Review of the Casio Midi Electric Hybrid Guitar
The guitar is painted fire-engine-red, a color that is one of my personal favorites. This finish is durable and wipes clean after use with a special guitar polishing rag. The guitar has low action, the neck radius is similar to a Fender Stratocaster, string bending is easy compared to the Fender guitar line, and the addition of the MIDI converter makes for interesting surprises while playing. Suddenly, your guitar can sound like a flute, drum, sound effect, or anything you want to set up on the receiving instrument or sampler.
With the switching provided, the guitar signal can be harmonized with any instrument, bird tweet, or . . . the imagination runs wild. When I use the MIDI guitar to play a full jazz or rock drum kit, all pieces of the kit respond well to triggering from the guitar.
One issue is the difficulty of using minimal latency, or delay in triggering notes in real time from the guitar. You need to replace all of the different string gauges, using just one string diameter for all of the strings. In this way, the vibrations are converted more quickly into midi note values and transmitted accurately.
Another issue is the cabling. When you have the guitar connected with the AC power adapter, you have a MIDI cable, a power cable, and a guitar cable all connecting to the rear bottom edge of the guitar, and this can be a problem; if you want to dance around while playing, it becomes a bit of twisted-up spaghetti.
I paid around $300.00 for the guitar, including a hard-shell road case, a strap, and some picks thrown in by the salesperson. I may be the only person who ever purchased one of these? Not sure how many were manufactured, nor the exact year.
If you know, please leave me a comment below!
Humbuking Pickup, Single Coil Pickup, Single-Coil Pickup and Controls
The Casio Midi Electric Hybrid Guitar Details
Here is an interesting guitar from my collection. Casio made these guitars to try and capture some of the sales of electric guitars, coupled with MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface functionality built-in.
The MIDI standard was created so that MIDI Keyboards, and later, MIDI-modules could be connected together and controlled from a single master keyboard or "controller." The controller sent out commands on up to 16-channels, (later 32+ channels and more), in order to create a massive, harmonically rich synthesizer sound that artists like Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman were producing in the studio and at live concerts and recordings.
MIDi is still in use today, and the feature set has grown to include lighting control for live shows and stage and screen-based theatre productions. The interface is somewhat slow based on today's standards; however, the bit rate is sufficient to control some large interconnected instrument configurations and other devices like fire, fog, and smoke machines.
The Casio MIDI Guitar instrument appears to be based on the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar; the body shape and the body contour on the top-rear are styled after the Stratocaster. The headstock, where the string tuning keys are located, has a unique design (this prevents Fender's attorneys from calling and protesting).
The standard electric guitar pickups are as follows:
- humbucker-style at the bridge
- single-coil in the middle
- single-coil at the neck position
The pickup selector switch is a 5-way, meaning that positions 1, 3, and 5 select individual pickups, and positions 2 and 4 select a tapped-pickup that gives a phase-reversed sound much revered in modern music by such notable guitar legends as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Rounding out the regular electric guitar controls are a master volume and a tone control and another tiny switch mounted between the volume and tone controls for the electric guitar. This is a coil tapping switch for the humbucking-style pickup, providing the thin, chunky sound of a single-coil, phase reversed from the non-coil-tapped pickup sound. There is a whammy-bar bridge attached, and tuning seems pretty good after performing a "dive-bomb" lowering of the strings' tension by pressing the whammy bar towards the pickups.
The similarities to a standard electric guitar end here, and the interesting MIDI implementation will now be discussed. The MIDI interface consists of a special hexaphonic-pickup, mounted between the bridge and the humbucking pickup.
The hexaphonic pickup, along with some sophisticated electronic circuitry, converts the vibrating guitar strings, into "MIDI-note-values." These MIDI data streams leave the guitar on a MIDI-cable, a five-pin "DIN-style" circular shell male connector, and are received by the desired instrument connected to the other end of the MIDI cable.
There are two pole-pieces embedded in the hexaphonic pickup for each string, in a horizontal-pairs configuration. An additional MIDI control panel features a MIDI volume control, and three-each, three-position, bat-handle switches. The switches perform the following tasks. The switch closest to the MIDI volume control selects electric guitar alone, guitar+MIDI, or MIDI-alone.
You connect an external keyboard, a drum machine ora 'MIDI-instrument-module' to the Casio guitar through a MIDI OUT port on the rear bottom of the guitar body. On this panel also resides an on-off switch, and a dc-in connector for a 'wall-wart' AC to 9-volts DC inverter. Other power options include installing 6-AA 1.5-volt cells inside the guitar body.
