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Roland GR-700
General Specs
Controls: (11) Pedals, Control Panel buttons
Input: 24-Pin Connector
Output: MIX/SYNTH Guitar
Years in use: 1984
The GR-700 is classic Roland analog synthesizer technology. Released in late 1984, the GR-700 is the pinnacle of early Roland guitar synthesizer design. The distinctive and futuristic GR-700 features both a digital CPU for guitar tracking and a warm, fat hybrid digital/analog synthesizer engine for lush sounds. The GR-700 has a MIDI out port for controlling other MIDI modules, but the MIDI output is erratic and unreliable. In addition, no pitch bend information is sent via MIDI either.

Like the current generation of Roland guitar synths, the GR-700 controls the internal synth engine directly for faster response. But, make no mistake about it, the GR-700 is not a GR-300. Of all the products Roland has ever made, the GR-700 has the trickiest and most erratic tracking. The GR-700 is certainly better than equivalent products made by other manufactures at the time, but it is inferior to the GR-100, GR-300, GM-70 or the Ibanez MC-1.

For players who were used to the accuracy and speedy response of the GR-300, the GR-700 seemed like a real step backwards. Still, the GR-700 did introduce a new level of programability for guitar synthesizers. And when you consider the design and engineering costs of the Roland G-707 and GR-700, it is clear that Roland made a major commitment to guitar synthesizers.

Steve Rosen: But you have done a let of playing on the Roland guitar synthesizer? The Death Wish II soundtrack?

Jimmy Page: Yes. Given a situation, I've tried to get the most out of the Roland guitar synthesizer. Both versions but the second one [GR-700] was a better one. As far as it goes, I must admit that I went with Tim [Marten, guitar tech] to a demonstration of the SynthAxe and it was just absolutely terrifying. It was great, it was fantastic. I knew that the Roland didn't track properly but you can adapt to it in a way. But it's life and limb, really, to get one of those [SynthAxe]. I'd have to sell me Les Paul. It's just that it's so expensive and all that sort of stuff. But it's just like when synthesizers first came out, it was a fortune for nothing. It was just monophonic but you could have a polyphonic keyboard with whatever tone and triggering you were getting from that synthesizer for like ten percent of the price. So, do you see what I'm saying about the guitar synthesizer? I could see the difficulty in getting a string to trigger. It's difficult because they're touch-sensitive like a keyboard. That is always going to be the problem with guitar synthesizers. But as far as I can see, this SynthAxe is the best.

It's very interesting, actually; its neck is at a different angle. I haven't actually had a chance to play on it and get used to it. And of course, you have to get used to all the guitar synths, as such. I was so impressed with the demonstration of the SynthAxe that it's difficult to even see what faults it might have. You need to have one to know. And I'm not going to knock Roland. from March 18, 1986 Steve Rosen Interview


Roland GR-700
1984 Roland GR Brochure
Roland GR-700
1984 Roland GR Brochure
Roland GR-700
1984 Roland GR Brochure

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