Tag: effects

Roland G5 V-Guitar Review: Fender Stratocaster with Built-In Modeling

Two giants of music have teamed up to create what could be one of the most innovative electric guitar creations: the G-5 V-Guitar. In one hand, Roland takes its legendary COSM guitar modeling technology and integrates it into a traditional Fender Stratocaster. Signaling the on-board VG engine through a separate pickup, the the G-5 can instantly go from a sounding like a 12-string electric guitar to an exotic sitar or even a Telecaster all with the flip or turn of a knob. Nonetheless, two good things combined don’t always yield an equally good or greater result and it is this logic that often leaves consumers wondering  whether the mash-up is worth the trouble or the price. In an attempt to clarify some of the questions and skepticism surrounding the Roland G5 V-Guitar, we will review and evaluate its various features and characteristics.

What Makes it Different?

Conceptually, the idea is alluring: What could be better for a modern musician than stuffing an array of effects directly into a guitar all while making toggling through various options simple and even intuitive. While the idea for an effects laden guitar has surely been a fantasy of many musicians for years, it takes an advanced degree of technical sophistication to successfully materialize such a dream. Although the Fender/Roland mash up hasn’t been the first attempt at integrating a variety of effects into a single guitar, it is one of the best executed.

The Separate Roland Pickup and Controls

The greatest distinction between the G5 and other electric guitars with on-board effects, is the superior build quality of the instrument itself and the approach of the on-board processors. The G5 is a comfortable, full quality Fender Stratocaster and gives players everything they have come to expect from the manufacturer. Moreover, the technology behind the G-5 is impressively well developed and features Roland’s revered COSM technology. The divided pickup individually signals each string to the VG engine while allowing the 3 single-coil pickups to work their magic.

Unlike other guitars with on-board processors that attempt to give musicians an array of effects such as various distortions, reverbs, and phasing. Instead of focusing on effects, the G-5 gives users different instruments making this particular guitar far more musical. The G-5 won’t give you all of the flashy effects, but it will give you what essentially amounts to at least 6 different guitars including a Standard Stratocaster, a Modeled Stratocaster, a Telecaster, Humbucking Pickups, Steel String Acoustic, Twelve-String Guitar, Nylon String Guitar and a Sitar (an anachronism I’m still trying to make sense of).

The benefit of modeling different guitars and instruments is that the tones can then be run through individual effects pedals or boards than individuals can tailor to their own liking. This option allows musicians to explore different tones rather than being stuck with a single guitar that may not sound great but has a ton of preset effects. Essentially, the G-5 is like buying a house with multiple rooms, each of which can be used and decorated differently, over buying a single bedroom apartment decorated with different wallpapers chosen by your landlord.

Are Two Heads Really Better than One?

The V-Guitar G-5is an instrument that will spark the desire of some and ignite repugnance in others. Those predisposed to feel the latter sentiment are likely to be guitar purists. Their argument will often claim that no amount of modeling will ever capture the true sound of a Telecaster or a 12-string. To their credit, it is true that modeling can only hope to approximate the sound of a dedicated Telecaster or 12-string but to compare an

approximation to the real thing is an unfair comparison at the onset. Viewed on its own terms and compared to other on-board modeling devices, the Roland COSM engine does (for the most part) convincingly well. Overall I could imagine the Roland G-5 V-Guitar as the ideal studio guitarist on a budget. With its broad range of tones and instant tuning options, this will prove to be a versatile, useful, and entertaining instrument.


Favorite Boss Effects Pedals

Few other musical instruments have the allure and mystique of the electric guitar. Since its electrification and early use in the late 40’s by innovators like T-Bone Walker and Les Paul, the electric guitar, with its broad range of tonal and stylistic possibilities, has defined the careers of hundreds of musicians and the distinct sound of generations. For modern guitarists, the legendary sounds of the past are made available at the stomp of a box. Among my personal favorite Boss effects pedals are the Boss 63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver, and the RC-3 Loop Station. Whether used in combination, individually, or with other effects pedals, these three are sure to allow your creativity to explore new territories.

’63 Fender Reverb

My foremost favorite of these pedals is the ’63 Fender Reverbwhich accurately and convincingly captures the legendary tone of a vintage Fender spring reverb amp. Whether you are trying to go for a vintage country twang, classic surf-style riffs, or a warm and nuanced tone, the ’63 Fender Reverb offers an authentically reproduced tube amp sound.

