November 2019
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Roland G-33 Bass

Roland G-33 Bass Guitar Synthesizer Controller

Features and Specifications:

  • Body: Ash
  • Finish: Acrylic, "Robert" brown
  • Neck: Maple set-in
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 21
  • Bridge: Adjustable
  • Nut: Polycarbonate
  • Tuning machines: Gotoh
  • Pickups: One Roland PU-144S single-coil
  • Scale: 34"
  • Truss Rod: Single, Adjustable
  • Neck Width: 1 11/16"
  • Body Width: 13"
  • Body Depth: 1 3/4"
  • Overall Length: 45 1/2"
  • Weight: 8 lbs 5 oz
Roland G-33

Introduction to the Roland G-33:

The Roland G-33 Bass Guitar, and its sibling, the G-88 Bass Guitar were produced by Roland from the early to mid 1980s.

The G-33 was packaged with the Roland GR-33B Bass Guitar Synthesizer

Construction

The G-33 has an ash body, rosewood fingerboard and a set-in maple neck. And, like its sibling the G-303 guitar, the G-33 has nickel/aluminum alloy nichrome plated hardware. The 1982 Roland guitar synthesizer brochure notes that the G-33 has a Roland PU-144S single-coil pickup, and the 1984 Roland brochure shows the option of a left handed model.

All the Roland guitars and basses from this era were higher end instruments, with great build quality and excellent hardware. The quality of their construction merited the price tag, and the excellent build helped to guarantee that the Roland Bass and Guitar synthesizers, the GR-300 and GR-33B, would deliver as promised, and to this day these synths remain the fastest and most accurate guitar and bass synths ever built.

The G-33, like all the vintage Roland basses and guitars, was built by the Fuji Roland corporation, a joint venture by Roland and Fujigen Gakki. Fujigen Gakki (now known as FGN guitars) also made the Ibanez and Fender guitars of this era, but these are not Ibanez guitars as if often erroneously reported.

Electronics

The G-33 electronics package has master volume and two bands (high and low) of active equalization. When connected to a Roland guitar synthesizer, the active electronics are powered by the synth. When used alone, two nine-volt batteries supply power when a 1/4" cable is plugged in.

The synth electronics are pretty the same across all Roland guitars and basses. There is a control for filter cutoff, resonance, a three-position mode switch, balance knob, LFO depth, plus touch pads to turn the LFO effect on and off.

The G-33 works great with the GR-33B Bass Guitar Synthesizer, though the tracking can be a little erratic on the open 'E' and 'A' strings. I have never used the G-33 with the Roland G-77B Bass Guitar Synthesizer, but the G-33 works just fine with the Roland GM-70, making it easy to play modern synths with this vintage bass.

Gauge of original Roland G-33/G-88 strings:

1st string (G) - 44
2nd string (D) - 62
3rd string (A) - 85
4th string (E) - 106

Links to more information:

Versions - Electronics:

Roland G-33 Electronics
Early Card Serial Number 030499 and lower
Roland G-33 Electronics
Later Card Serial Number 040500 and higher
Roland G-33 Electronics
Early Card Serial Number 030499 and lower
Roland G-33 Electronics
Later Card Serial Number 040500 and higher

There are two versions of electronics cards for the Roland G-33 and G-88 basses. The most distinctive difference in the two cards is the placement of the string level trim controls. On the early basses, the trimmers are placed in a vertical alignment.

On the later cards, the string trimmers are placed in a horizontal alignment. Otherwise, the actual circuit designs appear to be the same. The Roland service manual notes that basses with serials numbers 040500 and later have the horizontal trimmers, and serial numbers 030499 and lower have the vertical. Basses in the range from 030400 - 040599 could possibly have either electronics card.

Photos - Roland G-33 Bass Synthesizer Controller:

Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Click on any image for larger view.

Photos - G-33 Modified with G-77/BAK-1 Pickup:

Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Click on any image for larger view.

Photos - G-33 with NED Synclavier and Custom Bridge:

Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass Roland G-33 bass
Click on any image for larger view. Thanks to Pablo Leocata for the G-33/Synclavier photos.

Videos:

Modifications:

Service Notes - Repairs - Update Bulletins:

There are no known service bulletins from Roland addressing any G-33 problems.