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Roland G-303 Guitar Synthesizer Controller

Features and Specifications:

Body: Maple top mahogany back
Finish: Acrylic ("robert" brown or white)
Neck: Set-in 3-piece maple
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22
Bridge: Fixed, adjustable
Nut: Polycarbonate
Tuning machines: Gotoh
Pickups: Two Roland PU-114H Humbuckers
Scale: 24 3/4"
Truss Rod: Adjustable
Neck Width: 1 11/16"
Body Width: 13"
Body Depth: 1 3/4"
Overall Length: 38 3/4"
Weight: 8 lbs 8 oz.

Pat Metheny Group at the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

Introduction to the Roland G-303:

If there is one guitar that has become the "gold standard" of guitar synthesizers, it has to be the Roland G-303 guitar. No doubt much of the popularity of the G-303 comes from Pat Metheny, who has played this guitar year after year on stages across the world, always amazing audiences with the moving and emotional quality of the G-303 and GR-300 rig.

There is another reason why the G-303 is so popular: it is just a really great guitar. There is no learning curve to the G-303, no time required to "get acquainted," this is a guitar you want to play as soon as you put your hands on it. In Los Angeles I have seen jazz players using the G-303 plugged straight into a Polytone amp, just for the sound and playability of this great axe. In terms of sophistication of design and electronics, the weighty Ibanez IMG2010 comes out way ahead of the G-303, but like the Roland G-707, the IMG2010 is a bit of an acquired taste, and its curious body design means that the Ibanez IMG2010 is virtually impossible to play sitting down without a guitar strap!

Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew with G-303s. Photo Tony Levin

The other vintage controllers, the G-202 and G-505, are well-built, fine guitars. But they cannot escape the feel of being really well made Fender copies, no matter how nice they are. The G-303 has a sibling, the G-808. The more expensive G-808 has through-neck construction and other nice features, like gold hardware.

There are some ideas as to why the more expensive, classier G-808 never quite took off with the same following as the G-303. Aside from the fact that Pat Metheny is not dragging a G-808 out every night, the G-808 guitar seems slightly neck heavy when compared to the G-303. Also, vintage guitar synth guru Rich Hilleman has suggested that the through-neck design of the G-808 adds to the resonance of the guitar, making the G-808 less suitable as a synth controller. I have tested and played both guitars, and can not say that I was able to detect a difference.


Links to more information:

Vintage Guitarist Magazine Interview with Pat Metheny highlighting the Roland G-303/GR-300.

1980 Roland Product Information on the Roland GR-300, G-303 and G-808.

1980 Roland Product Brochure on the Roland GR-300, G-303 and G-808.

1982 Roland Product Brochure - Japanese - Featuring the G-303 and G-808.

1982 Roland Product Brochure Featuring the G-303 and G-808.

1984 Roland Product Brochure Featuring the G-303 and G-808.

Roland G-303 Reviews at Harmony Central

Download the G-303 Owner's Manual

Download the G-303/505/808 LPK-1 Schematic (same schematic, following versions "B" and "C" for the G-303 and G-808).

Version History PC Boards A - B - C:

Version A - Click on image to enlarge
Version B - Click on image to enlarge
Version C - Click on image to enlarge

Like the GR-300, there are three versions of the G-303 and G-808 guitars, distinguished by changes to the PC board.

I was contacted by a G-303 player in the States and a G-808 player in Norway both using the first run, early "prerelease" version of the guitar electronics. The cards are labeled as version "A." The published Roland documentation supports version "B: and "C."

These rare "A" cards are unusual in several ways: the component layout is very different and the outputs trimmers seem to be arbitrarily placed on the board. You can also see jumper wires soldered across the board. In addition, the standard 1/4” output jack solders directly to the PCB, rather than the ribbon connector.

The first time I tried to repair a failed op-amp in a G-303, I realized that the pin-out documentation was wrong on the schematic. The pin out information was correct on the G-505 Service Manual Schematics schematic, which uses almost the same circuits.

