Roland GK-3B and GK-2B with other Midi Synths

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Bjazzman, May 22, 2007.


  1. Bjazzman

    Bjazzman

    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    Does anyone know if you can just buy the roland GK-3B pickup and not have to use it with the V-bass system? Im thinking if i install one i want it to go to like a Nord or Waldorf or something instead of go through the v-bass then connect other synths. Is this possible or do i have to get the v-bass? Also does anyone know how the new GK-3B pickup tracks?
     
  2. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I got the impression it works with some and some it doesn't - but more than just some Roland stuff. Which ones I don't know. It's a 13 pin cable so that's probably a tip off. Although I've also got the impression the GK bass and guitar controller/pups aren't necessarily interchangeable unless it's designed into the unit. TB'r Greenboy may know more.
     
  3. Bjazzman

    Bjazzman

    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    so does the 13 pin cable transfer to other midi devices like nord, waldorf, etc...
     
  4. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Don't know but I'd bet those manufacturers would know. You may as well try and contact aliens as email Roland about it and they probably wouldn't know anyway.

    If it doesn't have a 13 pin then you can't even hook it up so you know it won't work. 13 pins are fairly popular for polyphony. I ran across a layout for the guitar GK once but never the bass. If you knew that then you could pretty much wire it up to anything (if you knew the layout of the anything).

    Of course you could just use a guitar cable into an amp with it but volume is the only control you'd have on the controller and it wouldn't be polyphonic.

    90% of the time you see a midi guitar it has a Roland pup and they sell like crazy on ebay so my guess is they work with a lot of equipment - but I don't know cause I've never looked into it. Roland must have made 20 different controllers though so maybe it's just the default brand for midi guitar.
     
  5. You need something to convert to midi, the pickup/13 pin connector only carries the poly signal and the direct signal. You need a converter like a Roland, Axon, or Yamaha, then you can connect to a synth. But a warning Vbass or VG-8 88 whatever do not pass the signal to a synth, they don't pass the midi info, they are not a midi converter.
    Good Luck,
    Dirk
     
  6. +1

    The pickup does nothing more than send separate audio information from each string. The only digital information it transmits are patch change commands from the relevent, on-board buttons. There are separate devices you need to get that convert pitch information to MIDI information. These can be a separate unit which require a synth/sampler to produce sounds which is what it sounds like you are looking for. Alternately most guitar/bass synths have these included in the unit.

    "Most" but not "all."

    Even though they have MIDI outs the VG-8s do not convert and transmit MIDI note information. They transmit MIDI controller commands only. Also be wary because a few of the Roland guitar synth units do not transmit MIDI note information either because they are not true pitch-to-MIDI converters just complicated signal processors.

    "Caveat emptor" and be sure and do a fair amount of research before buying anything in this area. There's no "magic pill" when it comes to playing a synth from your bass. You will have to make compromises no matter which route you choose to go with.
     
  7. moogboy

    moogboy Inactive

    Mar 1, 2007
    Moog Artist in Rock/Pop 5th down
    no, the Roland is 13 pins. MIDI is 5 pins.
     
  8. Bjazzman

    Bjazzman

    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    can you give me some examples of product brands i could get to get from the 13 pin cable to the midi synth module of my choice?
     
  9. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    [​IMG]
    The Axon AX100...in my opinion, the best one out there for Roland 13 pin to MIDI conversion.

    [​IMG]
    Roland GI-20

    Keep in mind, though, that there's a big difference between what a V-Bass or a VG-88 does and what a 13 pin to MIDI convertor into a synth does. The V-Bass is essentially a mega signal processor. Consequently, it doesn't suffer from latency and tracking issues as much as pitch to MIDI conversion, especially in the bass frequencies.
     
  10. Bjazzman

    Bjazzman

    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    i checked out the axon online and its about the same price as the v-bass but the pickup is $100 more. is it better at tracking? Also from the axon can you go directly to say a nord or waldorf?
     
