A guitar/synthesizer (also guitar synthesizer, guitar/synth, g-synth, synth guitar, guitar-synth,or guitar synth) is any one of a number of musical instrument systems which allow a guitar player to play synthesizers. The guitar is a Musical instrument with ancient roots that is used in a wide variety of musical styles A guitarist is a Musician who plays the Guitar. Guitarists may perform solo pieces or play with ensembles and bands of a wide variety of genres While the term "MIDI guitar" is often used as a synonym for the field of guitar/synthesis or for a guitar/synthesizer, MIDI capabilities are not always used. MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface, ˈmɪdi is an industry-standard protocol that enables Electronic musical instruments Computers While most synthesizers use a keyboard interface to allow the performer to play the instrument, a range of input device can actuate them  Because synthesizers generate sounds electronically, theoretically . A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a Musical instrument, particularly the piano A guitar/synthesizer provides an interface which is familiar to a guitarist.
There are two main types: those which are regular electric guitars outfitted with additional electronic sensors which actuate a synthesizer, and those which are guitar-like MIDI controllers. MIDI controller is used in two senses In one sense a controller is hardware or software which generates and transmits MIDI data to MIDI-enabled devices Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Some manufacturers of effects units market guitar/synth pedals which make a guitar sound more like a synthesizer. Effects units are devices that affect the sound of an electric instrument or other audio source (such as recorded material when plugged in to the electrical signal path the instrument
The earliest guitar/synthesizers were based on electric guitars. Roland Corporation developed the earliest truly functioning guitar synth system: the Roland GR-500, and remains a significant proponent for this paradigm of guitar synthesis. is a Japanese manufacturer of Electronic musical instruments electronic equipment and Software. The Roland GR-500, manufactured by Roland Corporation, was the first commercially available Guitar synthesizer. Other notable manufacturers include(d) Arp, Terratec/Axon, Ibanez, Casio and Yamaha Corporation. ARP Instruments Inc was an early Electronic music company founded by Alan Robert Pearlman. TerraTec Electronic GmbH is a German manufacturer of Sound cards Computer speakers Webcams computer mice, Video grabbers and TV ( is a Japanese electronic devices manufacturing company founded in 1946 with its Headquarters in Tokyo.
Guitar/synths in this category consist of an electric guitar or acoustic guitar with a hexaphonic pickup (also called a divided pickup), which provides an output for each string and a converter, which determines the pitch coming from each of the strings and transmits this information to a synthesizer, which generates the intended note. An electric guitar is a type of Guitar that uses pickups to convert the vibration of its steel-cored strings into an electrical current which is made louder A steel-string acoustic guitar, is a modern form of Guitar descended from the Classical guitar, but strung with steel strings for a brighter louder sound A pickup device acts as a Transducer that captures mechanical vibrations (usually from suitably equipped Stringed instruments such as the Electric guitar
These components may be integrated into the instrument body or modularized in different ways. The hexaphonic pickup may be a separate component which can be mounted the guitar, or it may be built into the guitar. The earliest guitar/synths required the musician to use a proprietary guitar, which was designed with an integrated hexaphonic pickup. Roland later developed its GK line of pickups which allowed the pickup to be mounted onto any guitar.
Several guitar manufacturers, such as Godin, offer their guitar models with integrated "RMC hexaphonic pickup and preamp system" which is compatible with Roland guitar-synth hardware. Godin is a Canadian Guitar manufacturer It is owned by Robert Godin The RMC pickup system uses a piezo crystal technology built into the saddles of the guitar bridge that conducts the string vibration. This vibration is transferred to be converted into either piezo acoustic or 13 pin hexaphonic synth signal. Fender Instruments released their version of the guitar synth coined "Roland-ready", a Fender Stratocaster that directly integrates the Roland GK-2 hardware.
Usually, a cable connects the hexaphonic pickup to the converter. This allows the guitarist some freedom of movement, as they are not encumbered by the converter. However, several Casio models in the PG and MG product lines integrated the guitar, the hex pickup, and the converter into one unit. ( is a Japanese electronic devices manufacturing company founded in 1946 with its Headquarters in Tokyo. Casio remains the only manufacturer to try this approach. The convenience of the Casio approach is that a MIDI cable could be plugged directly into the guitar.
The converter may be a standalone unit or it may be integrated with a synthesizer. The earliest models integrated the converter and the synthesizer. Some models still do. The earliest integrated models predated the MIDI standard, so the guitarist was stuck with whatever synthesizer was integrated with the converter. 2000s-era integrated models include MIDI output. Standalone converter units drive synthesizers via MIDI.
The advantages of this type of system are that the timbres of the guitar and synthesizer can be blended together at any ratio, enabling the musician to play electric guitar alone, guitar tone blended with synthesizer, or synthesizer alone. In Music, timbre (ˈtæm-bər' like timber, or, from Fr timbre tɛ̃bʁ is the quality of a Musical note or sound that distinguishes different In many models, almost any guitar can be used, by adding a hexaphonic pickup. Some of the disadvantages with this system is that there is a detectable latency between playing a note on the guitar and the same note sounding on the synthesizer at lower pitches (this was remedied in 2000s-era instruments) and note-tracking glitches can occur. These glitches can be remedied by adjusting the pickup or converter sensitivity controls, and by playing more precisely. As well, not all the variable performance parameters available on a synthesizer cannot be actuated on a guitar. While a guitarist playing a standard electric guitar can control pitch and volume directly from the instrument, a guitar/synth lacks assignable controls to open a filter in real-time. Contemporary guitar/synth designs often include an expression pedal for this purpose.