All the G-303s and G-808s that I have checked have op-amp pin outs consistent with the G-505. Which made me wonder if the op-amp information in the original G-303/G-808 Service Manual Schematics refers to the very rare "version A" board.

It is difficult to see in the photos, but on the standard cards, version "B" and "C", three op-amps, IC1, IC2 and IC3 are used to amplify the signals to line-level for the GR-300. These op-amps are the top three 4558 op-amps in line with the 24-pin ribbon connector. IC4, IC5 and IC6 op-amps are used to create the hex fuzz sound. This is consistent with the G-505 schematic. The line-level amplifiers are surrounded by resistors for a simple gain circuit, and the hex fuzz amplifiers have the network of diodes used to create the fuzz sound.

From looking at the version "A" photo, it appears the one op-amp is used per string to both amplify the signal and create the hex fuzz sound. If you look at IC6, at the top of the version "B" and "C" card, you can see resistors just to the left of the chip creating gain in the negative feedback loop, and additional diodes just to the right side of the chip for generating fuzz. This is consistent with the G-303/G-808 schematic.

Version History "Wide" (12 mm) and "Narrow" (10 mm) Pickups

10 mm "narrow" 80 ohm pickup on the left next to 12 mm "wide" 900 ohm pickup installed in a late model G-808.
"Narrow" pickup installed in a G-303. This is one of the earlier models, and has the high-gain circuit.
"Wide" pickup installed in a G-303. This is one of the later models, and has the low-gain circuit.

After years of working with Roland vintage electronics, I finally noticed that there were two variations on the familiar hex pickup. One pickup is small, with an impedance of 80 ohms, and the other pickup is slightly larger, with an impedance of around 900 ohms. For my purposes, I labeled these pickups as "wide" or "narrow." One pickup is around 10 mm wide, and the other is about 12 mm wide. Generally, the narrow pickup seems more common in earlier guitars, and the wider pickup is common with the later models.

I had been exchanging emails with GR-user Jonathan Prince, who had, once upon a time, ordered a replacement hex pickup from Roland. He mentioned he had misplaced the paper they sent with the pickup explaining what parts to replace when he installed the new pickup. I emailed back that his memory was probably fooling him, as there was no official Roland documentation on the pickup change. And then...low and behold...Jonathan sent me this memo from Roland! Dated July 6, 1995, from a Mr. Mark Wire, it lays out all the technical information on the pickups that I had only surmised! View the original note from Roland sent to Jonathan Prince.

"We don’t have any humbucking pickups for your G-808 (I physically went out to parts dept. to check.)" begins the note! Well, that is some bad news! But Mark Wire was able to find a replacement hex divided pickup! And Mark notes the serial numbers of the new and old pickups: Old type: #601 Pick-Up 22380601 New type: #610 Pick-Up 22380610.

Mark lists the serial numbers of guitars that use the older style, #601 (or part number 22380601) divided pickups:

G-202 before serial no. 411600
G-303 before serial no. 413100
G-505 before serial no. 412600
G-808 before serial no. 413100

Mark goes on to outline the resistors that need to be changed for the new #610 pickup. As it turns out, these are exactly the modifications that I outline in the notes below. For the G-303, G-505 and G-808, each string needs two resistors changed, one effecting the synthesizer signal, and the other effecting the hex fuzz signal. The G-202 has a different hex fuzz circuit, so only six resistors need to be changed.

I also have to add this: I picked up some G-707 electronics pulled from a guitar some years ago, and I did find a G-707 circuit board wired to support the older, narrow pickup. In the case of the G-707 guitar, you need to check to following resistors: R23, R26, R29, R35 and R38. According to the schematic, these resistors should be 10K, but in this rare G-707 circuit board, the resistors were only 1K. This 10:1 ratio difference is in keeping with all the other changes.

