GR-33 (one of my favourite toys...)

I acquired Roland GR-33 guitar synthesiser in March 2001 and since then it has been my favourite toy. Not that it is perfect in every respect, but once you delve into it, you're going to love it (IMHO).

See also a new page: GR-33 tracking tips, for those who have problems playing their GR33.

Some say it is extremely easy to program and ... I have to agree with them. Some say the sounds are fabulous and ... there is much truth in it. However, I donn't think much of the factory presets (patches), apart from a few, that is. Some of my favourites are:

Many others are useless, I don't even want to mention them. But as I've been into synth programming since early 90's, playing mainly with CASIO VZ1 (an unusual case of additive synthesis) Roland D-50 (a hybrid: very short samples + additive synthesis) and some EMU stuff, the mediocre factory patches didn't put me off. Just after two months I came up with a large collection of very playable patches (this is the "original collection" listed below). Afterwards I also created a few other collections, which you can get from here (they're above the first collection, latest first). There's no detailed listing for each of them on this page, but they have a "readme" file inside the .zip file. The patches are in raw format (suitable for Grape - a newly created GR-33 editor/librarian). If you don't have Grape, you can get it from or by joining the Yahoo GR-30 mail list, by which you get access to the "files" area. Judging from the format, the patches could be sent into GR-33 by virtually any program that can send sys-ex data. Just remember to set your GR-33 into SYSTEM - Bulk load (waiting...) mode. If you don't know what SysEx is or how to load it into your synth, you might want to look at the following links:

Remarks: • some of the patches below are just modified factory patches, there are, however, enough differences between the original and my edited version to make something useless into something quite useful (IMVHO). • Some patches may require adjustments in the tracking mode: they work fine in the case of my acoustic guitar and a Godin Multiac ACS coupled with my very soft finger style of playing. If you use a pick, adjust the tracking mode to a weaker one (eg. "normal" or "hard picking"). • The mp3s are here only to demonstrate the sounds, not to advertise my playing skills (they are usually "take 1", without much preparation).

