November 2019
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Switch Vibracell Wild IV Roland Ready MIDI Guitar

Switch Vibracell Wild IV Roland Ready MIDI Guitar

Features and Specifications:

  • Body: Vibracell
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 22
  • Finish: Black Firemist, Red
  • Tuning machines: Grover Rotomatics
  • Pickups: Two Switch Red Hot humbuckers
  • Scale:24 3/4"
  • Truss Rod: Single, Adjustable
  • Neck Width: 1 11/16"
  • Body Width: 11 5/8"
  • Body Depth: 2"
  • Overall Length: 36 1/2"
  • Weight: 7 lbs 9 oz
  • List Price: $599
Switch Music Company Logo

Introduction to the Switch Vibracell Wild-IV Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar:

Switch Guitars emerged on the scene with an appearance at the 2004 NAMM show, introducing the world to brightly colored injection molded guitars made from a patented material called 'Vibracell', a polyurethane resin-based synthetic material. At first glance, these appeared to be all 'plastic' guitars that were marketed to be on an equal footing with vintage instruments due to their advanced construction methods. But rather than being expensive boutique guitars, they were also very affordable, perhaps creating the impression of an over-hyped product that was just too good to be true.

Consider these words of wisdom from the Switch Catalog:

"Vibracell is considered one of the few, if not the only, major breakthrough in the creation of musical instruments today. Since the beginning of time change has been inevitable. However, change would never be a consideration if there were never a question of need or improvement."

A check of the archived website shows they certainly had a large number of metal guitarists who were endorsees of these new guitars, including guitarist Robert Sweet and bassist Tim Gaines of the American Christian metal band Stryper and Tim "Ripper" Owens, one time lead singer of the British metal band Judas Priest, and most notably Lou St. Paul of Winter's Bane who did a video clip playing and endorsing Switch Guitars. But it seems the public at large did not share the enthusiasm.

Switch Guitars Artist Endorsees
Switch Endorsees from 2006 Website

The company also introduced a number of Roland-Ready guitars, equipped with the Roland GK-2A electronics package installed internally, and in 2007 offered the 'Stealth' line, which was much more subdued than the original guitars, with more of a satin finish. By late 2007/early 2008 the company was folding up operations, and there were many blowout sales on the remaining inventory.

Most people who have owned and played a Switch guitar report them to be really excellent instruments. Time and time again guitar players have shown themselves to be very conservative when it comes to guitar construction, and reluctant to embrace anything not based on a fifty year old design. The example featured on this page, a Roland-Ready Wild-IV, is a pretty great guitar, and the integration of the Roland GK-2A pickup into the body is second to none.

Links to more information and Downloads:

Photos - Black Firemist:

Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar Switch Vibracell Wild IV Midi Roland ready Guitar
Click on image for larger view

Switch Vibracell Roland-Ready Guitars:

Switch Vibracell Innovo III Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar

INNOVO-III MIDI

Quality craftsmanship includes Switch's signature VIBRACELL® 3-D shaped neck-thru-body, which provides warm tone and great feel. Cool chrome SWITCH logo on headstock with Grover tuning machines.

The Innovo-III MIDI ready provides the player the Ultimate feature packed Vibracell guitar. Standard features include Locking Grover tuners, Wilkinson VS50K Tremolo Systems and much more.

The Innovo-III and the entire Innovo series brings the player a body style designed not only for multiple pickup configurations but as the flagship body style for Vibracell performance. The Innovo-III features a direct string pull six on a side headstock fitted with Locking Grover tuning machines. Dual single coil pickups and a Red Hot (Ceramic) humbucking pickup are controlled with a five-way pickup selector and a single volume and tone control. The Wilkinson VS-50K tremolo has been selected for all Innovo models. 22 fret, 25 ½ inch scale one piece 3D Vibracell body and neck with Rosewood fingerboard.

