A guitar synthesizer introduced by Roland in 1984. In response to complaints about the timbral limitations of the previous model, the GR-300, Roland turned away from the GR-300's phase-locked oscillators and went back to using a pitch to voltage converter to generate a pitch control voltage and gate signal for each string, in the manner of the earlier GR-500 model. This facilitated a much more versatile voice architecture, but had negative impacts on playability which ultimately limited acceptance of this model.
Synth Architecture Edit
The GR-700 took a big step up from the earlier models by providing a properly polyphonic voice architecture, as opposed to the paraphonic setups of the GR-300 and 500. The architecture was analog and was based on the JX-3P keyboard synth (which, like the GR-700, was designed by Roland's guitar synthesizer group), with two DCOs (which could be cross modulated), one low pass voltage controlled filter, one high pass (non-voltage-controlled) filter, and one voltage controlled amplifier per voice. Six voices were provided, each dedicated to one string (or more specifically, one input from the guitar's hex pickup). Each voice had one ADSR envelope generator, which could be routed to the frequency of either DCO, the cross modulation amount, or to the cutoff frequency of the VCF, in addition to being always routed to the VCA. One LFO was provided, which could be routed to either DCO's frequency or pulse width modulation.
One onboard effect was provided, a version of Roland's highly regarded analog chorus effect. Hex fuzz was also available, although it worked differently than on the GR-300; it used a circuit built into the synth, ignoring the guitar's own hex fuzz circuit if it had one. Being that the synth's architecture was the same as the JX-3P, patches could be programmed with that synth's programmer, the PG-200. The GR-700 was Roland's first guitar synth to feature patch memory, with 64 patch locations in battery backed RAM. The GR-700 was physically packaged as a rather large pedalboard intended to sit on the floor, with numbered pedal switches to select patches; these could also be used to (clumsily) edit patches if a PG-200 was not available. The synth provided a MIDI output which would allow the guitar to control an external synth.
Although the GR-700 used the JX-3P's voice architecture, many of its components were actually borrowed from the Juno-106 keyboard synth. This means that the GR-700, unlike the JX-3P, uses the unreliable 80017A VCF/VCA hybrid circuit.
The four guitars made for the GR-300 (the G-202, 303, 505, and 808) could be used with the GR-700 without alteration. However, as a forward-looking technology as well as a design statement, Roland introduced an additional guitar, the radically styled G-707. This guitar's two most notable features were its cut-down, roughly trapezoidal-shaped body which was not in line with the neck, and the "stabilizer bar", a reinforced composite bar which connected the headstock to the body and served as a sort of external truss bar, spanning space above the neck, as seen on a standing performer. Opinions on this guitar varied widely. Some thought it looked ridiculous, while others found the design quite striking and modern. Some players valued the additional stiffness provided by the stabilizer bar, while others said it didn't help and got in the way. Most players find it awkward to play while seated.
The guitar was equipped with top-of-the-line hardware, including a tremolo bridge with roller-type bridge saddles, and dual humbucker pickups in addition to the hex pickup. It replaced the "Resonance" knob of the GR-300's guitars with a knob marked "Edit", which could be used to alter any parameter selected for editing using the foot switches on the floor unit. Since the GR-700 had a built-in hex fuzz, the G-707 omitted this circuit.
Versions and Variants Edit
Five known major software revisions are known to exist, which are known as "1-1" through "1-5". Most GR-700s should be equipped with "1-4" software, which fixes several bugs present in earlier versions. Version "1-5" provides improved tracking capability but requires hardware modifications. A series of third-party modifications called the "Turbo" and "Turbo Plus" mods were developed later. These included patch editing knobs mounted on the synth box, and a 13-pin guitar interface which allows later Roland guitars to be used without an adapter.
A GR-77B bass synth appeared in 1985. This was similar in appearance and controls to the GR-700, but the internal circuitry was much different, using improved pitch converters and having a voice architecture based on the JX-8P keyboard synth. As such, it is not precisely analogous to the GR-33B. A new bass, the G-77, was introduced with the GR-77B; it uses a body style similar to the G-707.