When switching from the 80 ohm (narrow) to 900 ohm (wide) pickup, there is a 10:1 increase in impedance, likewise, it is necessary to change the negative feedback loop resistor by a similar 1:10 ratio, from 330K to 33K, and from 1 M to 100K.

Mark also mentions that the pick guard must be slightly enlarged to accommodate the wider pickup, but only on the G-202 and G-505, the only guitars with pickguards. Also, while I measured these pickups as 10 mm and 11 mm respectively, Roland has them listed as 10 mm and 12 mm in size.

One more thing that I must mention: apparently Mark Wire did not have any official Roland stationary when he penned this missive to Jonathan. So, and I think this is the coolest part of this whole note, he apparently decided to trace out the official Roland Company logo at the top of the note. I mean, nothing says official Roland service notice like a hand drawn Roland logo! I have never met Mr. Mark Wire, but I sure like his dedication to customer satisfaction! Not only did he personally check the parts department to see if he could find a G-808 pickup, but he took the time to add the Roland logo to this note! Excellent!

High Gain Circuit: the yellow arrow points to a 330K resistor in the negative feedback loop of the G-303/808/LPK-1 board. Low Gain Circuit: the yellow arrow points to a 33K resistor in the negative feedback loop of a different G-303/808/LPK-1 board.

"Narrow" (10 mm) Pickup - Uses High Gain Circuit
"Wide" (12 mm) Pickup - Uses Low Gain Circuit

You need to actually check your own card with a multi-meter, or read the resistor values to see what you have. I worked on a LPK-1 card which had the 330:1 gain structure for the "narrow" pickup, rather than the 33:1 design shown in the LPK-1 schematic.

When I installed the correct "wide" pickup for the 33:1 circuit, the LPK-1 would work with the GR-300, but the internal trimmers were very sensitive. After a quarter-turn, the gain would be too high for any kind of dynamic control. The solution was to replace the 330K resistors with 33K resistors. After this change, everything worked perfectly. I also checked the gain settings with the more sensitive GM-70, because the ladder LED display gives a much more accurate reading than one red LED on a GR-300.

Primary Resistors: Click image to enlarge
Hex Fuzz Resistors: Click image to enlarge

The yellow arrows in the first picture on the left point to replacement resistors R12, R22, R32, R42, R52 and R62 in a LPK-1 board. The original brown 330K (5% tolerance) resistors were replaced with blue 33K (1% tolerance) resistors. These resistors set the gain for the synth signals.

The yellow arrows in the second picture point to replacement resistors R14, R24, R34, R44, R54 and R64 in a LPK-1 board. The original brown 1M (5% tolerance) resistors were replaced with blue 100K (1% tolerance) resistors. These resistors set the gain for the hexaphonic fuzz circuit.



Checking the Impedance of the Divided Vintage GR Synth Pickup

A vintage Roland GR pickup consists of the divided pickup plus an attached ribbon cable. Be careful when working with these pickups, as the ribbon cable will become brittle with age and is easily damaged. There are 12 contact points on the ribbon cable. The first seven are for the hex pickup, and they include a common or ground point, plus the six string outputs. Reading from the long edge of the ribbon to the solder points, the outputs are strings #4, #3, #1, #2, ground (common), #5 and #6.

The next five contact points are actually for attaching wires to the top panel guitar electronics. Reading in the same direction, they are the p-touch, p-touch lock, the guitar pickup output, ground, and the normal guitar out. Refer to the diagram below from the Service Manual Schematics.

L-R, strings 4, 3, 1, 2, ground, 5, 6, p-touch, p-lock, guitar pickup, ground and normal output. Using a multimeter to test string #3 for resistance. A working element should read 78 to 80 ohms. Diagram from the Roland Service Manual Schematics showing the wiring of the ribbon connector.

