Thursday, August 23, 2012

Roland GR-500 guitar synthesizer "Play me a rainbow" ad, International Musician 1978

Roland GR-500 guitar synthesizer "Play me a rainbow" full page colour advertisement from page 179 in the March (UK)/April (US) 1978 issue of International Musician and Recording World.

The rain is gone, and the sun and heat are back. I'm keeping this one short so I can enjoy the rest of my day!

Yup - the love-fest for Roland continues with this juicy full pager for Roland's GR-500. And Roland must have known it was a gooder because they kept it running from March to December of 1978 in most if not all the issues.

I had never come across the beast until a new employee showed up at my local music store and found that we had analogs in common. After we both became pretty sure that either one of us was out to rob the other, I had the chance to go see his home studio. And the first time I walked in, I tripped over one of these sitting on the floor. then I tripped over another. After the initial shock, he told me he had a third in the closet.

And can you believe, I never actually got to listen to one because he moved out of the province before I had the chance.


*slaps forehead*

I really enjoy the layout of this advertisement. Nice a clean, with that iconic photo of the synth module in the foreground and the custom guitar behind. The green hughs, probably partly due to the age of the magazine, give it a slightly sea-sick appearance. But don't let that get in the way of enjoying this ad.

The ad-title is cute and reads well on the page. The ad-copy the same - if maybe a little on the sappy side to go with the "Play me a rainbow" theme. I'm usually not a fan of statements like "Roland gives you music" or "Open up a new world of creative possibilities" but in the context of the rainbow... meh... I don't mind it.

But, like most Roland ads at the time, its the Brodr, Jorgensen (BJ) connection that makes me love this ad the most. That logo with the three quarter notes and the crown (by appointment to the Royal Dutch Court) is really hip. I could see it blown up to huge proportions - like three stories tall.

And, although three logos is kind of repetitive (two on the machine and the third on its own), the third logo really is required to balance the whole ad.

A quick Google proved what I expected - people seem to love this thing.

Vintage Synth Explorer has a GR-500 page with a small write-up, but its the comments section that really provides some good info. For example, apparently there is a "3 'patch' memory 'floorboard' called the PC-50 that was available for the the GR-500".That peaked my interest and before you knew it, I was on Wayne Scott Joness' Vintage Roland Guitar Synthesizer Resource Web site. And in particular, the GR-500 page. And it is quite the resource. Specs, detailed info, nice photos, and a ton of videos showing off its functionality and performance. Nice.

You can also find some excellent history on the never-disappointing Sound On Sound Web site. The August 1999 article written by Norm Leete and simply titled "Roland GR-Series" provides some great historical and technical information on the GR-500, GR-300 and all of their brothers, sisters and cousins are mentioned.

Like I said at the beginning - I'm keeping this one short. Want more information? Google is your friend.   :)

Hello sun - here I come! What... no rainbow?!?!


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