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Topic: Midi Guitar

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  1. #1

    Midi Guitar

    I am a professional jazz guitar player and therefor would like to record my stuff with my guitars. My Midi Knowledge is very poor so here`s my question:

    * Is it enough to just put a MIDI pickup on one of my guitars or do I need some other stuff like a converter or somethin. I probably will not need a sound board since I have the JABB for sounds, right? So what will my MIDI setup will look like? Any suggestions.
    * When I use a Midi pickup on the guitar do I have real time midi controller access, or do I have to assign those later in cubase?

    Thanx for your help!

  2. #2

    Re: Midi Guitar

    You will need a converter. I use Godin guitars with RMC pickups already installed and include a connector and cable. I am using a Roland GI-20 MIDI interface to plug the MIDI capable guitar pickup into. This will convert the MIDI pickup information and send it to your computer or MIDI sound module, depending on your setup. In your case, the GI-20 can plug into the computer and be used with Cubase (I use Logic on a Mac or Sonar on a PC).

    I prefer the guitars with pickup already installed and setup that comes with a cable and connector already installed in the guitar. However, you do need something to convert the data into MIDI that your computer can use. I have an older Roland GR-30 guitar synth and it does not track and convert as well as the GI-20. This is all I have experience with. A guitar player and teacher at Berklee College of Music told me to try a GI-20 and so I bought one and I am quite pleased with it.

    Bear in mind that tracking isn't perfect and isn't as sure as a keyboard. But, it does pretty good.

    Good luck,

    Jim

  3. #3

    Re: Midi Guitar

    how'd I miss this thread????

    a few thoughts on guitar as MIDI controller from one who has been messing with it for a very long time<G>...

    You need two things to use a guitar as a MIDI controller:
    1) you need a pickup that is capable of separating the strings, it will have six outputs instead of one - you will most often hear these called "hex" pickups. It can be magnetic, piezo-electric, optical - doesn't matter, what matters is that there are six outputs, one for each string.

    2) you need something to convert the six string signals into MIDI data. There are systems where that is installed in the guitar, but by far the most popular solution is a box that takes as it's input the signal from the hex pickup, and spits out MIDI data. If you choose to go with the external box make sure that it will accept input from your pickup, or, select a pickup that will work with your converter.

    There is a "sort-of" standard for connecting hex pickups to other gear, it is the Roland 13 pin cable. There is an absolute standard for moving MIDI data about, and that is the 3 pin MIDI cable.

    If you like your guitar you can add a pickup to it to provide the necessary stuff to do MIDI

    If you like your guitar and won't consider chopping it up you can buy guitars from a number of manufacturers that already have the special pickup installed.

    If I had a D'Angelico New Yorker or a 1959 Les Paul I probably would hesitate to install a hex pickup in it, fortunately that is not a problem I have at the moment (did I just say fortunately???)

    I have tried a number of hex pickups over the years. Magnetic pickups include Roland's original GK1 (a 24 pin connector system), and their GK2 (which uses their 13 pin scheme)

    Piezo electric pickups include a Fishman PowerBridge for a Stratocaster, a Mike Christian (sadly no longer in business) bridge for a Les Paul, a Ghost pickup that was removed from a damaged Brian Moore guitar and installed on a Les Paul, and an RMC pickup that was built into a Godin.

    The differences between the various pickups are small, probably not insignificant, but very slight indeed.

    Piezo electric pickups are mounted in the bridge, and thus can be installed with very little modification to the guitar (you need the 13 pin jack though... no getting around that!)

    Most of the magnetic pickups come in an all-in-one package that can be mounted temporarilly. That can be handy.

    There are a number of companies selling guitars with hex pickups built in, Brian Moore, Godin, and Fender spring to mind. Brian Moore and Parker also sold guitars with the pitch-to-MIDI conversion built into the guitars, but I don't know if the still do.

    From my experience, driving a Roland VG-8, a Roland GR-300, and an IVL Pitchrider 7000 MkII I'd have to say the results are mixed.

    The VG-8 does seem to track better (it does not convert to MIDI, so track is a little misleading, still the best word I could come up with) when I drive it with piezo-electric pickups, especially the RMC and Ghost.

    Experimenting with a friends GR-33 I found the same thing to be true, but in a recent second round of testing I was able to make the difference go away by carefully tweaking a bunch of settings.

