Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Gear Aquisition Syndrome is a serious disorder.... FX etc

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Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by slash-ed »



The SY-1 is probably my favourite BOSS pedal in recent years, but I found that all I did was sit around making funny noises with it :lol: Not that there's anything wrong with that at all, but I decided to challenge myself to actually apply the pedal to a working guitarist's point of view.

I actually had a LOT of fun making this video (and generally I don't get that much time to make my own content these days). It kinda got me thinking - are there many of you on this forum who dabble in guitar synth? If so, are you using it like I am above, or for your original compositions, or...? Would be super interested to hear from you.
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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Conway »

Cool Ed. I mostly use the SY-1 for a strings pad lowish mix, behind strummed slow ballads. Sounds great.
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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by olegmcnoleg »

My that did indeed look like fun. I use a Roland synth sometimes, again, mostly for pads. I also use a midi pickup to track my guitar and change the sounds into a piano--I'm not so great at piano. That pedal looks like fun, but I would not want to be tweaking it mid set to try to get those sounds. Programmable?

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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by IMOCD »

Great video. The SY-1 has been on my radar for a while. Just waiting for a used one to turn up.

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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Slowy »

A Bandmate has one. I should probably pay it more attention.
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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by jimi »

I'm using an EHX Synth9 for some string sounds.

Any comparisons on the 2 / is there anything about this pedal that would lead me to switch?

One frustration I have is for all the great sounds in the pedal, tweaking it per song isnt a road I want to go down, so I just end up with it set up strings and leaving it there. If I could have 3-4 different presets to switch between I'd get a lot more out of it.

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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Conway »

jimi wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:49 pm I'm using an EHX Synth9 for some string sounds.

Any comparisons on the 2 / is there anything about this pedal that would lead me to switch?

One frustration I have is for all the great sounds in the pedal, tweaking it per song isnt a road I want to go down, so I just end up with it set up strings and leaving it there. If I could have 3-4 different presets to switch between I'd get a lot more out of it.
You've got my old Synth9, right Jimi? The string sounds are basically the same. In fact, the Boss does everything the Synth9 can do and more. But the lack of presets is the same major annoyance with both. You have to go up to the SY-300 for that. I would love a Boss 200 form factor, like the EQ-200. I imagine it will come along some time soon... eh, Ed?!
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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Dharmajester »

Having spent a large part of the 80's in synth dominated bands I explored most guitar synth options.
Used a Gr 300 during the making of one album and hated it's limited tonal scope. From there went to a Gr700, the Dalek handbag guitar and floor unit.
Better tonal options but the tracking was still limiting. Tried a Synthaxe, instant triggering but so far removed from a regular guitar that it seemed ridiculous. Next came an IVL pitchrider which was a bridge I had fixed to my Strat and a single rack unit that converted the signal to midi. Not too bad but still not there yet. Finally wound up with a Passac midi system. Kahler trem with sensors built in and a two unit rack device doing the conversion.
Best of the bunch but by that stage I'd been playing parts on keys for sufficiently long i just stuck with it and ended up with racks of Roland / Oberheim synths and Akai samplers and a big Prophet T8 with a weighted keyboard. The triggering on modern guitar synth units is superior to all the early gear but the sound to my ears is pretty Micky Mouse and there are plenty of effects units around now that stray into that territory (Hologram stuff for instance). If you want a synth get a regular keyboard synth, preferably with proper analog oscillators etc, ( they're the valves of the synth world, Lols )

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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Bg »

Yeah, I spent years chasing guitar synths - and came to the conclusion that I'm a far better one handed synth player than I am a guitar synth player. Its fun and a rabbit hole, but will never be a replacement for a real keyboard player. Unless you go full chapman stick thingy.

If you want to layer synth sounds over your guitars, yeah go with anything that has no lag or miss triggering. That was the one thing that really used to piss me off. From Boss stuff to Fishman, even with the best setup, there were still ghost glitches.

Disclaimer: not tried the SY1, just replying in general.

If you want to send me a demo model, I'm happy to try it ;)
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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Bg »

for messing around nowadays I use Jam Origin plugins, they keep up pretty well.
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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by Dharmajester »

Bg wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:05 pm for messing around nowadays I use Jam Origin plugins, they keep up pretty well.
Yeah,plugins. Arturia suite and a usb keyboard now.

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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by werdna »

Video is super cool.

For Jump, I had been playing it with an overdriven amp, guitar tuned to drop C and using the D string as a pedal tone.

Here's the challenge - who can play the keys solo from Jump on the guitar?

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Re: Guitar Synth - Who Needs Keyboard Players Anyway?

Post by slash-ed »

Bg wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:02 pm Yeah, I spent years chasing guitar synths - and came to the conclusion that I'm a far better one handed synth player than I am a guitar synth player. Its fun and a rabbit hole, but will never be a replacement for a real keyboard player. Unless you go full chapman stick thingy.

If you want to layer synth sounds over your guitars, yeah go with anything that has no lag or miss triggering. That was the one thing that really used to piss me off. From Boss stuff to Fishman, even with the best setup, there were still ghost glitches.

Disclaimer: not tried the SY1, just replying in general.

If you want to send me a demo model, I'm happy to try it ;)
Haha yeah totally agree, the thread title is of course very facetious. For me a synth pedal like SY-1 is going to get pulled out a handful of times in a gig at most, if the band needed more than that then maybe they DO need a keyboard player.

SY-1 is actually really great because it's not doing any pitch to MIDI conversion or PCM sample triggering, it's all just taking the guitar signal and scrunching it up and spitting it back out (sorry, "synthesizing" it), which also means that there's barely any perceptible latency. I haven't had any issues with ghost notes either and I'm not a very precise player (on GR-55 I'll make the occasional random piano noise for sure haha).
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