You are here

SynthAxe on Reverb

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:24 am

I think this is the first time I've ever seen a SynthAxe for sale (by the former guitarist with Hue and Cry). Sadly I can't afford it, but maybe one of you high-rollers would like one to hang on the wall.

Image

https://reverb.com/item/24258035-syntha ... 6-graphite
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3703
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:05 pm

The only problem with that is you need to get the rest of the Darth Vader outfit to play it properly...
;)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7293
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Forum Admin » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:14 pm

Wow!! Great to see that photo. I can now own up to being the first person in the world to review the SynthAxe for a magazine (Sound On Sound) -- it was a front cover I recall.

[EDIT: this 'fact' is 100% untrue and has indeed been corrected kindly by desmond in a later post in this thread.]

Cue desmond to point us to the scanned magazine past issue in Mu:zines... ;)

At the time, I was all for innovation, but the fretboard felt about as comfortable as playing a Guitar Hero plastic axe.

Think I've still got the cassette tape kicking around somewhere that I recorded interviews on with the company founder (Stephen Randall, I think he was called?) and the technical manager (Ken McAlpine, ex-colleague of mine at E&MM magazine)...

Nicely aged YouTube video here with Allan Holdsworth and Lee Ritenour:

https://youtu.be/JqdVQ9VdoAg
User avatar
Forum Admin
Moderator
Posts: 3046
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: A studio deep in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK
SEARCH 10,660+ top articles: www.soundonsound.com/search
*NEW* SOS Video Tutorials: www.soundonsound.com/tutorials

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:18 pm

Forum Admin wrote:I can now own up to being the first person in the world to review the SynthAxe for a magazine

Haha, that's pretty cool. ;)

blinddrew wrote:The only problem with that is you need to get the rest of the Darth Vader outfit

I think you're getting mixed up, Darth played an SG Doubleneck.

Image
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3703
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Forum Admin » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:30 pm

blinddrew wrote:The only problem with that is you need to get the rest of the Darth Vader outfit to play it properly...
;)

Drat - my secret's out... :blush:
User avatar
Forum Admin
Moderator
Posts: 3046
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: A studio deep in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK
SEARCH 10,660+ top articles: www.soundonsound.com/search
*NEW* SOS Video Tutorials: www.soundonsound.com/tutorials

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby desmond » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:41 pm

Forum Admin wrote:Wow!! Great to see that photo. I can now own up to being the first person in the world to review the SynthAxe for a magazine (Sound On Sound) -- it was a front cover I recall.

Hmm...

Forum Admin wrote:Cue desmond to point us to the scanned magazine past issue in Mu:zines... ;)

I thought I heard the BatPhone ringing...

I don't recall an SOS with the Synthaxe on the front cover, at least up to 1993, which should be a sufficient timespan, given the SyntheAxe was really an 1984-86 type product. In fact, I don't recall an SOS review at all...

Here's all of the covers up to 1993.
http://www.muzines.co.uk/mags/SOS/all

It's possible that this was in an issue I haven't processed yet, so I can't yet easily *search for these.

I do wonder though if you're confusing this with the *other* one - the Stepp DG1. This is Ian's SOS article:
http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/stepp-dg1-digital-guitar/1508

And more Stepp articles if you want more, including an interview with Stephen Randall:-
http://www.muzines.co.uk/gear/34/65/125

As for the SynthAxe, here are SynthAxe reviews from other mags I've processed so far, including the 12T review which went up in the past week or so, if you're interested in more geeking out, including some nice pics of the prototype in the Feb 85 article:
http://www.muzines.co.uk/gear/0/364/0


* Actually, I *am* in the process, as a research tool, for OCRing out my full library to searchable PDF's, just so I can indeed run searches on my library for things I haven't processed yet. All content will be OCR'd in this way, including ads, small ads and so on. I've done about 150 mags so far, I started this last week in response to some research enquiries, but had to pause as I (again) burnt out the fan on my laptop, and these are CPU intensive processes which take time, and I didn't want anything to melt!

I have batch processes for this so I can leave it running and convert/OCR issues overnight, so over the next few months I should have the full library able to be searched in this way, which will be an invaluable research tool. Unless I can borrow someone's iMac Pro and do it over a couple of nights...! :headbang:
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8734
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Forum Admin » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:25 pm

desmond, thanks for reminding me I am getting old and the grey matter is not working so well. :-)

You are absolutely 100% correct, it was the Stepp DG1 guitar synth I reviewed, not the SynthAxe (the honour of that review fell to Guitarist magazine's editor at the time Neville Marten (presenter of the video review on YouTube). Doh!!!!!
User avatar
Forum Admin
Moderator
Posts: 3046
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: A studio deep in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK
SEARCH 10,660+ top articles: www.soundonsound.com/search
*NEW* SOS Video Tutorials: www.soundonsound.com/tutorials

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Forum Admin » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:32 pm

I even got the memory recall of it being on the front cover wrong!! That's because it was scheduled for the cover and mocked up, but my brother flew back from an LA show where he'd managed to interview Frank Zappa, and we opted to put him on the cover.

