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Advice / input on new guitar purchase...(evolving subject)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next [all]
Author Advice / input on new guitar purchase...(evolving subject)
felixer
for bass fretsensing seems to be pretty good. prob not too much bending/trem going on. hagstrom was the daddy of those.
for guitar i'm gone down with these ehx boxes. not really synth's (very preset) but at least they track well enough to do some real guitarplaying. got a B9, snyth9 and mel9. enough to drown a band hihi
haven't used my midirig in a long time ...
Sinamsis
Ha, so the thread seems to have gone in a different direction, but it seems like the OP has some interest, so lets go down this rabbit hole. I've been toying with the idea of MIDI-fying my gear for a long time. I was never sure if the Roland boxes would pass MIDI... it is annoying to have to go through another box just to convert the signal from the guitar to a MIDI signal. I have a room full of synths I'd like to use. Ha, oh well. I have used a plugin called MIDIGuitar, and that actually tracked reasonably well. So what is the "gold standard" in terms of MIDI converters for guitar and bass?
Northward
Sinamsis wrote:
Ha, so the thread seems to have gone in a different direction, but it seems like the OP has some interest, so lets go down this rabbit hole.


Yes please smile
New rabbit holes with cool new sh** to discover, all fun!

Sinamsis wrote:
I've been toying with the idea of MIDI-fying my gear for a long time. I was never sure if the Roland boxes would pass MIDI... it is annoying to have to go through another box just to convert the signal from the guitar to a MIDI signal. a room full of synths I'd like to use


Dude, you are preaching to the congregation. These «guitar synths» are the reason I’m put off by the midi guitar thing (never heard any sound that impressed me). But oh my lord I would have loved to plug the guitar straight into the Midi in on my soundcard and control synths.

If any of you are familiar with the Sonicstate podcast, you will know Yoad Nevo. He is a very experienced producer and musician and is a seasoned synth user. The thing is, he started out with the guitar as his main instrument and I’m sure he has gone through all guitar to midi options out there. He also works for Waves now. If anyone of you know him or have worked with him I convinced he’s a goldmine on the subject. Gaz Williams is a bass player and also really into experimenting how to effectively control synths and other gear via expression foot pedalsand from his bass for gigging.
We may succeed in getting the subject discussed on the podcast with a bit of luck and nice YouTube comments.. Jusn an idea.

Anyhow, I’m sure there’s a lot of experience in the forum of what’s been testet satisfactory and what is a waste of money. So please... down the hole we go hihi Mr. Green
GovernorSilver
Sinamsis wrote:
Ha, so the thread seems to have gone in a different direction, but it seems like the OP has some interest, so lets go down this rabbit hole. I've been toying with the idea of MIDI-fying my gear for a long time. I was never sure if the Roland boxes would pass MIDI... it is annoying to have to go through another box just to convert the signal from the guitar to a MIDI signal. I have a room full of synths I'd like to use. Ha, oh well. I have used a plugin called MIDIGuitar, and that actually tracked reasonably well. So what is the "gold standard" in terms of MIDI converters for guitar and bass?


I hear ya about not wanting an intermediary box when you already have a nice collection of nice synths. Roland's HRM tech though is super responsive; HRM based synths track faster than any MIDI tech.

That all said, the state of the MIDI art for bass has got to be the fret-sensing stuff - either the aforementioned dedicated bass, or the even more expensive FretTraX. FretTraX as an add-on for the bass of your choice costs $500 more than that dedicated fret-sensing MIDI bass.

Last I checked, the Fishman Triple Play was the king of MIDI guitar converter tech. Andras Szalay was one of the masterminds - he was also part of the Axon project. Triple Play is wireless, which is another selling point for many.

The challenge with MIDI guitar and MIDI bass, from my perspective, is to figure out ways to use the tech so that they do more for you, creatively speaking; than just be expensive alternatives to a well-appointed pedalboard. I'm not sure I would have bothered with the VG-99 if the EHX Mel9 and B9/C9, Hologram Infinite Jets, etc. existed back then.