List Price: $669.00

Black Firemist - Blue Firemist

Sku: f2innovo3midi

  • Vibracell® neck-thru-body
  • 2 Switch designed single coil pickups
  • 1 Switch designed humbucker
  • Roland GK-2A MIDI ready pickup
  • Wilkinson VS-50K tremolo
  • Chrome hardware
  • Grover locking tuners
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 5-way lever switch
  • 3-way mini switch for MIDI / blend / humbucker
  • Up & down switch to control MIDI
  • 13 pin MIDI ready output & 1/4" input jack
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 1 Tone control
  • Scale: 25 1/2"
  • Neck width @ nut: 1 11/16"
  • 22 frets

Switch Vibracell Innovo IV Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar

INNOVO-IV MIDI

Quality craftsmanship includes Switch's signature VIBRACELL® 3-D shaped neck-thru-body, which provides warm tone and great feel. Cool chrome SWITCH logo on headstock with Grover tuning machines.

The Innovo-IV Midi ready provides the player the Ultimate feature packed Vibracell guitar. Standard features include Locking Grover tuners, Wilkinson VS50K Tremolo Systems and much more.

The Innovo-IV Custom features a three on a side headstock with Locking Grover tuning machines, chrome hardware and a Rosewood neck with white faux pearl crown inlays. A Cool Blue (Alnico II) humbucking pickup in the neck position and a Stinger (Alnico V) humbucking in the bridge position deliver the power and performance one can only experience with Vibracell

List Price: $669.00

Black Firemist - Purple Firemist

Sku: f3innovo4midi1

  • Vibracell® neck-thru-body
  • 2 Switch designed humbucker pickups
  • Roland GK-2A MIDI ready pickup
  • Wilkinson VS-50K tremolo
  • Chrome hardware
  • Grover locking tuners
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 3-way toggle switch
  • 3-way mini switch for MIDI / blend / humbucker
  • Up & down switch to control MIDI
  • 13 pin MIDI ready output & 1/4" input jack
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 1 Tone control
  • Scale: 25 1/2"
  • Neck width @ nut: 1 11/16"
  • 22 Frets
Switch Vibracell Wild I Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar

WILD-I MIDI

Vibracell Technology in its purest form. A straight ahead no frills string through body design with Grover tuning machines, premium pickups, and hardware. Balance, Sustain and lightning fast high performance.

Quality craftsmanship includes Switch's signature VIBRACELL® 3-D shaped neck-thru-body, which provides warm tone and great feel. Cool chrome SWITCH logo on headstock with Grover tuning machines.

List Price: $499.00

Black - Red

Sku: a2wild1midi

  • Vibracell® neck-thru-body
  • 1 Switch designed humbucking pickup
  • Roland GK-2A MIDI ready pickup
  • Fixed bridge
  • Black hardware
  • Grover tuners
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 3-way mini switch for MIDI / blend / humbucker
  • Coil tap mini switch
  • Up & down switch to control MIDI
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 13 pin MIDI ready output & 1/4" input jack
  • Scale: 24 3/4"
  • Neck width @ nut: 1 11/16"
  • 22 Frets
Switch Vibracell Wild IV Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar

WILD-IV MIDI

The Wild-IV Midi ready delivers all the standard Wild IV features combined with the Roland GK-Series Midi pickup. A three-way mini switch selects MIDI, Blend, Humbucking plus an up & down switch for MIDI and dual volume controls for the humbucking pickups. The standard three way pickup toggle selector remains active for pickup selection. A 13 pin MIDI ready output & a ¼ inch input jack are standard.

The Wild-IV is a straight forward no frills instrument built with all premium hardware and electronics. Dual Humbucking Red Hot (Ceramic) pickups in both neck & bridge position. A string through fixed bridge combined with the straight string pull designed Three on a Side headstock with Grover tuning machines provides superior string tension. One piece 3D Vibracell body and neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. Wild color selections.

List Price: $599.00

Black Firemist - Red

  • Vibracell® neck-thru-body
  • 2 Switch Humbucking Red Hot (Ceramic)
  • Roland GK-2A MIDI ready pickup
  • Fixed bridge
  • Black hardware
  • Grover tuners
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 3-way mini switch for MIDI / blend / humbucker
  • Coil tap mini switch
  • Up & down switch to control MIDI
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 13 pin MIDI ready output & 1/4" input jack
  • Scale: 24 3/4"
  • Neck width @ nut: 1 11/16"
  • 22 Frets
Switch Vibracell Ultima IV I Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar

ULTIMA-IV MIDI

Quality craftsmanship includes Switch's signature VIBRACELL® 3-D shaped neck-thru-body, which provides warm tone and great feel. Cool chrome SWITCH logo on headstock with Grover tuning machines.

