- Do-It-Yourself DIY Roland and Ibanez Guitar Synthesizer Control Panel Overlays
- The summer NAMM 1985 show was the year when MIDI became accepted as a standard across the industry, and guitar manufacturers unleased a variety of MIDI guitar products not seen since. From Roland to Steinberger to Ibanez to the ultra rare Octave-Plateau Voyetra MIDI guitar, MIDI was everywhere.
- Detailed information on the vintage IBM-PC music production software from Voyetra. Voyetra is the same company that produced the Kat and Kitten analog synthesiers, the ground-breaking Voyetra Eight polyphonic analog synthesizer, and the ultra rare Octave-Plateau Voyetra MIDI guitar.
- WBRA Public Television Music Video featuring Wayne Joness using Voyetra Sequencer Plus - Live Performance.
- Vintage Interview with Jazz Fusion pioneer John McLaughlin about using the Roland G-303 guitar synth controller and the New England Digital Synclavier with Digital Guitar Option
- Details on the amazing Synclavier II Digital Guitar
- East Side West Side by John McLaughlin From the Album Mahavishnu - Transcribed by Steve Vai.
- Vintage 1980 Full Page Roland G-808 Advertisement featuring Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake) - Who knew? Hard rock icon Bernie Marsden with a Roland G-808!
- Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul "Studio Custom" Roland Ready Synthesizer Controller Update
More pictures on the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Roland Ready Synthesizer Controller page, plus an update on the number of models built.
- Musico Resynator | Hexsynator - 1980s Pitch and Envelope Tracking Synthesizer with Roland 24-pin Guitar Synthesizer Input - Detailed photo gallery from November 2017 fundraiser at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA.
- Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul "Studio Custom" Roland Ready Synthesizer Controller
Beyond the standard Roland offerings in the G-X0X series, there are vintage 24-pin Roland-Ready guitars for just about every niche: the Hard Rock Hamer A7, the traditional player's Zion Strat, or the cutting edge Steinberger GL-2T/GR.
But the classic, eternal, "Cadillac" of the series has got to be the Limited Edition 1985 Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul with the Roland LPK-1 Electronics. Every guitar was the product of Gibson's acclaimed Custom Shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo made Gibson Les Pauls have been called the 'Holy Grail' of electric guitars. These vintage guitars combine all the craft and musicality with the feature-rich Roland LPK-1 electronics package, the same electronics found in the G-303 or G-808 guitars.
- Jazz and the GR-50! Acclaimed Jazz Guitarist Brad Rabuchin rocks the Roland GR-50 in this track 39 Steps: A Spacewalk. This is Space Station MIR, a collaboration with Flugelhorn Horn genius and composer Michael Wetherwax, with Wayne Joness on keyboards and programming. Watch Now on YouTube.
- BX-13 Micro Schematics Yes! At long last! The final schematic for the BX-13 Micro is available on the website! This design incorporates a VCA (voltage controlled amplifier) with an option to select either guitar or hex fuzz as the guitar signal, plus using controller 2 (resonance) as secondary control source acting as a EV-5 pedal.
- At long last the Vintage Roland Guitar Synthesizer Resource site has a full profile on the Steinberger GL-2T/GR Guitar Synthesizer Controller, with unseen schematics, photos and video, with additional information on the GL-3T/GR and GL-4T/GR.
- Musico Resynator | Hexsynator - 1980s Pitch and Envelope Tracking Synthesizer with Roland 24-pin Guitar Synthesizer Input.
- Korg Z3 Patch Editor Adaption for the Korg Z3 - Thanks to Korg Z3 user David for this free software download.
- GS-500 Video Playlist featuring Terje Rypdal - Luc Bertels hipped me to videos of Terje Rypdal using the Roland GR-500 and GS-500.
- Roland GR-700 and GR-77B AB-700 Case - Image gallery with 12 photos of the rare official Roland factory road case.
- Xotica EA-1 with Roland Ready Guitar Graph Tech Ghost Pickups - Detailed information on this very rare, Rland ready 13-pin Acoustic/Electric Roland guitar synthesizer controller.
- Factory Blue Roland GS-500 - Last year while visiting Japan I stumbled upon a factory BLUE Roland GS-500 in a Tokyo music store! Check out the exclusive photos published for the first time.
- Sounds of the GR-77B! New video posted featuring a layered bass combination of the Roland MKS-70 (same sound engine as the GR-77B) and the GR-77B.
