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Midi Bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Mr Bach, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    My apologies if this is the wrong section, and if the topic has been covered before.

    I want to plug into the midi port of my soundcard to take advantage of various software synths I have on my machine. What is the best way of going about this?
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    You'll need a guitar to midi converter, i.e. Axon 100-SB or Roland GR-50 or GR-20, plus usually a divided pickup such as GK-3B, GK-2B.

    There's useful information on this topic in both here and the pickups forum, including some recent discussion on the new GR-20 (although it's still to be verified that it can send midi out).
  3. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Dang, I was hoping to get away with buying only a pickup. If I bought a GK-3B, would it be possible to do in software?
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
  5. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Greetings people, I can raise the thread!

    I never got around to investing in a midi controller or pickup; being only a bass layperson it was hard to justify the subtantial amount of cash involved.

    Anyway, as of late more money has been coming my way and is starting to burn a bit of a hole in my pocket, so my interest in this area has returned. Has there been advancements since I first posed this question? I seem to recall around the time I was reading up about this stuff that the performance wasn't spectacular. What would you guys recommend I purchase?
  6. no

    but you did ask for a suggestion, and i would say get the GK3B pickup and set it to a Roland GR20...there is still just as much lag, but imo its got the best price-to-performance ratio

    elros has some clips floating around in this forum (effects) see if you can find those and he did it so that you can hear clean bass on one channel and the midi on the other, so see for yourself if you can put up with the lag, and then get exactly what he has in the Roland pickup and GR20
  7. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Thanks for your response, superbassman. Those mp3s posted by elros were indeed interesting, but does the GR-20 have midi out? The closest thing I saw mentioning this on the Roland site was "Patch Link enables easy connection with MIDI-capable multi-effects like GT-6".

    I really like some of those patches on the unit, but also want to be able to send raw midi to my machine. I recall that the V-Bass didn't have this feature for some reason.
  8. i am not sure...its late, so maybe tomarrow after work i will look more into it, but if they are advertising it as being able to link with the GT-6, my assumption would be that it isn't sending midi notes through the cable, it is sending CCs and clock info for time-based effects...

    what you could just do, is get the GK3B pickup and plug it into a midi converter like davidmwilson suggested above...that would be your best bet for going into your computer :)
  9. RunBeerRun

    RunBeerRun Banned

    Mar 10, 2003
    Yes, the gr20 has midi out.
  10. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Correct. The GR-20 has MIDI output - I have hooked it up to my iBook and played software synths in GarageBand. Works as you would expect.
    One detail about the MIDI out is that it will work differently depending on which patch you have selected on the GR-20. On a piano patch, for example, it won't transmit pitch bend - if you do a glide, it'll trigger new notes instead. But on a trombone patch it'll give you pitch bend coresponding to your playing. Make sure to configure your synth to give +-12 semitones bend range, though.
  11. tommy.genes


    Feb 16, 2006
    Yo! Philly
    You could search for an old Peavy Cyberbass (or Midibass). They used a wired-fret sytem to detect notes so there was no delay. I have no idea how many are still around or what they go for. I've also never tried one myself, but I've read that, while the MIDI system was good, the quality of the bass itself was so-so.

    As an alternative to the bolt-on pickups like Roland, you could also check out the piezo-based systems from RMC (used in Brian Moore guitars and basses) and Graph Tech. Supposedly, the individual saddle pickups track better than magnetic hex pickups. You can also build it right into your bass so you don't have that big ugly black thing hanging off the end.

    I'm pretty sure you can build the audio-to-midi conversion right into the bass body as well, so that you can have 5-pin MIDI out as well as 13-pin hex audio out right of the bass.

    I've done a fair bit of research into this topic, but never pulled the trigger on getting into it myself...

    -- T. G. --
  12. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Thanks for the confirmation, guys! Nice to hear from somebody who actually owns one, too. I'll definitely be grabbing one of these.

    Tommy, I thank you for your suggestions but feel superbassman was right when it comes to price/performance. Those Peavey guitars were kinda expensive back then, I don't even want to think about what they cost now (even if I could find one)! Also, just whacking on a GK-3B suits me, as I really don't have the expertise to be properly installing internal thingies.
  13. i think you'll be better off with the GR-20...so long as it can do the midi out thing and also have some cool patches on it to use live, it should work prettty well :)
  14. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Hi guys, I still don't own one, just been waiting for a good deal. I've found one locally for a pretty good price, but the catch is it's bundled with a GK-2B. My question is, is there actually any performance difference between the 2B and 3B, or is it purely aesthetic?
  15. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    no real difference I'm aware of, at the end of the day the time-intensive part is being done in the converter and not the pickup.
  16. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    Pretty much, but it might make a difference depending on your bass. While tracking issues more or less go away when you figure out how to play the midi right, I've heard that the Axion has far better tracking and actually learns and responds to your playing style over time, but I haven't actually played one.

    What price are you getting on that package? If that shop does price match like GC, I can help you out with a pretty low actual price from one of my local stores.

    I don't think you can record the bass itself using midi which is what it seemed like you wanted to do. However I could have misread your intentions.
  17. Another solution that I haven't seen posted yet is the Yamaha G50 converter. Its what I use and it works really great. It licenses a lot of the Axion technology so the tracking is pretty frikkin' fast, but is quite a bit less expensive (especially if you get it used.) Yamaha makes their own pickups but it should work with all of the Roland ones as well.
  18. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Thanks David, that was what I was thinking, but it doesn't hurt to make sure.

    Swimming Bird, I'm located in Australia, so after shipping/customs it mightn't work out to be the best price. That, and the hassle of sending it back if anything goes wrong, etc. The unit I'm getting is ex demo, so rest assured that it's an okay price. Thanks for the offer though!

    Oh, and I mainly want to trigger software synths.

    CosmoReverb, I didn't actually know the G50 was based on Axion tech. This is interesting, because even though it's older everybody seems to agree it tracks better than the newer Roland stuff. But, like the Axion, the problem seems to be finding the damn thing (at least where I am, anyway). Also, look at the date of my first post, I've been hanging so long! I'm buying a GR-20 this weekend!
  19. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    I read on the Axon forum that the Axon unit does indeed learn your playing style and is indeed very fast in its tracking -- but only if you play with a pick. As far as I understood it, the Axon neural net tech. uses the transient peaks from the pick stroke to predict the tone (and also to determine picking position).

    Take with salt. :-/
  20. Mr Bach

    Mr Bach

    Oct 14, 2004
    Well bugger that, I never use a pick.

    Anyway, I've finally got one! It's an absolute waste of money, but I'm enjoying myself. Thanks again to everybody for their input.