the body allowed the guitar to produce everlasting sustain on demand, though all this added significantly to the instrument’s weight.

Thanks to Roland, guitars and synthesizers have had a long working relationship together. The GR-500 is a vintage guitar controlled synthesizer - before there was MIDI too! It was the first synth of this kind that Roland had ever produced, back in 1977. The synthesizer module itself was a simple analog affair with Bass, Solo Synth, and String sounds based on previous Orchestral and analog mono-synths from Roland. There are plenty of sliders to adjust the VCO, VCF, VCA, and LFO sections, but no memory to store your edits.

The synth module is controlled by a "highly modified" guitar. Notice all those knobs on the guitar pictured above. It utilized a special pickup system that connected to the synth module via Roland's own 24-pin interface and controlled it using CV/GATE signals generated by the guitar's pickup system while playing the guitar. In addition to the modified pickup, there were magnets under the face of the guitar that could increase its sustain. Performance accuracy was "iffy" but good for 1977 and pre-MIDI. As a piece of guitar-synth history, the GR-500 makes an excellent collectors item and may come in handy for the occasional growl or a strummed analog sound effect. It has been used by Tangerine Dream, Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Instrument sold

Hendrix Guitars, Italy  

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Hendrix Vintage is the first Vintage store in Italy offers the best Vintage instruments Guitars Bass Amplifiers Effects carefully inspected to guarantee originality and high quality since 1978. All info in site:

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