Roland VG-8 - 27 year old technology still sounds great

hippietim

Roadie
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I think the Roland VG-8 came out in 1995 and it was well over $2k at the time. It requires a Roland GK pickup but it doesn't do MIDI synth stuff - it processes the individual strings directly. It offers guitar, amp, and effects modeling - they're all pretty dated now. But it also offers a whole bunch of synthesis options. It's like the great great grandfather of the SY-1000. The lineage is something like this - VG-8 -> VG-88 -> VG-99 -> GP-10/GR-55 -> SY-1000. But there's still stuff in the original VG-8 that didn't get carried through even to the VG-88. Because Roland.

Anyhow, if you watch out for these you can pick them up really cheap. I've had one a long time and ended up grabbing a backup for $175 and then ran across another for $125. These are a steal for those prices if you can make use of the synthy/trippy sounds they can do. You're better off with a later generation model if you want guitar/amp modeling.

I did some samples for someone that asked about it a few years ago. These are all factory presets.









 
I love these clips Tim. The VG series still piques my interest as I never gave them a try.
 
Seems like Joni was using something similar to the Crystal patch on this song. VG-8 is all over her newer releases.



I've been interested in getting a VG-8 for a while but never pull the trigger because I also would need a GK-3 guitar. Tim do you have a preference of guitar with it built in like a Godin XTSA or just adding one to a guitar you already own?
 
I've been interested in getting a VG-8 for a while but never pull the trigger because I also would need a GK-3 guitar. Tim do you have a preference of guitar with it built in like a Godin XTSA or just adding one to a guitar you already own?
For starters, if you buy a VG-8 you want to get a VG-8EX. The non-EX version can be upgraded but the EX has much improved IO. The non-EX has some hiss that is fixed on the EX. The way to identify an EX is that the V in the logo on the front is yellow/orange and the other one is blue. Also, the EX as additional lettering on the left most foot switches - Mod, Delay, Reverb and Tuner. If you’re patient, you should be able to get one for like $200.

I’ve had the Godins before (still have a nylon) and for Vguitar stuff I prefer a GK pickup. The piezo style are a bit better for pitch-to-MIDI. So I prefer the GK. I’ve put them on a couple guitars. If you want to go nuts, get the CycFi pickup with a Nexus GM box. You can do GK compatible stuff and very high quality 6 individual string outputs.
 
For starters, if you buy a VG-8 you want to get a VG-8EX. The non-EX version can be upgraded but the EX has much improved IO. The non-EX has some hiss that is fixed on the EX. The way to identify an EX is that the V in the logo on the front is yellow/orange and the other one is blue. Also, the EX as additional lettering on the left most foot switches - Mod, Delay, Reverb and Tuner. If you’re patient, you should be able to get one for like $200.

I’ve had the Godins before (still have a nylon) and for Vguitar stuff I prefer a GK pickup. The piezo style are a bit better for pitch-to-MIDI. So I prefer the GK. I’ve put them on a couple guitars. If you want to go nuts, get the CycFi pickup with a Nexus GM box. You can do GK compatible stuff and very high quality 6 individual string outputs.
For that!^
 
Going through these again.

G-Steps clip is the trumpet sound we need!
 
VG-8
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VG-8EX
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I still vividly remember sitting on my lunch breaks back in '95, when the VG-8 first dropped, pouring over Recording magazine's massive review. Man, I wanted one so bad. It's crazy now, seeing them change hands for so little $$$. But I worry about reliability and, more importantly, I suspect its "window of relevance" has passed for me. Love these clips, though! This era of Roland was so fun!
 
I still vividly remember sitting on my lunch breaks back in '95, when the VG-8 first dropped, pouring over Recording magazine's massive review. Man, I wanted one so bad. It's crazy now, seeing them change hands for so little $$$. But I worry about reliability and, more importantly, I suspect its "window of relevance" has passed for me. Love these clips, though! This era of Roland was so fun!
Reliability? Roland? Their stuff has always been great.
 
Reliability? Roland? Their stuff has always been great.
I know Roland builds tanks as a rule. I just get cold feet whenever I consider buying hardware that's been in service for, what, nearly 30 years? :oops:

EDIT: Yes, nearly 30 years. It's right there in the thread title LOL.
 
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I know Roland builds tanks as a rule. I just get cold feet whenever I consider buying hardware that's been in service for, what, nearly 30 years? :oops:

EDIT: Yes, nearly 30 years. It's right there in the thread title LOL.
Honestly, I was wondering about it myself so I bought a backup. No need yet.
 
I’ve always been interested in these as a result of hearing Kirk Hammett use one on the Load album. That clean guitar part in “Until It Sleeps” was supposedly the VG-8. There were some other tones on that album I know he used it for but I can’t remember anymore. If I can find one for $200 I’d scoop that up.

I was supposed to get a Fishman Triple Play a few months back but I think it turned into another guitar or a bunch of pedals.
 
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