I must confess, that due to our crazy schedule, we didn’t manage to get any first-hand experience of the GR-20, but as a means of consolation, read this beautifully crafted press release.
Roland is making guitar synthesis easier than ever with the new GR-20 Guitar Synthesizer and GK-3 Divided Pickup. The GR-20 makes playing high-quality synthesizer sounds from any steel-stringed electric guitar (including Les Paul-type instruments) simple—just attach the included GK-3 Divided Pickup, choose a sound and go. An all-new interface makes playing sounds easy using the Bank knob for sound categories and Value dial for variations, while new digital pitch detection provides superior tracking. With the GR-20, guitarists can explore a universe of new sounds.
The GR-20’s new interface makes it operate more like a compact pedal. Sounds can be selected using the Bank knob to choose a category (like Strings/Orchestral, Brass, Bass/Guitar, Organ/Keyboard, Synth/Lead or even new Rhythm and Percussion loops). Individual sounds can be selected using the Value dial. And with 48-note note polyphony and Roland’s latest synth engine, the sounds are nothing short of the best—all playable with lightning-fast tracking via Roland’s new digital pitch detection technology.
The front end of the GR-20 is the new GK-3 Divided Pickup, which is not only easy and safe to install, but also comes with a 1/4-inch jack for normal guitar input. The pickup’s adjustable curve design can be adapted to fit a variety of guitars—keeping an even distance between the strings for better response. Adjusting the pickup cable length is a snap by coiling the pickup cable inside the controller unit. The GK-3 also includes a special attachment plate for use with Les Paul-type guitars.
Once installed, guitarists can create entirely new sounds by blending their normal guitar tone with the GR-20’s synthesizer sounds via a large GK knob right on the pickup. And thanks to Roland’s innovative Patch Link function, the GR-20 can be easily paired up with a MIDI-capable multi-effects processor like the BOSS GT-6. Once connected, this allows you to easily assign GR-20 Patches to match effect Patches in MIDI-capable processors. Now more than ever, the GR-20 is making guitar synthesis a simple and powerful way to expand a guitarist’s sonic arsenal.