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Topic: Guitar Synth for GPO

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  1. #1

    Guitar Synth for GPO

    Hello everyone. My copy of GPO should arrive in the mailbox tomorrow! How severely hampered would I be if I used a guitar synth to arrange? Just curious to see if anyone has tried. Thanks and glad to be a part of the forum.

    Kevin

  2. #2

    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by Kev S.
    Hello everyone. My copy of GPO should arrive in the mailbox tomorrow! How severely hampered would I be if I used a guitar synth to arrange? Just curious to see if anyone has tried. Thanks and glad to be a part of the forum.
    I haven't tried it with GPO yet, but I've certainly driven Kontakt/Advanced Orchestra with a Strat/GK-2/GI-20 setup with some degree of success. But if you really want to take advantage of the virtual instrument design of GPO, you'll want to get a MIDI pedal that will give you a continuous controller for the "mod wheel" and an on/off momentary for the "sustain" pedal.

  3. #3

    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    I haven't tried it with GPO yet, but I've certainly driven Kontakt/Advanced Orchestra with a Strat/GK-2/GI-20 setup with some degree of success. But if you really want to take advantage of the virtual instrument design of GPO, you'll want to get a MIDI pedal that will give you a continuous controller for the "mod wheel" and an on/off momentary for the "sustain" pedal.
    Markleford has written some very good MFX plugs that ships with GPO that are very usefull if you do not have a sustain pedal. It works very well with a keyboard and I can not imagine why you would not be able to use it with a guitar synth. It will however be difficult playing whatever the note on the guitar you map for sustain while recording the guitar part itself. You would probably have to do the sustain pedals in a seperate take.

  4. #4

    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by Sepheritoh
    Markleford has written some very good MFX plugs that ships with GPO that are very usefull if you do not have a sustain pedal. It works very well with a keyboard and I can not imagine why you would not be able to use it with a guitar synth. It will however be difficult playing whatever the note on the guitar you map for sustain while recording the guitar part itself. You would probably have to do the sustain pedals in a seperate take.
    You really want to be able to do it with the feet, in real time. Putting it in a seperate take/track would take away a lot of the contact with the instrument and its expressiveness. I *think* I can program my FC-200 to do the job, patched through the GI-20. I'll report back when I get around to it.

  5. #5

    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    You really want to be able to do it with the feet, in real time. Putting it in a seperate take/track would take away a lot of the contact with the instrument and its expressiveness. I *think* I can program my FC-200 to do the job, patched through the GI-20. I'll report back when I get around to it.
    Sounds good. I'd like to know if you have success.

    You are giving me some ideas now. I do not have a sustain pedal, but I have a DD55 percusion set with a hi-hat pedal. I am now wondering if it could be possible to use this as the sustain pedal while playing the keyboard.

    (PS my keayboard has a mod wheel which I use.)

  6. #6
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    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    ... I *think* I can program my FC-200 to do the job, patched through the GI-20. I'll report back when I get around to it.
    I'm interested in getting the GI-20 so I got a copy of the manual. According to it (from what I understand) you can assign modulation on the expression pedal. The legato function of GPO could probably work on the hold pedal too but I haven't tried this since I don't own it yet.

    Kevin, let us know if you can control modulation & legato (with the GI-20) and play GPO sounds "live".

    NDEE

  7. #7
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    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    ...I *think* I can program my FC-200 to do the job, patched through the GI-20. I'll report back when I get around to it.
    Hey KevinK, anything new about this?

    NDEE

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Sorry about the delay - I've had a busy couple of weeks. I finally tried out the Strat/GK-2/GI-20/FC-200/Sonar/GPO setup, and was able to make it work without any particular problem, apart from parsing Roland's wierd documentation. Plugging my (Yamaha) footswitch and (EMU) expresson pedal into the back of the GI-20 required only that I change the expression pedal controller from 11 to 1 - the footswitch defaults to being the sustain pedal (CC64). That switch and pedal normally belong to my keyboard controller, so I also tried out using the FC-200. One of the switches, and the pedal, on the FC-200 can be configured, so I set the switch to be CC64 as a momentary switch, and the expression pedal to be CC1 (Modulation). I ran MIDI from the FC-200 to the GI-20, but used the USB interface from the GI-20 to my laptop DAW (I've found that it gives better latency than running through my DAW MIDI input).

