The BOSS GM-800 is the ultimate machine for guitarists who are into exploring not only synth tones, but ANY sound from acoustic to orchestral, since today’s synthesizers can replicate pretty much any instrument.
The first thing you need to know about this pedal is that it comes with its own pickup, which can be easily installed on any guitar or bass, and allows next-level tracking of your playing, compared with most other synth pedals, which use the (not ideal) regular output of your instrument.
This impressive device is a potent guitar and bass synthesis system featuring a new proprietary digital interface called Serial GK and the ZEN-Core engine, already found on many professional Roland synths. It boasts an extensive library of sounds, including pianos, organs, orchestral instruments, and vintage Roland synths like the Jupiter-8 and Juno-106.
This already vast selection of sounds is further integrated by Wave Expansions and Sound Packs from the Roland Cloud. Operating on a Scene-based platform, the GM-800 packs four Tone Parts, a Rhythm section, and an array of synthesis parameters and effects. With 1200 Tones and 70 Rhythm sounds at your disposal, you can layer them seamlessly or assign them to individual strings, allowing you to trigger multiple sounds individually. The advanced pitch detection even lets you assign specific Tones to particular fret ranges.
Designed for versatility, the GM-800 can be seamlessly integrated into both desktop setups and pedalboard rigs thanks to its array of I/O options. With USB connectivity, you can edit Scenes using the intuitive Tone Studio software on your computer, record your sounds into a DAW, or flex its Guitar to MIDI function to play software instruments.
For live performances, you’ll appreciate the two external control jacks that accommodate up to four additional footswitches or two expression pedals. The MIDI I/O, featuring five-pin DIN connectors, enables smooth integration with other synthesizers and MIDI-enabled gear.
And that’s not all – the GM-800 offers user-installable pickups for guitar (GK-5) and bass (GK-5B). Whether you rock a six-string guitar with steel strings or a four-, five-, or six-string bass, Boss has you covered. The internal sensors can be adjusted to cater to different bridge spacings – a thoughtful touch!
The list of features is rather incredible and we don’t have the space (or the time!!!) to go through every single one of them. You can find them all in the builder’s notes at the bottom of this post.
But if you are interested in the sound made by this machine, you just need to hit the play button on the videos below!
BOSS GM-800, Builder’s Notes
BOSS Guitar Synthesis Evolves with the Power of ZEN-Core
The GM-800 elevates guitar synthesis into a new age of natural playability and boundless creative range. Driven by the newly developed Serial GK interface, the advanced ZEN-Core engine unlocks any sound imaginable—from acoustic instruments to classic and modern synths—while high-performance DSP delivers tracking stability and expressive scope never before possible. Freely combine and edit Tones with the intuitive Scene workflow, color sounds with a huge selection of effects, and explore a universe of fresh content on Roland Cloud. Compact, streamlined, and ultra-versatile, the GM-800 infuses your guitar or bass with unlimited musical potential.
- Next-generation guitar and bass synthesizer with the newly developed Serial GK interface
- Advanced ZEN-Core sound engine derived from flagship Roland synthesizers
- Natural playing feel and solid tracking stability, realized through high-performance DSP
- Powerful Scene workflow with four Tones plus Rhythm
- Vast onboard sound library with over 1200 Tones and 70 Rhythm sounds
BOSS and its parent company Roland have been the worldwide leaders in guitar synthesizer innovation for nearly five decades, beginning with the revolutionary GR-500 system in 1977. The GM-800 continues our dedication to this category, providing guitar and bass players with powerful creative tools and access to sounds typically only available with keyboard-based instruments. Expanding and elevating the concepts behind many historic Roland GR products, the GM-800 merges our latest pitch and string tracking advancements with a versatile, cutting-edge sound engine.
The GM-800 is built around the expandable ZEN-Core Synthesis System, the sound source behind professional Roland products like the JUPITER-X and FANTOM keyboards, the ZENOLOGY software synthesizer, and many others. ZEN-Core is the most powerful synth engine in Roland’s long history, distilling decades of expertise into one sonically vast and deeply expressive creative instrument.