The middle switch performs an 'octave-switching' function, leaving the switch in the center position, which means you are not shifting the range of the triggered instrument up or down in octaves. Moving the switch in one direction causes your MIDI instrument to be transposed up one octave (12 notes) from standard. Moving the switch in the opposite direction causes the triggered MIDI instrument to be lowered by one octave.
The last switch controls the scale of the triggered instrument, between NORMAL, CHROMATIC, and PROGRAM CHANGE tasks.
BodidR on August 30, 2020:
I have a 500, like the 510 but hacked off body; much lighter, but still plays great. I need to find someone to replace the capacitors in the MIDI section so it tracks better. Anyone know where I could send it? Used mine in a band in the late 80s and early 90s. All guitar band but it was great to add strings, B3, steel drums etc.
Justin Boynton on October 20, 2019:
Hello Everyone I am in need of some support. I have the MG-510 model and recently pulled it apart for some cleaning. In the process I have found a few wires that have broken lose. I have looked up both the user and service manuals. Although they have a lot of information they do not provide me with what I am in need of.I was hoping someone might be able to send me a photo of the wiring under the pick guard. I need most to see how the wiring connects between the gain control knob the select switch and the mini switch. I photo would be most helpful. Thanks for everyone's help in advance!
jan van herp on May 15, 2018:
I have the same red Casio midi guitar and i am very happy with it.
Dave on April 16, 2018:
I used a curly guitar lead, and put the midi lead inside(twist the curly lead round and round) You can put a power supply lead in as well.
Alberto on May 03, 2016:
I love the MG-510...Looking for a MIDI HEX microphone any help is appreciated. algenta at gmail.com Thanks.
sis bj on January 29, 2016:
I have a black mg510 in mint condition I bought it new in 1987. I only use it in my studio I Love it!!!!!
John Fisher from Easton, Pennsylvania on May 27, 2015:
I bought a jet black MG-510 the first year they came out. I don't play much anymore, and have been thinking about either selling it or trading it for a dirt bike. After reading some of the comments, I might change my mind about that and wipe down the old puppy, put in fresh batteries, and see if I can ressurrect my playing fingers.
Gyurma on June 13, 2014:
Mission acomplished! Awesome!
AZ Bob on June 12, 2014:
Got my all black MG510 used in the late 80's and still have as my only solid body guitar. Tracking on my MG510 is still better, faster and more accurate than any Guitar Midi pickup I have tested, including all Rolands, all versions. As far as a strat, I just sold my Japanese Luther built Ibanez Prestige and every Fender Strat in favor of my MG510. I love to blow away seasoned recording artists with what I can do on the MG510 running analog thru boxes and amp and pushing 3 synths - sounds like a room full of musician's, orchestra and full chorus. Nothing like it, however, you have to learn to play at a whole new level - those 6 string players than can't handle 12 strings go even more cross-eyed. Never bored with the MG510 - enjoy yours.
Gyurma on March 09, 2014:
I am looking for a Casio guitar for sale.
Is there anyone who is planning to sell one?
(My childhood dream to get one, here is the time to fix it!:))
David on June 04, 2013:
Ive Had My Csaio midi guitar now about twenty years, I love the sounds Ive been able to creat with it, I always liked the sounds keybords players had , Ive learned alot along the way from my first tone generator till what im using now , been really reliable sweet to play, it tracks pretty good but Ive always played clean, the real trick is to learn how to play ahead of yje latency oncertain patches and what sounds best with your natural guitar,Ive alterd my guitar now I love what ive what Ive done to mine ,oh by the way my first tone generater was the Yamaha FB01 Ive Had many since then Im using a Triton rack now, I love it!
Jazzmarino on March 23, 2013:
Hi, I´m the happy owner of this "black beauty" in a strat form just new from 1989. I have seven pro guitars more, but it's one of my favourites for all styles and conditions, with or without MIDI, since woods used and luthery work are greats. I used it in live situation with s Roland GR-30 for add a sound tail with pads, organs and other similar presets, and much more less for simulate other type of instruments. But the best use for me is about the recording and sequencing MIDI job. Just with a Midi/USB cable direct into a laptop with Finale, Biab, Logic, Cubase or any other app, is really amazing. Latency is a minor problem, since the entry midi time can be set to negative and the track "requantized" to adjust it correctly. In short, a great and very usable instrument and midi controller.
mankymusic on January 18, 2013:
I just downloaded the service manual from Elektrotanya, thank you José.
I'm having the problem with the capacitors as described here :
ordered the parts to fix it, I'm quite handy with a soldering iron, a wealth of information, god bless the internet!
I love this guitar, use it live when I play as I'm not that good a keyboard player. I wrote the melodies for most of my last few albums with this baby plugged direct in to cubase, audio and midi.