I actually had an EHX HOG (1st gen) pedal before I got the VG-99. I used it for synth-like chord pads to accompany my rhythm guitar playing. The GAS made me get the VG, lol.
GovernorSilver
Northward wrote:
Gaz Williams is a bass player and also really into experimenting how to effectively control synths and other gear via expression foot pedalsand from his bass for gigging.


Gaz ignited my lust for a Dreadbox Abyss - his demo was the best I heard. He mentioned on Sonic State that he planned to use it with the band, with a MIDI bass designed by Steve Chick, the mastermind behind the Peavey Cyberbass - so it's probably a fret-sensing bass.

My challenge to myself is to come up with a creative application for MIDI guitar before I go down that path again; it's got to be something that's more creative than something that can be easily reproduced with current production guitar pedals. For example, the guitar->Eurorack modular demos that I've heard have all been disappointing to me, because they sound no better than fuzz pedal demos; and in fact the fuzz pedal demos turned out be more interesting anyway. I went down the Octatrack path instead because I heard demos that sounded fresh and exciting to me.

A trend that I've seen is: Guitarist discovers modular. Guitarist tries processing guitar through modular and/or guitar-to-CV or MIDI conversion. Guitarist then does a "fuck it, I give up guitar" and goes all-in on synthesis. I've seen this happen to a couple of friends locally wink.
Sinamsis
GovernorSilver
Yeah, the whole what am I adding with MIDI guitar makes me take pause. Bass, however, I feel I can justify. I think my playing style for bass is different than what I'd come up with on a keyboard, and layering a mono synth and electric bass is appealing to me.

The Moog guitar is more interesting to me because it's totally different, though it did have a MIDI option as well. Infinite sustain, but with different modes that make control easier, makes it really appealing to me. Are there any comparable alternatives these days?

Regarding the Triple Play.... the wireless aspect is a turn off for me, from what I understand. Doesn't it just come with a USB dongle? Do then I would have to use a computer. Or I guess some other sort of host, right?

Frettrax seems interesting. Maybe one day I'll have my Stingray retro-fitted. Do you know if it comes in a kit, or do they need to install it?
Sinamsis
BTW, I had a HOG, and I have a HOG 2 now... I love that pedal. It is so flexible and has so many uses.
Northward
GovernorSilver wrote:

A trend that I've seen is: Guitarist discovers modular. Guitarist tries processing guitar through modular and/or guitar-to-CV or MIDI conversion. Guitarist then does a "fuck it, I give up guitar" and goes all-in on synthesis. I've seen this happen to a couple of friends locally wink.


