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MIDI Options for Bass or Guitar

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CrazyBalloon, May 16, 2011.

  1. CrazyBalloon


    Jun 21, 2009
    San Diego
    Hello all. Let me cut to the chase: I want to plug my bass or guitar into my computer. I would like to avoid those terrible sounding Roland modules or ugly and proprietary divided pickups.

    Is there any way to modify one of my guitars with an inbuilt MIDI divided pickup that will go straight to a 13 pin MIDI or USB cable?

    Just some standard Jazz bass or Stratocaster type pup that I can assemble myself?

    Many thanks!
  2. Kindly Killer

    Kindly Killer

    Dec 23, 2006
    I've messed with this stuff a lot but I'm having a hard time tracking what you mean. What is the intended application? Single note lines only? Polyphony? Real time, production, or what? It sounds like you have a vision for how you want the instrument itself to look/function but I don't get it. Can you elaborate on that, too?
  3. CrazyBalloon


    Jun 21, 2009
    San Diego
    Hey there. I am interested in polyphony, real time, for use with my own midi sound modules.
  4. CrazyBalloon


    Jun 21, 2009
    San Diego
    To work with mainstage and logic. The reason being that most guitar synths are too expensive and do much more than I need. All I need is a midi controller. Much thanks, I really appreciate it!
  5. Kindly Killer

    Kindly Killer

    Dec 23, 2006
    for polyphony you need a separate signal for each string. never seen the spec for the 13 pin style pickups but there has got to be one somewhere b/c there are multiple brands and approaches

    it sounds like you want it to fit into a standard form factor so i would look at maybe making a low impedance coil around each pair of mags on a jazz bass or something like that. you can get 13-pin jacks that mount in a gibson les paul style side jack plate. probably have to get that from roland. from there all you need is a 4-channel pre to get each signal to the level and impedance in the spec

    BTW you do know that there are kits for installing a GK pickup in a strat type guitar that use the 13-pin jack instead of the bolted-on enclosure? there is this GK-KIT-GT3 GR-Synth Driver Kit: Shop Accessories & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend plus the graph tech system which is even more aesthetically transparent

    personally i wouldn't think it would be worth the time just to save money. you can get GK pickups and junky old roland guitar synths on ebay real cheap. even without figuring time you won't save more than a couple hundred bucks on parts over buying old GK stuff. plus a whole team of really smart japanese engineers has solved all the same problems that you will encounter...

    there is a roland gr-9 on ebay right now for under $169 - that would give you midi out that you could run into your regular midi interface on your computer, plus some foot controls. http://media.rolandus.com/manuals/GR-09_OM.pdf then you just need a cheap used GK pickup

    if you really like the idea of hacking you're still better off starting with a commerical product. get the gist of how it works, hack it, and if you come up with something you like a lot better you can start on your scratch build from that point.

    i just don't see a compelling reason to DIY for what you want
  6. CrazyBalloon


    Jun 21, 2009
    San Diego
    The idea wasn't necessarily a DIY divided pickup.

    What I was aiming for was an alternative that could be set up in my guitar so i could plug the bass straight into my soundboard...

    But now I'm getting the idea. No matter what kind of pickup i have in my guitar, I will always need a processor somewhere outside?

    I was super psyched the other day when I found the GK-3 with a Roland VG-8EX on craigslist for 200 bucks, only to discover that the VG-8EX is not even a real synth... Bummer.

    Thanks a lot for your help. I suppose I have to get a summer job now, because I'm determined to own one of these things.
  7. ThrashMaster


    Jul 7, 2010
    Boston, MA
    no matter what type of pickup you use will always need a way to convert the output of the pickup into midi control values...and hence a box somewhere along the way
  8. Soundmind20


    May 8, 2011
    Though they take a lot of getting used to, a GK-3B and the GI-20 Guitar Midi interface have given me some fantastic results working with Mainstage and Logic. Still a little expensive but I lucked out and got mine for $350 on ebay. The thing I like best about the GI-20 are the extensive parameters which let you tweak how the box responds to your playing and give it a much more realistic feeling.
  9. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    you obviously haven't tried the VB99.

    And if you want want polyphony , you won't have the choice to use a GK pickup of some sort.
    Go for a piezo kit if you find Roland's pickup ugly.
    Graphtech and RMC makes some.

    Like other said , you need something to convert those GK pickup signal to MIDI.
    +1 for Roland's GI20 if you just want that.
  10. bass_noizez


    Jul 17, 2011
    Roma, Italia
    I've got the gk3 and the gi 20... great fun with logic. paid 300 euros and an old bass wah.

    I'm using it on a 5 string and it is amazing. it took about 5 minutes to put on and it worked the first time I tried it... very easy. throught the adio output on the gi20 you can use all your audio efx...

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