What happened to Synclavier guitar synth?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alexbunardzic, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    As a guitar player I like to occasionally listen to Al Dimeola's indomitable guitar histrionics. So yesterday I bought his near mint LP "Soaring Through A Dream" on a sidewalk sale for a couple of bucks. Never heard that record before, so I sat down for a listen. The opening track "Capoeira" is a bland enough Brazilian mid tempo, however it keeps going on for over 9 minutes. OK, no problem, I'm waiting patiently for Mr. Dimeola to jump in and start shredding on his guitar. Nothing.

    The second tracks starts, again with that cheesy dated synth sound. Then it dawned on me -- it's all Al! He is playing the bloody Synclaiver guitar synth. Dear god, how horrible!

    So where is the Synclavier guitar synth today? I remember all the celebrity guitarists back in the mid '80s raving about Synclavier. I remember reading interviews by John McLaughlin, Pet Metheny, Zappa, etc. and they were all talking how Synclavier is the future of guitar playing.

    So what happened? How come it never progressed beyond those cheesy, unlistenable and glitchy sounds?
     
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  2. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    Location:
    MPLS
    Don Dorsey used it on this album:

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    Maybe it's time had finally passed? :sigh:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. samurai

    samurai Forum Resident

    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    Truth be told, that's my least favorite Pat Metheny stuff and I'm a big fan.
    It almost always makes me cringe.
    If the Synclavier guitar disappears it would suit me just fine.
     
  5. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Yeah, seems like Synclavier managed to get the worst out of those fantastic players. John McLaughlin sounds bad on it ("Adventures in Radioland" -- cringe!), Dimeola sounds terrible, etc. They all just seem to totally lose their unique, individual touch whenever they strap on Synclavier. Was the novelty/marketing gimmick so strong back then that these fine artists couldn't notice how much damage was it doing to their music?

    I almost wish they'd go back and re-record those LPs, because there's some terrific music hidden in there that was botched by the Synclavier.
     
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  6. samurai

    samurai Forum Resident

    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    Maybe the music would have sounded better at lower volume but they all had a tendency to crank it.
    BTW: I saw Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin in the past five years and both were sans Synclavier.
     
  7. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident

    I like Pat's synth guitar era. He was able to experiment with new sounds that widened the scope of his music and still maintained the technical proficiency of his style. I do prefer his regular electric guitar sound and the music as it was a little more organic but the forward-thinking synth stuff was cool too.
     
  8. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Gone. Where it belongs.
     
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  9. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thank goodness McLaughlin finally seems to be going back to unprocessed guitar tones. And he's bending strings again! Hallelujah!
     
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  10. ALAN SICHERMAN

    ALAN SICHERMAN Active Member

    Location:
    Kew Gardens, NY
    It went the way of the Chapman Stick.
     
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  11. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Good riddance?
     
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  12. sherrill50

    sherrill50 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA
    No, not "good riddance", at least for me. Even though the sound has become a bit dated, I still enjoy listening to the material that Di Meola and McLaughlin did with the Synclavier.

    That said, here's why I think it faded. Remember as a kid that ONE special toy you wanted for months, then finally got for Christmas? Yeah, that one - the one you played with for a week and then got really bored with. I think that's what happened with guitarists and the Synclavier. ;)
     
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  13. Eric Weinraub

    Eric Weinraub Forum Resident

    I thought Zappa did some masterful work with it... Jazz from Hell.
     
  14. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Zappa was always a poor man's guitar player.
     
  15. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Yeah, so did Allan Holdsworth and he won't touch that thing anymore. It was a fad and artists were trying be innovative, but it wasn't good enough for longevity . Synths were made for keyboards not guitars.
     
  16. TFEC

    TFEC Member

    Frank did not use the guitar interface.
     
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  17. Eric Weinraub

    Eric Weinraub Forum Resident

    It wasn't a fad...they were crazily expensive and the company that made them didn't survive.
     
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  18. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    That was credited as "Synthaxe". Isn't that something else entirely? I thought the main reason he dropped it was because it was out of date technology that was difficult/impossible to maintain anymore.
     
  19. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe, NV
    Wrong forum to ask unless you're trolling for 30 pages of "egadz! Synth guitar SUCKS!!!" posts.
     
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  20. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    Keeping up with his releases certainly could bring about poverty.
     
  21. segue

    segue Forum Resident

    Location:
    HAWAI'I
  22. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    I'm usually not a fan; it ruined the aforementioned Mahavishnu album and Metheny's Song X in my opinion, but there are cases where I like it quite a bit, DiMeola's Cielo E Terra, Holdsworth's Sand and Atavachron, for a few. I think Holdsworth just kept using it for longer than I would have preferred.
     
  23. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe, NV
    I like most of what Metheny did with it with the Pat Metheny Group tracks. Although the sound of it started to get a bit tired after awhile. But that was due as much to him really only ever using one patch than anything else.

    But if I went to see him live today and he played something like "Are You Going With Me?" without that sound? I'd probably be disappointed.
     
  24. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    "Are You Going With Me?" is the Roland GR 300, not Synclavier.
     
  25. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe, NV
    When did he switch to the Synclavier? Or did he ever fully? Didn't he use some sort of hybrid contraption?
     

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