  11. Try hunting ebay for a Yamaha G50
    [​IMG]

    It licenses portions of the AXON tracking technology, can be switched to a mode that is optimized for bass and can be found for much cheaper than the AXON units. It will work with any 13 pin pickup and yes, it will allow allow you to directly control your Nord or Waldorf (as will the AXON and Roland GI units previously mentioned)

    I've had one for a long time and, while I don't really use it that frequently anymore, I've been very satisfied overall with its performance.

    One word of warning, while the G50 works great with a magnetic hexaphonic pickup, I've heard it can have some noticeable glitchiness when used with piezo style hexaphonic pickup systems.
     
  12. elros

    elros

    Apr 24, 2004
    Norway
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    If sound clips you want, there are some here that I recorded using my fretless Benavente and a Roland GR-20.

    This has been said before, but anyway: The Roland V-Bass doesn't convert your bass playing to MIDI signals. It can be thought of as a POD extended one step further: it doesn't only emulate your effects and amp, but also the bass itself. And it sounds great. I use it practically all the time.
    The MIDI stuff, like the Roland GR-20 that I use, does convert to MIDI, and can thus produce any sound - as it also has a MIDI out connector. However, the tracking isn't always perfect. It can be pretty good at times (listen to the sound samples) but when you play the deep notes there will be a noticable delay. What it can do though, is to hold notes (or chords) as long as you like. And that's neat and, on occation, very useful.
     
  13. johnvice

    johnvice

    Sep 7, 2004
    The Roland GK pickups have a proprietary output that only works with a Roland GR. The GR-20 and GR-33 are the most known but there is also a MIDI converter and GR octavider which Roland make.

    I have a Roland GR-20 and have ran the MIDI out into the MIDI in on another synth on occasion.
     
  14. I do not believe this to be true. Are you sure about that?

    Unless they've slipped some new, sneaky stuff into the newer versions of the GK-3 series that I haven't heard of, GK pickups should work with all of the Pitch to MIDI devices mentioned in this thread.
     
  15. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Obviously not the case cause it works with the VBass. Seems it works with a number of G model units as well.

    There's nothing magic about the pup, it's just a hex mag. You could mount it on any 4-6 string bass. Problem is knowing where the wires go. I really don't remember running it straight to an amp but I must have at some point.

    If someone's got one, do it and see what it does.
     
  16. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    The GK is just a pickup with six separate elements on separate audio paths, and a couple of other analog signals to carry any changes of the controls on its module. That travels down 13 wires. As others have said, if you want to do midi, you need to plug its 13-pin output into a pitch-to-midi convertor Several have already been shown or names; any should work.

    I myself prefer to use the 13 pin signals to INSTEAD feed into a V-Bass which does not have the limitations of pitch-to-midi conversion but still affords a path to a lot more sonic approaches for bass.

    Actually in my eyes bass is a relatively mediocre ALTERNATIVE CONTROLLER for midi - other than fret-based systems such as the old Peavey Cyberbass that is. Guitar is better because it is quicker to interpret higher pitches and translate them. The best alternative controllers for expressivity and glitch-free operation and SPEED are drum/percussion pads and wind controllers such as Yamaha's WX series.
     
  17. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    By the way, howdy, zed-niner!
     
  18. johnvice

    johnvice

    Sep 7, 2004
    I have a Roland GK-2A pick-up on my Chapman Stick and use it with a Roland GR-20 synth. The cable that connects them is not a standard MIDI cable. Hence, it only connects to gear that acceosts such a signal. As far as I know ROland is the only manufactuer (but there could be third parties out there).

    In addition to the GR synth, and V-bass, Roland also have an Octavider that takes the GK-* pickup as an input. Maybe other gear too.
     
  19. Skit1

    Skit1 Guest

    Jul 2, 2004
    England
    I've just bought the GK-3B pickup, with the intent of hooking it up to some synths.

    Can anyone recommend me a cheap midi converter unit, the on board sounds/patches arnt important as I'll be using external devices for the sounds.
     
  20. elros

    elros

    Apr 24, 2004
    Norway
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Well it also works with the Yamaha G50 and the Axon stuff.
    Proprietary or not - it doesn't matter to me. The important thing is that it works, and that my V-Bass sound great. I'd love to try out the Axon unit someday, but presently I really have no need for it.

    And, if anyone should need it, here's the pinout of the GK standard (stolen from here):
     
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