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Retro-mounting MIDI controllers on to an electric guitar?

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Retro-mounting MIDI controllers on to an electric guitar?

Postby dubbmann » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:05 pm

Hi all,

I'm contemplating mounting something like a Phatboy (12 rotary knob surface) into an electric guitar and was wondering if anyone had done a similar mod. As I've thought about this I've also wondered why no vendor has started the option of adding a few MIDI CC knobs - even if the guitar in question doesn't have a MIDI 13-pin pickup, practically every FX unit above a simple stomp box has a MIDI In port and software support for receiving MIDI CC messages to modulate FX parameters. Personally I'd be very happy to lose the tone controls on my guitars if I could get two MIDI CC knobs. The possibilities seem endless.

Has any guitar maker done this commercially? I know the GK and Axon pickups have one MIDI CC knob but it's hardwired to CC7 (Volume). If I were a guitar vendor looking to distinguish myself from the crowd I'd jump on this. Imagine the amazing things you could do to your sound if you had a couple of MIDI CC knobs; in addition, imagine what a short (4 inch?) long ribbon controller could be used for? Or a mini-Kaoss pad? Or, to throw all caution to the wind, an Ipad mini w/an audio/MIDI app on it? Am I crazy or would this be completely fricking awesome?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Cheers,

d
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Re: Retro-mounting MIDI controllers on to an electric guitar?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:20 am

Hugh Manson has fitted Korg Kaos pads into Matt Bellamy's guitars.

And to be honest, things like this are pretty straightforward to do. The problem is that it is a small market and within that small market there is no agreed standard. Some people will want traditional MIDI DIN sockets, others will want USB, and then you have to find a way of mounting the sockets on the side of the guitar and possibly a battery box too. And then you realise that you can use a MIDI floor pedal and do away with the extra cable to the guitar and all the power problems so most people will do that anyway.

So, lots of reasons why no one is offering this as a commercial product.

But if you REALLY want it, it wouldn't be difficult to DIY using something like an Arduino or PIC controller. All sorts of various sensors available too, not just pots, switches, and ribbons but pressure pads, X-Y pads, ultrasonic distance sensors, light dependant resistors and so on.

Andy
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Re: Retro-mounting MIDI controllers on to an electric guitar?

Postby grab » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:29 pm

For me, the biggest problem is that if I'm playing guitar, both hands are fully occupied. I don't *have* a spare appendage to twiddle knobs or ribbon controllers mounted on the guitar.

I'm aware a few people do violining with the volume knob, but they can only do this on long, held notes where their picking hand is stationary. I use a foot pedal so I can violin every note in a passage very easily and accurately. And I rarely use the guitar's tone controls anyway - my FX pedal presets apply the necessary EQ.
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Re: Retro-mounting MIDI controllers on to an electric guitar?

Postby DAGGILARR » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:49 pm

Have a look at this HOT HAND
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Re: Retro-mounting MIDI controllers on to an electric guitar?

Postby dubbmann » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:02 pm

hi all,

thanks for the replies. andy, i thought of the midi pedal boards but most only offer two CC controllers (pedals) and the toggle switches are for program changes (at least the Behringer FB1000 is like that). the power supply issue occurred to me and it doesn't bother me but i completely concede that most gigging gtrists might not like it. i frequently play a midi gtr w/ 9 volt power lead to it but i play sitting down so it's not an issue for me. YMMV.

the question of a free hand to tweak is very valid but again in my style of playing it's not too much of an issue. i do a classical-guitar style finger picking w/ arm lying on the top of the gtr and the hand hanging down. a quick detour to tweak a knob or push a button is no problem. again YMMV.

DAG, i love the website. thanks! i didn't know it existed and now i'm going to be a regular. very cool.

andy, i like you arduino suggestion a lot. i've been looking for a project to get into Arduino development and this looks perfect. it may take a while though as my plate is already full but i think that's probably the solution. in the mean time, i think i'm going to pop for a Korg nano kontrol surface and some velcro tape. the nano takes power from a USB cable and although it's a bit big it has lots of knobs and sliders.

i still think some boutique maker is missing a bet not at least offering the option of some MIDI controllers, even if it means the dreaded 9-volt battery cavity. 3 or 4 knobs and buttons would be massively useful, not only if you're driving a MIDI synth but even if you're just going into a Pod or the like. as i said in the OP i don't use my tone controls hardly ever as i do tonal control by where along the string i pick. i would gladly swap those knobs for some MIDI CCs.

anyways, lads, thanks for the thoughts!

cheers,

d
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