Yamaha Silent Nylon MIDI guitar w/Ghost system

Started by cy2989, September 11, 2008, 05:27:37 AM

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cy2989

Hi everyone,

I'm new here.  I wanted to share a little project that I put together with you in case anyone else is interested in doing something similar.  Let me first give you a little background.  I play mostly electric nylon string guitar.  I wanted a nylon string hex out guitar that played well, was light weight and had good ergonomics.    I've owned a Godin Multiac Nylon SA and it was ok but it was heavy and kind of clunky.  I just didn't like the ergonomics.  I was going to purchase a Carvin NS1 recently but I imagined that it wouldn't really be that much better than the Godin.  It's basically made the same way as the Godin in that the body is routed out of a solid piece of wood and that makes for a very heavy guitar.

I owned a Yamaha Silent nylon guitar some years ago and always loved the way it played and felt but didn't particularly like its electric sound.  Plus it doesn't have hex out.  I sold it.  But recently I got the idea that I could install a hex system in a Silent guitar.  After some research I ordered another SG100N and a Graphtech System complete with the Hexpander and Acoustiphonic boards.  It took some work but here is the result.






Well it was a great success.  The guitar works really well with the VG99.  I'm really interested mostly in clean and acoustic sounds but you would be amazed at how well it works with the electric models too.   I do get a little of the subsonic noise you guys talk about with the GR300 model but I think I'm getting less than some describe and it's only on the VCO setting. 

The sound of the Graphtech system is not harsh like the RMC in my opinion.  I blend the normal pickup into many of the patches that I've created and that really  enhances the sound of the patch nicely providing a warmth and richness that is lacking otherwise.  I'm still looking for better knobs and since I took these pictures I've installed Gilbert Tuners just to make the guitar perfect.  This is exactly what I've been looking for in a nylon string hex out guitar.

Chris
Chris

VG-99, GR-20, GI-20, US-20
custom Parker Fly w/GK-3, custom Silent Guitar w/Ghost

chipstar

Hi Chris,
This is very impressive. Excellent work!

later,
Chipstar

Brent Flash

Welcome to the group cy2989!  :D

I have a question about palm muting with this setup. I have no experience with these pickups and have heard it is hard to mute the strings with your palm to get that plunk sound. I know nylon style you probably don't do much of that but does it change the way you have to approach the palm muting technique?

cy2989

Well that's an interesting question and you're right I don't do very much palm muting.  I just tried the technique and I would say that your palm really needs to be right on the bridge.  If you move your palm farther up you really kill the sound all together, unlike a steel string.  I am able to get that sort of Al Dimeola sound though.  Hope that answers your question.

Chris
Chris

VG-99, GR-20, GI-20, US-20
custom Parker Fly w/GK-3, custom Silent Guitar w/Ghost

Brent Flash

Yes, that is what I was wondering. I had heard you could pull off some of the palm muting sounds but needed to change the technique for this type bridge. It makes since that it would not work quite like regular pickups or the GK.

Thanks for the info.

Lerxst

#5
Quote from: cy2989 on September 11, 2008, 05:27:37 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm new here.  I wanted to share a little project that I put together with you in case anyone else is interested in doing something similar.  Let me first give you a little background.  I play mostly electric nylon string guitar.  I wanted a nylon string hex out guitar that played well, was light weight and had good ergonomics.    I've owned a Godin Multiac Nylon SA and it was ok but it was heavy and kind of clunky.  I just didn't like the ergonomics.  I was going to purchase a Carvin NS1 recently but I imagined that it wouldn't really be that much better than the Godin.  It's basically made the same way as the Godin in that the body is routed out of a solid piece of wood and that makes for a very heavy guitar.

I owned a Yamaha Silent nylon guitar some years ago and always loved the way it played and felt but didn't particularly like its electric sound.  Plus it doesn't have hex out.  I sold it.  But recently I got the idea that I could install a hex system in a Silent guitar.  After some research I ordered another SG100N and a Graphtech System complete with the Hexpander and Acoustiphonic boards.  It took some work but here is the result.






Well it was a great success.  The guitar works really well with the VG99.  I'm really interested mostly in clean and acoustic sounds but you would be amazed at how well it works with the electric models too.   I do get a little of the subsonic noise you guys talk about with the GR300 model but I think I'm getting less than some describe and it's only on the VCO setting. 

The sound of the Graphtech system is not harsh like the RMC in my opinion.  I blend the normal pickup into many of the patches that I've created and that really  enhances the sound of the patch nicely providing a warmth and richness that is lacking otherwise.  I'm still looking for better knobs and since I took these pictures I've installed Gilbert Tuners just to make the guitar perfect.  This is exactly what I've been looking for in a nylon string hex out guitar.

Chris




Chris that is awsome!

I would love to hear more detail on what it took to do the installation as I also have one of these Yamaha's that I would love to install a Graphtech system in.

~Lerxst
(Steve)




cy2989

#6
"Chris that is awsome!

I would love to hear more detail on what it took to do the installation as I also have one of these Yamaha's that I would love to install a Graphtech system in.

~Lerxst
(Steve)"


Hi Steve,

Thanks!  The installation of the electronics was very easy.  The plastic housing is large enough to hold quite a bit of stuff.  Here are a couple of pictures showing how the Graphtech system fit in.





