Electronic Musician''s review of the Brian Moore iGuitar 8.13. The guitar features a 13-pin pickup, a piezo pickup, and a pair of humbuckers. The 13-pin output allows you to plug into compatible guitar synths such as the Roland GR-33.

Overall EM Rating
(1 through 5): 3.5

Ifyou're looking for a guitar that offers quality tone and an entréeinto the world of guitar synthesis and sequencing, the Brian MooreiGuitar 8.13 ($1,595) may be just the ticket. Featuring a pair ofSeymour Duncan humbucking pickups that can be changed over tosingle-coil with a coil-tap switch, an RMC piezo bridge pickup foracoustic-guitar-like tone, and a 13-pin output for driving Roland andcompatible guitar synths, the iGuitar 8.13 offers a wide range of sonicpossibilities. It looks great, to boot.

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For its guitar features alone, this Korean-made instrument —which is part of Brian Moore's i2000 series — has a lot to offer.It sports a gorgeous figured-maple top; a mahogany body; a 22-fret,bolt-on maple neck; and Sperzel locking tuners. It also has a cleverlyplaced output jack that's tucked into the upper back of the guitar'sbody, keeping the cable hidden and secure.

Clearly, though, it's the 13-pin output that sets this instrumentapart from most guitars (Godin and Fender also make guitars with 13-pinoutputs), allowing the iGuitar to connect to devices such as Roland'sGR-33 guitar synth and GI-20 GK-MIDI interface. Those devices have MIDIoutputs, facilitating the connection of the iGuitar to MIDI soundmodules and MIDI sequencers and notation programs.

Getting Connected

There are a number of ways you can hook up the iGuitar 8.13. If youuse the 13-pin connector only — hooked into a compatible device— you'll get synth and magnetic-pickup output. (Units with 13-pinoutputs, such as the GR-33 and GI-20, have ¼-inch guitar out jacksfor connecting to amps and processors.) If you want piezo output aswell, you'll also need to use the included stereo Y-cable. It plugsinto the guitar's ¼-inch output and terminates in two separate¼-inch jacks, one for the magnetic output and one for the piezooutput. If all you want is the output of the magnetic pickups, simplyplug a ¼-inch TS guitar cable into the iGuitar.

The iGuitar 8.13 offers plenty of control for its various soundoptions. You get separate knobs for Magnetic Volume, Piezo Volume, andTone (which pulls out to activate the coil tap). In addition to theaforementioned pickup selector, there are two toggle switches. Thefirst is a three-position switch that lets you choose the magneticsound, the synth output of a connected 13-pin device, or both together.(That works only when the guitar's signal is coming through the 13-pincable.) The other, called Step Up, Step Down, sends out a ProgramChange to any attached 13-pin device.

Moore Sounds

When testing out the iGuitar, I first tried the straightmagnetic-pickup guitar sound. The Seymour Duncan humbuckers wereappropriately fat sounding, and with the guitar's three-position pickupselector and the coil-tap switch, there were plenty of tonalpossibilities (see Web Clip 1). The RMC piezo pickup offered asolid, acoustic-like tone (see Web Clip 2), which would be great for live usebut isn't going to replace an acoustic guitar for recording.

I also tested the guitar's 13-pin output through a Roland GI-20,plugged into my computer's USB. I controlled synth sounds through MIDI,and it tracked very nicely (see Web Clip 3). Tracking was even better whengoing directly into a Roland GR-33, which doesn't require MIDI totrigger its sounds.

By plugging the iGuitar in through the GI-20 and using the GI-20'sUSB output, I was able to easily record MIDI data directly into musicsoftware, including Sibelius's G7 guitar-notation program and MOTU'sDigital Performer.

Aye, Guitar

The iGuitar 8.13 is a useful tool for the recording guitaristbecause it's a quality instrument and it gives you the ability to driveguitar synths as well. The piezo pickups are a nice addition but willprobably be of more use in live-performance situations than in thestudio.

If you don't already have a 13-pin sound source such as the RolandGR-33 or a GK-MIDI interface such as the Roland GI-20 (for connectingto MIDI synths and music software), you'll need to buy one if you wantto get the most from this guitar. So factor that into your budget whenconsidering a purchase. If it all adds up to more than you wanted tospend, you could also look into Brian Moore's i1000 line of guitars,which offers instruments with similar capabilities at lower prices.