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Tech: A USB-connected Guitar

JohnInKansas 10 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM
John MacKenzie 10 Feb 06 - 03:02 PM
JudyB 10 Feb 06 - 09:11 PM
Pauline L 10 Feb 06 - 10:49 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Feb 06 - 02:52 PM
Pauline L 14 Feb 06 - 01:25 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 14 Feb 06 - 01:46 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Feb 06 - 01:55 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 14 Feb 06 - 08:01 AM
Grab 14 Feb 06 - 09:44 AM
M.Ted 14 Feb 06 - 12:11 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Feb 06 - 02:01 PM
Pauline L 14 Feb 06 - 02:42 PM
M.Ted 15 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Feb 06 - 05:39 PM
M.Ted 15 Feb 06 - 07:28 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Feb 06 - 05:34 PM
M.Ted 18 Feb 06 - 01:46 AM
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Subject: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM

A recent (still running) tradeshow called "Demo 2006" presents new products to make your mundane existence more pleasurable. Most of the products displayed seem to be in the "coming soon" category, but one that might be worth watching for is the:

USBGuitar

[quote]
The First USB-Enabled Guitar
Want to plug your musical instrument into your PC? Up until now, you needed a bunch of add-on devices to do so. The $800 iGuitar USB changes all that. It's a fully SID-compliant USB device that plugs into a PC or Macintosh and works with standard music and MIDI software. An on-board A/D controller samples the analog signals from the magnetic pickups and delivers a 48/16 signal (slightly better than CD quality). It also includes a DSP that converts notes into MIDI signals. That lets it drive notation software, allowing you to compose with the guitar. It also turns the guitar into any instrument through MIDI samples. I saw the founder play a harp, French horn and more, simply by strumming the guitar. It'll be available later this year.
[end quote]

Since we have a number of people involved in "small run" publishing, some of our folk might be interested in a new service(?) called "Blurb" that is also reported:

[quote]
Make Your Own Book at Blurb
Vanity press is expensive, so unless you're a famous author, you probably won't be making your own books. But with the new Blurb service you can. In this picture, Blurb sucked in a blog and converted it into a 175-page coffee table book for about $30
[end quote]

Links above are to all that's reported at the single "picture" for each of these items. If you'd like to look at all the other miracles of modern technology thus far cited in the report from this convention, you can try the PC Magazine Photo Blog

None of the "infobits" give enough information to be very useful, and I haven't tried web searching to see if there's more available. Just a "headsup" in case of interest.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 03:02 PM

When I went round the Martin factory in Nazareth PA last October, I saw a prototype guitar with a built in pocket on the side into which you could plug your PDA, so you could record yourself, or play along with yourself to a prerecorded backing. I even have a photo of it.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JudyB
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 09:11 PM

This is getting scary.

Exciting - but scary.

JudyB


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: Pauline L
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 10:49 PM

That's great news. When will USB-violins hit the market?


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Feb 06 - 02:52 PM

Pauline -

If this thing has any real success, one might expect other instruments to be adapted. A fiddle presents some mechanical difficulties with getting separate pickups on each string, perhaps; but if they've got good A/D and DSP units into a compact package it looks like it could be "workable," if not elegant.

Just having a reasonbly functional A/D and DSP that you could put IN your computer to get MIDI (for your notation program) from analog pickups opens lots of real possibilities.

But I'll wait for further reports before giving up $800 for a guitar that ugly...

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: Pauline L
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 01:25 AM

I don't understand. A fiddle has four strings and a guitar has 6 or 12. Wouldn't it be easier to make a USB-violin than a USB-guitar? Also, I used the term USB-violin because I can't imagine a violinist (classical music) who would do something so unconventional.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 01:46 AM

What about USB musical saw. That's what I want. A saw doesn't have any strings, (no strings attached). It should be even easier making a pickup for it than making a pick up for a violin that has four strings. I want to digitally turn my saw into a pair of pliers or a screw driver or maybe even a hammer. Okay, I'll settle for a piano.

If I had a digital hammer, I'd digitally hammer in the mornin'...


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 01:55 AM

You can have a USB musical saw on the condition that it can only be connected to an external USB *WOM.

* WOM = Write Only Memory.

One hard drive manufacturer announced production many years ago, of the WOM with unlimited input capacity, (and NO output capacity - - Write ONLY). They got several thousand serious requests for information before they got everyone aware that it was an April 01 issue of the journal where it was published.

Given Microsoft's detailed instructions for making backups of everything, and the total absence of instructions for recovering anything from a backup, I think they must have bought the first production batch and think that everybody's using them.

But it sounds like the perfect connection for a digital saw.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 08:01 AM

Is this from the same folks as just invented the digital air guitar? It was on Today yesterday morning I think


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: Grab
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 09:44 AM

On the same theme, check out the Intelecaster. Also there was the Gibson Ethernet Guitar some time back.