ANGEL V. on December 22, 2012:
HI CAN ANY BOD TEL ME WEAR I CAN SEND MYPG380MISICASIO TO REPAR DOSENT WANT TO TERN ON CAN ANY BUD GIVE ME A HAND THANK MY E MAIL email@example.com
ftmrcknrll on December 05, 2012:
Aquired a mid 70's stratocaster that has one of these necks on it. Pro musician who owns many guitars. This neck is my absolute favorite! Very flat radius, much flatter than fender. Slim profile, Extremely fast! Just love it!!
Mike Kemp on August 25, 2012:
I bought one new in about 1989, black strat shape. I'm not a guitarist but thought I'd use it to learn and experiment with MIDI. I used it on a few recordings I produced 20 years ago and it has been in the cupboard since, but I recently resurrected it to resume my plan of learning guitar. The guitar sound is great - all I needed was a tweak on the truss rod to get the action down a tad. I've not tested the MIDI recently, back then I used to record the MIDI out along with the audio, so I could try using it for experimenting with adding synth in the mix. That also avoids the latency issue 'cos you can retime the MIDI of course.
Ross on August 20, 2012:
Just got an MG510 - wow! Guitar, near best Strat ever! Even better, Dave Tutt (see above) best tech. ever repaired MIDI overnight for very reasonable charge. Highly recommend. Spent days enjoying Blackmore/Lord unison stuff plus string accompaniments. Still looking for a Manual but do have Repair and Parts list if anyone needs.
Many Thanks for your excellent posting.
mark Barasch on August 05, 2012:
FIXED IT and now the classic 510 has entered the modern world! recording midi via USB and working perfectly! This guitar really is incredible never understood why they discontinued it...
markb on August 05, 2012:
Hi everyone - I bought my 510 in about 1991 and LOVED it for many years
BUT stopped using it for midi until now when I have purchased a midi-usb converter cable and am trying to get it work with Logic on my macbook.
ANY ideas would be appreciated - so far I have not been able to get the audio midi setup page to recognize it is there when I connect it -
btw - it tracks PERFECTLY for me when it is working -!!!
Jeff on August 03, 2012:
Hey out there. I'm glad to see all these posts out there for the Casio guitar. Thanks Nicholas for all the great info on this. I've had mine for about 25 years. Just dragged it back out and fell in love with it again. I always liked it for the guitar alone. The midi was a bonus, but the guitar beats many starts I've played. It's a little tough showing up with a guitar that says "Casio" on it. I almost put tape over it once. I told people it told time as well. Ha ! I have a problem with the latency issue and don't want to use all the same gauge strings as the guitar sound would be a little screwy. Anyway, good to know others dig it.
nachase (author) from SF Bay Area California on April 30, 2012:
Hi Tony, I believe the Sound Canvas has a "MAP" of the instrument assignments and midi channels it responds to. If you are connecting another midi synth device to the MG10 you may need to configure the input midi and instrument assignments on that specific device to match the ones coming from your MG10 guitar. Every manufacturer can have a different 'MIDI MAP' if they do not default to the 'STANDARD MIDI MAP' like MIDI CH 10 for drums etc. Check with the manufacturer's web site for a .PDF manual for your sysnth device. Hope this helps Tony, and thank you for reading my HUB. Respectfully, Nicholas
tony on April 23, 2012:
i have a mg510 midi guitar casio and looking to find a tech that will check it out i can midi using a sound canvass unit from roland sk 88 but anything else midi doesn't seem to see it??? thank you
peter42 on April 20, 2012:
This guitar is a brilliant idea of their creators, the body itself is a mix beetween Stratocaster and Telecaster, but with enhanced pickups, its are able, to imitate a Gibson. Enhanced by Midi with an TG77 or something, you have amazing sounds availiable.
Alex on January 22, 2012:
Thak you Josè ... very kind :)
Mike on January 15, 2012:
Hi there. This brought back a lot of memories. I have one of the odd shaped ones, bought in about 87. I used it as my main axe for many years, and it was good enough to see me through a number of sessions. I played it all over a record by a group called 'Made in London' that I wrote for. They had a No. 15 hit in the UK with the song 'Dirty Water', and I played both the main riff and lead break on it using my Casio. It's also on their follow-up 'Shut your mouth and touch me'. The producer wanted me to re-record my parts using a hired in strat, but when it came, we couldn't get a better sound, so we left the Casio on there.
I used to used the MIDI hooked up to a Roland synth rack unit (can't remember the model), usually with some kind of pad sound to fill out and add to the guitar sound, rather than using it as an instrument in its own right (due to the tracking issues), and I have to say, for that, it worked brilliantly.
Alex on December 27, 2011:
Hi José, I saw your previous post but I didn't find anything!
