GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

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GuitFiddle
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GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

Postby GuitFiddle » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:57 am

I've decided to go head-long...well, actually back into...synth guitar. I've been out for quite a while - 11 or 12 years - and there have been some notable changes during that time, namely the Roland GR55.

In the past I used both a Godin LGX-SA with RMC for playing live, and a retrofitted Bolt Plus with the GHOST system. Played both through a GR33. Once the sensitivity was set, both systems worked very well and tracked as well as could be expected.

In doing research on the GR55, I found that the overwhelming sentiment was that both the RMC system and GHOST system (though there was noticeably more talk about the RMC) did not track properly with the GR55 regardless of how sensitivity was configured and no matter deeply people tweaked the unit. The general feeling was that previous synths like the GR20 and GR33 tracked notably better with these systems. A later consensus was the the GK3 was the best option and better than on-board systems.

Eventually some figured out that if you installed some kind of filter board into the GR55 board/housing, that pretty much cleared up the problem. To me, that doesn't sound like a desirable solution at all. I'd rather just have something work, just like my GR33 and RMC/GHOST systems did.

Does your experience with the GR55 reflect this as well? Any findings, caveats, words of wisdom, upodates, etc about the GR55 and onboard hex systems?
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amayce
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Re: GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

Postby amayce » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:02 am

I've got the built in system in a SH475 that I picked up off Reverb a while back. I haven't used it with my GR55 in a while but I was getting excellent results... after a lot of tweaking. The built in system ran WAY hotter than the GR55 wanted it to, and I had to turn the sensitivity way down. The music director at my church uses a GK3 on his acoustic and when I plugged into his at first I was getting an insane amount of garbage notes. On my pedal, I've pretty much eliminated any ghost notes (except for those caused by my poor technique... :roll: ) but it works well overall. The only patches it really doesn't play nicely with are mallet instruments like the xylophone, where it sounds more like I'm pushing a xylophone down the stairs most of the time. But I think that's at least partially technique related as well. A pair of demos of it: https://cl.ly/473M260d1m3w https://cl.ly/0q3l431Z2p1I Don't mind my sloppy playing, not the GR55's fault!

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Re: GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

Postby GuitFiddle » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:43 am

Thanks for the feedback. I had some correspondence with Richard McClish (Mr. RMC) and he shed some light on both the VG units themselves as well as the UST bridge systems. This guy has a brilliant understanding of this stuff and has done gobs of research. The bottom line is that the GR-55 was developed with an input signal algorithm that is hyper-sensitive to piezo level output and in particular to low-frequency handling noise and crosstalk. Apparently Roland has known about this for 6 years now and couldn't care less about their VG base that uses UST bridges for their 13-pin output and has done nothing to address the issue. They just take the approach that they have the GK3, that's that, use and adapt to it or die. Although all UST systems are affected by it, his research shows that the GHOST is the most susceptible to these issues.

The good news is that he put in the effort to develop a module which is a direct plug-in between the GR-55 input and main board of the unit (you have to open it up to install it). It is a high-pass filter to remove the low frequency transmission from UST bridges which cause tracking issues. A new feature in the module is a low-pass filter as well for very high frequencies above what a guitar naturally generates, which can also cause tracking issues. The bad news is that it is $170 on top of an already expensive unit and will void your warranty on the GR-55 if its still in effect. It would be easy to say RMS is just trying to make a buck but I don't believe that for a second; this guy has been dedicated to supporting VR guitar and the community for over 20 years. Plus the reviews indicate that this module really works and makes a huge difference in tracking accuracy (and this is a very critical community).

So we'll see. I have a GR33, now 17 years old, that does just fine with UST bridges. But I'm curious about the newer VG units including the GP-10 and GR-55. I'd just have to score a deal on a used one. I won't support Roland by buying a new one since they flipped the bird to a large portion of the user community dedicated to VG guitar and told them to pound sand.
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amayce
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Re: GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

Postby amayce » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:49 am

The only reason I picked one up is because I teach lessons at a music store and they had one of the older ones (the blue ones, which are exactly the same as the new black ones except that they needed a firmware update) and they let me buy it from them at the price they paid for it. Which was a pretty good deal :lol: My understanding is they had ordered 2 of them and two of those Fender/Roland strats that they sold a while back with the idea that they would sell them as a package. And then, someone bought two of the guitars and only one of the pedals. So yeah. If you can find one, get it; I really haven't had that many issues with it.

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Re: GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

Postby marcwormjim » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:33 pm

I have Ghost and GK3-equipped guitars that I use with a GR-55 - They each have their own global calibration presets in the unit. Overall, the GK3 does mate better, but I've experienced nothing so dramatic as to make me want to replace my piezos with a GK pickup.

johnbob
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Re: GHOST system tracking with Roland GR55

Postby johnbob » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:13 am

Hi Guys, I'm new here.
My name is John and I come from Holland...yes, they also sell the GK-55 there :shh:
First of all, forgive me for any mistakes in my writing but I guess my English is better than your Dutch right :wink:
I have the GR-55 and use it together with one of my headless Schack basses.
They have e very bright tone due to the carbon fibre neck.
All the other electronics are taken out so it's just the bass and the GK-3B
Everything is setup according the specs meaning, the most ideal distances etc.

But the Tracking is just a nightmare and the ghost notes/tones seem to appear out of nowhere.
Even when I mute the strings or take the strings I don't use off (easy on a schack)
What is strange is that with some sounds you can use the pedal and with the pedal signal out, you here the bass sound tracking like a dream...but once you apply the paddle for the effect (let's say Rhodes) the bad tracking of the Rhodes sound is back.
As I mentioned, the bass has no electronics so the tracking of the bass signal comes directly from the GK3B and is digital right?
Same issue I have when I put the GK-3b on my Jazz bass....first I thought it was the graphite neck.
Maybe it's just to crisp...but nope.

Anyway....I read somewhere that the Firmware is dated 2012, 1.5 that is. 2012, W...T..F... is this for real?
How can Roland do this?? so many customers who gave a lot of money for this unit are just trying to solve issues that Roland as a company should do in the first place.
Somebody know if Roland is working on new firmware at the moment?

The unit is over 600 euro's, the GK-3B is another 175 and the roland 13 pinn cable is 50 euro's
For this kinda money Roland should take me seriously as customer I would say.

Is there a way to reach out to Roland and demand a fix for this?
I know it's a long shot but considering the money and what they promiss on youtube for instance, it's feels like a scam.
Tracking on youtube is fenominal everything works, how many takes would and editing would it get to get a video like the ones they show on YT?


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