You are here

Boss launch GM-800 Guitar Synthesizer

Powered by ZEN-Core sound engine

Boss GM-800 Guitar Synthesizer MIDI synth pickup retrofit

Boss have announced the launch of the GM-800 Guitar Synthesizer, a powerful new guitar and bass synthesis system which uses their newly developed Serial GK digital interface. The company’s ZEN-Core engine offers a huge range of sounds, and a selection of different pickup options are available, along with converter boxes that offer compatibility with previous 13-pin GK products.


Built around the company’s expandable ZEN-Core engine, the GM-800 comes loaded with a huge selection of sounds that offer everything from pianos, organs and orchestral instruments through to the sounds of classic Roland synths such as the Jupiter-8, Juno-106 and many more. In addition to the onboard patches, the system can be expanded using a range of Wave Expansions and Sound Packs from the Roland Cloud online platform.

The system is based around Scenes, which consist of four Tone Parts, a Rhythm part and a wide variety of synthesis parameters and effects, along with adjustment over pitch and sensitivity settings. In total, the GM-800 offers 1200 Tones and 70 Rhythm sounds, which can either be layered together to create combined patches, or assigned to individual strings in order to trigger multiple sounds individually. Thanks to the system’s advanced pitch detection, it is also possible to assign different Tones to specific fret ranges.

Boss GM-800 Guitar Synthesizer rear panel audio MIDI I/O connectionsThe rear panel of the GM-800 Guitar Synthesizer.

Boss say that the system can be used both on a desktop or as part of a pedalboard rig, and the unit is equipped with a comprehensive selection of I/O options that allow it to be integrated with studio and live performance setups. USB connectivity allows Scenes to be edited from a computer using Boss’ Tone Studio software, and it is also possible to record sounds into a DAW or use the system’s Guitar to MIDI function to play software instruments.

In terms of live use, two external control jacks allow up to four additional footswitches or two expression pedals to be added to the four built-in assignable footswitches, and MIDI I/O on five-pin DIN connectors allows for integration with other synthesizers and MIDI-enabled instruments and equipment.

Pickups, Cables & Converters

User-installable pickups are available for both guitar (GK-5) and bass (GK-5B). The former is said to fit most six-string guitars with steel strings, whilst the latter offers compatibility with most four-, five- and six-string basses, and the internal sensors of both units can be adjusted to accommodate different bridge spacings.

Boss GKC-DA converter for 13-pin pickup synth systemsA pair of converter boxes are available to provide compatibility with the older 13-pin systems.Unlike the previous generation, the system now uses quarter-inch TRS connectors, and Boss are offering two cable options (the BGK-15 and BGK-30) which have been specifically designed to provide optimum performance with the Serial GK interface. The two cables are both identical in construction, and simply offer a choice of two lengths: 4.5 and 9 metres (15 and 30 feet).

Helpfully, the company have also developed a pair of converter boxes, the GKC-AD and GKC-DA, which provide compatibility between the new system and the previous generation. This makes it possible to connect an instrument equipped with a 13-pin pickup to the GM-800, or use the new pickups with older units such as the SY-1000 or GP-10.

Pricing & Availability

The new range will be available to purchase in August, with prices as follows:

  • GM-800: $749.99
  • GK-5 pickup: $249.99
  • GK-5B pickup: $299.99
  • GKC-AD converter: $199.99
  • GKC-DA converter: $199.99
  • BGK-15 cable: $49.99
  • BGK-30 cable: $69.99

Also in the news