I don't know if Sevice Manual will help (I've got the original manual and there's no tech sheets or other), but if you can send me to "firstname.lastname@example.org" it would be great!
Thank you in advance, bye
eddie on December 21, 2011:
i have a 1987 mg-510 for sale- check denver. co craigslist.
José Paulo Brito on December 21, 2011:
Please see my previous post saying where I put the Service Manual and Parts List available.
I suppose that you'll find all the info you need there.
Merry Xmas to everybody here :-)
Alex on December 09, 2011:
Do anyone have some draw of internal cable links? or any pictures? I have a mg510 system installed on Stratocaster made in japan... lately I'm having some troubles with it, especially with the 3 switches (guitar and midi are always on, no octave changes etc...)
Please help me, even if it's an old system, I'd like use it.
Thanky you, bye
José Paulo Brito on November 13, 2011:
You may either download the Service Manual and Parts List from the Elektrotanya website where I put it for everyone, or just leave your e-mail adress so I can send it to you along with the Operation Manual if you don't have this too.
coolriffs on November 06, 2011:
Hi all i have got the midi problem with the MG510 where it works sometimes and then not at all.Is there anyone in the u.k who can fix the guitar? or could anybody tell me what parts/caps are needed for the fix? Or is there a guide with some pics somewhere?
coolriffs Newquay U.K
Johnny Guitar Carson on September 30, 2011:
This is a great guitar , I have used it for years with many different types of musical situations, I am using it
quite often now on my current gig with John Lee Hooker Jr
and you can find many pictures of me playing it on the internet. It is a little hissy but not a problem live because it has been a workhorse for me.
Lex-321 on September 25, 2011:
Are these guitar or similar ones still in production? I'm looking for a controler to use with the east west quantum leap gypsy that isn't a keyboard. Also interested in any violin midi controler.
José Paulo Brito on September 08, 2011:
Thanks to the Wayback Machine website, tonight I could retrieve both the Player's Manual and the Service Manual and Parts List for the MG-500 and MG-510 guitars, so you don't need to bother searching for yours anymore.
Also, anyone in need of these manuals, may post a suitable e-mail adress here, I'll keeping an eye as often as I can, so sooner or later I will send them.
Thanks all the same, cheers,
L. Barilleaux on August 19, 2011:
Have had My 510 since new in early 80s not interested in selling but still enjoy playing it.It is red my friend had a white.caint begin to tell you how mang gigs done on that axe but played it for at least 15 years.playing a pedulla bass now
José Paulo Brito on July 26, 2011:
Thanks a lot, it would be great if you'd find it.
nachase (author) from SF Bay Area California on July 18, 2011:
Hi Jose' Paulo Brito,
Yes I do have the manual... somewhere in a box. I'll be looking for it soon.
José Paulo Brito on July 08, 2011:
The MG-510 is a great guitar in its own right, regardless of the MIDI feature.
BTW, having bought it new, don't you have the manual for it...?
Craig Cochran on July 07, 2011:
I bought MG510 (Black) new in 1989. I just recently just started playing it again. I love it.
José Paulo Brito on June 15, 2011:
Is anyone able to send me either/both the user's manual and the service manual of the MG-510?
Thanks, cheers, JPB
Run Duke on April 20, 2011:
I bought the MG-500 model when it came out during the 80(s) and it's still working well today. I discovered that rechargable batteries last much longer than ordinary ones. I'm using this guitar to drive standard amps(Fenders) and many modules (Yamaha TG-33, Kurzweil ME-1 and a Korg M-50 workstation. I use it mostly on synth sounds with slow attacks because of latency. I'm also using a US midified Strat. with a Roland GK-3 pickup and a GR-33 and the tracking speed is much better but I sometimes get some gost notes...none with the Casio.I recently bought a Roland VG-88 and a Roland US-20 (this last one is expensive !!) to be able to play the VG-88 and the GR-33 together. My dream is to find an adaptor able to plug together a standard 5 pins midi output to the Roland 13 pins input...if it's possible.
Joe Blase Ciccarello on April 03, 2011:
I have a Casio MG510 that has capacitor problems. The B string midi doesn't work. Can anyone suggest a repair guy or a way to fix it.
Frank Tornoe on March 29, 2011:
I've had mine for about 5 years. Bought used on Ebay for about 300 dollars from someone that played it in a metal band. After I cleaned off all the sweat salt caked on the bridge it played fine. I have not problem with tracking at all. I play soft synths and hard synths with it.
Jose Ramon on March 24, 2011:
Hola ¿donde o quien me puede vender una guitarra casio midi? os agradezco la informacion
Fabio on March 24, 2011:
I own this guitar from the far '80 and used it eberywhere in every situations , professionals too . It's an excellent gear , sounds like a Strat but more open in sounds capability..U can also grab from it a jazzy sound !