From memory, a good decision as that issue sold very well on the newsstands, as interviews with Zappa were rare as rocking horse s**t!!
User avatar
Forum Admin
Moderator
Posts: 3046
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: A studio deep in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK
SEARCH 10,660+ top articles: www.soundonsound.com/search
*NEW* SOS Video Tutorials: www.soundonsound.com/tutorials

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby arkieboy » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:22 pm

£15k

(sighs)
User avatar
arkieboy
Regular
Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordish

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby John Egan » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:57 am

arkieboy wrote:£15k

(sighs)

That doesn't appeal at all ! On the rare occasions I need a "Synthish" sound from my guitar, I use a Godin ACS with MIDI. Works pretty well, I think.
Regards, John
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby arkieboy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:47 pm

Hi John

Gigged a large number of the various pitch to midi guitar synthesisers over the years, played most of the rest too. To the point of not actually generating any guitar noise of any kind throughout an entire tour.

You might say ‘been there, worn the cape’ ;-)

I haven’t ever played the Stepp or the Synthaxe, or for that matter a Ztar. I’ve taken pitch to midi about as far as I can - these days I work with the COSM synths in my VG99. The thought of a Synthaxe into an Oberheim Xpander has me salivating to this day ...

Steve
User avatar
arkieboy
Regular
Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordish

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby John Egan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 pm

Wow ! The most adventurous I get is the occasional GM preset to add some tone colour to a track.
Regards, John
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby arkieboy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:40 pm

John Egan wrote:The most adventurous I get is the occasional GM preset to add some tone colour to a track

Because you're a normal, sensible person. I appear to be neither of those ... :-)
User avatar
arkieboy
Regular
Posts: 358
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordish

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby John Egan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:17 pm

arkieboy wrote:
John Egan wrote:The most adventurous I get is the occasional GM preset to add some tone colour to a track

Because you're a normal, sensible person. I appear to be neither of those ... :-)

Well ! Nobody has ever called me that before. It's usually much worse.
Regards, John
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Wonks » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:37 pm

I bought a used YouRock MIDI guitar just after the company website shut down, so I couldn't get the latest (much needed) firmware for it. So I'd better just hang on to it 'til it's worth £15k. ;)
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8705
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:11 pm

I've been very tempted by one of those on several occasions Wonks, is it worth the effort?
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9728
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:47 pm

I had one and I hated it. Ok, maybe a bit strong, but I really didn't get on with the rubbery fingerboard, and I struggled with the sensitivity of the plucking strings.

That, and I was constantly trying to use side-to-side finger vibrato on a fingerboard that doesn't understand it!

Having said all that, I have yet to find a guitar/synth combination that I *do* get on with, hence why I persist with those bloody black and white teeth-like things. Might try an SY300 when I can get the money together, though.
Rich Hanson
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1162
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Wonks » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:36 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I've been very tempted by one of those on several occasions Wonks, is it worth the effort?
It's supposed to be a rev2 but I'm not convinced and with no web site, I can't confirm it either way. My limited experience with it was that it didn't seem any quicker using it over USB to drive a VST as did my Roland GR20 and GK2a fitted Strat, with Jam Origin 2 still sounding quicker. Need to try it with a hardware MIDI lead to a module.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8705
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:01 pm

After the Eigenharp 'disappointment' (but I haven't given up on it yet) I guess I'll pass then, for now at least. I've enough to be going on with with the Model D, Miniak and EWI (with newly purchased Kenton MidiHost) for the moment.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9728
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: SynthAxe on Reverb

Postby BJG145 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:46 pm

I think the SynthAxe is a legend and a thing of beauty, but I'll clearly never get to pick one up. :tongue:

I hadn't come across the Stepp before. It's...what can I say...chunky? Blocky even. But kind of intriguing, and evidently quite rare.

I like MIDI guitars to look a bit like futuristic synth controllers, so while things like Jam Origin or the Fishman Tripleplay work very well, they don't excite me so much as something that looks slightly off the wall. I'm enjoying the Yamaha G10...the damping is a bit fussy when picking (in other words my sloppy technique doesn't really measure up), but it works nicely in what's called "left hand mode" where it detects contact very quickly and accurately via continuous ultrasonic scanning, and a breath controller can add back the missing dynamics.

I was tempted by a Ztar that came up on eBay recently, but I was put off by the un-guitar-like equal fret spacing and chunky-looking fretboard width. I have an Artiphon and struggle a little with the same issues, but it's definitely an interesting thing and I ought to persevere with it.

I've always had a hankering for a Roland GR500...completely impractical, but...maybe one day.

Image

Seem to remember Pat Metheney played one of those. He combined my twin interests of guitar and robotic percussion pretty well...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evHVh4bqaOQ

*edit* Hmm, no, Metheney seems mainly associated with the G303. Don't think I've heard of that one...
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3703
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: blinddrew, Dr Huge Longjohns