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

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H70990004003064
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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 VG-99 V-Guitar System. The GR-55 represents Roland'... Read More

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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 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
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
RolandGR-55 Guitar Synthesizer
 
4.2

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Defiantly Included

I think the trouble with doing a review before the product comes out is that we get a lot of miss information. Like the one about volume control of different instruments for live blending...Read complete review

I think the trouble with doing a review before the product comes out is that we get a lot of miss information. Like the one about volume control of different instruments for live blending and mixing. Now that the manual is out for download we can get deeper into the workings and abilities of the GR-55. In fact the engineers created quite a bit of control for volume permitters both live and pre-programed. First off is the Volume pedal which can serve multiple functions. Besides the the fact that you can put a volume pedal on the separate modeled guitar out there is midi control for an expression pedal. Now the engineers also created what they call "Virtual expression pedal system (Internal Pedal / Wave Pedal) By assigning a desired parameter to the virtual expression pedal, you can produce an effect as though you were operating a physical expression pedal to change the volume or tone quality in real time. These can be triggered by 5 different realtime control devices coming from the GR-55 pedal board (2) and the GK3 controller (3). Five realtime controls should be more than enough even for experimental music. This is not including the preprogramed volume parameter controls But I think a lot of musicians may not dig that deep into it which I stopped counting after 100 parameters between effect, multis, pcm, and u-name there is a volume adjustment for it. I like to set these type parameters ahead of time for the sound that I'm using and the song that I'm using it for then program the order of the set list that the band is playing. This makes it possible for me to think less about foot gymnastics and more on the music and expression of it. To that end I could defiantly utilize the the GR-55 with the Virtual volume control, internal pedal and a pedal for the guitar only out. I think Roland has hit a home run with this unit by combining COSM + Multi FX + Synth Combis all in one pedal board. I have one on order (w/GC) and will review again after I've had time to set it up properly and choose the guitar that I will put it on probably the strat. So personally I'm not worried about the realtime expression abilities of the GR-55. The Creation Part is the fun part!!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

GR 55 Piano/Organ Synth Sounds Disappointing

I purchased the Roland's GR-55 about three weeks ago after playing the GR-20. I loved the GR-20 so when I learned about all the new features of the GR-55 I...Read complete review

I purchased the Roland's GR-55 about three weeks ago after playing the GR-20. I loved the GR-20 so when I learned about all the new features of the GR-55 I was very excited and ordered one the same day. The manual is very readable and the unit itself is very intuitive to operate. Sounds are very realistic and lots of openings to store your own patches. The piano sounds were amazing on the GR-20 and I thought that those same sounds would be just perfect in a "live" setting. Well, although the piano sounds on the GR-55 sound great, they won't be of much use to you on a "gig". The piano synth sounds intermitently cut out making the total effect unreliable. Almost every other synth sounds are okay to gig with. I am very disappointed that I will not be able to use the piano and organ synth sounds. For poor "live" performance reasons, I rate this as a fair purchase for me. I'm going to keep the product - Maybe over time I will be able to get the piano sounds to an accepatable performance level. The fine tuning recommendations that I got from Roland Support did not resolve my issue with the piano sound. BTW, The GK-3 pickup installation was a breeze to do! Guys, read the directions!!

Reviewed by 19 customers

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(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfect Device As Long As You Invest the Time