Customized with sperzel , Wilkinson roller nut and Wilkinson blocking bridge . I really love it . Midi is from first generation but works good too .
The Music Maniac from UK on March 17, 2011:
Clapton's 1987 Casio recently sold for $9000 in an auction of his gear!
Darquematta on February 15, 2011:
I have had my Black Casio 510 from new back in `88. Paid $299.99 for it at Sam Ash Music in NY. It does have some tracking issues here and there but as a guitar, it is as good as anything out there. I still all the time swapping between my `74 Strat. If you can get your hands on one, GET IT and don`t let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IFFSTER on November 18, 2010:
Hello all, I just bought one of these off ebay. guitar looks and feels brand. im havin problems getting the midi functions to work. the power works and comes on but when i unscrewed aeverything to see what could be wrong it seemed the guitar has never been unscrewed or messed with before. So just wondering if anybody has some pointers on getting this midi function to come bac to life.
Benny Martinez on November 10, 2010:
I´m looking for a used MG-510 or PG-380.
Send any offer to: email@example.com
Lyall McGregor on October 09, 2010:
Have had one 22 years great use, put on a Kahler floating bridge with lockdown. Since have put on a GK2A Roland which tracks quicker and am changing to Fender Highway P/Ups, but love the guitar.
Rezzillo on September 20, 2010:
I have an MG510 for sale, anyone interested please email
no wasters pleeeeese!! mint condition !! hardly used actually, no wear on neck at all.
Dave Tutt on September 18, 2010:
Thouht I should let you know that I have been renovating these guitars here in my workshop for some considerable time. I have customers who have the entire range from Casio. One guy even has 7 of them.
Using a GR33 you can use any midi address over 13 if I remember correctly. The Roland guitar steals the first 12 addresses. Not really enough I know but should give you 4 notes to play with. 16 on the casio will give you only one note ie the notes will jump every time you play a new string just like an old mono synth.
Sometimes cap replacement isn't all thats required. I have one here now that needs lots more. Be aware that damage if you DIY it could be terminal!
Anyone need help I am in the UK, North Kent.
Norberto on September 16, 2010:
I'm italian and i'm looking to buy a Casio MG510 or a Casio PG 380 perfectly woorking, with a "right" price.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ferdy on September 05, 2010:
A Filipino band called "The Dawn" used these guitars extensively in their recordings back in the mid- to late-80's (they endorsed the Casio brand). You could probably hear this guitar in action if you do a search on the band.
Penguin Party on September 05, 2010:
Hello Casio fans!
I've got a FULLY WORKING MG-510 and the original manual.
Be careful if you're buying one unseen, cos the caps dry out if the guitar is left un-powered for years and the midi stops working.
Played it in a Jesus Jones style band in the 80s, then stopped using the midi and used it as an excellent superstrat. I'm thinking of selling it, 'cos I don't use the midi these days and it's a "guitar too far"; just cased up and under used.
I hate to see such a useful and unusual bit of kit going to waste, and I need some cash (!)
Back in the day I customised it (it was all black: too 80s for words!) by covering it in pithy cuttings from music mags. These were then laquered over. I think it looks cool as, but many of you may disagree!
Do you think it would sell as-is, to someone who will either "get" the new finish or refinish it themselves? Or do you think I would have to have it refinished myself before selling it?
utaszcsakany on August 31, 2010:
Thank You Jonathan!
Jonathan Mendoza on August 19, 2010:
Thanks Tom! I tried a Midi-USB cable, connecting the midi out of the MG-510 to my keyboard midi controller's midi in- works like a charm.
Although there are some latency issues, which might be fixed be tweaking the velocity parameters under one of the back plates or changing the strings to a thicker gauge.
Anybody have a suggestion about an ideal string gauge?
Tom Armbruster on August 16, 2010:
I've had an MG-510 for about 12-15 years and id has always been a champ. I've done without the manual primarily since I've only wanted to use it in the mono mode. I sure would like to find one, though. I modified mine with EMG pickups (SAV/SAV/89) and pots. To do this, you'll need to run two separate 9V power supplies and replace the 6 x C cell arrangement with a 9V battery clip. Otherwise, the guitar output is very hissy.
I just thought I'd pass along my favorite performance trick. Midi Solutions doesn't have it as a standard product, but they can make you a box that you connect a MIDI input and output to. Then connect any standard keyboard sustain footswitch to it. When you play through this and depress and hold the footswitch, the box will cut off any further MIDI input and transmit a sustain message to the synth, thus creating an infinite sustain pad that you can play the regular guitar over. It's pretty neat.
