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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm looking to buy a jem, I've played a few and really like them.
I am looking for a guitar that can do everything (Impossible I know) but when it comes to guitars this price range, I think to myself, trem or no trem, humbuckers or single coils because it's alot of money to spend on a guitar to suddenly decide you want a fixed bridge or whatever.
Well, I've heard about steve vai's flo, having a sustainer and think it'd be cool to add one of these to a jem if I bought one, but I have also heard of a thing called Piezo pick up or bridge. I've looked on the internet, and understand that the new variax (Line 6) uses one. I've searched for info, found very little and don't really understand what one is or does....well are these things good and what do they do? I heard they don't produce hum or noise.
Are there any features that could be added to the jem to make more sounds available, or should I just look at pedals and such. I have a line 6 flextone which produces a good range of sounds.
I also read about frank zappa's guitar having this little screw thingy which cut of the frequencys of feedback and stuff.
Are these mods useful or useless in your opinion?
Any links to websites would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time,
Gareth :D
 

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The Variax is more than just a piezo pickup.

Piezos are the type of pickup used in acoustic guitars. Line 6 uses them as the basis for the Variax, which is essentially a guitar modeler. Their bridge and accompanying electronics are not available on their own.

Ibanez makes a piezo-equipped Edge trem to get acoustic sounds, but this system is also not available as a replacement part.

The JEM is already fairly versatile. You could add a Roland GK pickup to it and hook it into a Roland VG-88 and get pretty much any sound you want. But it's electronically modeled, just like how your Line 6 amp pretends to be other "real" amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just did a quick search into the world of midi. My experience of midi is a keyboard and making midi tunes on logic.
Can the midi pick up be installed easily into the guitar, so you don't have to have that big ugly thing on the front of your guitar? :?
I've played a midi guitar once in college, and if you bent the string it sould move to the next note. Is this so using the Roland GK pickup and Roland VG-88 or is it more complex than that? If anyone has done any of these mods to their guitars i'd be interested in hearing. I know I don't know much and probably shouldn't consider doing things to a guitar I don't own yet without knowing exactly what it does but I've bought guitars in the past then been dissapointed (like a fender jaguar)
I know sustainer pick ups can be fitted to guitars (I'll look into this later) but I've recently discovered their is an option with a sustainer pick up to produce harmonics (I guess this is what steve vai does with his tongue on the g3 promo vid)...I think that's cool!
Sorry to keep bugging you all :)
 

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Roland GK Installation Kit

Roland VG-88

Fernandes Sustainer

Sustainiac Stealth

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The VG-88 isn't guitar synthesis. It uses the same GK pickup, but that's where the similarity ends. It models different characteristics on the guitar's fundamental sound, like the Variax does, only you have a lot more control. Because the VG-88 is hexaphonic (individual control over each string) you can set alternate tunings or split the guitar into multiple distinct sounds just by digitally manipulating the signal from each string.
 

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GK kit installed on JEM7DBK

Hi, I installed the GK kit that Darren mentioned on one of my Jems. I use it with the GR33 for synth, horns, strings etc. because I hated playing the Fender Roland Ready Strat that I had. I have found that with the GK22 installed I limited some of the trem travel that I use to have with the trem bar because the strings tend to get choked against the GK22 pickup if I pull up too much. The pickup has to be pretty close to the strings in order for it to track well.
As for the bending a string, Roland has addressed that issue so you can set the GR33 up to pretty much follow the pitch like a normal pitch wheel on a keyboard. Whole step and step and a half bends are no problem once you get the pickup dialed in.
I also had to remove a pretty good chunk of wood underneath the pickguard in order for the circuitry to be competely internally mounted, but with the pickguard installed it looks pretty clean. There are 2 push buttons and a mini toggle switch along with a 3rd pot (synth volume) that all has to be added to the pickguard as well. It was a challenge but I think it looks as good as it could. If I figure out how to post pix I'll try to do that sometime if anyone is interested.
 

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Gharedd said:
Can the midi pick up be installed easily into the guitar, so you don't have to have that big ugly thing on the front of your guitar?
Yes - though "easily" is perhaps pushing it, it's a fair bit of work. Here's a closeup of my RG570, with a Sustainiac Stealth and an internal GK-2. Apart from having to cut the pickup mounting ring slightly it's a pretty neat installation, and I understand that you don't have to cut the ring on a JEM. There's a slight fisheye effect from the camera lens - everything is straight on the guitar, honest!



Full frontal:



And a rear-view so you can see how much gubbins needs fitting (plus the extra cavity for the Sustainiac pcb and battery):



I've played a midi guitar once in college, and if you bent the string it sould move to the next note. Is this so using the Roland GK pickup and Roland VG-88 or is it more complex than that?
The VG isn't a MIDI system. The simplest way to think of it is that it is a multiFX unit that can work on each string independantly. This allows it to take the signal from the GK pickup, whatever guitar it's fitted to, and produce Strat-like, LP-like and similar sounds. It also models nylon strung guitars, acoustics, 12-strings, alternate tunings, basses, some synthy noises, Rickenbackers, Dobros, Teles and lots more that I've forgotten.

All of your playing technique comes through perfectly - there's no lag, no tracking problems, no mis-triggered notes, because it doesn't do pitch detection, it works directly on the signal from the GK pickup.

It also has some very good amp simulations and a decent FX section.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That looks some neat work dot-dot-dot, thanks for the info jemjem, and darren,thanks for the links. Thanks for all the feedback, I'll definately go for a sustainer pick up, then I'll see about the roland stuff afterwards....Now I'd better go buy a jem to mod.
Thanks, much appreciated :D
Gareth
 

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Roland GK-2A pickups are available as an external version and a kit for installation.

They also just introduced a new model called a GK-3 (external setup) which appears smaller but the blurb on their website mentioned that the curve (radius) was adjustable. Thats a great change as tracking can be affected by using the GK-2 on guitars with flatter radii
(The GK-2A has more of a rounder radius to it and the outer strings are further from the pickup).

Mike 777 Haug
 
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