Every now and then, a new product like the GTRS comes out, and it seems to good to be true. Today, we check out all of the features of the GTRS, and give a quick rundown of what it’s supposed to do. This is everything we know, so far…
Look, before we jump into what the GTRS is, and all of the features, I want to lay a disclaimer out first: I think MOOER make excellent products. It seems like MOOER know exactly what they are doing, and they mostly cater to the budget guitarist. Beginner players are often on a budget as well, and this is where MOOER really shines.
This is a company that gives you some really great effects pedals at a super low cost. The pedals are not super unique, but they are often on the list of the best budget pedals, along with Behringer. The MOOER multi-effects units, on the other hand, are not only budget friendly but really great quality. The MOOER GE150 that we checked out allowed you to load your own cabinet IR into the unit, and also let you design just about any Amp combo you could imagine. And the GE150 was the least expensive unit. The larger flagship models can do so much more than the unit we tried.
So what is the GTRS?
Starting out, there isn’t a whole lot of info out there yet, minus the YouTube videos. The website itself is even a little vague when it comes to features and functionality. This is because the GTRS is an IndieGOGO project, that needed funding before production. The project met the initial goal rather quickly, and produced several prototype models at the beginning of the Spring season. But we are now near the shipping date for the first models being made. But, what is the GTRS exactly?
Well, the answer to that is a little complicated, and this idea is far from the first of it’s kind. The difference is the technology may have finally caught up with the idea. Lets take a look at the GTRS, starting with the guitar itself, and it’s features. Strap in, because you’re in for a pretty serious ride.
The GTRS Intelligent Guitar
The GTRS by MOOER is not a new idea. The Line 6 Variax series has done something similar for years, to mixed results. I have never really made the attempt to understand the Variax system, and I have never really played with one either. However, it seems that MOOER took that idea and decided to use the same tech that is used in the GE Series of Multi-Effects units. So the idea is similar, but let’s take a look at the guitar itself, and the features.
- 1-Piece Roasted CA Hard Maple Neck, Satin Finish
- Bolt On Construction
- Bone Nut
- Rosewood Fingerboard
- Basswood Body
- 4 Color options
- 5 Way Switch
- Alnico H-S-S Pickup System
- GLB-P1 Li-ion Battery 4000mA
- Intelligent Processor Built In
- USB C Out For Charging/Recording
The new GTRS Intelligent Guitar is basically a regular HSS Stratocaster variant. We see a ton of companies that make a great “Strat-Style guitar” and some even rival the original Fender models. The MOOER version checks all the features of the “modern Strat” design. Well, minus that weird glowing knob at the bottom…
We will get to that!
Starting with a roasted maple neck that is all the rage these days. I like this feature, as roasted maple is a strong wood and creates fantastic neck stability (Which means less adjustments to keep it straight). The neck also has a few other modern features like a bone nut, and a flatter 14” radius. The feature that sticks out, is the vintage tuners on such a modern version of a Start-style guitar.
The body is made out of light-weight American Basswood, similar to what Ibanez uses for most of the RG Series. Whether Basswood is a good “tone wood” or not is something everyone can argue about. But it is definitely a stable wood, and is very light. The body has a traditional Strat shape, and the usual control layout…until we get to the last knob, which is the “super switch”. This knob controls the Intelligent Features, which we will get to (I promise). There is one tone knob, and one volume knob.
I absolutely adore the idea of an HSS Strat guitar. Having a humbucker in the bridge allows you to really explore some versatility. You still have the two single coil pickups that work great for beautiful cleans, and more Blues-oriented tones. But a higher output humbucker in the bridge lets you also have the option of serious high gain Metal tones as well. The 5 way switch allows you to choose between all of the different options the pickups have to offer.
So that glowing knob on the end…what is that exactly?
