MIDI guitarists! I just got the GR-55!

Aloha guys

Just got it and will post back about how the USB interface works.

Kinda critical but once done, tracking is wonderful.

Sounds are IMHO
Typical Roland. Good start but you have to tweak them.

Modeled guitar sounds:
Are kool. Many choices.

Ugly blue.


I just watched a demo on You Tube, lovely sounds, very impressive!

Does it track bends and vibrato accurately?



Maybe you can help me out, as i am a newb to Midi.

I want Cubase 5 to send patch change and looper control signals to the GR-55. I hope to use Cubase as a click track manager for a live band situation and then control the looper and patches on the GR-55 so I can stay in tempo with the click perfectly and automate patch changes (playing prog is hard enough without the feet being involved).

So I have a laptop, Cubase 5 running with my click track, I have a UM-One USB-Midi converter attaching to the GR-55, and then I am lost. If you could walk me through how to have cubase enable / disable the GR-55 Looper and send a patch change at varying time points in the track, then I will be set.



I like that blue…I’ve had a GR-33 here for a few years and love it but it is plain old black and blends in with the rest of the mess on the floor. Instead of the gk pickup I’ve used the Godin synth access guitar for tracking and it performed extremely well. The GR- 55 has really advanced the idea … substantially. Best of luck with it. Would love to read more on your experiences with it.

Aloha G, (a real MIDIot here)
I read your post about this at the GR55 site and as you now know ,
there is no MIDI access to the GR55’s 'Looper" feature.

But as for patch changes:

A lil MIDI lesson:
Anything you do in MIDI is an ‘event’.
Notes are events and patch changes are events. and there are many others.

What you want to do is create a patch change event in Cubase.

You do this by opening up a MIDI/Instrument track in the:
‘List Editor’.

The List Editor is where the action is!
Everything that happens in a MIDI track will be in this list.

I remember reading a phrase in an old Cubase manual that said:
‘There is no such thing as ‘simultaneous’ in a MIDI track.
Everything is really an extremely tight arpeggio’.

1-learn to create MIDI events (manual or see below)
2-Create a ‘Patch Chain’ event.
3-Place (insert) that event in the List Editor a clik or two
just before where you want the sound to change.
and bob’s yer uncle’

The following technique may or may not be helpful for creating events
but I sometimes use it:

Using your controller (Guitarsynth/keyboard etc)
Just make a simple note event on a MIDI/Instrument Track.

Now open the List Editor and double clik on the event.

Now you can change the Note event to a ‘Pan’ or ‘Volume’
or ‘Bend’ or ‘PATCH CHAIN’ etc etc event.

HTH (hope this helps)

Aloha Steve, (after having this unit for over a year now)

the GR55 has many studio limitations and as you suggest is better suited
for live work.

1-Amazing sustain/tracking
But don’t fool yourself. To really ‘work’ MIDI guitar, your chops have to be WAY UP!!
and I really mean that.

2-built-in guitar processor (typical Roland sounds)
3-Built-in audio playback on a thumb drive(tracks/sound FX etc)
4-Beautiful display for on-stage work.
5-Solidily built. (ugly blue color tho’)
6-Synth Sounds are OK/nice (typical Roland) and lot’s of em.

In the studio:

1-USB audio/MIDI outs are really kool and can be handy.


2-While there IS ‘Mono Mode’ MIDI Out, (which is crucial for MIDI guitar)
the user cannot set the bend rate from MIDI.
Only from the pedal.
This makes it very difficult to track stuff other than things like drums/ percussion etc.

Keyboards typically use a bend rate ± 2.
But MIDI guitar needs to transmit and have the receiving
module respond at rates as high as ±10 or even ±12. All in Mono Mode.
I can’t find a way to make that happen in the '55.

3-MIDI IN cannot access the GR55’s sounds. (from a keyboard,Cubase etc)
The only way the hear anything from the GR55 is by playing your axe.
(at least that helps to keep yer chops up)
Seems MIDI IN is only there to change sounds from an outside source.
(computer,sequencer etc)

So bottom line Steve is, I still use my GR33 in the studio and the GR55 for live stuff.


Hi Curteye,

I didn’t realize your we’re into MIDI so deeply. I have been trying , on an amateur level, to have a midi track from cubase outputted to the GR33 and have the GR output that information as audio that I may also record. The manual seems to make me think it works but my lack of MIDI experience highly limits any success …so far. Would you know if I am just wasting my time?

Aloha k and IMHO
no your are not wasting your time.

A couple of things to consider tho’:
What you want can be done via the MIDI protocol
but there is not much on how to do it in the GR33 manual.
I know because I checked.

The earlier GR50 did have this capability because it was also
designed to be an outboard sound module. (It was really
a Roland D-110 with a guit controller built in.)

