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Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

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Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby pifflepyramid » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:35 pm

Hi, I am looking for some advice on what i would need to create a set up for busking with a semi-acoustic classical guitar and a synth or music box controlled by a foot midi foot controller. I'm looking for the synth to add an extra dimension to my vocals and guitar, making for a bigger more complex sound. And i don't necessarily want an electronic type sound, i am thinking something more organic if possible. So i ideally want a flexible little music box that can create or store a wide variety of sounds. I also need everything to be able to run on batteries too.

I've been looking at a number of foot controllers - Roland FC-200, behringer FCB1010, korg fc 6 but i'm not sure which would be best in this situation. I would need it to connect to the synth / music box so i could play it with my foot as i play guitar and sing.

I've got my eye on a number of synths/groove boxes - novation circuit, arturia microfreak - but i'm not sure i even need one of these and maybe a laptop will do the job connected to a midi controller?

There seem to be so many options i'm not sure what is best. I also don't want to spend a lot of money at the outset. I just want a system to try things out, experiment and maybe spend more later to refine the set up. Any help or advice would be great.
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:31 pm

I'm not sure if it would work with what you have in mind but the simplest way is to use a looper, something like a Boss RC30 and prepare your synth parts at home.
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby pifflepyramid » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:31 pm

I don't think this is really what i need. I was looking for a way to play the synth or sampler like a keyboard with the foot controller so i need more than two pedals. I would need it need to kind of replicate a keys.
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:57 pm

So what exactly do you have in mind? If it's chord selection a midi bass pedal controller would be much better than something like an FC200 (I still own one and it can be configured to be a rudimentary one octave keyboard but it's far from ideal. but you still have the problem of rhythms so a second controller to select patches/samples might be required. Curious to know what the plan is?
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby Stratman57 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:04 pm

I'd suggest something like the Boss SY-1 pedal with maybe an EH Mel9 pedal. These would give you a selection of synth sounds along with some nice textural sounds.

Although, I'd also go along with a looper for some flexibility. And maybe a Beat Buddy for some rhythmic interest.

Regards, Simon.
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby pifflepyramid » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:42 am

Yeh a midi bass pedal is what i need i think. I'm sorry i can't explain what i want very well. I've been playing music for myself for a long time, just making songs for myself, but i've never really progressed beyond a guitar and amp. I dabbled in electronic music for a while, years back, but never really got into it.

What is in my minds eye is a device i can take out with me busking that can create and/or play a wide variety of sounds, that is battery operated, preferably with a rechargable usb battery, that can be plugged into some speakers, that can give me a background track to my guitar and singing. I will want to operate it with a midi foot controller, at certain points in a song i might want to change the sustained background sound to a different note/chord or might play a sample at certain points in a song.

So is a midi bass pedal usually completely programmable or it does it depend on the pedal model and what you are plugging it into?
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby The Elf » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:06 pm

Sounds like a computer is going to have to rear its ugly head to give you the flexibility you're wanting. That will be capable of handling the backing tracks and providing the connectivity and instruments you're wanting - also has its own battery, which will save a bit on power requirements.

Take a look at performing software. I'm a big fan of Cantabile, which will do anything and everything you might ever need, including MIDI/audio backing, triggering, transposing, virtual instrument hosting and controller mapping.
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby pifflepyramid » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:42 pm

I think you are right, a laptop is the way to go. I just bought a cheap one for £60. its only got an i3 processor but it should be good enough for what i want. 6gb ram too which is not bad. Its got a slightly damaged screen but it doesn't matter for what i want to use it for. Detachable battery so i can bring extra replacements if needed.

As for the foot controller, i found a wonderfully cheap and low power solution - a bastardized usb keyboard. pull out all the keys you don't want with screwdriver and leave the rest, say 8 or 9 keys, and you have usable foot controller. Fantastic!

I will also have a look at cantabile, sounds interesting. Thanks everyone for your help and advice. :thumbup:
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:30 pm

pifflepyramid wrote:As for the foot controller, i found a wonderfully cheap and low power solution - a bastardized usb keyboard. pull out all the keys you don't want with screwdriver and leave the rest, say 8 or 9 keys, and you have usable foot controller. Fantastic!
Genius! :)
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:32 pm

I met a clever chap last year that had taken this approach to a new level, placing an old qwerty keyboard in a wooden case and creating hinged wooden foot pedals above. By adding carefully placed screws into the underside of the pedals he could choose which key was pressed - ingenious!
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:51 pm

And as described at the end of this Studio SOS

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/studio-sos-curing-hums-buzzes

Image

Image
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:33 pm

Yep, that's 'im! :D
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Re: Any advice on set up for busking with guitar, synth, and foot controller

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:34 pm

That's ingenious in the extreme well done Alex A. :thumbup: Neatly solves the problem I was going to flag up of the relative fragility of computer keyboards when used by feet.......
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