The GTRS Intelligent Processor
This is where things get interesting, or complicated, depending on who you are. The MOOER GTRS has a built-in effects processor, powered by a lithium ion battery. The processor is not only built in to the guitar itself, but it has Bluetooth capability that hooks up to your phone/tablet to control the sounds. From MOOER:
“The GTRS Guitar is the next generation of guitar products, offering a complete, lightweight digital and analog guitar system built from the ground up. This system starts off with a one-of-a-kind guitar equipped with the GTRS Intelligent Processor designed in conjunction with master guitar builders and MOOER’s digital sound engineers.
This guitar is designed to function with its dedicated mobile application to offer seamless integration of classic guitar stylings and modern digital simulation technology. The GWF4 Wireless Footswitch is also available to provide complete control of your tone during live performance, recording, or practice sessions. “
The processor has quite a few options, and can be controlled directly from the guitar via the lighted knob. The system has 9 different Amp/Guitar models, over 100 effects, a metronome, and even a simple drum machine. All of these sounds have ben pulled from the GE Series of MOOER products.
The MOOER effects can also be turned completely off if you want to use the guitar itself. From the demos I have seen, the guitar holds it’s own without the processor even turned on. This is due to the bright Alnico pickups. So you don’t have to use the built-in processor if you don’t want to. But, that’s kind of the appeal of the GTRS right?
So how do you control the onboard effects?
The GTRS APP
The MOOER app works on all Android devices, and is also supported by ios/Apple. This can be done by any phone or tablet that has Bluetooth capabilities. The images that are currently on the website look a lot like the MOOER GE Series editor, with a few tweaks. You have a visual reference for all of the different effects.
This visual interface shows your different effects, amp sims, and presets. It’s certainly cool that you can design presets, and then save them to the guitar itself, and switch through them with the powered knob. These presets can also be stored in the cloud storage, and shared with other app users. At the top of the interface, you can also choose a drum pattern, or metronome for practicing.
The short demos that I have seen, makes the interface look pretty easy to navigate, and store in the built-in processor. This is something that could be complicated, but the whole process seems pretty streamlined. Being able to flip through all of your different presets with the flip of a knob is pretty cool, actually. You can use the app to tweak your settings, even while the guitar is on in real time.
You can also use an optional footswitch to control the patches, instead of the knob on the guitar. The footswitch is completely wireless as well. making the entire system wireless, minus the output. I don’t really understand the appeal of the footswitch, I guess.
I am of two minds regarding this kind of product: The first is that this is just a gimmick, and while the idea is cool…how practical is it? As we said before, Line 6 Variax has been doing nearly the exact same thing, and Line 6 is a huge company. MOOER is popular, but I would say that they are a little more niche. Who is going to buy this at the end of the day?
But there is another way to look at this as well.
MOOER’s amp models and effects are very well done, even in the budget models. The ability to load cabinet IRs from your collection, and tailor a preset exactly how you want is the greatest advantage that the GTRS has. MOOER really knocks it out of the park with the technology. But how practical is the GTRS?
I can see it being used for practice, and maybe for recording a little. But using the unit on stage would not be practical at all. Not when there are so many other options out there, in the same price range ($800). In fact, a MOOER GE floor unit would be a great choice for live playing. So I guess I am having a tough time finding out…who is this for?
I think this is going to be the biggest problem MOOER will have with the GTRS. I’m not sure who the target market is for this product. It’s a little too complex for beginners, but it is not quite sophisticated enough for an experienced guitarist. That leaves the intermediate market, which makes up a good portion of guitar players, but is it enough to really push sales? I guess we will see in August when the units start to ship.
How Much does the MOOER GTRS Guitar cost?
The guitar by itself is $599, but you can also buy the full package with the footswitch and other accessories for about $800.
Does the MOOER GTRS come with a case?
The GTRS comes with a padded gig bag.
Is the GTRS app free to use?
You can download the app for the GTRS for free for both Android/iOS for free, and use the cloud storage function for free as well.
When is the GTRS release date?
The first batch of GTRS Intelligent guitars ships in August 2021.