1-The best help I can give someone who knows very lil about MIDI is to:
always make sure the transmitting device (in this case Cubase) and
the receiving device (in this case the GR33) are both set to the same MIDI channel.

Once you get the connections happening, remember the GR33 will only produce
two tones at once. But with full 64 note polyphony.

3-Once you get the sounds happening the way you want, just plug
the outputs of the GR33 into the inputs of your audio device.
You can now record that audio stream into Cubase.

A lil MIDI analogy:
When you ‘play’ directly on a guitarsynth or a synth keyboard,
it’s kind of like getting a meal that your mom made for you.
It’s all set and ready to eat.

But with MIDI it’s like your mom had to leave the house
and left you with all the ingredients laying out on the counter
and now you have to put them all together.

What I mean by this is that some of that great GR33 ‘Arpeggiator’
and ‘Harmonizer’ stuff simply will not work via MIDI.

Your options:
You can either wait for mom to get home, or start cookin’.

HTH (hope this helps)

Well THAT made me smile… Great way to put it and made a ton of sense to me. MIDI is slowly making headway for me but I am sure will produce greater results if I can get to do it more often. No longer a performing player, it is just a long time hobby, winding down.

Have you found any “wow factor” differences between your experiences with the GR33 and the GR55?

Yes. These are for me the two big ones:

1-Amazing sustain/tracking.

And I really mean that.
Compared with the 33, when you play a sax or flute or organ
or big band sound, the PCM sustain sounds of the 55 makes your axe ‘breathe’.

It’s a beautiful thang!

2-Built-in modeling guitar processor.
One less thing to set-up and carry with you.
Personally I like my ‘Pod’ sounds better but the Roland modeled guitar sounds
can be very very nice and the 55 makes it all very convenient in one package.

I’m an old guy. So for me, the less stuff to carry, the better the gig. :slight_smile:

There are several threads on this board about MIDI guitar use
and I rarely participate because IMHO to effectively use a MIDI Guit
you have to have something that money cannot buy.


MIDIguitar needs clean ‘MIDI Note On’ and ‘MIDI Note Off’ info to work.
Sloppy playing, while very human sounding (I always think of Keith Richards)
will not work. (very well)

On that note (ha) Keith and Steve Cropper are two of the best
rhythm guitarist I have ever heard. No ‘felt’.

Ironically there are two types of guitarist that have the
chops for MIDIguitar.

Classical players and jazz players and
those players do not usually want to sound like other instruments.

But K,
I do not want you to be discouraged by what I have posted.

Technology always moves ahead That’s how we got MIDI guitar in the first place.
It’s how you use it that counts.


When the first Roland MGuitar first came out back in the 80’s
(the one with the bar)
I saw a guy in a 3 piece metal band using it on stage.

He only used one sound but is was very effective.

Whenever the band play a ballad he had a string patch
layered under his power chords.

It was a beautiful early use of the Guit synth.



I discover ( on my interpretation ) a hidden, self indulging compliment in your statement in that: I am very happy with the way my GR33 tracks and sounds. It is clear concise and crisp when needed. Therefore I am playing cleanly :laughing:
While deeply rooted in " classic rock" the last 20 years or so I have spent playing jazz and perform occasionally with a group of guys locally. I too am an old guy and your post is anything but discouraging. In fact I’ve just updated my home midi interface from a 2x2 m-audio midi sport to their equally vintage 8x8/s. But, when no one is home, I’ll turn it to 10 and run through some Zeppelin from the first album.

I think even though midi was developed 25 years ago, I was not an actively playing musician. It was a change in music that I passed by until re-activating my playing consistently 10-11 years ago. That is why I have so little understanding of it. My only foray with guitar modeling is a Line 6 acoustic 700. While a great playing and great sounding, I always thought it was a bit gimmicky for me and that software to modify tones never installed properly until line 6 made some updates I never utilized again I use this guitar a lot but not much of it is modeling.

I might ask …how are you inputting your guitar to the 55? Are you using the GK pickup or is it thru a 13 pin guitar? I’ve found the string sensitivity is an important setting and you have great new setup parameters… but frankly if you were to test the string tracking on my 33, I could not ask for much better. I use a Godin synth access concert nylon string and a Brian Moore USB equipped,13-pin iGuitar, the GK2A is still in the wrapper. I am attending a Club Cubase event this week and look forward to demo testing a GR55 for these criteria if available. Sadly my GR was ignored on the floor the last several years. It wasn’t until I started with Steve Fogal , a user on this forum, that it re-ignited my interest and trying to set up midi. I am marginally more successful than 20 years back so that is a plus as is having some equipment minimizing any major cash outlay

I am grateful for your responses. They continue to spark my desire to get it working properly