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I set up this foot pedal to give me keyboard chords when playing bass.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Stewie26, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. I was looking for a foot controlled board the would make chords so I could put synth pads behind guitars and play bass live. (similar to the synth pads you hear in a lot Floyd songs) Problem is that most commercial foot boards only put out one note at a time and are not polyphonic. So I found this Keith McMillian midi controller board that can be set up to put out 3 notes at a time. I set the notes up like power chords, 1, 5 and the octave 1. This way it does not mater if the guitars are playing a major or minor chord. The board plugs into a midi converter and then goes to a compact Yamaha synth tone generator. Playing with the band it sounds really good and opens up a lot more songs we can do. The total cost including the tone generator was just shy of $450. Anyway, I thought I would share.

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  2. imnotded


    May 31, 2015
    Northern CA
    I've thought about doing almost this exact setup before. Do you have to hold down the foot pedal to hold the chord?
  3. No. The way I have set it up is it holds the chord until you step on the next chord. When you want to stop it you hit the "Select" key.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Intergalactic Mind Space CA
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Wouldn't some kind of backing tracks be able to do something similar?
  5. I wanted the ability to jam in real time without having to produce backing tracks & click tracks. This allows a lot more flexibility for my use.
    tbirdsp and Jim Ingraham like this.
  6. Had a few guys over to my house last night and used it for a very casual jam and turned the two track recorder on. (recording below). I have to get use to playing bass and the pedal board at the same time. I have never played Floyd's "Breath" before so I am just winging it. But it gives an idea how it sounds.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
    WayneP likes this.
  7. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I hook mine up to one of my synthesizers. Did you download the 12 step editor? You can have up to 5 notes at a time and a lot of things are preprogrammed, like root/5th at the same time. I also got a studio logic midi pedal board too for more complex bass lines. It's much easier to play, but not nearly as versatile.

    twocargar likes this.
  8. I never did download. It looks like it is much easier to program that way. Can I get that download on their website? Thanks for the heads up.
  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Yes, you can get it from the website. It's a breeze to program once you get the hang of it. MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP!!
    Stewie26 likes this.
  10. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Been doing the same thing for 30 years with several (owned 4, sometimes using 2 per gig, 1 under my keyboards-1 up at the front mic...like Geddy) sets of these (first set bought in 1987):
    Midi Step2.JPG
  11. Do they still make those? If so, who makes it so I can Google it. Thanks.
  12. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    I use that a lot and the SoftStep too to control Live.

    Super flexible.
    (it IS actually flexible too! )
    You can program it to play any chords , 5 notes chords per key.
    If you press the C key , it can play a Eb min7 ..... or whatever you program it too.

    Best thing thing slice bread IMHO

    BTW , I paid mine 300 when it came out
    Stewie26 likes this.
  13. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    No. They've been discontinued for at least 25 years, but they do pop up from time to time on eBay, pawn shops, etc..
    They were made by Fast Forward Designs which was a sub division of Hammond/Suzuki if I remember correctly.

    I'm not sure if the manual is downloadable, but if you find a set contact me and I'll run you through the functions.
    Stewie26 likes this.
  14. I do not like the feature of the board flexing under my feet when playing on carpet. I fixed that by gluing the pedal board to a piece of aluminum extrusion. I think I paid $285 for the board alone.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  15. Would you be able to for example, sample a voice or something from a song and program it to a button or function with this software? If I wanted to do the little laugh at the beginning of Duran Duran's Hungry Like the Wolf, could I sample it and then program it to a key or event in this and then just trigger it?

  16. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Unfortunately I couldn't figure that out, not that I tried to hard. :D

    I just use it to program chords and trigger my Novation keyboard. Or to play simple bass lines while playing keyboard parts.
  17. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    Now, that is neat, though setting a dangerous precedent. Any day now some organ player will probably come up with the idea to replace us bass players with foot pedals...

  18. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    This is not a sampler , it is a MIDI controller , that's all.
    It sends Note information to whatever is doing the sounds (sampler , synth , soft synth)

    The software you see is to program what note each pad is sending , each pad can send 5 notes at a time , whatever notes.
  19. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
  20. Beetfarm615


    Feb 15, 2017
    I have one of these but haven't been motivated to set it all up. I am envisioning a different setting for each song. Has it been reliable for you live?

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