Guitar synths

From Allan Holdsworth Information Center
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Reaching For The Uncommon Chord


I stayed away from synthesizers because I never really liked them. There was always something to me that sounded kind of cheesy. But as the technology progressed, people started coming up with sounds that I actually liked. Also, with the advent of sampling, you can create your own sounds instead of having to buy a DX-7 and having to sound like every other guy in the world. I don't like the idea of going to buy something so that you can sound like the guy next door — it should be a lot more personal than that. With sampling, I can take time coming up with a sound using signal processing or whatever, then sample it and play it back. But to do that I realized I needed a controller, and out of curiosity I tried the Roland guitar synthesizer.

With all due respect, there are some guys out there doing fantastic things with the Roland - they play great on it. But to me it was an absolute crock - it wouldn't do as it was told. You can learn how to play it. I played it on a track from the album, In The Mystery. It opened one door that was marked "all these different sounds" but immediately closed another door off to the side, which limited the way I could play it. It seems to have gone about as far as it can go — in the way that it was done with pitch to voltage. It has to read half the waveform of the note before it knows what note your playing, and obviously a high note has a shorter waveform than a low one, so the higher ones come out faster. If you play all the notes at once, the high notes of a chord come out quicker than the lower notes.