Over 1200 Sounds at Your Fingertips
The ZEN-Core engine combines modern PCM synthesis and advanced modeling to bring you an infinite playground for sonic discovery. Play acoustic pianos, EPs, organs, and orchestral instruments. Tap into classic Roland synths like the JUPITER-8, JUNO-106, and many others. And combine them all together to build sounds never heard before.
Four Tones Plus Rhythm
The GM-800 features four Tone parts plus a Rhythm part filled with acoustic and electronic percussion sounds. Call up a part with the dedicated panel buttons, then explore a deep array of synth parameters, pitch settings, alternate tunings, and string assignments to shape sounds to perfection.
Intuitive Scene Workflow
The ZEN-Core workflow is based around Scenes, which are “super patches” containing every element in a sound: Tone selection, parameters tweaks, sensitivity and other play settings, effects, and more. And thanks to the muscular DSP, you can carry over the sound of the current Scene as you select a new one for seamless musical transitions. There are 150 user-configurable Scenes, and 100 come with pro sounds ready to play immediately.
Roland Cloud Expansion
The GM-800 supports an ever-growing range of creative options through Roland Cloud. Stay inspired with ZEN-Core Sound Packs and Wave Expansions. And play the ZENOLOGY synthesizer and legendary Roland instruments in your DAW from your guitar or bass. You can start using Roland Cloud right away with a free Roland Account and access additional content via three paid membership levels. All plans start with a free 30-day Ultimate trial to experience everything Roland Cloud has to offer.
MASSIVE EFFECTS POWER
The GM-800 packs the full effects range of the modern ZEN-Core system. With an immense variety of effect types available in each Scene, you can shape, enhance, and mangle sounds to your heart’s delight.
Dedicated MFX for Each Part
Along with their sound-shaping parameters, every Tone and Rhythm part has a dedicated MFX processor. Each offers over 90 effect types, including distortions, filters, mod effects, delays, and more. Many selections include two effect types for additional sound-shaping control.
Scene and System Effects
Within every Scene, you also get two additional FX for processing the combined sound, plus high-quality chorus/delay and reverb effects with independent send levels from each part. And with the Master Comp and EQ, you can shape the GM-800’s sound output for any recording or performance setup.
The streamlined GM-800 flows smoothly from desktop operation to installation on an advanced pedalboard. The four footswitches default to Scene selection and two unique control settings, such as pedal hold, pitch bend, or Tone selection. But you can freely assign them to control a variety of functions via a powerful Assign matrix. Two external control jacks are also available, each supporting up to two footswitches or an expression pedal. And with five-pin MIDI I/O, you can interface with MIDI equipment from vintage to modern.
EXPAND YOUR CREATIVE WORLD
Along with standalone operation, the GM-800 merges seamlessly into a variety of expanded creative environments.
Edit Sounds with BOSS Tone Studio
Craft Scenes in detail from your computer using the BOSS Tone Studio software for the GM-800. Set up Tones, string assignments, sensitivity, and more from a large, friendly interface. Then use the Librarian function to organize your Scenes for different songs and performances.
With a single USB cable, you can capture GM-800 sounds as audio tracks in a DAW and “re-synth” sounds in a similar way to the re-amp technique used with standard guitar tones. A Guitar to MIDI function is also available, allowing you to play virtual instruments over USB and trigger hardware sound modules via the MIDI output.
MIDI Sound Module
The versatile GM-800 can do double duty as a compact, go-everywhere MIDI sound module. Connect a keyboard or other MIDI controller to the five-pin MIDI input to play sounds live. Or use the ZEN-Core engine as a premium USB sound source within your music production workflow.
The GM-800 features the newly developed Serial GK digital interface, which supports guitar/bass input from a BOSS GK-5 or GK-5B Divided Pickup and easy linking of multiple GM-800 units. GKC-AD and GKC-DA conversion boxes are also available for classic 13-pin GK devices, allowing you to drive the GM-800 with a Roland GK-3 or GK-3B pickup and use Serial GK devices with the BOSS SY-1000 and GP-10.