Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Sonuus
Ease of Use — 10
This is very much a plug-and-play device. There is nothing complicated about its use, although there is a button to indicate 'chromatic' playing or not. What this means is that in some instances you want to permit sting bending or sliding, such as using a guitar effect, violin, etc. In other instances bending and sliding sound inappropriate, as with a piano or saxophone. And so, if wanting to mimic a sax, you would switch on 'chromatic,' and if you did a bend you would hear the note shift from one to the next rather than sounding like a guitar bend.
But a word of warning... you need decent technique and precision in your playing, since what you play needs to be translated to a MIDI sound source. If you play sloppy, then you will hear it coming through in the other instrument voicing. You can get away with some sloppiness when playing a distorted guitar while cranking out some riffs, but will need to clean up your skills when using the G2M (and that's a good thing). Bear in mind that note-detection is excellent with the G2M, a different issue than sloppy playing.
Sound — 10
The G2M (Guitar to MIDI) is not a pedal per se (although it's small and can sit on a pedal board quite nicely), but technology that converts a guitar signal to MIDI so that you can 'trigger' a sound module, a keyboard, etc. It can work with 7-string guitars as well, but also a bass guitar, voice and wind instruments (dip switches inside allow for custom configuration). What's also cool is that it can work with keyboards that do NOT have a MIDI out (you simply go direct via a ¼-inch cable into the G2M and then into your sound module). I bring this up since some keyboards only have USB out and you need to use a computer in order to communicate with other MIDI devices - the G2M solves that problem.
In regard to 'sound,' there is no sound that emits from the G2M, but rather from those instruments coming through and going out. There is no noise, since it's a digital device; and whatever tones come from the guitar or from the MIDI source being triggered remain untouched and clear. And this is a key point, since some may be asking why use the G2M - what is the benefit for a guitar player, bass player, etc.? Although you can use your guitar to sound like a violin, piano, flute, etc., (whatever sounds are in your keyboard or sound module), what makes this device so useful is that you can mix your usual guitar tone with a MIDI sound, such as your usual distorted guitar with tubular bells, or a soft acoustic solo with an accompanying string section. When you do this you will find song composition and how you think of guitar playing (and the riffs you write) do change and become more unusual or complex.
Another key element of the G2M is that you can lay down some bass lines or even drum fills into your recordings and without having to buy a bass, play the drums, etc. For a demonstration of how this device works, check out this video:
Reliability & Durability — 9
The construction is solid enough (plastic housing), but it’s not a usual pedal that needs to be stomped upon or dials turned, etc. It is light weight and highly portable (will fit neatly into any carrying case). Although it can run on a simple AA battery for 20+ hours, an adapter for pedal board use is optional. What I would recommend is that the G2M include a belt/strap clip for those who do not want it sitting on the floor or on a pedal board (that may be crammed with pedals in the first place).
Also, although there have been complaints in the past about latency, the third generation G2M now is available and I find note detection and speed of translation (tracking) super fast and reliable – no latency issues whatsoever, even when playing trills.
Overall Impression — 9
I like being able to trigger different non-guitar sounds with my guitar (ideal for those non-piano/keyboard players), and being able to combine those sounds with a more usual guitar tone is pretty awesome. I did have a MIDI guitar system (Roland GR-33), but that meant fixing a pickup to a guitar (and having to buy other pickups if you want to use different guitars); I did get rid of it because it was older technology (and a newer replacement would cost at least $750). The same situation exists with a MIDI guitar, in that you are limited by that guitar's pickups, playability, etc. The G2M, on the other hand, can be used with a host of equipment at a fraction of the cost without any alteration to your guitar. You may not use it all the time, but it's a great tool in the toolbox for when you do want it.
It also includes a strobe-type tuner (fast blinking means it's out of tune, whereas a slow pulse or solid light means the string is tuned), a low battery indicator and a 'clip' indicator (if the signal is too hot).
Likely the main drawback, however, is that it detects and translates one note at a time. This means no strumming or bar chords, but you can do arpeggio type picking and certainly single note soloing. Keep in mind that I have used this with bar chords and power chords... playing my usual tone through my guitar effects, whereas only one note out of 2-3 will trigger from the MIDI device. And so, all my notes sounded from my guitar (whatever chord I would play), whereas only one of those would trigger from the MIDI sound source. Even with this limitation it sounds great and extra-dimensional when recording tracks.