What's GK?

Roland's GK Pickup is a pickup that guitarists and bassists can attach to their instruments to drive the GR-55, GR-D, GR-S, VG-99, and/or VB-99. On this page, we describe how the GK Pickup works, and the differences between guitar synths and the V-Guitar system.

1. The GK Pickup
2. Guitar synthesizers
3. How to install the GK pickup

1. The GK Pickup
The GK Pickup is capable of picking up individual signals for each string. For example, normal pickups would capture and output signals from all six strings of the guitar.

In contrast to this, a divided pickup is capable of picking up signals from each individual string and outputting these signals individually. This allows it to detect accurate performance information for each individual string.

Additionally, since the output signal is analog ― the same as traditional pickups ― it faithfully conveys all guitar-playing techniques.

You can easily attach a GK-3 or GK-3B divided pickup to your favorite guitar or bass, and enjoy a new dimension of performance with a guitar synth or the V-Guitar system.

And because the sounds picked up on your instrument's pickups are output on a different circuit, you can play the synth tones alongside your original guitar or bass tones.

Our bass pickup, the GK-3B, is designed to float above the bridge if there isn't enough room to install the controller on the front of the body.

2. Guitar synthesizers
Synthesizers typically consist of a "keyboard" and "sound generator."

The keyboard sends information of the note that was played — including the strength and duration — to the sound generator.

Sound generator
The sound generator stores waveforms of sounds such as piano, organ, and strings, and transmits these "tones" according to the information it receives from the keyboard.

Guitar synthesizers use the guitar's "fingerboard" instead of a "keyboard" to send information to the sound generator to produce sound.

GK-3However, unlike keyboards, fingerboards on typical guitars are not equipped with a function for sending information that the sound generator is able to recognize. This functionality must be added to the guitar. GK Pickups, including the GK-3, give guitars this functionality.

GK Pickups are based on the same principle as regular guitar pickups that are comprised of magnets and coils, but an essential difference is that it comes with six individual magnetic pickups — one for each string. This allows it to detect the same information as keyboards: the note being played, the pitch and force it is played at, and how long it is played.

Additionally, because this pickup is able to send the sound generator information on performance techniques such as bending and vibrato that are unique to guitars, it dramatically expands your range of expression and creativity.

* The GK Pickup is also referred to as a "divided pickup", as it is divided into separate pickups for each individual string.

divided pickup

[MEMO] Roland's latest Guitar synthesizer, the GR-55, combines a powerful guitar-synthesizer system with COSM-based guitar modeling. Enjoy the innovative combination of amazing synthesis and a wide variety of guitar sounds from a single guitar and GK pickup.
3. How to install the GK pickup
We will show you how to install your GK-3/GK-3B. The GK-3/GK-3B is designed to fit most guitars/bass guitars. The pickup's curvature can be adjusted according the guitar bridge's curvature.

* Read "Dimension and Requirements" to confirm that there will be no problem with the installation.

GK-3 Dimensions and Requirements
GK-3B Dimensions and Requirements

ST model
Normal Method

LP model
Overhang Method