New Year New Gadgets!


Being lucky, I (Peter) had a guitar built at Crimson Guitars in Dorset. They created (eventually!) a lovely guitar largely based around similar one they made for Robert Fripp. I had mine made without the midi pick-up which is on his. The reason being that Boss have created a foot-pedal for guitar synthesis that simply doesn’t require a special pick-up (amazing).

I kept a beady eye on Ebay andthe opportunity to get a second-hand SY-300 appeared and I swooped! Being lucky again, I secured the unit for £150 quid less than the very expensive retail cost of £500.00 – The very nice man who sold it to me presumably didn’t get on with it because it was literally just one month old and virtually brand new.

So now, Jazzient has a synthesizer as well as guitar, sax and loops. Don’t worry though, we aren’t planning on being a Kraftwerk covers band. It will be used with grace and reserve. The sounds this thing makes can be lovely with a daunting flexibility using up to 3 oscillators each with it’s own sequencer. Having said that, my favoured sounds are augmenting the natural guitar strings as opposed to replacing them – with the exception of a stringed pad that emulates a cello very successfully.

What amazed me most about this unit is how well it tracks what is played on the guitar. Considering the SY-300 is ‘listening’ to the analogue note played, converting that to a digital signal and then processing it through 3 separate oscillators along with 4 guitar effects, it doesn’t seem possible that the unit appears to have no delay (latency) whatsoever. Having the ability to sound like Rick Wakeman in full portamento while playing a guitar is truly extra-ordinary.

I’ve spent the last few weeks programming it using a well designed PC based app called Boss Tone Central, and now have a palette of around 10 new patches that I really like and will be introducing into some of our live set improvisations. Now the down-side of course is that some of our audience will think we’re using backing tapes but hey-ho.

We’re looking forward to trying it out in full at our next gig…


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