    In either configuration, GPO works as expected - I can go legato by hitting the pedal, then drop back to arco on release, and the pedal becomes, in effect, the volume pedal. The GI-20 tracks well enough for almost all orchestral parts, but YMMV. One has to play with a very clean technique, particularly for rapid passages.

    One guitar synth trick I should mention (though I don't often use it myself) is to use transposition in the MIDI host program (Sonar, in my case) so that one can use the higher strings to program lower (bass) passages. The reason for this is that the Roland unit, like all pickup-based MIDI guitar interfaces, needs at least a couple of full periods of the fundamental frequency of a note to identify it and send the MIDI message. In the lowest octave of a guitar, that's quite a few milliseconds. So if one can use software to transpose down an octave or two, one can play bass passages more accurately on the upper strings.

  9. #9

    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    (The following is in no particular order so some things are explained before they're listed)

    You might want to look at a ztar. There are a few people on the list who own them (including myself). First; the drawbacks - they are expensive and it takes a long time to get one built (although they can be had on ebay and often for a great price). The manual is not great but Harvey Starr (who builds them) provides excellent personal support.

    On the positive side, they function at least as well and probably much better than many other controllers on the market (and I mean keyboard controllers - I wouldn't compare a ztar to a guitar controller).

    It's fully polyphonic - meaning that you can play chords along strings as well as across strings (any number of simultaneous notes up to 144 - if you have that many fingers or use your arms or legs or backside for dinosaur chords). This changes the way guitarists play; the need for barre disappears. I try to play two-handed as the ztar allows a guitarist to do virtualy anything a pianist can do. Well, not quite in some ways but in other ways it's even better than a keyboard. For example, it's easier to play orchestrations where the voices are very far apart (because of the nature of a guitar fretboard and because of the infinitely assignable tuning possibilities - our one-handed 'stretch' is almost limitless). The fretboard begs the player to start 'voicing' properly (perhaps the way keyboards try to find smooth transitions between notes?) rather than slapping down chords by rote.

    -No glitches (no tracking at all)
    -16 or 32 midi channels
    -16 or 32-way fretboard splits and layers (across zones from as small as one fret to all 144)
    -each fret individually tunable
    -Channel and poly aftertouch
    -Full velocity range
    -savable 8-point velocity curves can be superimposed upon each other for interesting effects and greater control
    -midi clock (which I don't understand so don't ask but you can use timing features for timed, touch and latch events, including assigning gates, gateshifts, masks, loops, delays). Imagine a few (giant and exhaustive) lists of possible midi events (including CCs) then imagine being able to link those events as if each had a cable hanging from either end of it - this is what you can do with the ztar. It's more powerful than most midi keyboards I've heard of (in fact, any; finally, the keyboard player can get midi-guitar envy?) The programming entry is hard and cludgey. Harvey keeps threatening to build a decent computer interface for programming (which would probably inspire some keyboard players to throw away the keyboard for a ztar) but it hasn't happened so input is by joystick and pad and key and keytrigger using a tiny LCD - slow and exacting, but you get to build such wondrous things (and it teaches you about those things on the way) that it's worth it. A better interface would inspire more users to be more creative though - the possibilities exist within the instrument. (Harvey is a mad genius).

    There are a bunch of listed events (such as mod wheel, bendup/down, volumeup/down, expression, tempo, tempopad, BPM, etc: there's even a bar graph for metronome editing) but you can also define your own events. The event lists are even nested so that you have types of event (such as control change, program change, channel pressure etc.) then you have lists within each 'heading' (e.g. mute, chain, hihat, slice, noteshift, song increment, sequence record/play/stop, scan, etc.).