Re: MIDI/USB: The best thing to do would be to ry it. If the Mac and the convertor are MID spec compliant, I don't know why it wouldn't work. I've been meaning to try it myself.
If anybody has a scanned/PDF'ed copy of the manual, hit me up. I'd like to look into playing horn sections with this thing.
Jonathan Mendoza on August 12, 2010:
You can find the MG 510owner's manual and service manual on ebay. I'm not sure what the difference between them is though.
I bought one off ebay (white body/black pickgaurd) last night and am waiting for it to arrive directly from Japan - no case, no power supply or midi cables.
So I'm wondering if anyone could answer my question:
Is it possible to use the relatively new USB to Midi interface cables to connect my MG 510 directly to my mac?
Any help would be great, thanks in advance!
Gösta Sverin on August 08, 2010:
I vont to sale my midiguitar MG-510. Please tell me one prize.
Utaszcsakany on August 06, 2010:
I searching pickup selector switch too!:( I think that a Fender switch similar. And I need a service manual pdf. Where I could find an acting URL or other? Thx!
Freddy on August 01, 2010:
I am looking for buying the pickup selector switch. Where could I find parts for the MG 510 guitar?
Kelly on July 18, 2010:
Nicholas, Thanks so much for posting this page and follow-up comments. Great info. I just got a white finished 1987 MG510 last night and have been having a ball with it despite not having a manual to tell me how to tinker with the switches and dial pots under the rubber covers on the back of the guitar. I've noticed my 4 and 5th strings voice softer than the others, too.
Mine has been upgraded with Sperzel locking tuners, a vintage style 6 screw Gotah wammy, Bill Lawrence Humbuckers in the bridge and neck position (1/2 size in the neck) and a Duncan Hot Rail 'bucker (1/2 size) in the middle position. I've also got a tone control that acts normally at 1-9 but folds in the neck pickup at 10 no matter how the 5 way switch is set. Plays very sweet and although I hesitated buying it because I didn't need another strat (I have Larry Coryell's old Cort Custom Shop G290 Superstrat) I'm happy I bought it...it holds it's own as a strat and then some.
The MIDI tracking is super. I output the MIDI to Reason for a synth module and it is endlessly facinating. I can't seem to get much else done besides noodeling around with different voices! Even my wife, who rolls her eyes at my ever larger guitar collection (16 and counting)admits this one is special.
My understanding is that the bulk of the owners manual is poor but there must be something in it of value to save a guy some time experimenting.
The only thing not working is the battery compartment power (9v adapter works) so I'll have to open that compartment up since it should be a simple fix of some kind.....it's only two wires after all.
Thanks again and enjoy your guitars.
dennis rice on June 29, 2010:
i have a white casio pg 380 midi guitar and would like to know its value
Patrick on June 01, 2010:
I learnt to play guitar on one of these when I was in school, 10 years ago or so. I loved it, I always wanted to get one for myself. If anyone is selling one and you are based in the UK, let me know! Thanks, email@example.com
Patrick on June 01, 2010:
I learnt to play guitar on one of these when I was in school, 10 years ago or so. I loved it, I always wanted to get one for myself. If anyone is selling one and you are based in the UK, let me know! Thanks, firstname.lastname@example.org
lucien on June 01, 2010:
Hello I got a casio midi guitar 510 for sale if interested
please contact me at email@example.com
Il Bebo on May 05, 2010:
Hi to all from Italy. Sorry for my bad English. I hope you understand me anyway.
I have a MG-510 for many years and have always appreciated the powerful sound and versatility of this guitar midi, both live and studio. On live performances I have always playing with MG-510 on Marshall (or mixer) both an expander-arranger Roland RA-800! It have good midi sounds, General and PCM. Basically on live it's like a keyboard + with her arranger, on recording studio I use it like a generator midi for the sequencer. Excellent as a whole for years now. if the MIDI cable is long, there is a few of latency.
Since yesterday I have a VG-88 and I ask you all, this courtesy: you know if I can simply connect the 5-pin OUT of guitar to the 5-pin cable MIDI-in of VG-88 ?? or I must configure and wired the 5-pin midi-out of MG-510 in same Input 13-pin of VG-88?
Many thanks for your reply .. Greetings from Italy.
Juan on April 28, 2010:
I´m selling my Casio MG 510 on ebay in Spain, but I dont know the way and cost to send it away fram the UE. If somebody have an idea, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org Best regards. Juan
Breent on March 24, 2010:
A friend of mine has a Casio MG-510, but unable to find one for sale in Australia. Any ideas?.
Murray on December 29, 2009:
I bought one of these around 20 years ago along with a Roland MT-32 synth and they both still play as good as new.
