Roland Synth-tar Waldorf MD

Regardless of where you stand, Roland’s AX-Synth is an instrument worth noting, and if you’re a dissenter, it may just convert you. A sleeked-out younger sibling of the AX-7 MIDI controller, the AX-Synth gives the shoulder-keys vibe impressive curves, plentiful controls, and — for the first time — a built-in sound engine. If you’re a long-time believer in the power of the synth-tar, or a skeptic wondering what the hubbub is about, read on.

Hot Licks Guitar Shop
(301) 843-2799
3250 Old Washington Rd
Waldorf, MD
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment
Store Information
Instrument Rental: Yes
Website Sales: Yes
Lesson Information
Lessons: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
Guitar Tech on sight for all types/models of guitars.
Repairs for all band instruments. Free estimates given.
Hours
Mon-Fri 11:00AM to 7:00PM
Sat 10:00AM to 6:00PM
Closed Sundays

Data Provided by:
Hot Licks Guitar Shop
(301) 843-2799
3250 Old Washington Rd
Waldorf, MD
 
Hot Licks Guitar
(301) 843-2799
924 Costley Way
Prince Frederick, MD
 
Hot Licks Guitar Shop
(301) 843-2799
3250 Old Washington Rd
Waldorf, MD
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment
Store Information
Instrument Rental: Yes
Website Sales: Yes
Lesson Information
Lessons: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
Guitar Tech on sight for all types/models of guitars.
Repairs for all band instruments. Free estimates given.
Hours
Mon-Fri 11:00AM to 7:00PM
Sat 10:00AM to 6:00PM
Closed Sundays

Data Provided by:
Ralon Music
(301) 884-2935
10570 Old Mill Rd
Lusby, MD
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

Data Provided by:
Guitor Center Inc
(703) 980-6089
3107 Furman Ln
Alexandria, VA
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

Data Provided by:
Island Music Company
(301) 392-3960
403 Charles St
La Plata, MD
 
Music & Arts Center #34
(703) 451-0875
6812 Bland St Tower Shopping Center
Springfield, VA
 
Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center
(301) 946-8808
11151 Veirs Mill Road
Wheaton, MD
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, DJ Equipment
Store Information
Instrument Rental: Yes
Website Sales: Yes
Lesson Information
Clinics: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
On-Site Band Instrument Repair Shop
On-Site Guitar/Bass Repair Shop
On-Site String Instrument Repair Shop
On-Site Speaker Repair Shop
Hours
Monday 10 AM till 9 PM
Tuesday 10 AM till 6 PM
Wednesday 10 AM till 9 PM
Thursday 10 AM till 6 PM
Friday 10 AM till 9 PM
Saturday 10 AM till 6 PM
Sunday Closed

Data Provided by:
Mars Music & Elec T
(410) 398-3636
213 Fletchwood Rd
Elkton, MD
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

Data Provided by:
Data Provided by:

Roland Synth-tar

0510 Roland AX-Synth Main HANDS-ON

  1. These buttons can jump octaves, scroll through tone variations, or transpose by hal-fsteps.
  2. Slide pitches around with the ribbon strip touch controller.
  3. The modulation bar is sensitive to how far down you push it, achieving a mod wheel-like range of intensity.
  4. Roland’s famous D-Beam lets you sweep pitch, filter, or assignable MIDI controllers with a wave of your hand.
  5. The keyboard doesn’t send aftertouch, but you can do so from the neck.
  6. Choose from 304 preset sounds, including four of Roland’s impressive SuperNatural tones, grouped into eight families here.
  7. Stereo 1/4" outs are here. To feed wireless audio transmitters that require low-level signals, flip the ATT switch to cut the output volume.
  8. Multiple strap points help you get a comfortable playing position, even for two-handed performance.

Some things will always inspire debate: health care, financial regulatory reform, and mobile shoulder-strap keyboards. Though that last one may not have as much social import as the others, it’s every bit as divisive among musicians. Are “synth-tars” legitimate instruments to be played with guts and pride? Or are they toys that make keyboardists look like lame guitarist wannabes? Regardless of where you stand, Roland’s AX-Synth is an instrument worth noting, and if you’re a dissenter, it may just convert you. A sleeked-out younger sibling of the AX-7 MIDI controller, the AX-Synth gives the shoulder-keys vibe impressive curves, plentiful controls, and — for the first time — a built-in sound engine. If you’re a long-time believer in the power of the synth-tar, or a skeptic wondering what the hubbub is about, read on.

LOOK AND CONTROLS

First things first: The AX-Synth looks good. Roland created a design that feels current and just edgy enough, without resembling a self-parody or something from a bad ’80s movie. At assorted gigs and jam sessions, I got nothing but positive feedback on its appearance.

For my taste, Roland also struck a nearly-ideal balance with the number and placement of controls. The AX is easy to navigate, with a mild learning curve, and while all sounds are easily accessible, neither the front panel nor the neck feels overly cluttered or tweaky. At the same time, the performance control available to your left hand alone is impressive.

Structurally, the AX-Synth is solid and durable. Though it’s impressively light, the keys, buttons, and molded plastic casings all feel reassuringly resilient, even under rapid-fire, two-handed percussive assaults. It took some trial and error to get the keyboard to sit right for my hand position and stature, but multiple points to hook on the shoulder strap were a big help in getting a comfortable feel, and also made playing the 49-key keyboard with two hands easy to achieve. Once I had the synth adjusted (surprisingly, at an angle similar to what low-slung punk guitarists do), I was ready to rock.

SOUNDS

The onboard sound engine features 128...

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