MIDI Guitar Pickup Page
Copyright 1998 Joel B. Christian
The Roland GK-2 and GK-2a
The workhorse of MIDI Guitar pickups is the Roland GK-2a.
A most-requested item, the pin assignments for the GK-2 DIN connector,
1:signal for string 1, 2:sig 2, 3:sig 3, 4:sig 4, 5:sig 5, 6:sig 6,
7:Guitar Output, 8:VOL, 9:NC, 10:SW1, 11:SW2, 12:+7V, 13:-7V
13-pin Connectors!Digi-Key (1-800-344-4539)(digikey.com) now carries 13-pin DIN connectors made by Stack (cuistack.com) for use in our midi systems. The CUI Stack site even includes a blueprint.
note: Readers report that soldering on replacement connectors is a difficult task.
- 13 pin in-line male plug (SD-130) $1.65 each
- 13 pin in-line female jack (SD-130J) $3.75 each
- 13 pin PC board mount female jack (SDD-130J) $3.03 each
- 13 pin PC board mount shielded female jack (SDF-130J) $3.15 each
MIDI Guitar Showcase for more on the GK-2's. Roland also has (same price) a GK-2a kit that can be built in your guitar for a more finished look like the Fender Roland-ready guitars.
What's the difference between the GK-2 and the GK-2A?
The 2A is a humbucking pickup, the 2 is not. The 2A might be a tad smaller.
How do I install my GK-2A?
Basically, mount the pickup as close to the
bridge as possible, with about 1 millimeter between the closest string
and pickup. I use "Handy Tack" poster putty to mount both things,
starting with too much (too high) and working the pickup down gently.
It removes without a trace andis good acoustically. Center the pickup
so that the poles are evenly off-axis of the E-strings (split the
difference) to start. You may want to adjust from there, re-adjusting
sensitivity after each adjustment.
The RMC Pickup
Richard McClish makes a midi-ready system. You'll need a Luthier to
modify the bridge. If you're real handy, you may be able to install your
own. The latest price I have is $250 for the bridge plus $250-350 for the
preamp/filter with GR and audio outs. The RMC is used on Godin Multiac
GR-ready guitars in steel and nylon. RMC pickups are the best I've seen for
MIDI guitar, and also give a studio-quality guitar out signal at the same time.
RMC Pickup Co. 1739 Addison #15, Berkeley, CA 94703
One user installation with RMC's installed in Gibson ES-335.
Fender and Ovation have midi-ready guitars. Both use the GK-2A permanent mount kit factory attached.
Fender's is pictured on the box of "Cakewalk Guitar Studio".
Shadow is definitely into MIDI pickups, with several models for steel
strung guitars and one hexaphonic saddle style model for nylon-classical
guitars, including a factory-installed axe from Takamine.
hexaphonic humbucking pickup
hexaphonic saddle pickup for nylon and steel strung acoustic guitars
Rob Super of Shadow tells me their custom shop can provide several MIDI
pickup types: piezo bridges for electric, acoustic, and nylon;
humbuckers with midi, and stick-on magnetic pickups. Rob notes that the
only MIDI systems that can use a piezo pickup are the Shadow GTM-6 and
the AXON because the filtering in the analog section requires the positive
AND the negative half of the signal be filtered. (RMC pickups are
filtered in the on-board electronics for GR compatibility).
Axon Pickup Options:
AIX-101 hexaphonic pickup
They also have the AIX-103 for Bass. The Axon will also work for bass.
hexaphonic bridge pickup for nylon and steel strung acoustic guitars
AIX-110 electronics are available for bridge pickups
AIX-210 electronics are available for Godin guitars using RMC pickups
(if you have more details, send them along and I'll share them here!)
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