By DickBanks

from Olathe, KS

Pros

  • Great Community Support
  • Massive Variety Of Sounds

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

Best Uses

  • Experimenting
  • Live
  • Recording

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I have owned this GR-55 (blue) for 6 months now, and I have used it to record and play live with. I play a Fender/Roland GC-1 Strat with it, and I have played no other instrument with it. I use a Line 6 L3T for the amplification. The main reason I got it was to play acoustic (6 and 12 string) and electric in a variety of tunings with my GC-1 Strat; that's what my current gig requires. I sold my vintage Fender Twin Reverb to pay for it—so the first patch I made was to duplicate its sound—I have to say it's dead-on. So in a sense I still have the Twin!
I use it pretty much for COSM guitars—and other than playing around, I don't do synth stuff with it (I have a keyboard synth for that). Also, I have no experience with the included GK3 pickup, so I can't review it. I haven't used the midi-out at all (yet). I admire the players I see on YouTube that can play keyboards and drums on a guitar; I wish I could, but I just can't!
I'll say right off the bat here that given the Roland product support, I would give this item 3-4 stars. Very few firmware upgrades and a user manual that needs to be several hundred pages longer. But the support I have received from the V-Guitar Forum community more than makes up for Roland's largely absent support efforts. But in Roland's defense—I'm sure they know about this excellent forum (VGuitar).
The device is GREAT and after 6 months I would say—almost bug free. The patches included with the device are so-so—they are really there to show off the wide range of sounds available—and I don't use any of them stock. (If you are a Roland synth owner, you will recognize many of them.) Conversely, the uploaded patches from experienced users on the VGuitar forum are AMAZING and those, along with some of my own, are the patches found in my User banks. With some tweaking, the COSM sounds are FANTASTIC, especially the acoustic guitars (the pianos are not bad also, but what's the point of those???). If you hear a guitar-amp combo somewhere, chances are with some knowledgeable tweaking, you can get the exact same sound from the GR-55. I've seen some complaints from people that because it's a pedal, it's difficult to tweak (since it's down on the floor). The answer: Gumtown's GR-55 FloorBoard Editor and a computer (see the VGuitar Forum). I use FloorBoard and my PC exclusively for adjusting patches—the unit stays down on the floor. I highly recommend a flat-response amplifier or PA, solid-state. Let the GR-55 model the sound, rather than the amp. Keyboard amps are great for this unit.
When I first got the GR-55, my guitar had Fender Super Bullets (9s) strung and with the GR-55, I would hear these weird sounds and miscues. On the advice I got from V-Guitar, I switched to flat wound strings (DiAddario ECG23) and spent some time adjusting the hex pickup sensitivity. Haven't had any issues since then. Also, my portable electronic tuner is now in a drawer somewhere collecting dust—the tuner feature on the GR-55 is superior, and allows "tuning on the fly." One of the added features of a synth system is no "60-cycle hum." With hex pickups selected, you can mute the strings and there is NO sound--sometimes I have to strum to check to see if I'm still on! Of course there are also patches that use the guitar's normal mag pickups.
The only bug I've found is that occasionally when changing patches, even if my guitar hex volume is at 0, there will be some volume. I remedy that with a quick "volume-up, volume-down" on the guitar hex volume and the volume goes to 0 instantly.
Most of the bad reviews I see are from players that I think really wanted a "plug-and-play" unit. The GR-55 takes some tweaking and getting used to, and you need to learn how to adjust all the parameters to get the full capability of the system. If you don't want to invest the time, look elsewhere.
Advice for first time users. (1) If possible, find a friend that has been using one for awhile. (2) A few days before you un-box the unit, go to VGuitars and read as much as you can, and download Floorboard and its manual (don't forget to donate). (3) Make sure you do all the set-up steps properly so that the unit is in sync with your guitar. (4) Sleep well the night before you get it, because you will experience difficulty turning it off; it is a ton of fun!

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

new dimension

By hewitt

from Stuart, FL

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

Got with the GC-1 strat. Could not find GR-55 without the GK-3 so had the extra Pup put in my other strat. The synth effects are amazing. Many are just novelties but the modeling, organ, strings and several other 'patches' are great and give a small band the fill sounds you need. With this you can play the sax, piano, organ etc parts on your guitar and they sound great. You need a PA AND a guitar amp to take advantage of features. It will take a while to switch patches between songs unless you reprogram your favorites into first user set. Then you switch your guitar amp & other pedals. You will have lots of stuff at your feet!

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great

By STANLEY CHONG

from Fairfax, VA

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I purchased this to upgrade from the GR-20. Pros: - A hybrid between the GR-20 and the VG-99. - Guitar modeling is great. I use it more than the midi - You can layer 2 midi sounds over a modeled guitar sound at the same time. - You can change guitar tuning without actually having to tune the guitar. - The tuner is very accurate. Cons: - The midi is still not super fast. It's definitely faster than the GR-20, but it still has it's glitches - Stereo out lets you output midi sounds and modeled sounds through the 13 pin pickup, but not your normal guitar pickups. The guitar out doesn't do midi out, but does allow your original pickup tone and modeled tone to go out this way. If you want all three you'll have to get a few amps, a mixing board, or a multi-input amp to use all three. Otherwise you are stuck with one or the other and can't use the GK toggle switch that goes between normal guitar pick up, midi and normal guitar pick up, or just the midi pick up. This isn't a deal breaker, but just a surprise.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Powerful and useful but with an easy interface

