Pedal legends Boss have now built their clever synth engine into a regular guitar — no hex pickups required!
Although their parent company Roland are well‑documented pioneers of guitar synths, for Boss it’s a relatively new venture. However, though the same Roland engineering team is behind the GS‑1 and related Boss products, in some ways the GS‑1 turns the clock back to the Roland GR‑300, which had its own guitar plus a box of analogue electronics. The big difference is that the GS‑1 incorporates all the necessary electronics into the guitar, and no hex pickup is required: like the Boss SY‑300 standalone guitar synth system, the SY‑1 pedal and the SY‑200 pedal, the GS‑1 processes the sound from a conventional guitar pickup to produce a range of analogue‑style, polyphonic synth sounds, albeit digitally.
The guitar itself is made in one of the leading far‑eastern guitar factories and has the same 25.5‑inch scale length as a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster. Its fingerboard is Indian rosewood rather than one of the currently popular substitutes while the C‑shaped maple neck has easy access truss‑rod adjustment at the body end and is fitted with a bone nut. Its fingerboard has a compound radius from 12 to 16 inches, which is comfortable and doesn’t choke out on extreme note bends. Locking Gotok tuners are fitted as standard and the vibrato bridge is also by Gotoh with a push‑in arm secured by a variable‑pressure grub screw. The body is alder.
Unlike a Strat, the guitar has two Eurus humbucking pickups but wired via a five‑way switch to offer neck humbucker, neck single coil, neck and bridge humbuckers, bridge single coils in parallel and bridge humbucker. This provides a wide range of tones straddling the traditional Fender and Gibson camps, all presided over by a single master volume and single tone...