To test each element in your pickup, attach the ground lead from a multimeter to the ground (common) contact point for the hex pickup, then move the positive test lead to the various pickup outputs. Depending on whether you have a wide or narrow pickup (see above), a working pickup element should read 80 to 90 ohms for the narrow version, or 800 to 900 ohms for the wide version. If you read between two pickup output points, you should see 160 ohms or 1.6K (depending on the version of pickup). This is double the reading of an individual pickup. If you get a reading of 0 ohms, or an open circuit reading (infinite resistance), then you likely have a damaged pickup.

The Roland G-303 Guitar and the NED Synclavier:

Click on any image for larger view.
NED G-303 eBay auction from 2011

Synclavier Remote
Synclavier Remote
Synclavier Remote
Synclavier Remote
Click on any image for larger view.

New England Digital briefly made a guitar-to-Synclavier interface using the Roland G-303. Both Pat Metheny and John McLaughin were shown playing this system. Pat's G-303 was modified to blend the Synclavier remote into the wood work for a more elegant appearance. From all reports, this early system did not work any better than the Roland GM-70. It was slow, and prone to tracking errors.

But for most Pat Metheny fans, the Synclavier is invaluable to the Metheny cannon, as it gave birth to one of the most loved Lyle Mays/Pat Metheny compositions, "Are You Going With Me?" Pat created this moving composition early in his work with the Synclavier. The basic comping/rhythm track of AYGWM is nothing more than a simple FM synthesis track, trigger by the the internal Synclavier sequencer.

At its heart, the Synclavier was a FM synthesizer, with the addition of sequencing. The Synclavier was expanded later to offer the ability to sample and playback sounds pitched on a keyboard. This introduction of sampling in the early nineteen eighties was revolutionary. Along with the Fairlight CMI, these systems were the Mt. Olympus of music technology, promising new musical horizons, but priced in a range that made them accessible only to elite musicians and top recording studios.

Check out the YouTube clips below, the first is a rare interview with Pat, featuring the Synclavier. The next clip shows Pat playing the Synclavier with an early custom Synclavier controller, and the last is a demo by Jon Appleton of his beloved Synclavier.

Dartmouth Engineer on the New Englad Digital Synclavier

Vintage Synth Explorer on the New Englad Digital Synclavier

Synclavier on Mickopedia, the Irish Encyclopedia.

Photos - Brown Finish:

Click on any image for larger view.

Shades of G-303 Guitars:
Click on any image for larger view.

I had noticed that from time to time, G-303 guitars seem to come in slightly different shades. There is no official designation in the Roland product brochure that indicate the guitar actually had different finishes. Nevertheless, I happened to have two G-303s that were curiously identical, yet different. Both had a Kahler locking trem installed, most likely inspired by the Kahler tremolo Pat Metheny installed on his G-303. But one guitar is distinctly light than the other guitar. The light guitar has the stamped serial number indicating it is from an earlier production run, while the darker guitar has a metal plate on the headstock, suggesting it is from the later period of production. The backs of the guitar are almost identical, so its it possible the color variation is more a function of the wood used for the top.

Photos - Left Hand:

Click on any image for larger view.

For everyone who has emailed to ask about a left-hand Roland G-303: Yes! They made a few! The above photos were sent to me. I noticed the guitar has some modifications, the original pickups have been replaced. and two additional toggle switches (perhaps for the after market pickups) have been installed. The electronics card is the same as the right hand model, with the componnents attached on the reverse side for left-hand operation.

Photos - Rare White Finish:

Click on any image for larger view.

GR user Randy sent me photos of his rare, white finish G-303.

GR user Patrick Phelps sent me photos of his rare, white finish G-303. Click to enlarge.

Photos - Left Hand Blue - Elliot Easton Custom:

Click on any image for larger view.

This guitar was owned by Elliot Easton of the band The Cars. As far as I can tell, this rare left-handed G-303 guitar has the same blue/turquoise color found on the more familiar Roland G-505 guitar. Roland describes this color as metallic blue. Note the auction includes the rare CB-300 carrying case! These photos came from a sale at Rudy's Music, and GR-user Joe Bartone brought them to my attention.

