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Rating and Reviews: Roland GK3 Divided Pickup

The Roland GK-3 pickup is your key to the world of MIDI guitar synths! 30% thinner than the previous version, it's a cinch to install on nearly any guitar.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Really good buy" submitted December 12, 2010

By a customer from gmail.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Live gigs and recording
Music Style: Progressive, Rock, Jazz, Blues
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Sound: I use this with a Roland VGA-7 Amplifier with built in COSM guitar modelling. The range of tones is excellent - if you do a lot of recordings and don't have the money for 10 different guitars, this pickup works great. Some of the synth sounds are pretty sweet, others are a little lacking. You won't always get an incredible tone, but once you get used to the settings you get a huge variety of sounds. Feature: Depends on what you use it with. I haven't used the GR20 or any of the outboard synths, just the one built-in to my VGA-7. It has all the basic synths and guitar modelling, with tones of options for pickup type, etc. as well as a digital capo (+ or - up to 12 frets) and programable altered tunings (which is one of the coolest things ever). I'm totally satisfied with the range of sounds out of the VGA-7, and I'm sure the GR20 is the same, but probably with more options than I get from my amp. Ease of Use: Takes a while to explore the different patches you can make (which is just a testament to how many different tones there are) but other than that it's really straight forward to use and install. Has buttons on the side to switch patches/pickups etc and a switch to change between the GK, the guitar's regular pickups, or both mixed together. Quality: In general, Roland makes sturdy stuff. The cable is kind of sensitive though, you need to wrap it around your guitar strap so it doesn't get pulled/damaged. Value: Having hundreds of guitar and synth sounds in one system for 200 bucks? Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Although keep in mind, it doesn't come with the Midi cable, which costs $50 (if you're buying the GR20, that does come with the cable). Manufacturer Support: Never had any problems. Roland stuff always works. The Wow Factor: I love how Zzounds asks you about sex appeal. I don't know about 'sexy', but it's still pretty cool. Overall: I'll be using this for a long time. I'd replace it if it was lost or broken. Really useful if you make a lot of backtracks and just recording in general. It's also pretty sick in a live performance when you suddenly turn on a synth and everyone in the audience is all "wtf that sound is coming from his guitar?!"
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"POORLY designed" submitted October 31, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Full time pro
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Sound: Horrible design - too curved for more 'modern' guitars (anything since the 80s really) - impossible to mount on many flatter necks. Would have been so easy to change design to solve problem. obviously, Roland believes most users will mount this on Strats...which is not the case at all. The controls are also opposite what they should be - unless you NEVER plan on touching them during performance, in which case...why have them in the first place? Cable insert has not grip system so, unless you mount the plate differently and/or wrap the 13 pin cable around your strap you are sure to pull it out. Feature: No modulation button or control at all. Ease of Use: If you have a curved fingerboard this will work, with the caveats listed above. Value: Too costly for what it does, poorly thought out and useless if your fingerboard has a flatter radius.
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"Break FREE with a GK-3!" submitted February 13, 2006

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Features
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: 25 years guitar/ mandolin hobbyist and home recording
Music Style: Folk/Bluegrass/New age techno
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Sound: Its a midi pickup therefore no sound on its own Feature: It comes with a bracket to aid attachment to Les Paul guitars. I used this and it works extremely well. I have it running throught a Roland GI-20 into my sequencer and it works perfectly. I am hugely relieved to have a great MIDI interface that is not a keyboard. Quality: It appears to be very well made and works flawlessly. I am very impressed. I am puzzled that so many people have had trouble with it (bad tracking) this is absolutely NOT my experience. It tracks like glue when fitted to a Les Paul. Value: I had been playing Godin/Brian Moore guitars for a comparison and I think I have to say that the RMC pickups and the GK-3 have very similar performance. I really was not expecting the GK-3 to be as good as it it (it was a temporary measure will I save for the Godin). I have been doing fast bluegrass flating picking stuff and it tracks it perfectly using a Banjo patch. I have recorded the midi data into my sequencer and it is literally perfect even over runs of minutes. Considering that the alternative guitars cost a LOT of money this pickup is fantastic value. Manufacturer Support: I have not had the need. The Wow Factor: I have been test running it for a few days and I can already say I would buy another. It solves a lot of problems. Overall: I don't have the time to really learn keyboards. It is sooooooooooooo worth the money. I am now laying down bass lines and banjo stuff like a madman. FREEDOM!!!!!!!!
16 of 21 people (76.19%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Seriously forget this piece of rubbish and buy a Godin Freeway SA (The only guitar with the Graphtech Ghost system)." submitted December 16, 2008

By a customer from optusnet.com.au
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Musical Background: Legendary Film Score Composer
Music Style: Mixed
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Sound: This product is garbage. I can't imagine how bad things must have been with older products like the GR-50 but the GI-20 is reputed to be the best tracking device going. The GK-3 isn't very good at cleanly picked fast bass note detection. Don't believe anything you read about this being anything like worth buying. Feature: It has a lot of mounting material. For my Gibson installation I use the supplied mounting bracket. It's advertised as having a retractable cable, that's a bloody lie. Retractable is like a vacumm cleaner cord which this is not. All it has is a place to coil the cable around. Ease of Use: It has instuctions. You set it up according to the instructions. It comes with a measuring gauge you can put between the pickup and string to get the "correct" height. Then you adjust the individual string sensitivities on your GK device. For me it is a Roland GI-20 which is the best tracking device made. Quality: It's made of plastic. It sticks up so how can you use your hard case with it? All this is is a cheap product that stupid people buy hopeing to get into midi guitar and it's just a joke. Maybe 15 years ago this garbage was all there was but the Brian Moore and Godin models are the only real choice. Anything with a magnetic hexaphonic pickup is only suitable for triggering pad sounds. It won't work with quick funky bass lines and there is absolutely no way in your wildest dreams that you could use this for notation of a score. Value: Um well, it's actually quite a bit of money for a chunk of plastic but it is cheaper than a whole new guitar... What does that mean in terms of value? I dunno but since it doesn't work properly no matter how it's adjusted it's extrememly bad value because it's virtually useless. It's like a Behringer effect pedal in build quality and feel, and also performance. It's the bottom of the barrel. If you had nothing else this POS will be all you can use to drive you insane. MUCH MUCH MUCH better off with a midi keyboard for the price of this pickup! Plus it's not just the pickup, there's whatever you want to plug into. So in that case you should be prepared to drop some cash into a setup that actually works for one thing...sheesh! Overall: How long do you expect to be satisfied with this product before searching for another product? That's a classic question. Since this pickup is a total joke I returned it to the supplier and have ordered a Godin Freeway SA. If that sucks that can go to and I will just use my keyboard to access soft synth sounds. I doubt that it will be anywhere near as hopeless as the GK-3 though. If you can play an octave pedal then that should be how you need to play like to get the synth to trigger properly. You set it up exactly at the right height, and with the right sensitivty per string and then... it can't track anything but quarter notes with any success. You can adjust it closer than 1mm, or further, and adjust the play feel, the sensitivity and how you play but as soon as you want to play something a little funky on the bass strings it's missing notes.
12 of 43 people (27.91%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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