By Sam Levine

from Detroit, MI

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I bought the synth because of the presets (and there are a huge amount of them), but the real usefulness of this thing starts to show when you start building the sounds you want. When I started removing all the layers, heavy choruses, delays, mods, etc., the patches really, really sound good and very giggable (giggity?). So when the band wants a banjo, acoustic guitar, xylophone, steel drum, nylon guitar or even fiddle, I can be there. The electric guitar patches are great too, so I'm not taking a step backwards there. The amount of tracking error will depend on how well you physically set up the hex pickup, the way you adjust settings on the SYSTEM tab, the patch you select, and your playing style. Though I can certainly get by with the way I setup the GK-3 hex p/u on my Les Paul Custom, I may have it professionally done to get even better tracking.

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(6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Synth Pedal with Loads of Options

By Cory Brown

from Columbus, OH

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I was looking for a guitar synth to replace my Roland GR-20. While the GR-20 is great, it lacks much in the way of editing the patches. Seeing that the GR-55 had deep editing capabilities, as well as on-board effects, I was very anxious for it to arrive in the mail! This pedal has a very durable metal chasis, unlike the GR-20's plastic shell. The GR-55 also tracks a little better than the GR-20, especially with tricky things like tapping and palm mutes. At first, the in-depth editing, with lots of vertical menus to scroll through and pages to switch between seems daunting, but I came to appreciate them after getting to know them better. One of my favorite things about the GR-55 over my previous synth is that you can save individual tunings for each patch. The tunings will effect any synths and modeled guitar that you have playing (but not the actual sound from your magnetic pickups). These digital tunings allow you to set up a piano patch with a customized tuning to allow easier emulation of piano chords, or to digitally drop-tune your guitar for some chugging metal rhythms with a synth pad in the background. Each individual string can be tuned up or down and saved per patch, so there's no need to physically change the tuning on your axe. I will say, however, that once you get about 3-5 semitones below the original tuning, any modeled guitar sounds will have some synthetic pitch-shifted artifacts in the sound. The guitar pickup, amp and effect models are awesome on this pedal! You can process your modeled guitar sound with an amp and effect independent of any effects you slap on your synths. This means that running your modeled axe sound through a hi-gain metal amp sim won't distort your backing synths. Guitar modeling on the GR-55 uses the same GK pickup for your synth sounds to capture raw guitar audio. You can than choose from several popular pickup and guitar types from a classic Les Paul to a Coral Sitar (which sounds amazing on here!) for it to emulate. Then, you choose a simulated amp from several popular choices and add in an effect. The end result sounds pretty good, especially considering that you can also blend in 2 separate synth sounds with your modeled guitar! The synths come in a variety of flavors, with hundreds to choose from. Synth leads, synth pads, pianos, flutes, harps, drums, saxophones, organs, violins and tons more. Some sound pretty convincing, while others may need a little tweeking or some effects thrown in to make them fit better. What's also nice is that the expression pedal can be programmed to blend between instruments. For example, you can set up a patch to go from violin to oboe just by rocking the pedal. The Control pedal can also be programmed to turn on/off effects, or sustain synth notes indefinitely. Overall this pedal was exactly what I hoped it would be. More synths, more effects, more options. While it takes some getting used to, a little more than Roland's other synths, the end result is well worth the effort!

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(2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer

By Jim Burgard

from Monclova, OH

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

Let me start this review out by saying so far I am totally impressed with this unit. This is my first venture into the world of synthesizers, and I cannot believe the number of sounds and effects you can get with the GR-55! The unit is very sturdy and well built, and the built-in tuner makes it a breeze to do a quick tuning check on your guitar. I bought the GR-55 with the GK-3 and attached that to my Taylor T5 and it tracked very well. I also have a Godin ACS-SA Slim that I have configured to run with this unit, and after making the recommended setting changes, it tracks great as well. I'd say that the Piano and Bass sounds are my favorite to play around and out with right now. There is a great forum out there on the web to help you navigate and configure this thing. I was creating my own custom patches in no time, starting by modifying some of the patches other members had created and adding my own tweaks and variations. There is no limit to the creative ways you can use this synth! I played out live with it over this past weekend, after having used it for about a week, so it's pretty easy and reliable for live performances. It's a lot of fun when people start looking around for the piano when you are up there finger picking a guitar Looking forward to a lot more experimentation and live performances with this system. If you're thinking about jumping into the world of synthesizers, I don't think you could go wrong with this unit!