An amended version of what John quotes:-

"Want to plug your guitar into your PC? Up until now, you needed any guitar ($100 would do fine) and $200 of add-on devices to do it.   The $800 iGuitar USB changes all that." :-/

Pauline, the problem with a fiddle is how to record each string individually, because software has problems recognising simultaneous notes on multiple strings. On a guitar, typically you make this work by adding individual pickups for each string, so the software can work out the note on each string separately. These usually sit in the bridge saddles for each string, and can be easily retro-fitted to replace the all-in-one bridge saddles on acoustic guitars or the individual bridge saddles on electrics. Electrics also have the option of individual coil pickups.

Fiddles ain't so easy. A fiddle bridge holds all four strings, and there isn't an easy way of separating them - even if you put individual pickups under each string, the sound from the other three strings will come through the bridge. On the plus side, you don't usually have more than two strings ringing at once on a fiddle, and software can probably make a reasonable guess at that. So the best solution for a fiddle is probably to use a regular fiddle pickup (of which there are several), record it into a PC normally, and then use some WAV-to-MIDI program to decode it.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 12:11 PM

The other problem with the USB guitar is that you'll need the converter hardware to connect it to any MIDI Devices that you have that don't have USB ports(which would be all of mine)--


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 02:01 PM

M.Ted -

Once the guitar is connected via USB to your computer, most sound cards should take care of processing everything as MIDI. The good part of this setup is that MIDI signals are produced inside the guitar so that you don't need a MIDI interface box between the guitar and the computer.

Your sound card should have MIDI outputs to connect to any MIDI devices you use in connection with the guitar. They DON'T need to be USB. It's only the one connection between the guitar and the computer that's USB. If you don't have a MIDI equipped computer, this would at least let you record the guitar outputs on any computer, as .mid files, for later transfer to a MIDI-capable system.

The only real question is whether it actually works as described.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: Pauline L
Date: 14 Feb 06 - 02:42 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Grab/Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM

My synth guitar has a MIDI converter build in already, so I can plug it into any MIDI synthesizer module(just like I'd plug a keyboard in)--my point is that both of my synth modules have MIDI inputs, not USB, so I couldn't plug it directly into either of them--that's it--

I am sure you didn't mean it this way, John, but as a technical clarification for anyone trying to make sense of this, the MIDI signal doesn't have to go through the sound card to an external device--it goes through any regular serial port--

On my computer, I run one of the old style DIN8 serial cables to an Opcode MIDI translator, into which the 5-pin DIN MIDI cables are plugged--If I wanted, I could get a similar box that plugs into my USB or firewire ports for $50-60.

For about $150 and up , you can get devices that take either analog(microphone/guitar) or MIDI and input them via USB--

That device won't convert analog to midi, though--and the $200 or so MIDI guitar pick-up Grab mentions above requires a seperate MIDI converter device--


As far as whether the USB guitar works, it should work fine--no reason that it wouldn't--there have been MIDI guitars with built in synth modules(like mine) for a long time, this is one has a USB output on it, instead of a 5-PIN--


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Feb 06 - 05:39 PM

M Ted -

The point I got from the article is that one should not need a standard MIDI setup to be able to use this guitar to get notes-played onto a score through any of the common notation programs. The article suggests that numerous "voices" were used with it, but many soundcards (and some notation programs) come with a sufficient set to playback from notated scores. This is true of many computers that don't even have a MIDI jack, since they started leaving the MIDI jack off to put 7 or more speaker jacks on them.

You have a full setup to use MIDI. Many people don't. You list a number of devices that, while easily available, are things that lots of people don't have, and that all have to be selected and assembled to create a MIDI system.

I don't believe this guitar is intended for people with your kind of setup, since you obviously don't need it, and probably get better results from what you have.

It appears to be able to plug into most any computer with a USB port, and, with any of several cheap notation programs, producing and playing back from notated scores. The frustrating part of it - even if it does work - is that then people will see how ratty their playing looks when scored in detail.

It's not a replacement for what you use. It's a cheap-ass substitute, for those who don't want to work the problem properly as you've done. At the price quoted, it's not exactly "dollar-cheap," but I think it's intended for those who don't want to make much "professional" or "skill/intellectual" investment.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Feb 06 - 07:28 PM

My point really comes down to needing the guitar to have a 5 pin output as well as the USB output--most of the hardware for MIDI now has both--again, the only difference between this synth guitar, feature wise, and stuff that's been around for 10 years is the USB part--although it probably tracks a lot better--


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 05:34 PM

M Ted -

They probably think that the greatest need in the world is for people to record their guitar directly to their iPod, or some such fad thing. (Do iPods have a USB jack?). This thing might have some usefulness to a few musicians, but I suspect that's not really the market in mind.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A USB-connected Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 01:46 AM

I think that must be the idea, John--I just looked back at the page above and noticed something, and that is that there is no analog output on the guitar--which means that, even though it is a standard electric guitar in every way, the only output is digital- so you can't play it through an amp--you'd need a digital/analog converter!!!

This also means that when you do plug it into your computer, you can't monitor the analog that is going in--


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