How to Install a GK-3 on an Ibanez RG Tremolo Guitar

Updated April 17, 2017

The GK-3 is a guitar synthesizer pickup created by Roland. The device harnesses the guitar's signal, allowing it sound like virtually any instrument imaginable and you can install one on your Ibanez RG tremolo guitar. The GK-3 synthesizer pickup is used in conjunction with the Roland GR-55 Synthesizer foot pedal. The GR-55 pedal is the brain of the system that takes the signal from the GK-3 and applies the selected sound, which is then output to your guitar amplifier or PA system.

Find a suitable place to work on your guitar, such as a sturdy table or bench. Cover your work area with a towel or blanket to protect your guitar's finish.

Place the GK-3 between the bridge pickup and the bridge on your guitar to determine the best position for mounting. Center the GK-3 on the six strings and keep it as close to the bridge as possible. Make sure that the small cable attached to the GK-3 is facing down. When installing the GK-3 on a guitar with a tremolo, such as the Ibanez RG, there is a good chance that the tremolo bridge will come in unwanted contact with the pickup while using the tremolo. Move the tremolo while the GK-3 is in place to determine the best position for the pickup and how much clearance your tremolo bridge needs.

Look at each string sensor, or yoke, on the GK-3 and make sure that each yoke aligns with its respective string. The yokes are the small adjustable magnetic string sensors on the GK-3. There are six of them on the GK-3; one for each string. Strings don't have to be perfectly centred over the yokes -- as long as the string is above some portion of its respective yoke it will work fine.

Hold the pickup in its ideal position and mark the position of the top, bottom and sides of the pickup using a pencil or dry erase marker. It's easier if someone else marks it while you hold the pickup in place, or vice-versa.

Foam spacers are included with the GK-3. The spacers also have an adhesive strip on both sides. Stack the spacers between the guitar and the GK-3 to achieve the ideal height.

Adjust the height of the pickup using the spacers included with your GK-3. Do not remove the protective backing to expose the adhesive on the spacers. The sensors/yokes should be one millimetre from the strings when the strings are fretted at the highest frets on the sixth and first strings. The included spacers come in three different thicknesses; combine them as necessary to reach the appropriate height. Once you determine the configuration of the spacers, set them aside to use in the next step.

Remove the strings from your guitar. Remove the backing from the spacers one at a time, carefully lining them up and sticking them together as the adhesive is exposed. Remove the protective strip from the top spacer and attach it to the bottom of the GK-3. Remove the protective backing from the bottom spacer and, using the marks you made previously as guidelines, carefully adhere the GK-3 pickup to your guitar.

Tune your guitar and check the height of each string. Fret each string at the highest fret on the guitar and use the supplied clearance gauge or a ruler to ensure that the distance from the string to the yoke is one millimetre. Adjust the height of each individual sensor/yoke as needed using the supplied screwdriver. Be sure not to turn the yoke screws too hard after you feel a little resistance or you could damage the unit.


Mark the position of the pickup in a way that won't damage your guitar's finish. A dry-erase marker will work well.

Things You'll Need

  • Roland GK-3 pickup
  • Included spacers
  • Electric guitar
  • Included space gauge
  • Included screwdriver
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About the Author

Gary Hancock began writing in 2003 with most of his articles appearing online. Hancock's areas of expertise are personal fitness, music theory and electrical wiring. He studied music at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and is also a professional musician.