Guitars101 - Guitar Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
excess to requirements
Joined
·
7,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know the forum is very much in favour of Pods and V-Amps but I thought I would post a little review on this beast.

The Virtual Guitar system VG-88 V2.0, is a pretty flexible bit of kit – it embraces the same kind of technology as found in the pods but goes a stage further. The unit is controlled by a hex pickup (more on that later) and has 32 amp sims, just about every kind of effect you can imagine and also loads of guitar sims. It is a stand alone floor controller unit with a decent LCD display and expression pedal. It has 65 banks of 4 presets, 100 user presets and 160 factory. It also has a control pedal that allows you to activate spot effects to your patches.

Basically everything is editable to such a fine degree it is verging on the ridiculous. You want to put your neck pick-up under the 12th fret of the guitar? Go ahead. Don’t like your speakers on a 5150? Then change them. Want to mic your speaker 6 cm from the cone? It does that. Want to truly emulate a 12 string (octaves on the bottom 4 and doubling on the e and b?) It does that. Sitars, synths, banjos, brass, strings etc? It does that too. All effects are polyphonic, including the synths and harmonisers. The list goes on but I think you get the drift.

As is usual with these units the presets are not great but it is easy to create your own. The amps are pretty faithful to their real life counterparts and the effects are pretty much based on boss/Roland stomp boxes. Distortions/Overdrive are as good as any digital ones I have heard. There are loads of possibilities for the effects and trying to list them defeats the object because if it isn’t there you can probably create it given the parameters available.

I mentioned flexibility and that is where this unit shines – the amp sims have so much tonal control options it might be a little bewildering if it wasn’t for the structuring of the menus. The same applies to the guitar types – you can select a straight forward tele or Rickenbacker, then choose what type of pickups (and where to put them) what type of body etc.

Some of the effects like octavers, synths and harmonisers are fully realised here. All are fully polyphonic and become useful tools. For example you can set the octaver 2 octaves up and have a choral sting effect. Or you can go an octave down on the E and A strings to add bass to your parts. The harmoniser is good but as with all harmonisers sloppy playing can produce some quirks.

Open tunings are available without physically retuning the guitar. You can either create your own or select one of the presets. This is why I bought the unit. I was backing a girl singer that liked to pick songs with lush open chords but she picked some of the weirdest keys F#, A# and D#. I used the open tunings to create a virtual capo so I could play all the songs using their original chordal voicings but in whatever key she chose to sing in.

This is all achieved by the hex pickup – commonly referred to as a wart! This additional pickup sits as close to the bridge of the guitar as is possible and has a controller unit that fixes to the body of the guitar via the strap nut. I use a GK-2A pickup but there are others and they are not pretty. It is possible to buy guitars that are “roland ready.” These have the pickup installed and the electrics hidden inside the guitar. There is no delay whatsoever with the tracking and glitching is pretty much non existent. Oh and you can also run your conventional pickups through the unit at the same time and plug it in anywhere along the effects chain you wish.

The unit is ideal for home recording and gigging and works best with a power amp or being run straight into the backline. The only disadvantage to using one live is you cannot use a wireless system due to the 13 pin connector plug. A minor compromise in my opinion, given that it also can act as a midi controller for other units.

It isn’t cheap – the whole setup is about $900 new (it cost me £750 UK) but in terms of what it does it really is worth it IMHO. To put it in perspective, this unit would allow Alex Lifeson to use just the one guitar throughout a 3 hour rush gig. Nylon strings, 12 strings, retuned guitars (ala Big Money), synths you name it. Funnily enough he uses one. So Does Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and a whole load of other people.
 

·
excess to requirements
Joined
·
7,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well if you have the cash...

ebay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,507 Posts
I always wanted one of these myself..but then again I always wanted an eventide harmonizer also...just not willin to put that much cash into a hobby yet lol
 

·
excess to requirements
Joined
·
7,118 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
lol! I only got this because I had a bit of cash and an overly good salesman at the shop. I went in to buy a GT-6. D'oh!
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top