The hard part was the installation of the saddles themselves.  I wanted this done right so I took it to a local Luthier.  There were a couple of technical issues that presented challenges.  First, the point were the string is stopped is actually slightly forward on the Graphtech saddle.  It's not in the center like it really should be.  If your building a new guitar you can take that into account but for a retrofit, it means moving the saddle slot slighty back.  The Luthier I used filled the old saddle slot and routed a new split slot.  The split slot actually allowed him to provide better compensation than the guitar had originally.  The second challenge was the fact that the saddles are difficult to shim to the right height.  Because you must have a hole under each saddle for the lead to pass through to the control cavity, it made it tricky.  He routed the slot on a slope and then added a thin piece of material to get it perfect.  The installation of the saddles cost me about $250.  The entire project cost about $1150 including the price of a brand new silent guitar, which I purchased just for the project.  That's about the cost of a Godin or Carvin and for me, this is much better than either of those guitars.  If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask.
Chris

VG-99, GR-20, GI-20, US-20
custom Parker Fly w/GK-3, custom Silent Guitar w/Ghost

bruce

which used pickup? that the ghost is sold to steel

Brent Flash

Quote from: bruce on February 14, 2010, 06:29:34 AM
which used pickup? that the ghost is sold to steel
Welcome to the group bruce!  :)

What you talk about?  :D
We may have a translation problem, I am guessing English is not your first language, try posting in your native language, we may have members that can help that way.

bruce

Tudo bem! vamos lá eu queria saber qual captador ele está usando! por que no site da graphtech não tem nada pra violão de nylon!

bruce


bruce


Brent Flash

bruce would like to know what saddles were used in this install, does anyone know?

peculis

I understand this discussion happened sometime ago, but I have the same questions as Bruce from Brazil (by the way, I can help with Portuguese translation as I am from Brazil but living in Australia - Bruce, se você precisar de ajuda com inglês, eu posso ajudar.)

OK, what was the GHOST saddle pickup used on the Yamaha Silent Guitar? Bruce suggested that it could be the saddle from a ResoMax loaded bridge. As Bruce indicated, GraphTech deos not show individual sensors on their website.

Also, dis the conversion required the Acoustic-Phonic preamp or just the Hexpander?

I am embarking on a similar journey to install a GHOST Hex pickup system on a nylon string guitar that I make (I will also try on a steel string as well, also my creation).

vento75

Hi! you did very good job!
i have the same guitar and i'm interested to do a work like that but i wouldn't use the midi out. I'd like to use the hexaphonic out cause i'd need only E and A string. So my question is: Do I need something like VG99 or it's possible to hear some sound on the out without using VG99? What's the name of Graphtech did you use for the pickup?
Thanks!

jamiam

Hi Chris!

REALLY hoping you're still around on the forums, that you still have this guitar or at least good leftover knowledge on it.  I am in the same situation.  I am looking at the Carvin NS1, but another heavy , expensive hollow body...yay.   ::)

I have a Roland GR55 and a GK-3 on a custom solid-body, but I agree - I like playing nylon more, and I also happen to have a Yamaha SLG hanging on the wall next to me while I write this.  When I saw your article, you can imagine the level of adrenaline that rose in me saying "DO THIS!  DO THIS NOW!"  I'm reasonably electronics savvy, so this project looks AMAZING to me.  Please throw me a reply if you're still on the boards.  In the mean time, I'm going to study your approach, parts, photos and every word in the forum to see what I can put together that's comparable in today's market.

Looking forward.

-S

Elantric

#16
QuoteHi Chris!

REALLY hoping you're still around on the forums, that you still have this guitar or at least good leftover knowledge on it.




Know that most Roland COSM Guitar Models on all products (VG-8, VG-88, VG-99, GR-55, GP-10)  react very differently when driven by Nylon Stringed Guitars with Piezo 13 pin systems.

So it all depends on your expectations.

jamiam

Hi Elantric,


For whatever reason I didn't get a notification on your post.  I'll fix *that* setting!   :o

Anyway, I hear you.  Thanks for the advice/info!  They have a Godin MultiTac Nylon MIDI guitar over at our local Guitar Center that I saw a couple of days ago.  Planning to head over there with my GR55 to test it out and see how it compares with the GK-3 Pickup on another of my rigs.

Depending on the results, I may land it, the Carvin NS-1, or try the Ghost retrofit on my Yamaha SLG.

-S

yogamuse

#18
I'd LOVE to be able to run my Yamaha silent classical guitar through my GR-55 but the nylon strings, no radius, and wider string spacing would seem to prevent mounting a GK controller. But I know Godin makes a GR ready classical guitar.  Any thoughts?  Anyone?

Elantric


yogamuse

Wow! Thanks everyone for the feedback. And thanks Chris, for posting those photos and all the detail of your own conversion job. It looks like it was a great success - looking forward to seeing the results for myself. I play legitimate classical guitar and much of the standard repertoire, and I can say for sure that the palm mute technique - we call it pizzicato and classical world - is very much a part of what we do. But as with all of the other things we work around in the synthesizer world, I'm sure I can develop a technique to accommodate that too. Having a great time playing Bach, Telemann, and Weiss with not just the harpsichord and organ patches, but also with some of the more adventurous patches. Really looking forward to all the expanded abilities of the GR 55.  What especially impresses me about the GR-55 is it's ability to follow dynamics as well as variable locations of the right hand on the strings. It even seems to have a sense of how I change the angle of my fingers on attacks as well as replicating the differences between mostly fingernail and a combination of skin and nail. Not perfect, but very close. I've been getting by on my Stratocaster, so having the nylon string guitar back under my fingers is going to be pretty freaking amazing for me.