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Xotica BX-1

Xotica BX-1 with Internal Roland GK-3

Features and Specifications:

  • Body: Honduras Mahogany with Kewazinga top and Fiddle Back Maple
  • Finish: High-Gloss Tung Oil
  • Neck: Honduras Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood Fretboard
  • Frets: 22, Jumbo
  • Bridge: Hip Shot Baby Grand Bridge
  • Nut: 1 5/8" 43 mm BFTS Machined Bone Nut (Buzz Feiten Tuning System)
  • Tuning machines: Sperzel locking tuners
  • Pickups: Rockfield SWC Select Wound Custom Humbucking Pickups with Push-Pull Coil Split on Volume and Tone Controls
  • Scale: 24 3/4"
  • Weight: 7 lbs 7 oz

Introduction to the Xotica BX-1:

Xotica BX-1

Around 2008 Xotica Guitars began selling a series of custom built, wonderfully high-end guitar synthesizer controllers. These were hand-built, made in America guitars that had some of the nicest features, in a price range associated with some of the better import guitars.

Among the typical features found on Xotica guitars were locking Sperzel locking tuners, Buzz Fieten tuning system, Hip Shot Baby Grand bridge, and some really nice woods, including Honduras Mahogany, Bubinga, Cocobolo and Kewazinga. The early guitars used the Roland GK-3 system, then later they switched to the Graph Tech Ghost system.

The BX-1 was one of the first guitars produced by Xotica. Who was Xotica? By my investigations, there were a side project of H.E. Designs, based in Kenosha Wisconsin. H. E. Designs was in the custom cabinet business. This makes plenty of sense, they have to tools and experience to make custom furniture, and they could apply their skills to guitars as well.

For a time, H. E. Designs hosted a website that listed a number of products, Michael Kelly guitars, Ztar controllers, Axon Pitch-to-MIDI guitar processors, Graph Tech Ghost pickups, Muse Receptors, and a variety of music based software products as well. H. E. Designs was also a factory authorized service center for B. C. Rich guitasr and Floyd Rose.

When I exchanged emails with Xotica, I worked with "Fin." They had a variety of websites, none of which are currently online at this time:, and This is the address and contact information that I have: H.E.Designs Inc., 3919 13th Ave. Kenosha WI. Phone: 262-658-8011. Email:

Links to more information:


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01 - Xotica BX-1 Roland Ready Guitar Synthesizer Controller

The video focuses on the build quality and features of the BX-1: Solid Honduras Mahogany body and neck.

Rosewood fretboard with 1 5/8" BFTS machined bone nut. Sperzel locking tuners and Hipshot Baby Grand Bridge.

Several video segments demonstrate the outstanding sound qualities of the BX-1 and its Rockfield SWC Select Wound Custom humbucking pickups with coil splitting operation. In both humbucker and single coil operation, the BX-1 offers a huge range of sounds and tones.

02 - Xotica BX-1 Various Demos

I have used this guitar as my go-to GK-3 test demo guitar. The video clip here is a collection of various demos using the BX-1. The first clip shows the BX-1 with a Roland GI-20, demonstrating the hold modes of the GI-20. The GK-3 pickup drives the GI-20, and the BX-1 Rockfield pickups are being played through a Roland VG-88.

In the next clip I'm using the BX-1 with a RC-1324-VX to play both a VG-99 and a vintage Roland GR-300 at the same time. In the final clip, I'm playing three synths at the same time, a Roland VG-99, GR-300 and GR-700. The RC-1324-VX is used to convert the 13 pin output to 24-pin.

03 - Roland VG-99 Freeze Effect Assign to GK S1 (Tutorial with VG-99 and Xotica BX-1)

Every memorable synthesizer I can think of ships with at least one signature sound, or effect, that really stands out and helps to define the instrument. For me, VG-99 factory patch 209, freeze plus lead, is one of the top five sounds that set the VG-99 apart from any guitar synthesizer I had ever used before.

This video clip is a step-by-step tutorial on how to assign the freeze effect on/off switch can be assigned to any switch or controller.

04 - Reaktor 5.0 Simple Guitar Synth - Rockfield Pickps

I was inspired by a Moog Freq Pedal demo, using vintage analog oscillator hard synch to drive a software synthesizer.

I am not using the 13-pin Roland GK-3 pickup. Instead the 1/4" output from the Rockfield pickups is plugged into a MOTU 2408, and the pickup is used to directly drive the Reaktor soft synth.

I programmed the Reaktor patch myself, and it is available as a free download at the Native Instruments Reaktor user library for registered users.

05 - Xotica BX-1 with Roland SIP-300 Guitar Preamp

Vintage Roland SIP-300 guitar preamp played with the Xotica BX-1.