Author Topic: GK DIN Pinouts and DIY info  (Read 6277 times)

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Offline A2theT

GK DIN Pinouts and DIY info
« on: March 25, 2010, 07:17:08 AM »
I found this great article here:
and thought I'd mirror it in this forum so it doesn't get lost.

The output from commercially available hex pickups is quite low, so they all have a small pre-amp circuit located close to the pickup. In the case of the Roland hex pickup this is either a GK2A or GK3A, and for RMC equipped guitars (Godin, Brian Moore etc.) it is a small pre-amp board located inside the guitar.

What most of these controllers offer via a single 13 pin connector is six individual string outputs, a master output - either a mix of the six strings or a through signal from the guitars normal electronics, a MIDI volume signal - via a volume control, and two control switches - usually up/down patch selection.

Even though these hex style pickups are intended for MIDI implementation, there are now products that use the six individual string outputs to implement guitar modelling and the individual processing of single strings for effects such as harmonists and instant alternate tuning. The Roland VG88 and its predecessor the VG8 being the best known.

What has actually been handed to us guitarists is very interesting, yes we have MIDI, yes we have modelling, but we also have a system giving us signals from each string individually. Imagine taking each string through a different effects box, or sending alternate strings to different sides of the stage. Or setting up drone strings to improvise over?

There are two ways of doing this, you can purchase the RMC fanout box a fine unit but priced at $395 US. That's quite hefty if you have to pay post, packing and duty to Europe. Second method is you can build your own. Not too difficult as we will be building one ourselves over the next few days. Check out Unfretted's hexaphonic break out box and keep coming back for sporadic updates. We will be including all the info to build a custom job to your own specification.

Roland 13 pin system:

This carries six individual signals from the hex transducer AND a single audio feed from the guitar's normal electrics.

If you add a GK pickup there is a flying lead which plugs into your normal guitar jack.

Pinouts & wiring colours, 13 pin DIN cable

Pinouts for the 13 pin DIN connector used with the Roland VG8, VG-88, GR1, GR9, GR20, GR30, GR33, GR50, GI10, GI20, GKP-4, Boss DC-20G, WP-20G, Roland Ready Strat, Axon AX100, Yamaha G50, G1-D, Ibanez RG470GK, Brian Moore Guitars + lots of others.

The Roland cables are good quality 13 core, with a braided copper screen

The pins, signals and wire colours are as follows:

1 -   String 1 - Brown
2 -   String 2 - Blue
3 -   String 3 - Grey
4 -   String 4 - Orange
5 -   String 5 - Pink
6 -   String 6 - Purple
7 -   Normal pickups - Green
8 -   MIDI volume - Yellow / Stripe
9 -   Unused - Yellow
10 -  Switch 1 - Red
11 -  Switch 2 - White / Stripe
12 -  +ve supply - White
13 -  -ve supply - Black

These were taken from a Roland cable manufactured in 1998.

Cables do vary and we have also seen the following colours used:

1 -   Red
2 -   Pink
3 -   Yellow
4 -   Green
5 -   Light Green
6 -   Orange
7 -   Light Blue
8 -   Blue
9 -   Grey
10 -  Brown
11 -  White
12 -  Black
13 -  Purple

One medium quality cable you may come across with a 13 pin DIN connector was used by the Atari ST computer. (For the monitor we think) This was not a 13 core cable, but a 12 core cable, the cable screen was wired to pin 13:

1 -   Purple
2 -   Grey
3 -   Dark Green
4 -   Blue
5 -   Pink
6 -   Turquoise
7 -   Red
8 -   Brown
9 -   Yellow
10 -  White
11 -  Orange
12 -  Black
13 -  Screen

To modify this cable for GK use, first remove the screen from pin 13 and attach to the metalwork of the plug itself. Disconnect the yellow wire from pin 9 and wire to pin 13.
(Don't forget to do this at both ends)

This cable would be OK connecting equipment together but the plug is non-locking, so take care if using with an instrument.

13 pin DIN sockets and plugs

Well you know if you have tried, these are devilishly difficult to get hold of.

Medium quality non-locking plugs are available in the UK from Maplin, order code JW95D.

In the US supply a range of connectors. Currently the only sell to businesses with a minimum order of $250. (Thanks to Chris Waite for this info)

High quality plugs and sockets are available from Hosiden in Japan, download the adobe pdf "DIN connectors" from the webpage. Their UK distributors, Hosiden Besson Phone: +44-1273-860000, will only sell in quantities in the thousands! (Thanks again to Chris Waite for this info)
Non locking plug - TCP9365
Non locking PCB mount socket - TCS5044
Locking plug - TCP9361
Locking PCB mount socket - TCS5115 (EMC rated TCS5116)

In Germany supply medium quality, non-locking types, helps if you speak German!
Male plug - SE-DIO 13
PCB mount socket - EB-DIO 13
Inline female socket - K-DIO 13
Now it depends where you are, and how you get along with German language. Minimum order for Germany is 10.- Euro and abroad 150.-(!)Euro
e-mail is

Roland GK2A, GK3A

Essentially, these are add on units, The GK2A has been around since at least 1997 and late in 2004 the GK3A made an appearance.

Installing either of these on a guitar requires a little skill and patience to set them up to perform anywhere close to RMC equipped guitars.

Having both of these units gives us a little insight; we don't see much advantage of the GK3A over the GK2A - just easier to fit, but looks and feels cheaper, plus the main switch is a pig to get used to. The GK2A's switch to control output was very easy to flick while playing, the GK3A isn't, physically it is more difficult, a casual glance doesn't let you know what position its in.

Hopefully the price for the GK2A will drop when supplies of the GK3A are more dominant, discontinued bargains waiting we hope!

Peter Woolls has designed a scratchplate adapter for the GK2A pickup which is for sale on his ebay page:
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 12:39:16 PM by admsustainiac »
Axe-Fx II, Roland VG-99 + FC-300, Roland GR-55, Digitech Jamman Stereo, Ibanez/ESP/Jackson Guitars

Offline Elantric

Re: GK DIN Pinouts and DIY info
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2010, 03:56:13 PM »
More details on this thread - including a GK-2A schematic,73.0.html

Offline paults

Re: GK DIN Pinouts and DIY info
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2010, 05:49:26 PM »
Also - If you are in the US, Digikey sells to individuals, and there is not a $250 minimum order.

Offline admsustainiac

Re: GK DIN Pinouts and DIY info
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2010, 11:50:24 PM »
Other parts sources


And read these threads for sources of small white J.S.T/ Hirose style metric headers and connectors used on all GK-3 type PCB boards

« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 01:39:37 PM by Elantric »

Offline RogerGLewis

Re: GK DIN Pinouts and DIY info
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 02:48:08 AM »
Saw the date on this and then realised it is a year ago that this topic started so I am a little late to the party.
The OP is a fantastically useful introduction to this technology for novices to this side of guitar technology like me.