We’re zooming in and taking a close look at PX Guitar Syn today. This new instrument combines a legendary piece of synthesizer (and guitar) history with a truly unique guitar controller, and offers a sound that you really can’t find anywhere else. Follow along to learn how we created a modern take on the iconic sound.
Guitar synthesizers dropped onto the scene in 1977 before MIDI was firmly established. The idea of using a guitar to control a synth was pretty wild back then, and remains challenging to this day. There were two pieces to this setup – a proprietary guitar that allowed for connection to a synth, and the synthesizer itself, with a 24-pin interface to connect to the instrument. CV and Gate signals from the guitar controller aided in the triggering of the synth, and combining the sound of the actual plucked string with the synthesized output created a truly unique sound.
The second pickup of the guitar was swapped for a powerful set of magnets that drove an ‘infinite sustainer’ that helped the instruments synergize even more. With control knobs built right on the guitar, as well as a bevy of controls on the synth, this combo definitely took some skill to master. Rush, Genesis, and Tangerine Dream all utilized this technology to help define their era in music history.
Our team at UVI had to think outside the box when designing this soundware. In order to stay true to the sound of the original combo of instruments, we knew that we’d have to meticulously sample hand played guitar notes, combined with a variety of output options. We wanted to bring the classic sound of this combo to the modern era, so we included a rigorous tuning, de-noise, and normalization process for every single note we sampled. With a significant amount of samples, layers, and presets, you’ve got quite a lot to work with in PX Guitar Syn!
Sampling guitar synths also gave us an opportunity to get creative with the signal chain. Of course, we’ve got incredibly clean sounding ‘direct from the box’ samples – but we’ve also got some really great FX and amp combinations that make PX Guitar Syn shine. For each layer, you can switch between clean DI layer or tape Chorus layer with a highly recognizable vintage sound from the mythical SRE-555 multi-head echo/chorus unit. We’ve even got a third layer available with various combinations of classic pedals and effects. If you want some fuzz from Fuzz Factory or El Grande, it’s there. Unique tones processed by B:assmaster and SPX are included, Small Stone, Jetlyzer and more. Our team jumped down every rabbit hole to craft creative signal chains that really show off PX Guitar Syn’s source material.
Finally, our technicians varied the way we played the instrument for a variety of the sample layers. You can switch easily and fluidly between picked notes, fingerstyle, palm mutes, and even an Ebow when choosing the guitar articulation.
A large part of the character of guitar synths comes from the amp, and with PX Guitar Syn we knew it was important to use the best of the best. The UVI team utilized Mesa Boogie and Orange amps after trying multiple combinations of amps, and decided on classic guitar recording mics from Royer and Beyerdynamic to get the clean and authentic tone out of the original hardware.
We hope our users are going to love this recreated piece of music history. With PX Guitar Syn, you’ll be able to use a classic and unique sound without worrying about tuning, noise, pickup accuracy, and other roadblocks. It is an exceptional and versatile instrument suitable for productions of any style.