When I make music on guitar and when I make music on synths, the outcome are remarkably different. The difference in sound and tactility effects the composing style as well. Guitar being a more percussive instrument I tend to work more with the rhythm. If a midi-implication works well, I really can’t see anything but positive with it. There’s no way I’d choose between the who. I would need to start taking bloody piano lessons..hehe
felixer
the thing is that all your/most 'guitarplaying' techniques go out of the window as soon as you start using a guitar->midi interface. you have to play very clean (possible if you have good technique but boring from an audio standpoint) plus there is a delay: you hit the note and it takes a while before the midi note comes along. playing bass in some uptempo thing is impossible, unless you start playing slightly in front of the beat (this will happen almost automatically once you are playing, not as hard as it seems) but not very nice.
decent systems have a 100ms delay. which means that if you are playing 10 notes per second (not that fast) your sound is always 1 note behind. that is where the wired-fret method comes in. that response is pretty much instantaneous. as i said hagstrom (swedish guitar maker) had a system. and of course the synthaxe. but then you can't do stringbending anymore (each fret is cut up in 6 parts). and the sound starts as soon as you put on your left-hand. that is unusual and takes time to get used to.
in short: there hasn't been a system that you can take with your normal guitarplaying and get good results with.
untill those EHX boxes came out. the mother is the HOG. and then there came several spinoffs with specific sounds: organ, mellotron, electric piano's, etc. you can argue about the sounds, but the playability is superb. it feels right. and you have NO glitching and NO delays. and also they are fairly affordable. esp compared to a full midi setup. true, you can have more different sounds but also a lot more (playing) problems. and i found the playing part more important. if i want fancy sounds i'll play a keyboard. esp since fancy sounds often require fairly simple parts.
there is also the line6 variax technique. quite usefull (i have 2, one with and one without a vibrato unit. but only approximations of other guitarsounds. no synths, expept for the bass which has a 'minimoog' type sound. those weren't very succesfull, commercially, so the developmentteam fell apart and there were never any upgrades. several people built better guitars with the line6 electronics inside. i found esp the electric sounds not very convincing so i modded my variaxes with a traditional magnetic pickup for those classic distortion sounds. and use the line6 system only for acoustic simulations. some people with high-priced 12strings will complain about those sounds in the line6, but i found them to be very usefull. esp since you can have a raunchy/distorted 6string sound plus a delicate 12string sound at the same time. that is fun. and very usefull if you don't want to change guitars onstage (always a hassle). and i almost sounds like 2 players. combine that with a few ehx boxes and you have a very orchestral thing going. and you can bend and scrape what you like and it doesn't sound off.
that is the setup i'm using in this lil' electric folkband i'm playing with. works nicely.
commodorejohn
Yeah, the whole guitar-synthesizer/MIDI thing has always seemed like it's so inevitably different that you might as well just use a keyboard anyway...
Northward
So if I understand this right, even strumming clean chords on the guitar, to get Midi chords into the DAW is problematic..
And that the timing is such a hassle that you will spend a lot of time correcting timing? This seems very unsatisfactory for such expensive systems.

I own Melodyne Essential, and find it quite tedious spending time on «correction» (unless I want a certain effect). So I don’t use it much.

Bending wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me, but the other shortcomings sound daunting. Bass guitar would probably be better suited. Thanks for putting it straight.

It is surprising that this technology haven’t gotten much better over the years. I remember those Casio and Yamaha adverts in the 80s looking like the future.. hihi

Poor evolution is almost certainly down to the ridiculously conservative cult of old school guitars. I laughed hard when I read about people ripping out new circuit cards in their new Gibson Les Paul as they have been deceived by their masters. And the rage the auto tuners spawned.. No wonder the big guitar manufacturers annoyingly remain in the Stone Age.
GovernorSilver
Sinamsis wrote:
GovernorSilver
Yeah, the whole what am I adding with MIDI guitar makes me take pause. Bass, however, I feel I can justify. I think my playing style for bass is different than what I'd come up with on a keyboard, and layering a mono synth and electric bass is appealing to me.


Sounds like a good justification to me. Layering a mono synth with bass opens up quite a few possibilities, including a harmony line in 4ths or 5ths (power chords! wink), and so on.

Sinamsis wrote:

The Moog guitar is more interesting to me because it's totally different, though it did have a MIDI option as well. Infinite sustain, but with different modes that make control easier, makes it really appealing to me. Are there any comparable alternatives these days?


KMI StrongArm was supposed to be the competition, but has been held up in "under development" limbo for a while. When I first heard of it, KMI was talking up a guitar synth/MIDI section, but they appear to have broken it up into separate StrongArm and StringPort2 projects. I would not mind investing in a Reverend Eastsider T to house either product, should it finally make production.

I play viola and electric violin too, but I just don't see how I could make the K-Bow work for me. It's enough of a challenge learning to control the bow without any electronic doodads added on.

https://www.keithmcmillen.com/labs/

Paul Vo seems to have left Moog and gone independent. Not sure if he's still doing the Vo-96, which is the Moog Guitar tech re-imagined for acoustic guitar. He's currently working on the next-gen Vo Wond, which I guess has been renamed the EMPick. Probably going to be a monophonic sustainer, but still sounds intriguing to me:
https://www.paulvo.com/

Sinamsis wrote:

Regarding the Triple Play.... the wireless aspect is a turn off for me, from what I understand. Doesn't it just come with a USB dongle? Do then I would have to use a computer. Or I guess some other sort of host, right?