How I Wish I was a G-303 - The Breedlove Mark II Roland-Ready Guitar:

Click on any image for larger view.

A few years I was quite surprised when I saw an eBay auction for a Breedlove Mark II Custom Chambered Electric Guitar with an RMC Synergy PolyDrive guitar synthesizer controller. It is quite an expensive instrument, a look around shows the guitar with a suggested retail price of $6,529. Holy smokes! But more than anything else, I kept thinking to myself...wow, this guitar really looks like a G-303!

Videos:

Origins of Roland Guitars - Fujigen:

Roland guitars were not built by Ibanez, or Hoshino, as is often erronously posted on various websites! Ibanez does not make every Japanese Electric Guitar!

In 1977, through a joint capital investment between Roland Corporation and Fujigen, FUJI ROLAND CORP is established, based in Matsumoto. Together they developed the world's first guitar synthesizer (GR-500).

Some have noted the the Roland basses have the logo "F Roland" on the headstock, for Fuji Roland. And the Roland guitars have "GR" on the headstock, perhaps for "Greco Roland." The 1981 Greco Catalogue shows every Roland guitar synth product in production at that time. The Roland G-808 is a modified version of the Greco GO1000.



Greco GO1000 Guitar
Roland G-808 Guitar

Fujigen Gakki built a lot of guitars, for a lot of people, including Greco Guitars. Greco Guitars were sold almost exclusively in Japan. Fujigen Gakki also built guitars for Ibanez, Fender, Fender/Squire, Yamaha, and of course Roland.

Contractors could provide their own designs to Fujigen Gakki, but often they would consult with the Fujigen Gakki engineers, and make modifications of existing designs. This explains the similar designs and features of Roland and Ibanez guitars of the same era.

Catalog 40-41
Catalog 42-43
Click on the above images to download these four pages from the Greco 1981 catalogue featuring vintage Roland Guitar Synthesizers

1982 November Roland Guitar Synthesizer Catalog - Japanese

Roland 1982 Japanese Catalog Back
Roland 1982 Japanese Catalog Back
Click on the above images to enlarge. I do not have larger versions of the images below.

Little help please! The above photos are from an eBay auction which closed on March 28, 2013. I am not sure who the lucky winner of the auction is, but if anyone has access to higher resolution scans, I would love to add them to the website. Email me!

Modifications:

Original Anderton GR-300 Modifications, by Craig Anderton, Guitar Player, January 1984:

Improving hex fuzz high-frequency response

The hex fuzz section of a Roland G-series guitar (which is built into the guitar) mixes the fuzzed signal from each string into a single output. Note, though, that this hex fuzz mixer starts rolling off high frequencies around 2k Hz. To eliminate this roll-off, remove the metal plate on the back of the G-series guitar'ts body (the one on the other side from the controls and switches). Next, orient the guitar'ts circuit board so that the lettering is right side up, and look for the capacitor labeled C72 (470 pF). On my guitar, this cap is located a little to the right of center of the board, in the upper middle section. Once you've found the cap, snip one of its leads with a diagonal cutter - you will be rewarded by a brighter fuzz sound with more presence.

Interior G-303 guitar. The clip is attached to C72, located just below the ribbon connector. Interior G-303 guitar. The yellow arrow points to C72. C72 is a flat, ceramic capacitor. Interior G-505 guitar. The yellow arrow points to C72. The layout is similar to a G-303. Interior G-505 guitar. Note C72 in the lower left corner. The op amp IC8 is part of the hex fuzz.

Schematics - Repairs - Service Bulletins:

There are no known service bulletins from Roland addressing any G-303 problems

Download the G-303/505/808 LPK-1 Schematic (same schematic, following versions "B" and "C" for the G-303 and G-808).

Download the G-303/G-808/GR-300 Service Manual Schematics.