    The GR-300 does not convert anything either, and it sounds very different when driven with different pickups. I include it here simply to demonstrate that either pickup type works with most devices.

    I also have a GR-700 and it simply does not track well. No difference in behavior based on pickups.

    The IVL Pitchrider seems to favor the magnetic pickups, but the difference is once again fairly subtle.

    All that to suggest that the type of pickup probably has more impact on the installation process than performance.

    Pitch-to-MIDI converters do differ in behavior. None of them are perfect, there are certain laws of physics that simply must be obeyed! I probably would not buy an out-of-production model today, as I think the gains since most of the older models were discontinued were significant.

    Today your choices include the Axon AX-100, the Roland GI-20, the Yamaha G50, and the Roland GR-33, which is really a synthesizer designed to operate with a guitar as the controller, but it spits out MIDI data as well.

    If I had the bucks I'd probably add a GR-33 to my arsenal, but I don't have a huge need at the moment, so I don't. Why the GR-33? Well, there is some advantage to converting from the six pickup signals directly to a control signal for the built in synthesizer. It's minor, but it is there. So if I were playing out I'd probably depend on the built in synthesizer for most of my voices.

    I'm actually quite happy with my IVL Pitchrider, but I've been using it for nearly 20 years now, so I know what it can, and can not do, and I don't ask it to exert itself<G>. I'm not sure I'd recommend buying one used.

    There is one last category to mention - several companies tried to bend the laws of physics, or maybe just ignore them, and specialized instruments using combinations of optical sensing, sonar, and even physical switching have been marketed. I have a Yamaha G-10, which used a variety of techniques to try to improve tracking. The downside is that it uses six of the same string (an unwound G), and it really doesn't feel much like a guitar. It is deadly accurate, but it isn't a lot of fun to play.

    That's my short version... if you have more questions feel free to ask!

    Bill
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  4. #4

    Re: Midi Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by sherman71
    I am a professional jazz guitar player and therefor would like to record my stuff with my guitars. My Midi Knowledge is very poor so here`s my question:

    * Is it enough to just put a MIDI pickup on one of my guitars or do I need some other stuff like a converter or somethin. I probably will not need a sound board since I have the JABB for sounds, right? So what will my MIDI setup will look like? Any suggestions.
    * When I use a Midi pickup on the guitar do I have real time midi controller access, or do I have to assign those later in cubase?

    Thanx for your help!
    Hi,
    first of all this is my first post in a forum at all.
    So best regards to all members of this forum, and please apologize my poor English.

    Concerning MIDI-Guitar:
    I also used the GI20-Converter BUT then I got me a Terratec AXON AX 100 MKII.
    In my opinion it has a very fast tracking. I like this thing much more than the GI 20.
    I bougth me a cheap squier telecaster to mount the pickup (hex pickup by roland) as I didn't want to damage my "good" guitars.

    To be true: I only use this Guitar to midi-converter seldomly but startet to use a keyboard. For me this gives me better control over the MIDI-Data-Input, though I am a Guitar-Player (non pro) for many years.

    Best regards,
    aribaldi



  5. #5

    Re: Midi Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae
    how'd I miss this thread????

    a few thoughts on guitar as MIDI controller from one who has been messing with it for a very long time<G>...

    You need two things to use a guitar as a MIDI controller:
    1) you need a pickup that is capable of separating the strings, it will have six outputs instead of one - you will most often hear these called "hex" pickups. It can be magnetic, piezo-electric, optical - doesn't matter, what matters is that there are six outputs, one for each string.

    2) you need something to convert the six string signals into MIDI data. There are systems where that is installed in the guitar, but by far the most popular solution is a box that takes as it's input the signal from the hex pickup, and spits out MIDI data. If you choose to go with the external box make sure that it will accept input from your pickup, or, select a pickup that will work with your converter.

    There is a "sort-of" standard for connecting hex pickups to other gear, it is the Roland 13 pin cable. There is an absolute standard for moving MIDI data about, and that is the 3 pin MIDI cable.

    If you like your guitar you can add a pickup to it to provide the necessary stuff to do MIDI

    If you like your guitar and won't consider chopping it up you can buy guitars from a number of manufacturers that already have the special pickup installed.