- Pat Metheny Extended Interview - I tracked down the original Guitarist Magazine, May 1985, and have posted the complete interview with Pat Metheny. The previous interview was an abbreviated version.
- GR-300 Synthcheck - A detailed 2000 word review from "The Complete Music Magazine", dated November 1980
- Gibson Explorer - Finally! A home for one of the rarer custom Gibson vintage Roland guitar synth controllers
- Jimmy Page - Vintage 1985 magazine ad featuring the guitar legend and his G-707/GR-700 rig!
- LPK-1 Installation Diagram thanks to John Doucette for emailing the scans.
- GK-20 Schematic - 13-pin Guitar Switcher, Schematic ready for download
- Filter/Buffer Schematic - Schematic ready for download.
- Roland GR-700 and GR-77B Updates: From the Roland User Group Archives, a complete MIDI guitar and MIDI bass system profile!
- Roland GR-77B Updates: Finally! The Roland GR-77B and G-77 pages have been updated. Be sure to check out the G-77 page as well.
- Vintage Roland G-505 and GR-300 combination magazine advertisement.
- GR-700 One Step Beyond!: From the 1985 Roland User Group Magazine
- GR-700 4x Memory Expansion!: Easy to do, super DIY Memory Expansion!
- Ibanez IMG2010 and MC1: Updated! High-Res Brochure from 1985
- G-707 Steve Hunter: Vintage Product Review from 1985, Part 2!
- G-707 Steve Hunter: Vintage Product Review from 1985, Part 1
- GR-500 Steve Hackett: Vintage Product Review from 1978!
- GR-500 Patch Sheet: Original Blank Patch Sheet
- GR-500 - Solo Voice Tuning : Adendum on Tuning the Solo Section
- GR-300 Filter Mod: LFO to Filter Modification
- GR-300 Output Mod: Increase the output of your GR-300!
- GR-55 Schematics, Service Notes: Full factory service notes for the Roland GR-55
- Ibanez MIU8: Specs, photos, details on the rarest of rare!
- MIU8 Schematics: Schematics and Service Manual (pdf)!
- Korg Z3 Product Page: From early Product catalog!
- Hamer A7 Guitar: Added to the guitar pages, a tribute to the Hamer Phantom A7! Tubo Lover rocks!
- GR-500 24-pin Connector Change: Documentation of the change from the original, pin-type C24 connector to the much more common C24 positive (locking frame) connector.
While the vintage Roland guitar synthesizer controllers have held up really well, the control panel overlays are often missing, tattered or torn. My goal was to come up with a modern replacement for the vintage overlays to give these vintage instruments a factory-fresh look. Over a period of years I was able to scan in most of the control panel overlays for the different model guitars. Once I had the images scanned in, I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to try to reproduce the overlay elements. Below are my notes on the process, plus images and links to pdfs you can download to work on creating your own.
After trying various materials for the overlays, I found the best material to be acetate, which I believe is the same material used to produce the original overlays. It looks like the originals were printed using a silk-screening process, but I had no way to reproduce this. Fortunately, the local "Fast Signs" print shop where I live has an "Edge Printer", which does a thermal transfer from a colored film to the acetate. This worked out really, really well, creating an overlay that looks like the original, with very durable printing. This is the same process I used for making control panels for my various processors. The pdfs that I provided to"Fast Signs" had to be imported and edited, removing my guidelines while keeping the text and critical graphics.
I discovered that by far the toughest part was cutting the holes in the acetate. I tried at least a half dozen approaches. The acetate was too resilient to work with the automated cutting machines at the print shop, designed to work with paper, vinyl, etc. I tried various die-cutting processes, none of which worked well. The acetate tended to bend and deform before cutting. Finally, I just went to cutting the holes out by hand. You can watch the four brief videos below that show me working through the process. I used a razor knife, metal straight edge, and cuticle scissors.
The color selection is pretty simple: for the most part the overlays are made with either white, or black, printing on clear acetate. However, most notably with the Roland G-303, the overlay is printed with yellow. I tried just plain yellow, but the final product looked a little more gold than yellow. I had success by printing the same overlay twice, once with a white base, then printing immediately over the same piece of acetate with the yellow. The white base made for a much stronger yellow color.
Unfortunately, I am not longer making or selling these overlays, but I am providing links to the pdf files I used. I was printing these years ago, so perhaps there is a new process better than the "edge print acetate" process I used.