Repairs - Roland G-202/303/505/808 Opamp Failure

You suddenly notice that one string on your guitar synth system stops working. The first thing you want to do is try another cable! Cable failures are the most frequent GR-system problem. If you do not have a spare cable, try jiggling either end of the connector, though the problem is most likely to be the end that plugs into your guitar. If the sound comes and goes, then you need to fix your cable. If not, then you most likely have a problem with an op-amp inside the guitar electronics. A more remote possibility is that you have a damaged pickup.

If you have a GR-700, an easy way to determine if you cable is working correctly is to press the EDIT foot pedal, followed by 4 and 8. This puts the GR-700 in tuning mode. Play each string on the GR-700, and you should see the display change for each string. The displays shows "1" for the high E string, "2" for the B string, down to "6" for the low E string. If the GR-700 responds to all six strings, then your cable is good, and most likely you have a failed 80017a chip.

Unless you have been moving the synth pickup around a lot, they usually do not fail on their own. Instead of a synth pickup failure, you possibly could have a problem with the electronics. Inside every GR guitar are a lot of small, integrated amplifiers called "op-amps." These due tend to fail over time. If you have a G-303, G-505 or G-808, you are in luck! These guitars are easy to test, and easy to repair. The other models of guitar synths are a little bit more difficult to troubleshoot, since they do not have hex-fuzz. While the G-202 has hex fuzz, it actually uses the same circuit for both the fuzz and clean signal, so the hex fuzz test will not work.

To find out if you have an op-amp failure, listen to the hex-fuzz output only. If all six strings work in hex-fuzz mode, and you know your cable is good, your pickup is working fine, then your op-amp is most likely bad. If you get all six stirngs to output a synthesizer signal, but one string looses the hex fuzz sound, then it is almost certain that you have a bad op-amp.

The GR guitars use 4558 op-amps, available at any decent electronics shop, and they typically cost just a dollar or less.

Typical replacement part: STMicroelectronics 4558 operational amplifier at Mouser.com.

Here are some photos of a op-amp replacement I did on a G-303. Notice I installed an IC socket on the G-303 circuit board, to make future repairs or upgrades easy.

G-303 Electronics interior, the arrow points to the failed op-amp. Underside of the electronics. Arrow points to the pads to de-solder. The new 4558 was mounted inside a socket, for easy replacement in the future.
Repairs - Roland G-202/303/505/707/808 Divided Vintage GR Synth Pickup

If you remove the guitar electronics for repair, it is quite possible to crack the divided hex synthesizer pickup ribbon ever so slightly. These ribbons become very brittle as they age. The conductive metal traces are layered on to the plastic ribbon, and are fragile. Fortunately, there is a possible fix for this problem, but be forewarned, this is the most difficult and tedious vintage Roland repair.

Before you start this repair, it is important to check that the ribbon is the problem. Remove the ribbon connector from the circuit board, and using a multi-meter, check the impedance between contacts. You should read either approximately 80 or 160 ohms for a "narrow" pickup, or 800 to 1.6K ohms for a "wide" pickup. See the information above on measureing the impedance in your hex pickup.

Since there is no way to repair the ribbon connector itself, you will cut the ribbon connector off the hex pickup, remove the potting wax around the pole pieces, and then solder replacement wires to a new ribbon connector. I have successfully repaired a half dozen pickups this way. It can be done with patience and the right tools. Allow and hour or two for the whole procedure.

  • Dremel Tool with basic attachments.
  • Low wattage soldering iron and solder.
  • Replacement Roland 12-position Ribbon Cable.
  • Masking tape.
Hex pickup ready for surgery. The ribbon connector has been removed, and tape is placed around the pickup to protect the casing.
Enough potting wax has been removed to allow soldering access to the pole pieces You only need to expose seven poles.
New wires attached to the hex pickup. The top pin is green (common) and the lower row is high E to low E (left to right).
Close-up detail of wires attached to the pole pieces in the hex pickup. The bottom green wire is the common lead shared by all the elements. The pickup with replacement wires attached, soldered to a spare Roland 24-pin ribbon cable. The original ribbon connector is also in the picture. These are the Dremel attachments I used. The last repair totally destroyed three of my brushes, as the epoxy was very, very hard.