New collections
Autumn 2003! "Ambience-n-spice". 29 patches. Get this collection. All patches in one .zip file. There is a readme.txt inside the zip file, so just a short explanation. Some of these patches are "ambience" sounds, some are jazz-like or reggae-like. The most important bit is the use of the expression pedal. Don't forget to check what happens when you swing it up or down!
Autumn 2002! "10-2002 Collection". 20 patches. Get this collection.. All patches in one .zip file The readme.txt inside the file explains all.
Spring 2002. Gospel collection. 14 patches. Get this collection.. All patches in one .zip file The readme.txt inside the file explains all.
2 Bagpipe patches. You can tweak the sound changing the effect (spectrum) parameters. Yes, I confirm I am a highlander and want these patches :). One zip file in Grape format.
Christmas 2001 Collection. Includes several "carol type" patches and many others. Get this collection. One zip file: has all the individual patches and the whole collection in Grape format.
The original collection
Get all the patches listed below at once...
Patch name (GR33) File name - Get it! mp3 - example of use Remarks
Real-life-like patches
Violin Barq violin-baroque   I use this to play Bach's Violin Partitas
Violin solo violin-solo   Much better than "fiddle"
Cello Barq cello-baroque   Well, you've guessed it. It's for Cello Sonatas/Suites
GRAND PIAN2 grando-piano2   Similar to factory "Grand Piano"
GRAND PIAN3 grand-piano3   This piano is a lot darker than the factory "Grand Piano" - it is also a lot better with classical music.
e-piano e-piano  
sop-sax sop-sax  
alt-sax alt-sax  
Clarinet clarinet   I dare you to play the "Clarinet Polka" with this patch. The most difficult bit is not to let any two notes sound at the same time (how on earth do you expect a clarinetist to play two sounds together!?)
Strat-fl strat-flanger   Strat with added flanger
JC STRAT strat   Slightly modified factory patch (to suit my playing style)
CLEAN TELE tele   Slightly modified factory patch (to suit my playing style)
Strat pad strat-pad  
Flamenco flamenco-mg   Chromatic. Maybe not absolutely perfect classical guitar, but better than the factory one and you can play tremolo with this patch (at least I can...)
NYLON STR GT nylon-str-mg   Another try at a classical guitar (this one is non-chromatic)
NYLON STR GT nylon1   Another try at a classical guitar
Piano strng piano-string  
EPiano Str epiano-string  
EpianoBrass epiano-brass  
guitar-pad guitar-pad   I use this usually mixed with my acoustic guitar sound
gstrings gstrings   ditto
bouzouki bouzouki   For the 'Zorba' soundtrack...
Harp harp   A 'thin' harp -- good to be used in arrangements that sound already 'fat'
Harp-Andreal harp-andreal   An Andreas Vollenweider type harp (I use this one in connection with my CASIO VZ1)
Harp-Andreal harp-andreal1   A bit different variant of the above
Harp-Andreal harp-andreal2   A bit different variant of the above
Harp-Andreal harp-andreal-fl   A lot different variant. This one is my absolute favourite.
cmaj-strings cmaj-strings   A minor edit on the factory patch
ROCK Ld Soft rock-ld-soft  
Midi piano midi-piano   A minor edit on the factory patch
Midi keys midi-keys   A minor edit on the factory patch
Brass-bone brass-bone  
saint-string saint-string  
Organ patches
cathedral cathedral   I did play the Mendelssohn's Wedding March at a real wedding with this patch and certainly nobody took offence...
cathedral-big cathedral-big  
cathedral-sml cathedral-small  
church-hamm church-hammond   Not a very realistic hammond, but still nice
e-organ2 e-organ2  
b-organ-dyn b-organ-dyn  
Synth-sounding patches
sweepy-crepy sweepy-creepy   This combines both fast response and long "sweeping" effect
lead-cosmo lead-cosmo  
atmo-pulse atmo-pulse   You don't have to be a J.M. Jarre freak to like this.
atmo-bright atmo-bright  
atmo-pulsar atmo-pulsar  
atmo-brassy atmo-brassy   Well, even my wife loves this (although she is by no means a Jarre freak).
sndtr-lead sndtr-lead  
sndtr-choir sndtr-choir   A lot of ambience...
sweep-brassy sweep-brassy  
sweep-singer sweep-singer   Oh - ho...
atmo-saw atmo-saw   Good both for solo and background
blower-string blower-string  
blower-wine blower-wine  
blower-air blower-air  
blower-air2 blower-air2  
sitar-fairy sitar-fairy   A bit funny
x-files x-files   This should sweep some of your friends off their feet
Split performance patches (mostly with bass on bottom 2 or 3 strings)
Mr S.Oboe mr-s-oboe   Are you going to try "Concierto d'Aranjuez" with this one?
Violin&Orch violin-orchestra   Well, the following three patches are somewhat special. I use them to play Vivaldi's "Winter". This is a violin (top 4 strings) and orchestra (bottom 4).
Viol&DarkOr violin-dark-orch   Similar to the above, but the orchestra is 'fuller' - it's enough to play one string to make a deep impression...
4season-winter 4season-winter This one is very special and requires a bit of comment: • Put your GR into pedal mode (s2) • Press pedal 3 (hold), Press pedal 4 (ctrl) simultaneously with the first chord of Vivaldi's winter (2nd part) • Press pedal 4 each time you change the chord. If you manage to do everything in sync, your friends' jaws are going to drop...
Orch-timpani orch-timpani   If your friends' jaws didn't drop with the previous patch, they're probably deaf, so you can hit their b***s with this one.
Shearing-vb shearing-vb   You know the name of George Shearing? If so, you're gonna love this.
Bs/acoustic bs-acoustic  
Bs/Fantasia bs-fantasia  
Bs/NylonCho bs-nylon-chorus You can play virtually every pop tune with this patch (in fact I use it mostly during worship meetings).
Bs/NylonStr bs-nylon-string   ditto
Bs/Epno-Str bs-epiano-string   ditto
Bs/organ B3 bs-organb3  
Bs/brass bs-brass   I use it for twist-type songs.
Hard comb hard-combo  
Hard comb2 hard-combo2  
SOFT COMB2 soft-combo   Pure delight...
Bs/flute bs-flute  
Bs/harmonica bs-harmonica   Try some jazz standards with this one or ... La cumparsita
Bs + Lead sw bs-lead-saw  
guit-flute guit-flute   The following three patches are useful if you them alteratively for each chorus, as a sort of second-voice/solo.
guit-oboe guit-oboe  
guit-flute-i guit-flute-i  
Performance patches with background drums
dr-organb3 dr-organb3   Get into the pedal mode (S2), press pedal 3 (hold) and press pedal 4 (ctrl) when you start playing or want to change style.
pop-drums1 pop-drums1  
dance-drums1 dance-drums1  
dance-drums2 dance-drums2  
pop-drums pop-drums  
board-drums board-drums  
bossa-drums bossa-drums  
cntry-drums country-drums  
dr-popstring dr-popstring  
kocham-wiec kocham-wiec  

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Copyright © by Maciej Górnicki (aka Macminer). Last change: 25.11.2003 01:14