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Incredible !

By Paul Haluska

from Rochester, MN

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I got this a couple of weeks ago and I have just been floored by it! First of all, the guitar settings alone are very impressive. I've been playing a 12-string rickenbacker for a beatles tune, an open-G tuned telecaster for the stones, a Drop-D tuned EMG based pickup set for some seattle grunge and switch effortless from a 6 string acoustic to doubled over 12 string acoustic to distorted Les Paul for rendition of over the hills and far away (led zep)! All with a just a step of my foot and without unlocking the nut. The ability of the GR-55 to produce tones replicating these guitars exceeded my expectations. The tracking is remarkably precise and can be adjusted by each string- for example, I had to increase the sensitivity of my top E string. Once that was done, it worked perfectly. Another nice feature is that you can tune all six strings at once- just strum and adjust as needed. The non-guitar sounds, and perhaps more importantly, their control on the guitar, is equally impressive. I could play a sax, trumpet and harmonica solo (using bends and slides) much more naturally on the guitar than it would ever sound on my keyboard. As far as the pick-up, it is really set up to use the GK pickup, so I would recommend getting that unless you have some other major reason not to. Down sides- I can't seem to figure out how to transpose the sound of the complementary strings on a 12-string setting (eg, as a 'virtual capo'). The naming and patch writing menu's are a bit clunky. A true interface on your computer would seem to match the sophistication of everything else in this device. All in all these are minor issues.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

BEST PEDAL EVER !!

By samer

from lebanon-beirut

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

This pedal is awesome, tracking is very fast and accurate, sounds are very attractive and rich...really don't know where to start as it has plenty of innovative features like the virtual capo so You can transpose your playing (with a real guitar sound), 8 virtual assignable controls, Built in usb audio player...plenty of stuff..Plus you can plug it to your laptop by USB and you got yourself a midi controller and a sound card that you can record your playing in stereo... I had an axon ax50 and suffered a lot ...salvation is here, buy this beast you will never regret it ... happy customer

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(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Roland Has outdone itself with the GR-55

By RickD

from Seattle, WA

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I used to own a VG-99 and FC-300 pedal paired up with a Sonic Cell synth module (darn good synth by the way). Then I saw this. I bought one without playing a demo. But I know that Roland comes out with good stuff if you take the time and LEARN. The GR-55 is the BEST processor Roland has ever made. Period. While the VG-99 is awesome, it is geared for the guitarist, while the GR-55 covers so much more ground in sound variety and musicality. I spent a whole day with the unit creating and changing sounds to my taste and the music I play (covers), and did not have to read the manual. The E.Piano 1 patch with auto panning sounding identical to a Fender Rhodes suitcase is priceless. Layering strings with the two synth generators is heaven. There are some sounds you will never use in a song, but they put them there to show the power of this thing. Truly amazing. Those who bash the GR-55 just did not take the time (Lots of time needed) to understand the power and control you have. It is very deep in programability, but also easy if you want to go that route. If you want magical sounds to your liking out the box, forget it. This is a pro piece and it requires time investment for outstanding results. I have been playing for over 35 years and have had every guitar synth there was. I learned that you should use a solid state amp with guitar synths. A tube amp will not cut it. This is the best sounding, easy to use, complex to use for serious programmers ever. No one will come close.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

GR 55 Piano/Organ Synth Sounds Disappointing

By JMaxwell

from Manchester, CT

Comments about Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer:

I purchased the Roland's GR-55 about three weeks ago after playing the GR-20. I loved the GR-20 so when I learned about all the new features of the GR-55 I was very excited and ordered one the same day. The manual is very readable and the unit itself is very intuitive to operate. Sounds are very realistic and lots of openings to store your own patches. The piano sounds were amazing on the GR-20 and I thought that those same sounds would be just perfect in a "live" setting. Well, although the piano sounds on the GR-55 sound great, they won't be of much use to you on a "gig". The piano synth sounds intermitently cut out making the total effect unreliable. Almost every other synth sounds are okay to gig with. I am very disappointed that I will not be able to use the piano and organ synth sounds. For poor "live" performance reasons, I rate this as a fair purchase for me. I'm going to keep the product - Maybe over time I will be able to get the piano sounds to an accepatable performance level. The fine tuning recommendations that I got from Roland Support did not resolve my issue with the piano sound. BTW, The GK-3 pickup installation was a breeze to do! Guys, read the directions!!

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