The Ultima-IV is not only unique in design but extremely versatile from the studio to the stage. Dual humbucking pickups (Cool Blue, Neck) (Red Hot, Bridge) a three-way pickup selector and dual coil taps bring extreme sound options. The exclusive string through body design with a tune-o-matic bridge, combined with the Grover fitted six on a side headstock is the ultimate in straight on direct tension string pull. An Ebonite fingerboard with faux mother of pearl and abalone inlays create a stunning look. Vibracell tops off the sound. Available in Black Firemist, Blue Firemist. 22 Frets 25 ½ inch Scale.

List Price: $579.00

Black Firemist - Blue Firemist

Sku: d4ultima4a

  • Vibracell® neck-thru-body
  • 2 Switch designed humbuckers
  • Roland GK-2A MIDI ready pickup
  • Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Strings thru body
  • Chrome hardware
  • Grover tuners
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 3-way toggle switch
  • 3-way mini switch for MIDI / blend / humbucker
  • Up & down switch to control MIDI
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 1 Tone control
  • 13 pin MIDI ready output & 1/4" input jack
  • Scale: 25 1/2"
  • Neck width @ nut: 1 11/16"
  • 22 Frets
Switch Vibracell Futur IV I Roland-Ready MIDI Guitar

FUTUR-IV

Quality craftsmanship includes Switch's signature VIBRACELL® 3-D shaped neck-thru-body, which provides warm tone and great feel. Cool chrome SWITCH logo on headstock with Grover tuning machines.

List Price: $729.00

Black Firemist - Blue Firemist

Sku: g3futur4midi

  • Vibracell® neck-thru-body
  • 2 Switch designed humbucker pickups
  • Roland GK-2A MIDI ready pickup
  • Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Chrome hardware
  • Grover tuners
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 3-way toggle switch
  • 3-way mini switch for MIDI / blend / humbucker
  • Up & down switch to control MIDI
  • 13 pin MIDI ready output & 1/4" input jack
  • 2 Volume controls
  • 1 Tone control
  • Scale: 25 1/2"
  • Neck width @ nut: 1 11/16"
  • 22 frets

Most of this information is available thanks to the mighty Wayback Machine (web.archove.org). I found archived snap shots of the domain 'switchmusic.com' from the years 2002 to 2008. The archived page from 2011 shows that the domain is up for sale, and currently parked at GoDaddy. As such, over the period of time some of the pricing and details of these guitars may have changed a bit. I tried to be as inclusive as possible.

Review: Switch Vibracell WILD-IV MIDI Guitar

Videos:

2004 Catalog Images:

Switch Vibracell Guitar Catalog - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Catalog - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Catalog - 2004

Click on any image for larger view.
These images were originally posted on the VGuitar Forum by Tony Raven on October 8, 2015

2005 Catalog Image:

Switch Vibracell Guitar Catalog - 2005

Click on image for larger view.

Why Switch to a Vibracell Guitar

Simple to radical ideas throughout time have inspired passion to develop new and better technology. It has been our vision and passion to bring to the market stringed musical instruments that are not only superior in quality but to produce these instruments in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. After more than ten years in development this vision has become a reality with the creation of Vibracell Technology.

In order to understand this exclusive patented technology one must have a basic understanding of how traditional stringed instruments are currently designed and manufactured.

Traditional wooden guitars and basses can be produced from a number of different types of woods or combinations of wood. It is the selection of the type of wood that will give the instrument its character. Not all woods are created equal nor are two pieces of wood exactly alike. Another factor to consider when selecting the wood is the cost. Good quality woods simply cost more and are no longer in abundant supply. The wood for guitar bodies is not the only consideration, woods for the necks and fingerboards are equally as important. Different types of wood used for fingerboards and necks will transfer energy at different speeds and intensity.

Now, imagine for a moment that you could give the guitar designer a piece of wood with the exact density to deliver ultimate vibration and frequency. Imagine a piece of wood that can be styled and shaped and also have a perfect balanced weight. Imagine a finger board that could deliver energy to the guitar body faster than traditional wood. And consider the cost for a guitar or bass guitar with a neck and body made as one piece. Wouldn't this be the ultimate neck-thru body? Are these ideas to far out in the future?

