Review - The GS-8 Guitar switcher

(The GS-8 has now been discontinued)

Guitarists have perhaps been a little slower in embracing MIDI gear than their Keyboard playing cousins, but things have reached a stage where many of us have taken the plunge and purchased a preamp or effects unit.

What though when you're using a standard guitar combo, with clean and dirty channels that are selectable via a footswitch and something like a Quadraverb for your reverb and delay sounds? You are, of course, faced with having a MIDI footswitch for the Quad and also having a separate latching switch for your amp - not terribly convenient. If you add the odd Boss pedal to the picture things get even more complicated and multifarious foot manoeuvres become increasingly necessary and ever more hazardous.

In the interests of on stage safety studio conven ience, Kenton Electronics come rushing to our aid with th GS-8, which presents us with the means to link all manner of effects pedals, MIDI processors and amplifiers and control them all from one MIDI footswitch. All you need to do is tell it which bits to switch in and out in each patch.

In Use

...The learning curve for the GS-8 is just a little steeper, that's all, but I soon got to grips with the basics and began to realise the full potential of the unit. For anyone with a selection of analogue pedals and MIDI effects processors, or even those who only use pedals but are fed up with having to tap dance to turn the distortion off and the chorus and delay on whilst keeping half their mind on what they're playing will find the GS-8 an absolute boon. Setting up the switcher isn't difficult in the slightest, it's simply a matter of selecting a patch number (between 1 and 128), switching in the pedals/amp switching bits and pieces you want by lighting up their corresponding LEDs and pressing the patch/channel button to store the changes. Thus every time you select that patch the relevant footpedals are activated and you get the benefits of your favourite sounding effects without having to stamp on each one individually.

Using the GS-8 as the brain of your effects/amplification setup really does simplify the management of your system quite how we've managed without something like this for so long is a mystery.


Its something of a paradox that guitarists are now able to use the concept of MIDI to control their traditionally low brow analogue effects and amp switching etc, but in practice it works extremely well. I can see the GS-8 being welcomed with open arms by players who are looking to strike a happy medium between the practical simplicity of MIDI switching and the straightforward hands on programmability of pedals, or who have a combination of analogue and digital effects that they want to control from one central unit.

Review by Jordan McLachlan

Top of page