Classic Fender Tube Amp Reverb

For those daring to push the boundaries, the ’63 Fender Reverb is open to experimentation and works well with other pedals for a completely personalized sound. My favorite way to use this pedal is by adding a little overdrive, rolling the tone about 75% and then kicking the Mixer and Dwell settings back to less than 50%. With your guitar at its neck pickup with the volume all the way up, this setting gives the guitar a bright and ringing character with a plenty of bite and attitude. Overall, this pedal delivers a great blend of vintage tones with the versatility to be used with other effects and styles for broad experimentation. For a pedal offering overdrive with the a similar tube amp sound signature, the solution may be none other than the famous Boss Blues Driver

A Boss Classic: The Blues Driver

You don’t have to have the blues to enjoy the range and tube-like overdrive of this reliable and tested pedal.  While the Blues Driverwill certainly deliver the traditional blues tones reminiscent of players like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy, this effects pedal can also deliver rich and refined warm tones. Perhaps most notably, the Blues Driver can deliver a tone that is full of mellow warmth with enough gain to remain punchy and full of attitude. Like the ’63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver is versatile enough for experimentation and will fit well with just about any genre or musical vision. My personal favorite way to use this pedal is in trying to emulate the mellow and over-driven style of B.B. King that can go from sounding clean to biting in seconds.

RC-3 Loop Station

Lastly, the RC-3 Loop Station offers perhaps the most versatility and the best use as a device for experimentation. With 99 separate on-board memory banks, the Loop Station has enough capacity to store tons of riffs and jam tracks. Moreover, the Loop Station affords users up to 3 hours of recording time for even the most intense and epic jam or recording sessions. Aside from its immense capacity, the Loop Station can be used to layer different recorded tracks allowing you to build harmonically rich tracks. While I use the RC-3 for practice and for layer tracks as mentioned earlier, the RC-3 can be used for just about any musical idea you may have. Plenty of artists use the RC-3 to create thick and complex atmospheres using various other effects.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Each of these pedals offer you a little piece of music history and allows you to mix and combine them into something totally new and personal: the ’63 Fender Reverb can take you back to the early days of rock-n-roll, or drive you to new and hypnotic sounds; the Blues Drivers will let you tap into raw energy or smooth things out, while the Loop Station can take you just about anywhere. Whatever your musical tastes or ideals, these stomp boxes can do it all.


Roland R-05: Handheld Recorder for Musicians, Engineers & More

Roland R-05
The Roland R-05 field recorder has arrived at Sonic Electronix! This little darling packs a lot of great features in a small (read as “affordable”) package. It certainly defies those nasty old connotations behind the phrase, “You get what you pay for.” How would you like the ability to record audio at professional studio quality resolutions without the hassle of carting around a bunch of gear? The R-05 can record uncompressed WAV files at 24-bit/96kHz for just under an hour on the included 2 GB SD memory card.

Or, if you’d be satisfied with CD quality audio at 16-bit/44.1kHz, you can record up to 88 min. per GB: the length of several albums worth of material. You can even record both WAV and MP3 files, for quality and sharing purposes respectively, without the tedium of dumping the files onto your computer and converting them manually. Pretty convenient, eh?

What About The Musicians, Man?

This unit is packed with some real handy features for musicians. The R-05 comes with Looping and Speed Change features that can help vocalists and guitarists to practice by looping or slowing down pieces of audio without altering the pitch. You could conversely speed up the audio 150% to quickly skim through a song in order to start jamming as soon as possible.For the more eager (read as “impatient”) of us out there who want to start playing immediately, the R-05 has a feature called Rehearsal Mode that will automatically set an optimum recording level – no need to spend lots of time messing with input levels. With this convenient feature, there’s no need to worry about overloading the input(s) and ending up with a remarkably high-resolution recording that’s sadly distorted beyond recognition.


Did You Fall Asleep In Class AGAIN?


While certainly no substitute for a good night’s sleep or for the highly respectable behaviors of actually staying awake and paying attention in class, the R-05 can serve as a real handy backup study aid for students. Simply set the recording quality to 128 kbps MP3 (lectures don’t necessarily need to be recorded at astounding, crystal-clear quality, you know), and hit record. Backups like that can definitely be life savers, especially if you’re not too good at taking notes.After you’re done studying, feel free to give your left brain a rest, load up some tunes onto the memory card and rock out for the next 30+ hours or so. The R-05 has quite the extensive battery life – perfect for you insomniacs out there! Hey, if KISS could rock and roll all night, why shouldn’t you? Make sure to check out our handy list of optional accessories when you pick up your R-05!