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Guitar synths have come a long way, from expensive bulky modules, to compact user-friendly units. You Rock’s latest offering is trying to keep that trend happening.
First off, it’s not quite a “guitar,” per se; it features a body and neck made out of plastic and a silicone fretboard that responds to fretted notes, plus a separate section with metal strings for picking. On the upper bout, a control panel allows patch changes and recording and playback functions, while the underside has connections for a 1/4” output 1/8” headphone output, 1/8” aux in (for playing along with mp3 players), USB & MIDI connections. With the unit being powered by (4) AA batteries, as well as functioning as a game controller, it (unfortunately) feels more like a toy than an instrument most serious musicians would consider picking up.
There are 99 patches that can be edited, using the stored samples, which include guitars, basses, synths, strings and drums. The sounds are OK, and they can be edited via You Rock’s PC software. Open tunings as well as transposing are also easy tasks to accomplish. It isn’t that hard to transition to this from a regular guitar, but tracking seems a little lacking, and switching between patches can take up to four seconds. This is a severe limitation if you have any inkling of using this in a live or studio setting, where time is money. With the MIDI and USB connections it can also act as a controller, using a separate MIDI keyboard.
Ultimately, this just seems to fall one step short of being a truly practical tool or instrument. With a $250 street price and the cheap plastic feel, game controller features, and tracking issues, it’s a bit lacking overall, especially for the money.
PROS: Good sounds, excellent connectivity, portable.
CONS: Feels more like a toy than an instrument.