Yup, you'd need a USB host. I know... wink https://www.fishman.com/using-tripleplay-directly-with-5-pin-din-exter nal-midi-hardware/

Sinamsis wrote:

Frettrax seems interesting. Maybe one day I'll have my Stingray retro-fitted. Do you know if it comes in a kit, or do they need to install it?


Yeah, there's a retro fit kit. I did warn you about the price, lol. The red button/knob system for preset changes, with the knob assignable to different MIDI CCs, is cool though.
http://frettrax.com/
GovernorSilver
commodorejohn wrote:
Yeah, the whole guitar-synthesizer/MIDI thing has always seemed like it's so inevitably different that you might as well just use a keyboard anyway...


You can do some neat stuff like faux pedal steel bends and other double stop moves that would require poly aftertouch or MPE on a keyboard, vibrato that's more natural than LFO-driven vibrato, etc.

It's great with the Roland VG Organ, Crystal (a DX-ish electric piano), etc. models because it's physical modeling applied to processing string audio, no MIDI involved. With MIDI involved, there's a drop in expressiveness, because MIDI imposes discrete values.

For composing though, it's still so much faster and convenient - workflow wise - to just plug in a cheap keyboard and enter notes that way into your sequencer or notation app.
GovernorSilver
Northward wrote:
GovernorSilver wrote:

A trend that I've seen is: Guitarist discovers modular. Guitarist tries processing guitar through modular and/or guitar-to-CV or MIDI conversion. Guitarist then does a "fuck it, I give up guitar" and goes all-in on synthesis. I've seen this happen to a couple of friends locally wink.


When I make music on guitar and when I make music on synths, the outcome are remarkably different. The difference in sound and tactility effects the composing style as well. Guitar being a more percussive instrument I tend to work more with the rhythm. If a midi-implication works well, I really can’t see anything but positive with it. There’s no way I’d choose between the who. I would need to start taking bloody piano lessons..hehe


Nah, you don't really need piano lessons - that's what sequencers are for, my friend. Or even just LFO modulation set up a particular way - I saw a synthesist friend play a gig once, and I made a comment about the sequence he used and he said, "No sequencer - just LFOs!"

Actually, what happened with my guitarist buddies that got into modular is they just keep their guitar and synth activities separate. One plays either guitar or synth onstage, but doesn't try to do both at once - he recruited another guitarist into his band to help fill out the sound. The other plays guitar (no synth) in a hardcore band, and synth (without guitar) in his solo synth project.

I'm still working out ways to incorporate live strings w/ electronics in a way that satisfies my personal aesthetics. Live sampling the strings w/ Octatrack, and letting the Octatrack sequencer manage another synth via MIDI, has been a rewarding route for me. Others have gone down this road before me, so they're my inspirations. Aside from the Octatrack guy, there's a local band that combined loud, heavily processed guitars with Electribes and other synths that inspired me; they were very much in the vein of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive (when using synths), etc.
Northward
What you describe here GovernorSilver, is in the vein of what I would like to achieve with my solo work. I really haven’t seen anything that comfortable would replace a laptop with Ableton Live on stage. But of course I
there are ways like the ones you describe. Ableton have features that could make the sequencer / drums slave to the human playing but this is still too advanced for me. I have much to learn in this department. Would like to play the guitar and have the music and rhythm “breathe” with my playing as I like to sing slightly off beat. Strictly robotic drum old drum machines are also fun- but to control these live also points me to Ableton thus far.

I will check out the technique and gear you describe
GovernorSilver
Northward wrote:
What you describe here GovernorSilver, is in the vein of what I would like to achieve with my solo work. I really haven’t seen anything that comfortable would replace a laptop with Ableton Live on stage. But of course I
there are ways like the ones you describe. Ableton have features that could make the sequencer / drums slave to the human playing but this is still too advanced for me. I have much to learn in this department. Would like to play the guitar and have the music and rhythm “breathe” with my playing as I like to sing slightly off beat. Strictly robotic drum old drum machines are also fun- but to control these live also points me to Ableton thus far.

