The G-707 is the flashy guitar controller which connects to the Roland GR-700 synthesizer via a 24 pin cable. The 707 guitar features cut-off, LFO modulation and edit knobs. It also operates like a standard guitar with standard guitar pickups.
Who Used it?
Jimmy Page of Led Zepplin used the G-707 while composing the soundtrack for the 1982 film Death Wish II. Jimmy said in the 1986 interview with Steven Rosen "I didn’t purposely just want to use the guitar synthesizer but in certain places it just worked. With that I must admit that I went with Tim [Marten, guitar tech] to a demonstration of the SynthAxe and it was just absolutely terrifying. It was great, it was fantastic. I knew that the Roland didn’t track properly but you can adapt to it in a way."
Andy Summers of the Police used the Roland system for many years, although varying between the Roland 303 guitar.
"My favorite sounds are the high, spacey ones that are very ambient. They’re the most distinctive. They don’t sound like other instruments, like second-rate keyboard sounds. I’ve been into guitar synthesis for about five years now. By the second album [the Police’s Regatta De Blanc, A&M, SP-4792]1 had bought the original Roland GR-500. We were working so hard on the road, though, that I didn’t really get a chance to get into it. Later on, I used a Roland GR-300 for a couple of numbers every night in the Police show - "Don’t Stand So Close to Me," as well as material from the fourth album [Ghost In The Machine].
How does it work?
All the roland systems use pitch to MIDI versus systems such as the Synth Axe which use polyphonic fretboard scanners. The GR-700 is a six voice polyphonic with two DCO's per voice which means analog oscillators and sounds with digital stability and control. The typical assortment of a resonant lowpass filter, ADSR envelope, LFO and oscillator sections are here with easy and straight-forward programming.
The pitch to MIDI technology in the Roland G-707 and accompanying GR-700, although produced unique synthesizer sounds, had spurious glitchy note detection. The guitar itself is a statement and much desired piece of MIDI guitar history!