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RE: AW: Roland VG8

Hi there,

mark sottilaro <zerocrossing2001@yahoo.com> wrote:

>I think what we're trying to say is that we've found
>the compromises you make with MIDI guitars and synth
>guitars aren't worth it... to us.  

That's a very fair point, and one that was made even with the GR300 era 
synths that don't track but process the output from the strings directly. 
I think it was the guitarist from Duran Duran (of all groups) who said 
something to the effect that you had to decide whether to develop your 
technique to be a better guitar player, or to be a better guitar synth 

>I'm not saying the
>"keyboard" is THE electronic instrument interface...
>it just happens to be easily obtainable at an
>inexpensive price.  The thing about MIDI/Synth guitars
>that bothered me the most was when you tried to do
>something like create a drone chord while playing
>notes over it.  Not easily done when those strings
>stop vibrating and you get a really glitchy end of
>notes in your chord.  

The 'hold' buttons help, but that depends how hold is implemented on the 
guitar synth you're using (which is usually the opposite to how you would 
*like* it to be implemented right at that moment ... hrmph !)

>Also, I wanted it to really
>nicely track things like bends and hammer-ons and I
>seemed to be able to get it right about 50% of the
>time if I played it really cleanly. 

Really cleanly, really deliberately is the way I've found gets best 
results. That said, Fripp flies around the fretboard like a demon and his 
GRs seem to keep up with him, so I think I might have to stop using that 
excuse ... :)

> Anyway, I could
>go on but the deal is I was never satisfied... but I
>wanted those synth sounds.  (BTW, I'm all for the
>mutilation of a guitar sound to become something
>different, I just don't like traditional Synth/MIDI
>guitar setups.  Truth is I never tried a VG8 but it
>looks cool)

Have a shot with one, it might be a nice surprise ... obviously, you're 
not going to get the chord that lasts forever (at least, not without a 
Fernandez sustainer or similar) because it processes vibrating strings 
rather than triggers MIDI notes, but you do get all of the good stuff you 
get from differing playing techniques. The price for used VG8s is now much 
more sensible than the wedge I laid out in the mid 90s when they first 
came out (sob, sniff).

>I think that's totally unfair to make these
>comparisons.  First of all, we're not talking about a
>piano.  Second... while I agree that many acoustic
>instruments have a TON of subtile "variables" that can
>be manipulated in real time... a modern synth doesn't?
> I've got a few that are just teaming with knobs
>begging to be twisted... uh with the free hand I have
>because I'm not trying to pluck a string while holding
>it down at a fret.  My novation controller has so many
>knobs and buttons it's sick, plus it has a x/y touch
>pad and aftertouch.  It's keys feel better than any
>cheap m-audio board and it really is an instrument...
>one I wish I was better at, but that's another thread.

The point I was fumbling towards was that keyboards have developed over 
the centuries in a way that allows a player to play melody, harmony and 
rhythm all at the same time. But the other side of this is that you can't 
get right inside any single one of those notes in the same way that you 
can with, say, a violin, a trombone or a saxophone. The guitar is quite 
limited in this context as well, as, because it's percussive, you can't 
manipulate the attack and sustain of a note in the way you can with the 
bow of a violin, say. (Unless you're Jimmy Page, of course ;) You can get 
similar levels of control on a keyboard synth, especially if you add 
things like mod wheels, ribbon controllers, breath controllers etc., but 
the number of notes played drops dramatically - the Korg Prophecy and the 
Yamaha virtual acoustic synths were very controllable but didn't carry 
massive polyphony, as I remember. That's the trade-off I was getting at, 
clumsily (I said it wasn't well formulated - I wasn't kidding ;) Maybe, 
"one deeply controllable note versus ten not so controllable simultaneous 
notes" ?


- Tony

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