I will check out the technique and gear you describe


That local band that I mentioned started with a laptopvbut quickly found that the volume level that they like to play at was causing problems with the hard drives in the laptops. This was in the early 2000s, before affordable solid state drives became standard equipment on laptops.. They replaced the laptop with a couple of Electribe grooveboxes, and started accumulating synths. They just played live instruments (guitar, analog synth) to the beat of the Electribes.

There are sequencers out there that have some kind of tap tempo support. Not exactly the same as listening to your guitar playing and trying to guess the BPM from that, but maybe close enough? Octatrack has a BPM detector, but you have to a record a loop into it first, and users have reported mixed results. It seems to work ok for me, but I haven't tested it with more than one external synth/drum machine.
Northward
GovernorSilver wrote:


That local band that I mentioned... ...They replaced the laptop with a couple of Electribe grooveboxes, and started accumulating synths. They just played live instruments (guitar, analog synth) to the beat of the Electribes.

There are sequencers out there that have some kind of tap tempo support. Not exactly the same as listening to your guitar playing and trying to guess the BPM from that, but maybe close enough? Octatrack has a BPM detector, but you have to a record a loop into it first, and users have reported mixed results. It seems to work ok for me, but I haven't tested it with more than one external synth/drum machine.


I have been researching this particular subject for quite some time. I’m sure this band did a lot of testing. I thought about the Electribe, but quickly found out that for what I’d like to achieve, it would just represent a poorer UI laptop, if you see what I mean. I’m not that into chopping up samples for rhythm. But purely as a custom drum machine it is interesting.

Having the beat detected by guitar playing is such a tall order it is bound to fail with today’s technology. But what do you think about a «simpler» solution to eliminate potential errors...e.g like that new Roland drum pad you could stomp with your foot. Let’s say the programmed drum machine goes on in song mode and you have the ability «tune» the beats/ midi sequence with a pad or midi sensor to the playing. And use one of those sequencers you mentioned with tap tempo support. Or indeed Ableton which has this ability through Max4Live.

At this point in writing I ask myself, why not just program all deviation of beats and swing and avoid all this nonsense..which is a valid question to ask. Well I guess I have an idea of more excitement and tension in the music with a drummer. Even Depeche Mode does this live. But all the drummers I know here are hopelessly into analog beats and banging those f**** cymbals that I mostly hate. So I need a drummer who likes drum machines (good luck finding one) -or a nice robot grin

I’m I complicating things unnecessary maybe..Should I just drop these thoughts and concentrate on programming the best humanised rhythm set possible. Maybe this technology is not as satisfactory at the moment as one would want to see. Like Midi-guitar apparently is at this stage...
I am in doubt. But I am certain that humanised drumming mostly is more exciting for a listener live. And for some strange reason Laptops are scrutinised as «cheating» while snazzy little boxes with computer capabilities for some reason are not... hihi

This tread has certainly taken a bit of a deviation... I hope not people find if messy and all over the place. But like I see it a guitar with a good vibrola system to bend notes is much like a drum machine you could swing or halt the beat with, If that makes any sense. Humans really love to break the grid on any machine. There are so many fun examples of this in music.
GovernorSilver
Northward wrote:

I have been researching this particular subject for quite some time. I’m sure this band did a lot of testing. I thought about the Electribe, but quickly found out that for what I’d like to achieve, it would just represent a poorer UI laptop, if you see what I mean. I’m not that into chopping up samples for rhythm. But purely as a custom drum machine it is interesting.


The choice of the two Electribes - the synth one and the sampler one - whichever versions Korg was making in the early 21s century - was because of simplicity rather than seeking the full power of Ableton Live in a hardware incarnation. They were new to the whole electronic music making thing when they started their duo, having just broken up the previous band which had a human rhythm section.

They didn't stop with the two Electribes. They gradually added synth after synth over the years, and accumulated a nice collection of guitars - mostly Jazzmaster wink.

