Roland GR-55 makes your guitar the whole band

Roland has outed its latest synth, though you won't find a keyboard attached. The Roland GR-55 is a guitar synthesizer, coupling PCM synthesis with digital instrument modeling to allow guitarists to play pianos, organs, strings, vintage and modern synths, percussion and more with their instrument, as well as audio sample playback, guitar modelling and effects.

In fact, there are three synth engines in the GR-55, two loaded with over 900 sound samples and a third using Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM) taken from Roland's previous VG-99 V-Guitar System. They can all be combined – along with the original input – and run through either Roland's presets or custom setups, along with effects and USB connectivity to a DAW.

Unfortunately the ability to stage a group performance from a single guitar doesn't come cheap. The Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer is priced at $979, or $1,199 if you don't already have a GK-3 Divided Pickup.

Press Release:


Breakthrough Product Fuses PCM Synthesis and COSM Modeling

Los Angeles, CA, March 10, 2011 — Roland is extremely proud to announce the release of the GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer, a revolutionary new product from the world's undisputed leader in guitar synthesis technology. Combining PCM synthesis with digital instrument modeling from the respected VG-99 V-Guitar System, the GR-55 represents Roland's latest advances in guitar synthesis, offering playability, features, and sound quality that far surpasses the capabilities of previous generations of guitar synthesizers.

The GR-55 is the pinnacle of Roland's exhaustive efforts in the field of guitar synthesis over the last 35 years. In 1977, the company created the GR-500, the world's first guitar synthesizer. This milestone product ushered in a new era of guitar expression, allowing guitarists to play an entire palette of sounds that were previously available only to keyboard players. Since then, Roland has remained steadfastly dedicated to guitar synthesis, constantly developing and improving the technology to make it accessible and easy to use for all guitarists.

Driven by Roland's newest proprietary digital processing technology, the GR-55 delivers lightning-fast tracking performance and previously impossible sound-making capabilities. It features two independent synthesizer sound engines, each loaded with over 900 of Roland's latest sounds, including pianos, organs, strings, vintage and modern synths, percussion, and many more. A third sound engine is driven by Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM®), the guitar modeling technology behind Roland's famous VG-99 V-Guitar System. With COSM, the GR-55 can emulate electric and acoustic guitars, basses, and other instruments, as well as guitar and bass amplifiers.

The GR-55 allows players to combine all three sound engines plus their guitar's normal input to create any sound from the familiar to the original. Two independent multi-effects processors are available for a huge array of tone-shaping options, plus global reverb, chorus, delay effects and EQ to add final sweetening to any sound.

The GR-55 puts guitarists instantly in touch with a huge library of sounds, with no editing required. The onboard lineup of ready-to-use presets, from pop to rock and beyond, takes the pain out of the process with quick-access category buttons. Creating and editing sounds is a breeze with the large LCD display, simple front panel, and intuitive EZ Edit features. Also, onboard is a phrase looper that lets players capture on-the-fly recordings with unlimited sound-on-sound overdubs.

The GR-55 features a USB song player that lets users trigger WAV files on a USB flash drive using the onboard pedals. The GR-55 also functions as an audio and MIDI interface for computers, with a rear-panel USB 2.0 port for a quick and easy connection. Users can easily integrate with their favorite digital audio workstation software, recording GR-55 sounds as audio in the DAW and using the GR-55's super-fast pitch-to-MIDI capabilities to trigger MIDI sounds such as virtual synths and samplers with their guitar.

The GR-55 is equipped with Roland's industry-standard 13-pin GK interface, and includes a Roland GK-3 divide pickup (GR-55GK model; also available without the pickup as GR-55S). The GK-3 can be easily installed on most steel string guitars with no modification to the instrument. In addition, many different GK-ready instruments are commercially available from various top guitar manufacturers.

The GR-55 is now shipping with an MSRP of $979.00, or $1,199.00 with a GK-3 Divided Pickup included.