    If I had a D'Angelico New Yorker or a 1959 Les Paul I probably would hesitate to install a hex pickup in it, fortunately that is not a problem I have at the moment (did I just say fortunately???)

    I have tried a number of hex pickups over the years. Magnetic pickups include Roland's original GK1 (a 24 pin connector system), and their GK2 (which uses their 13 pin scheme)

    Piezo electric pickups include a Fishman PowerBridge for a Stratocaster, a Mike Christian (sadly no longer in business) bridge for a Les Paul, a Ghost pickup that was removed from a damaged Brian Moore guitar and installed on a Les Paul, and an RMC pickup that was built into a Godin.

    The differences between the various pickups are small, probably not insignificant, but very slight indeed.

    Piezo electric pickups are mounted in the bridge, and thus can be installed with very little modification to the guitar (you need the 13 pin jack though... no getting around that!)

    Most of the magnetic pickups come in an all-in-one package that can be mounted temporarilly. That can be handy.

    There are a number of companies selling guitars with hex pickups built in, Brian Moore, Godin, and Fender spring to mind. Brian Moore and Parker also sold guitars with the pitch-to-MIDI conversion built into the guitars, but I don't know if the still do.

    From my experience, driving a Roland VG-8, a Roland GR-300, and an IVL Pitchrider 7000 MkII I'd have to say the results are mixed.

    The VG-8 does seem to track better (it does not convert to MIDI, so track is a little misleading, still the best word I could come up with) when I drive it with piezo-electric pickups, especially the RMC and Ghost.

    Experimenting with a friends GR-33 I found the same thing to be true, but in a recent second round of testing I was able to make the difference go away by carefully tweaking a bunch of settings.

    The GR-300 does not convert anything either, and it sounds very different when driven with different pickups. I include it here simply to demonstrate that either pickup type works with most devices.

    I also have a GR-700 and it simply does not track well. No difference in behavior based on pickups.

    The IVL Pitchrider seems to favor the magnetic pickups, but the difference is once again fairly subtle.

    All that to suggest that the type of pickup probably has more impact on the installation process than performance.

    Pitch-to-MIDI converters do differ in behavior. None of them are perfect, there are certain laws of physics that simply must be obeyed! I probably would not buy an out-of-production model today, as I think the gains since most of the older models were discontinued were significant.

    Today your choices include the Axon AX-100, the Roland GI-20, the Yamaha G50, and the Roland GR-33, which is really a synthesizer designed to operate with a guitar as the controller, but it spits out MIDI data as well.

    If I had the bucks I'd probably add a GR-33 to my arsenal, but I don't have a huge need at the moment, so I don't. Why the GR-33? Well, there is some advantage to converting from the six pickup signals directly to a control signal for the built in synthesizer. It's minor, but it is there. So if I were playing out I'd probably depend on the built in synthesizer for most of my voices.

    I'm actually quite happy with my IVL Pitchrider, but I've been using it for nearly 20 years now, so I know what it can, and can not do, and I don't ask it to exert itself<G>. I'm not sure I'd recommend buying one used.

    There is one last category to mention - several companies tried to bend the laws of physics, or maybe just ignore them, and specialized instruments using combinations of optical sensing, sonar, and even physical switching have been marketed. I have a Yamaha G-10, which used a variety of techniques to try to improve tracking. The downside is that it uses six of the same string (an unwound G), and it really doesn't feel much like a guitar. It is deadly accurate, but it isn't a lot of fun to play.

    That's my short version... if you have more questions feel free to ask!

    Bill
    Bill! Can ypu please contact me!
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  6. #6

    Re: Midi Guitar

    Have been using My GR-33 and Godin Multiac for 7 years now. It does require a fair amount of tweaking, and clean technique.

    Now I am going to get me some longer MIDI cables and start using this in CUBASE SL3. Downloaded the GR33 manual from Roland so I could have it online, for this aspect gets very twitchy.

    Main thing to remember about MIDI guitar is that the guitar is a dirty (noise) instrument, ie fret noise, misplaced fingers, inconsistent striking of the strings.

    Will let you know how this new enterprise turns out.


    Martin
    "Among God's creatures two, the dog and the guitar, have taken all the sizes and all the shapes, in order not to be separated from the man." - Andre Segovia

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