I've played a range of guitars, but for tonal range I keep coming back to the MG-510 - it seems to get better every year :o) A sadly underrated guitar in my opinion (because of the Casio name I suspect - if it had said "Ibanez", it would have been a winner!
Nick on December 27, 2009:
I adjusted the sensitivity and it's perfectly balanced. I noticed a slight delay on the wound strings so I'm going to put on a lighter gauge. I'm going from 10's to 9's, so hopefully that helps. I still can't get over how well this guitar tracks.
Nick on December 26, 2009:
Much appreciated! I'm going to make the proper adjustments right now. I didn't realize the sensitivity adjustment couldn't be adjusted on the actual GR33 module as well as on the back of the guitar. It's not reading each time I try to adjust an individual string. Is that because I'm not using a GK midi pickup? The strings are even for the most part but the 4th and 5th strings are really silent compared to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th string. I'll have to adjust this on the back of the guitar instead.
Nicholas Chase on December 25, 2009:
Here is a website dedicated to Casio MG-510 and PG-380 guitars and midi information.
Still looking for a PDF scan of the MG-510 manual. I may just scan mine and send it to email addresses as requested.
Nicholas Chase on December 25, 2009:
Here are the Midi Channel DIP Switch settings gor the MG-510
Casio MG-510/500 DIP Switch Settings
POLY mode MONO mode
SW1=OFF SW1=ON SW2 SW3 SW4 SW5
1 1-6 off off off off
2 2-7 ON off off off
3 3-8 off ON off off
4 4-9 ON ON off off
5 5-10 off off ON off
6 6-11 ON off ON off
7 7-12 off ON ON off
8 8-13 ON ON ON off
9 9-14 off off off ON
10 10-15 ON off off ON
11 11-16 off ON off ON
12 11-16 ON ON off ON
13 11-16 off off ON ON
14 11-16 ON off ON ON
15 11-16 off ON ON ON
16 11-16 ON ON ON ON
Bend Range SW6 SW7 Frequency SW8 SW9
12 off off 440 off off
7 ON off 441 ON off
5 off ON 442 off ON
4 ON ON 443 ON ON
Nick on December 25, 2009:
It worked! I can't thank you enough! I still have to adjust sensitivity but that's simple. I've done it before on a VG-88 so it's probably the same on the GR-33. I'm hooked on the Fender Rhodes sound right now, but there are tons of great sounds I'll be using. Thanks again Nicholas.
Nick on December 25, 2009:
What a guy! I wasn't expecting a response until after the holdays but that's great. I'll try matching the channels when I get home from Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, I do not have the manual but I'll see what I can do. Thanks again Nicholas, you've been a huge source of information between your article and your responses. Merry Christmas.
Nicholas Chase on December 24, 2009:
You need to match the input midi channel on the GR-33 with the output midi channel on the MG-510 guitar. I believe my MG was set to channel one (1) output, but try all 16 midi channels 1-16, on your GR-33 to see which one triggers the voice selected. I bleieve there are dip-switches under the back panel but be careful here. It's been awhile since I have done any settings. Did your Casio MG- come with a manual?
I'll look for mine over the weekend, (it's Christmas Eve here in California), we are exchanging gifts with family.
There is a midi-map associated with the MG-510 midi output, and I believe you can set each string to it's own midi channel.
Nick on December 24, 2009:
I finally hooked into a GR-33 and was unable to get any sound. I get a red power light on the midi module on the guitar but no sound from the amp. Is my guitar defective or am I missing something obvious here. I tested the midi cable and the cable is ok. Do I have to do any mods on the back of the guitar? Any advice would help, thanks.
Nick on December 22, 2009:
I still haven't had a chance to play this guitar through a synth yet but I have to say that this is a killer strat! Plays and sounds great. The quality/craftsmanship is better than Fender and I'd say the tone is right on par. I have Custom Shop strats, SRV Strat, etc. and I'd take this one over them any day. I will post a comment regarding the midi aspect of the guitar as soon as I get my hands on my Dad's guitar synths. Thanks again for your very useful info Nicholas!
Nick on December 19, 2009:
Great info, thanks a bunch. We have a potential snow storm coming tonight but I'll try to get over to my parents at some point and grab my Dad's VG-88 & GR-33. I'll let you know how it works out.
Nicholas Chase on December 18, 2009:
Yes, any midi module can be triggered by this guitar's midi output.
You just need to match the midi input channel on the Roland VG-88 midi input you want triggered by the Casio Guitar's midi out. And you need to use the higher (smaller) diameter strings to reduce the delay in the other modules sound output. I have triggered drum boxes with this guitar and it's possible to record a drum part and then tweak the quantization settings in the sequencer's recording afterwards.
