May 2021
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Roland G-77 Bass Guitar

Roland G-77 Bass Guitar Synthesizer Controller

Features and Specifications:

  • Body: Ash or Alder
  • Finish: Acrylic, ivory, red, or black
  • Neck: Maple with ABS stabilizer bar
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood (fretless available)
  • Frets: 21
  • Bridge:Adjustable at body
  • Nut: Polycarbonate
  • Tuning machines: Gotoh
  • Pickups: Two single coil
  • Scale:34"
  • Truss Rod: Single, Adjustable
  • Neck Width: 1 5/8"
  • Body Width:9"
  • Body Depth: 1 3/4"
  • Overall Length: 46"
  • Weight: 9 lbs.
 Justin Meldal-Johnsen rocks his G-77
Justin Meldal-Johnsen rocks his G-77

Introduction to the Roland G-77:

The Roland G-77 is the companion bass to the ground-breaking G-707 guitar. The G-77 shares the same ABS stabilizer bar and radical body shape as the G-707. The G-707 guitar has a unique, one-of-a-kind Roland roller tremolo bridge, and similarly the G-77 also has a unique Roland-stamped high-mass bridge. While the preceding Roland G-33 and G-88 basses had set, or neck thru-design, the G-77 has a Fender style bolt-on neck. The G-77's passive electronics package offers a single tone control plus a pickup balance knob to control the mix between the two single-coil Roland pickups.

Roland G-77 and GR-77B Bass Guitar System
GR-77B System - Click to Enlarge

Like the G-707, the G-77 bass challenges preconceptions of what a bass guitar should look like. And like its sibling, the G-77 is a very musical and playable as a conventional bass. Bass guitar synthesizers always appeal to a much smaller buying market than guitars, so it is no surprise that these fine instruments are rarer than the guitar versions. In addition, latency, always a problem for guitar synths in the lower registers, is even worse in the bass range.

As Roland expanded the universe of guitar synthesizer controllers by offering the LPK-1 and STK-1 guitar synthesizer retrofit kits, so the electronics package of the G-77 was made available as the BAK-1. However, unlike the guitar version, there is no record of a mass-produced bass manufacturer offering the Roland BAK-1 kit as a factory option. Steinberger did produce a 24-pin bass controller, the XL2-GR Bass, but the Steinberger guitars and basses use electronics cards produced by a third party, and not standard Roland electronics.

Bass Guitar Brochure

While specifically deisgned for the GR-77B bass synthesizer, the G-77 also works with the Roland GM-70 pitch-to-MIDI converter. With some modification, the G-77 can also be used successfully with the GR-33B bass synthesizer. A side note: unlike the G-33/G-88 basses, the G-77 LFO pads only operate in "touch" mode. The G-33/G-88 basses have a latch mode which keeps the LFO on indefinitely. When used with a Roland BC-13, or BX-13 series, the G-77 can be used with modern 13-pin synths, like the Roland GR-55 or VB-99.

The G-77 is the last full instrument produced by Roland during the vintage 24-pin era.

Links to more information:

Fretless (Ivory)

Perhaps the rarest of all Roland G-77 basses is the fretless version. A review of the Roland product brochures reveals that Roland did offer fretless as a factory option.

Skylark contacted me to let me know he indeed has one of these super rare fretless G-77 bases. He picked the bass up on ebay in MINT condition, and was kind enough to send me some photos to post on the site! Skylark reported that he is very impressed by how well it functions as just a regular fretless bass, he wrote:

“for some reason than’t explain, i find it’s me EASIEST fretless to play… i have about 5 fretless basses, but i never played much fretless and have never felt all that comfortable playing fretless… but i felt MOST comfortable w the Roland...

the other thing that kills me is how well it tracks and translates MIDI… i mean, it’s one thing for it to track MIDI with frets… seems easy enough to interpret E F F# G etc… but it tracks all the in-between fretless stuff beautifully!

BTW the GR-77B is a formidable synth in its own right… kinda goofy to program, but it’s essentially a JX-8P in a pedal board-shaped box… and that’s a great synth IMO… (my MKS-70 is always being used i my studio)”

Thanks Skylark! Previously I had only seen pictures of a G-77 owned by Dave Swift.

Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Click on any image for larger view.

Photos - Black Finish:

Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black
Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black
Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black
Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black
Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black Roland G-77 Bass Black
Click on any image for larger view.

Photos - Ivory Finish:

Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory Roland G-77 Bass Ivory
Click on any image for larger view.

Photos - Red Finish:

Roland G-77 Red Roland G-77 Red Roland G-77 Red
Roland G-77 Red Roland G-77 Red Roland G-77 Red
Roland G-77 Red Roland G-77 Red Roland G-77 Red
Click on any image for larger view.

Videos:

YouTube Playlist: Roland G-77 Bass

Modifications:

No modifications posted at this time.

Schematics - Repairs - Service Bulletins:

There are no known service bulletins from Roland addressing any G-77 problems.

1985 Roland NAMM Brochure:

1985 NAMM Brochure 1985 NAMM Brochure 1985 NAMM Brochure
Click on any image for larger view.