Vibracell is a patented process of completely molding both electric and bass guitars including the neck and headstock, from the patented Switch Vibracell material creating an instrument with precise harmonic resonance and sound frequency. Vibracell allows the entire instrument to be created as a whole with complete control of neck, body weight and density by controlling the internal cells. With the ability to control the cells we can effectively tune the body and neck to exceed the characteristics and response of those instruments made from the best available woods in the world. Additionally, Vibracell has the pure strength to withstand extreme temperature changes that affect traditional wooden bodies and necks.

The ability to control the cells density allows the neck to be formed with the body as one piece. Vibracell allows a true one piece neck-through design that eliminates the gluing of two half bodies to the neck. The one piece neck-thru body approach allows for energy to be transmitted through the entire body not only with extreme efficiency, but at a higher rate of speed ultimately delivering pure sustain and clarity.

Vibracell technology allows the instrument to be created equally, time and time again without variances in sound due to the variances in wood.

Vibracell models are offered with traditional Rosewood fingerboard and our proprietary Ebonite fingerboard. Ebonite provides the bold rich smooth warm sound of ebony along with the punch of hard rock maple. Ebonite transfers the energy from the neck to the body at an extreme high rate of speed and intensity resulting in superior crystal clear harmonics and extraordinary sustain.

Vibracell is considered one of the few, if not the only, major breakthrough in the creation of musical instruments today. Since the beginning of time change has been inevitable. However, change would never be a consideration if there were never a question of need or improvement.

Vibracell® offers that improvement and the need to Switch.

From the 2005 Switch Guitar Catalog

Advertising:

Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004
Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004
Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004 Switch Vibracell Guitar Advertising - 2004

Click on any image for larger view.

Repairs:

When I got this guitar Vibracell Switch Wild 1 MIDI guitar, I noticed that the normal volume control did not work with the guitar signal sent through the 13-pin cable, the normal guitar pickup signal was always at the same volume, however, the three position guitar/guitar+synth/synth switch did work. Furthermore, the guitar signal received by the synth, in this case a VG-99, very was muted, lacking any top end.

If I plugged a cable from the 1/4" jack on the guitar, and plugged that into the guitar input of the VG-99, the sound was great.

The first thing I did was remove the back panel and inspect the electronics, but everything looked perfect, very tidy, with no sign of tampering, however I did notice that nothing was plugged into the connecting point on the GK electronics card used for the normal pickup.

So what was going on? How was I getting the normal guitar sound with nothing plugged in?

Well, I digged a little deeper and discovered a wire leading from the output of the pickup selector switch soldered to the three position guitar/guitar+synth/synth switch. Well, technically not leading directly, as the output of the pickup selector switch was soldered to the outside lug of the volume pot, and this is where a wire was soldered that lead to the three position switch.

This explained everything. Because the wire was not attached to the center lug, or wiper, of the normal pickup volume pot, the normal pickup volume pot did nothing. Now, the installer could have moved the wire to the center lug, or wiper, but this is also what the 1/4" output on the guitar is attached to, so if you were using the guitar as a normal guitar, and happened to hit the three position switch, your guitar signal was dead.

So, instead the wire was attached to the output of the pickup switch. This makes sense, as that pole on three position switch is connected to the line that sends the normal guitar signal to the attached synth, and that is how I was hearing the guitar sound. But the receiving synth expects a buffered signal, not the direct output from the pickup, and this impedance mismatch what resulted in the muted, dull sound at the synth.

This is the same problem GR-55 owners faced, when they found out the GR-55 did not have a normal guitar input. You could hack a 1/4" input onto the 13-pin jack, but the sound was flat without any top end. I used to make a box called the 'Filter/Buffer' that directly addressed this for GR-55 owners.

Anyway, to fix this for the Switch guitar, I was lucky enough to have a connector in my GK parts box. I wired this to the 1/4" output, and snipped the wire leading to the lug on the guitar pot. Everything now works great, and the sound from the Switch humbuckers is pretty awesome.

So if you find yourself in the same spot, I suggest contacting the Roland service department. I did this several years ago, and I believe they had a 'GK Connect' kit that include many of the cables and connectors need to hook these elements together, without paying for an entire GK kit.