Some manufacturers of guitar/synthesizers wanted to eliminate the tracking and latency problems associated with guitar-based systems, while retaining the expressiveness of the guitar. MIDI controller is used in two senses In one sense a controller is hardware or software which generates and transmits MIDI data to MIDI-enabled devices They achieved this, to some degree, by redesigning the human part of the interface so that it was better suited to driving a synthesizer. The 1980s-era SynthAxe was a futuristic controller consisting of a fretboard attached to the body at an obtuse angle. A SynthAxe is a Fretted Guitar -like MIDI controller created in 1986 by Bill Aitken and manufactured in England in the The fretboard strings were used to indicate pitch and sensed string bends. A separate, shorter set of strings were used for picking and strumming. These triggered the notes fretted on the fretboard's strings. It also featured trigger keys which could be used instead of the trigger strings. A whammy bar was assignable to any MIDI parameter. The SynthAxe was prohibitively expensive.
Yamaha originally entered into the market with a guitar-like MIDI controller called the G-10. It was considerably less expensive than the SynthAxe. The G-10 had two assignable knobs and an assignable whammy bar and it used six strings, all the same gauge [thickness], which sensed both right- and left-hand input. The fact that the strings were all of the same thickness made the instrument feel substantially different for a player, in contrast to the typical guitar, and may have hindered the instrument's acceptance. Both the SynthAxe and Yamaha G-10 were later discontinued.
Starr Labs' Ztar is the only remaining guitar-like controller product line still in production. A Ztar differs significantly from the SynthAxe and Yamaha G-10 in that the "fretboard" is covered with keys, not strings. Keys in the same row can trigger notes at the same time. This has no analog on a real guitar. It would be as if a single string were polyphonic. Polyphony is the property of an Electronic musical instrument which describes how many notes it can sound at one time A number of variations are available, including an instrument that uses strings for strumming or picking, to trigger notes, whereas the pitch of the notes is determined by the keys that cover what would be a "fretboard" in an ordinary, stringed guitar.
The advantages of the guitar-like MIDI controller systems are that the tracking [the speed and accuracy of the notes the instrument produces] is much better than guitar-based systems, which means that there is no noticeable latency. As well, whammy bars and other controllers can be assigned to any MIDI function, which gives the performer more on-stage control of their sound. The disadvantages for guitar players are that the controller is not a guitar, and neither does it feel exactly like a guitar nor make guitar sounds. As well, they are expensive, and their rarity may make it difficult for performers to repair or service them.
Some guitar/synthesizers are two instruments, one controlling the other (as in Roland instruments). Guitar-like MIDI controllers are an interface to the synthesizer. One of the challenges of using guitar/synthesizers is that not all guitar-playing techniques can be translated into MIDI. Harmonics, palm mutes, hammer-ons (in which the fretting hand strikes the string onto the fretboard), pull-offs, and pick slides are not picked up by guitar/synthesizers. Similarly, synth/guitars often lack the variety of controls (sliders, faders, and knobs) parameters which are available on a standard keyboard synthesizer.
Neverthess, controlling a synthesizer with a guitar has some advantages over a keyboard. More expansive chords are possible, and some intervals are easier to reach. As well, guitar/synthesizers provide access to sounds normally available only to keyboard players and percussionists. A guitar player could play a flute part using a sampled flute patch, or play percussion by triggering synth drum voices. As well, by blending the regular electric guitar tone with synthesized sounds, a guitarist can create a hybrid timbre. The guitar/synth also enables a guitarist with limited or no keyboard-playing skills to program a sequencer and do MIDI input into digital notation programs such as Sibelius and Finale. A music sequencer (also MIDI sequencer or just sequencer) is software or hardware designed to create and manage computer-generated music
A number of guitarists have used guitar/synthesizers. Many are either jazz, progressive rock, metal or fusion guitarists. Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States Progressive rock (often shortened to " progressive " " prog " or " prog rock " is a form of Rock music that evolved Fusion or more specifically jazz fusion or jazz rock, is a Musical genre that merges Jazz with elements of other styles of music particularly Some well-known users of guitar/synthesizers include Robert Fripp, Bill Frisell, Allan Holdsworth, Alex Lifeson, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Andy Summers, Les Fradkin and Mike Stern. Robert Fripp (born 16 May 1946 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England) is a Guitarist, Composer and a Record William Richard "Bill" Frisell (born March 18, 1951) is an American Guitarist and Composer. Allan Holdsworth (born August 6, 1946 in Bradford, West Yorkshire) is a British Jazz / rock Guitarist Alex Lifeson, OC (born Aleksandar Živojinović on August 27 1953 in Fernie, British Columbia) is a Canadian Musician John McLaughlin (born January 4 1942 also Mahavishnu John McLaughlin is a Jazz fusion Guitarist and Composer from Doncaster, Patrick Bruce Metheny (born August 12, 1954 in Lee's Summit Missouri) is an American Jazz Guitarist and Composer Andy Summers (born Andrew James Somers 31 December 1942) is an English guitarist and composer best known for his work in The Police Les Fradkin (born "Leslie Fradkin" 15 January 1951 in New York City, New York, USA) is a Guitarist, Songwriter Mike Stern (born January 10 1953) is an American Jazz Guitarist A major player on the scene since his breakthrough days with Miles Davis For a longer list of guitar/synthesizer performers, see the List of guitar/synthesizer players. A number of guitarists have used Guitar/synthesizers which are musical instruments which allow a Guitar player to play Synthesizers Many guitar/synth performers