What to consider for hex-PU guitar?

Started by TieDyedDevil, February 07, 2008, 11:12:25 PM

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I'm thinking about putting together a VG rig using the VG-99.  I don't yet have a guitar with a 13-pin output and am disinclined to add a PU to one of my existing guitars.

So what are the things I need to consider in choosing or assembling a guitar for VG use?

Does solid vs. semi-hollow make a difference?  How about wood type?  Does the acoustic some of the guitar have any influence on the VG sound?

What about the GK pickup (assuming a permanent installation) vs. piezo saddles?  Does one track better than the other?

Canis Testicastor

I got a Chinese guitar, an "Infinity", it was solid bodied and had a simple shape to route out, then I got a GK3 internal kit and fitted that, as well as a PAF Humbucker/SPole  and a SUSTAINIC system as well + Floyds.

The guitar has to a good natural sustain.


I have an  "Infinity Music Sales"  guitar  - its a decent Les Paul copy  - its hollow body, ebay $120

I added a bigsby and a schaller roller bridge and filtertron clone PU  - its my affordable Gretsch clone.


But back to the topic - its important to identify your goals. Since the VG-99  excels at Alternate tunings - I prefer a solid body guitar.

Since I tend to play more blues and Rock - I prefer the Tone that the GK-3 PU provides. The Piezo Systems tend to impart a brittle High Frequency response.  The GK-3 is smoother and is the specific Roland Reference model used to create the Factory Patches.

Regarding "Tracking" - Aure used to have a decent explanation at www.VG-8.com.

VG Tracking is instantaneous with all PU types.   


My personal experimentation has led me to conclude that the GK pickups excel in the modeling area on the Roland VG devices, which makes perfect sense. They are a standard pickup that is set up in a relatively standard location on a guitar, hence, they are ideal for modeling applications. There are some characteristics that the guitar may impart to a GK pickup. Primarily, these deal with the sustain produced by the various guitars.

Using a solid body guitar for alternate tuning applcations also, is a very good idea. When using a hollowbody, the guitar will produce its own sound, and unless your amp is loud enough, it can be distracting to the hear the actual pitch vs the intended pitch.

Tracking is an interesting issue. Tracking tends to be used with the idea of guitar to midi or pitch to midi applications. With a VG-8 or VG-88, there was no tracking issue as there is no guitar to midi conversion. Rather, the guitar is receiving six pickup signals. The same holds true on the VG-99 except when the VG-99 is being used for Guitar to Midi output.

With respect to guitar to Midi, I had found that piezo pickups had better results. For me, they tracked better, whether with a GI-10, GR-30 or GR-33. I did find that the GK-3 had a better result that the GK-2A, but it just may have been set up better.

I have GK equipped guitars - Fender Roland-Ready Strat, Martin Alternative X Midi,  a Brian Moore Custom Shop, and a Gibson Les Paul with an External GK-3.

I also have piezo guitars - A Brian Moore 81.13 and a Godin LGX-SA.

With the VG-99, I like the strat and the Brian Moore Custom. When I do guitar to midi, I like the LGX-SA.


Thanks for the replies.

I'm primarily interested in V-guitar usage rather than MIDI guitar.  I don't have the patience to change my playing style to cleanly trigger a synth.  That said I may try to use MIDI to drive my SH-32, that that won't be the primary use.

Thanks for the points regarding alt tunings and minimizing the acoustic sound of the guitar.  I hadn't considered that.

So... what about other issues w.r.t. pickups?  Is crosstalk ever a problem?  What about physical contact between hand and a piezo-loaded bridge?  Does that cause a thump?

Finally, the comment about VG modeling being tuned to the GK pickups makes sense.  My initial inclination was to go with a GK pickup for that exact reason.  But I noticed that the latest VG-99 firmware has an option to accommodate piezo pickups from several manufacturers.  Is that simply a marketing afterthought or does it actually put the piezos on equal footing with the GK pickups?


Dear Rainbow'd Lucifer:

I talked with the Roland reps re: the VG-99 at a recent guitar show in Orlando/Kissimmee Florida, as I wanted to ensure that it would track great and the V-guitars/modeling would kill with my Godin LGX-SA (old one with the L.R.Baggs).  The rep specifically pulled up the new firmware options to show me how to choose different piezos (as you mention) and said that if I select the one for the Baggs that it would be on equal footing with the GK.  Just wanted to pass that along as I am relying on that statement's accuracy to order my new VG-99 (awaiting delivery).  That's all I know.. Peace.  Mike


Mike- I have the same guitar as you.  It kills with the 99. No worries.  They will have to pry this guitar from my cold dead hands.
Lots of Gear. :)



I've had my VG-99 for only three days now and, without going even beyond the presets or setting up my FC-300, I am having a blast with this thing.  My Godin LGX-SA with the Baggs setting in the firmware sounds awesome.  I am confident it will only get better once I apply some initiative to tweaking my own patches.  The only thing I've not done yet is trying to trigger soft synths in Logic with the Guitar to Midi function.  I will though one day soon.  If that works great, then I am golden.  The VG is worth every penny.  Mike


The combination of the VG-99 with your Godin LGX-SA must be creating some incredible sounds, especially with the Baggs setting in the firmware.