Let me know how it works out for you and thanks for your comments!
Nick on December 18, 2009:
I just obtained one of these via trade and it seems really cool. Can this be used with any guitar synth ie Roland VG-88? Any info would be appreciated.
lovejoyantiques on December 16, 2009:
A good friend used one of these professionally in the UK, it sounded great, he connected it up to a Roland G10 and an MT32, which I now have, as he passed away some time ago.
I have one of the original single-coil pickups from it mounted on a Vox Phantom body, along with a GR2A roland synth pickup, but cannot resolve all the issues - any ideas out there ??? ! cheers !
nachase (author) from SF Bay Area California on November 18, 2009:
Thank you for reading my hubpage. That is a wonderful history you have with the Casio guitar in live concerts!
Your solution for the heavy cables management is very professional. In a former work life at Sony Electronics and in a maintenance engineering role at a hollywood video broadcast post-production house, I used cable ties for so many tasks, they are the 'duct-tape' for anyone needing to manage wires attached to objects that need to move.
I appreciate your comments, can you point me to a place on the web where I can hear some of your music playing this guitar?
Maybe I could place a clip of your music on my hubpage?
hbaxepicker on November 18, 2009:
This is a great axe. I have used mine for years. It's rugged, and has as good a sound in guitar mode as an American Strat. I Proved this to a side by side comparison with a Srat, and a Strat 'fanatic', who admitted it was 'excellent'. Midi performance is excellent. I have used it with a VZ 1000 keyboard, and also a VZ8M 'head'. And, at some seriously BIG venues (20,000 people shows). this is not some gimmicky toy. It's a pro system. Like my Paul Goldtop Deluxe, I'll be sold only after I die. By the way, the cure for the cables is simple, I tie wrapped cables together into ONE complete unit, power supply and all. Literally hundreds of shows on the guitar, (it's black, with black hardware). When black wore off, there was COPPER plating underneath. That's good quality. This thing is rugged, and sweet.
Robert L. Tschumy on August 31, 2009:
My husband had this guitar for years. Is giving him problems lately. I need prices on the ones shown online.
I appreciate your service. Thank, Carmen
nachase (author) from SF Bay Area California on July 20, 2009:
Hi Jason Titley,
You may find one on eBay or Craig's List for the U.K.
Also check out some used guitar shops, you may find one at a bargain. Happy hunting!
Jason Titley on July 19, 2009:
I would love one of these for playing in Tab. Please let me know if you have one to sell. jason(at)jasontitley.co.uk
nachase (author) from SF Bay Area California on May 24, 2009:
For the latency issue, try installing all strings with the same gauge, say .11 to start.
You can buy individual stings at most Guitar Center stores.
Thanks for your comments, this is interesting dialogue!
Duane_M on May 23, 2009:
I own a black casio midi guitar, not sure it is the same model. Mine is a little different in body shape but the same controls otherwise it looks like. I stopped playing it years ago to the latency issue, but may break it out again. It is a "good" electric guitar as is with the pickups, and so, so with the midi. But, I may try the suggestion regarding the midi as I just started using ProTools and have a midi sound module unit that has lots of sounds...if I could drop the latency, it may be a useful tool in inputing midi into a ProTools recording.....any suggestions? Duane
nachase (author) from SF Bay Area California on May 18, 2009:
Thank you 65Marlin327 and Jan van Herp for your comments.
I use my Casio MG-510 to trigger a drum machine, using the lower strings and mapping 'midi-drum notes' to guitar notes on a Boss drum-box. Makes for quick beat generation before editing measures into Pro Tools LE.
Respectfully, nicholas Chase
Jan van Herp on May 16, 2009:
Hi, I purchased a red MG-510 (same as above) for about 50 euro's (the Neteherlands) and i am totally happy with the guitar. The guitar itself is very easy to play, the sound is very acceptable and the MIDI interface makes it possible to play any other instrument and record it at my home studio.
65Marlin327 on November 30, 2008:
Casio built these in 1987. The next model up had the synth built in. The concensus is that these guitars tracked like a tank... dead on, and no waver from pitch. The guitar itself is a product of a third party who built bodies for Yamana and Ibanez.
The external synth designed to work with this guitar is the VZ-8M. Same engine as the VZ-10M and VZ-1 keyboard, but only 8 note poly. So what? Guitars are only capable of up to six notes, anyway, right?
I, personally, love every one of my pro-line Casio instruments. When I use one on stage, there's ALWAYS a keyboardist in the audience who wants to know where I get that amazing electric piano sound. A brief demonstration of the VZ's sounds, and he's hooked.
Enjoy your 510. I plan to enjoy mine, and I just got it today!