I miss this band - it was called Screen Vinyl Image. At their most active, they were regularly touring in our region of the US and booking other touring acts in the shoegaze genre to play in the DC area. The guy has continued on as a solo act, with a mix of Elektron, Korg, and MakeNoise boxes. The gal seems to have moved on. This is their Bandcamp:

https://screenvinylimage.bandcamp.com/
GovernorSilver
As for the meandering nature of the thread, looks like people are enjoying it, so no worries. Well, I"m enjoying it at least.

It's relevant to my interests now, in that I've been contemplating how I should develop my music as a solo act. Most of my activity has been of an experimental/avant garde nature, but I have some "normal" music under development too.
felixer
Northward wrote:
But I am certain that humanised drumming mostly is more exciting for a listener live.

absolutely! a certain random factor is always more exciting then some regular marching-along.
there are many ways in which you can achieve that. atm i'm very into arduino and i've made a very nice (even if i say so myself) random-clock generator. it has one knob for the regular time and one for the random extra time. easy to handle and to set for just a bit of variation or completely all-over-the-place.
pm me if you are interested. it fits nicely into a eurorack module or a small alu hammond box. working on one now to give my keystep sq a bit of life.
MRoyce
felixer wrote:
Northward wrote:
But I am certain that humanised drumming mostly is more exciting for a listener live.

absolutely! a certain random factor is always more exciting then some regular marching-along.
there are many ways in which you can achieve that. atm i'm very into arduino and i've made a very nice (even if i say so myself) random-clock generator. it has one knob for the regular time and one for the random extra time. easy to handle and to set for just a bit of variation or completely all-over-the-place.
pm me if you are interested. it fits nicely into a eurorack module or a small alu hammond box. working on one now to give my keystep sq a bit of life.


Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft got this right, Human Drummer & sequenced synths. I really like that combo but it requires the Drummer to relinquish some control.
felixer
MRoyce wrote:
Human Drummer & sequenced synths. I really like that combo but it requires the Drummer to relinquish some control.

well, i worked with a band once that used a clicktrack (mainly because the guitarist had very bad timing and would put the drummer off) and the drummer quite liked it. he didn't have to worry about if the tempo was right or maybe a bit too slow/fast.
i also worked with a drummer who could make a click seem slower or faster by playing slightly after or before the beat! that's a real art and i never found anybody else who could do that. pity because the guy is a bit of an asshole ....
lot's of bands play with a clicktrack. if only to sync with video/projection stuff.
you'll ever hear it in sq's but they do (eg rush and rammstein, even the stones(!) where the keyboard player is the guy who handles that). the giveaway used to be the headphones, but with in-ears everywhere i doubt you could tell nowadays ...
GovernorSilver
I think that's why some guitarists have been drawn to the Digitakt, because it's a sampling drum machine with trig conditions, which can add loads of variations to just one pattern.

But their hearts tend to get broken when they realize there's no song mode - pretty much have to run it in tandem with a sequencer that does have song mode, that can send the appropriate program changes at the right times.
felixer
GovernorSilver wrote:
I think that's why some guitarists have been drawn to the Digitakt, because it's a sampling drum machine with trig conditions, which can add loads of variations to just one pattern.

But their hearts tend to get broken when they realize there's no song mode - pretty much have to run it in tandem with a sequencer that does have song mode, that can send the appropriate program changes at the right times.

best one i found is the arturia beatstep. lots of good random possibilities!
pretty affordable too. and nicely/well made.
midi and trigger outs. plus two channels with cv for bass or something ...
but just a triggerbox. no audio. but loads os possibilities there. i'm running a bunch of euromodules. and an alesis D4 (for acoustic/realistic sounds).
GovernorSilver
My friend, the former member of that band, also has a Squarp Pyramid, to be his master sequencer and tie everything together to play songs. It's got some nice MIDI tricks for adding variations and stuf too.

My Korg M3 has a KARMA engine - there's an assignable paramter that controls the randomness of KARMA-generated drum patterns. An example patch has a slider for it - all the way down the drum pattern plays the same constantly, with no variation. All the way up, it's pretty much robot free jazz.
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