The above photos show the conversion of a "narrow" older-style hex pickup. A Dremel tool was used to remove the epoxy-type potting wax around the pole pieces of the hex pickup. When removing the epoxy-type potting wax, you only want to remove just enough to solder on to the pole pieces. Removing too much will permanently damage the pickup. Also, the Dremel brush can damage the casing of the pickup, so to be on the safe side I taped up the edges of the pickup to prevent damage. I would work a little bit, then closely inspect the pole pieces. When I felt I was close enough, I used a multi-meter to test for conductivity, in a "narrow" pickup, you should read around 80 ohms between the element and the common, or ground. With a "wide" pickup, you should read about 800 ohms.

You will note that one row of six pins are common, or ground. You only need to uncover one of the common pins for this repair. Refer to the photos below to orient your epoxy removal to access the six lead pins and one common pin.

When I was finished with the Dremel tool, I cleaned everything up and carefully soldered seven wires to the pickup, one for ground (the common for all six elements), and one wire for each element. Then everything was tested again. The resistance between two elements (not between the element and ground) should read 160 ohms for the "narrow" pickup, and 1.6K ohms for the "wide" pickup. I have tried different Dremel brushes for this work. The video clip below shows a repair using a nylon brush.

WARNING:

The last repair I did had particularly difficult epoxy. The repair destroyed three of my Dremel brushes, and as the metal brush disintegrated, tiny metal wires went into my face. GR user Peter Kulich reported a similar experience to me, but then he is Canadian. Anyway, when I was done, it was up to my wife pulled these tiny wires out with tweezers. Fortunately, I was wearing eye protection and a breather which covered most of my skin, but it was an important reminder to protection at all times.

This is a "wide" hex pickup with new wires attached. The top row of pins are all ground, or common.
This is a "narrow" hex pickup with new wires attached. The top row of pins are all ground, or common
Restored Divided Vintage GR Synth Pickup Installed in Pedulla XJ-S:
This is a photo of a wide pickup set to be installed in a Pedulla XJ-S with Roland electronics. In this installation, the ribbon connector was cut down to seven traces. This ribbon will be used with the remaining ribbon part. New wires attached to the hex pickup ribbon. Refer to the G-303/G-808 schematic for the wiring order.
Close-up detail both ribbon parts inserted into the ribbon connector on the circuit board. Distant view with wire leads shown as well. In the Pedulla XJ-S the electronics are in a very narrow cavity, with barely enough room. Here is the entire assembly in the guitar, with black masking tape added around the connectors to prevent shorting.
Craig Hara's Excelllent Page on Restoring Divided Synth Pickup

Dating Early Vintage Roland Guitars:

Have you wondered what year your Roland controller was built? I located some excellent information on dating guitars produced by Fuji Gengakki. This information is from an ebay page called Ibanez Does Not Make Every Japanese Electric Guitar

"Guitars made at FujiGen from about 1976 through 1985 use a signature serial numbering system. All Ibanez-branded guitars from 1976-1985 use it, as do Grecos and the other Hoshino-associated brands I discuss below. This serial number system makes it very easy to date the guitar. The serial number is made up of a letter followed by six numerals, for example, B781234. The letter corresponds to the month of the year (A = January, B = February, etc.) and the first two numbers correspond to the year (in the example I give, 78 stands for 1978).

The top G-303 was made in November, 1982, "K82", the bottom in January, 1980 "A80" The top G-808 was made in December, 1980, "L80", the bottom in July, 1980 "G80"

Later Roland controllers uses a metal plate attached to the headstock with serial numbers only, and no letters.