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This article was originally published in issue #29
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When we reviewed the YouRock Gen 2 MIDI guitar back in issue 14, we gave it great praise for its tracking, price and functionality. One of the biggest problems for the YRG Gen 2 though was the non-standard neck shape and scale, making it less than ideal for guitar players used to certain scale lengths and traditional fret spacing. Another issue concerned the material with which the ‘strings’ and ‘frets’ were constructed, giving rise to a certain ‘stickiness’ when sliding or performing position shifts that could lead to some fraying of the strings over time. However, there's good news! The chaps at YouRock have taken all of these things into consideration and come up with their new ‘Radius Neck’ with a comfortable ‘C’ shape profile, 13” radius and standard scale 22 fret board.
The shape changes have resulted in a far more user friendly playing experience that feels very similar to playing a real guitar and far less like an alien experience that hinders your playing. YouRock has also improved that string and fret material and raised the height of both for an easier and more sensitive playing experience that improves further on the already excellent MIDI tracking.
The YRG Gen2 with Radius neck will now track pretty much anything you can throw at it, especially if playing using only the left hand in touch mode, and you can be sure that if there are any glitches or miss triggers they are user error rather than hardware issues. For me, the Radius neck is a revelation, thanks to the fantastic playability and tracking for predominantly left hand legato players who don’t pick a great deal. For this kind of player the YRG Gen 2 with Radius neck represents perhaps the best MIDI solution that has ever existed at this price point for actual performance and recording with synth sounds. Hammer-ons and pull-offs feel much smoother and long flowing lines are significantly easier to perform well, thanks to the standard fret spacing. Chords are also much easier to execute accurately with the extra sensitivity offering even more ability to perform complex chords with ease.
Visually the Radius neck is a much more attractive-looking solution too, and takes the YRG even further away from the slightly ‘toy-like’ look it originally had. The black fretboard and clear coloured strings give a distinctive, futuristic look that is a vast aesthetic improvement on the previous neck. The neck is easy to change using a sliding lock switch at the back of the body with no screws requiring removal or fiddling with fragile plastic parts.
The Radius neck takes the already great YRG Gen 2 Guitar and promotes it to a serious musical instrument that will feel familiar and comfortable for all guitar players, especially those who favour a legato or more left hand based approach to playing. I've already used it extensively on recordings and couldn’t be happier with the results and playability. For those who already own the YRG Gen 2 this is an essential purchase, and for those on the fence, the Radius neck may be just the required element to help you make the decision to buy. By far and away the most effective MIDI guitar solution on the market at this price point!