    This is all a bit hard to understand maybe for guitarists, and very few (if any) keyboards have this kind of depth, but suffice to say that every single ztarist in the world probably uses a completely different set of parameters and thus plays a completely different 'instrument'. Harvey Starr has really provided an incredibly general midi instrument for guitarists starved of such midi control. Unfortunately, it may be almost too deep as I've seen a lot of resistance from guitaists who (for example) need 'strings' or must 'feel a string bend'. If you want to overlay your lovely blues guitar paying with some midi stuff the ztar is not for you, but if you want to play blues piano then the ztar is the right place (you can 'bend' but there are no strings so you have to do it the way a keyboard player might).

    You can layer till your heart's content (or assign a whole orchestra or drum kit(s) or choir or piano or synth(s)... to different areas on the fretboard) - and assign different velocity responses on the same frets according to your choices. For example, you might want to play some strings that start out on the lower velocities as solo strings then as the pressure increases you bring in chamber then full strings (all according to velocity or even some other parameter), or you can bring other things in on new velocities, even using inverted responses, or segment responses, or you can assign the 'bow' or 'breath' to the footpedals or pads or joystick in order to actually 'bow' the strings continuously with your picking hand or foot or breath).

    -Sustain and volume pedals assignable to anything
    -pad and pressure strip options assignable to anything - esecially good for playing string and other 'continuous' sounds. (also comes with breath conroller option)
    -Joystick for playing and programming

    -Onboard sequencer and chord generator (on newer models) I never use it so don't ask.

    -Pads can have notes and other values assigned - e.g. pads can be used for 'pad sounds' (latched or... man, too many possibilities to list here), or you can assign chords or sequences to pads or triggers.

    The action is faster than any guitar I've ever tried and nobody can outrun the response (because you don't have to - but you can if you want to - 'fire' a note with the picking hand then every note is played physically as if you're slurring the note - this means that old slowcoaches like me can make Al di Meola sound slow. And no, I'm not going to post any examples. Just imagine a guitarist playing as fast as a violinist with the harmonic possibilities afforded a keyboard player and you're getting to the potential. And (this is the best bit) it is easy, and I mean really, really easy to play insanely fast.) It's difficult to play chords with your right (picking) hand but the picking hand can play much faster than the fretting hand when it's used for fretting. A lot of ztarists use the fretting hand for chords and the picking hand to play melodies. I'm trying (when I have the time) to treat both hands equally in the same way that a classical pianist tries to get both hands equally adept.

    Of course, for inputting midi into a scoring or sequencing program it is ideal.

    It is an incredibly powerful and mature midi controller. It's not 'hard' to program it to do almost anything you might want from midi but the manual is a beach and the input mechanisms are sometimes frustrating so there are obstacles to drive you crazy. The newer software (which I don't have) allows a ton of setups to be saved to memory which is very, very useful, although you can do midi dumps and loads as well (mine only allows a few setups to be saved).

    You can check them out at:
    www.starrlabs.com

  10. #10
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    Re: Guitar Synth for GPO

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    I finally tried out the Strat/GK-2/GI-20/FC-200/Sonar/GPO setup, and was able to make it work without any particular problem.
    Cool!!! I look forward to try that GI-20


    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    The GI-20 tracks well enough for almost all orchestral parts, but YMMV.
    Sorry, english is my 2nd language and sometimes I don't understand, like this: YMMV, what does it mean ?



    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    One guitar synth trick I should mention (though I don't often use it myself) is to use transposition in the MIDI host program (Sonar, in my case) so that one can use the higher strings to program lower (bass) passages. So if one can use software to transpose down an octave or two, one can play bass passages more accurately on the upper strings.
    I think the GI-20 can do that transposition. If you play a given passage an octave higher (or 2) from its original pitch and program the GI-20 to output it an octave (or 2) lower (back to original pitch) it would probably work. Like you wrote, you can probably gain a few ms (less latency, faster tracking).

    NDEE

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