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OT: beginner guitar synth questions-

--- Peter Shindler <shindler@mediaone.net> wrote:
> Also, is it the box or the pickup that's responsible
> for the quality of the
> tracking?  Is the GK-2A the only pickup I'll need to
> look at?
Before Kim kills this OT thread, it is the string
gauge that is responsible ;-}

Peter's query has created much response about
tracking, pickups, sounds, and midi for guitar.  If I
had read these responses 3 years ago I would have
never tried a midi guitar.  Thank goodness I tried it

Does midi guitar suck?  For someone with refined needs
like Kim, apparently.  I didn't know any better, and
decided for myself that I like playing midi guitar. 
So much so that I removed all 3 of the standard
pickups from my Ibanez solid body guitar.  It only has
an internal GK-2a pickup now.  

Are piezos clearly better than a GK-2a? In my (and
others) experience no.  Roland VG-8 users have noted
string to string crosstalk problems with the RMC
piezos.  Piezos have much more low frequency content
on initial attack that can be a problem when using
them with Roland VG-8, unless you install a low pass
filter in the VG-8 (yes I know a vg-8 is not midi). 
Go read the vg-8 mailing list for more details. 

What effects tracking?  
1.The guitar strings 
2.the physical characteristics of the guitar body,
neck, bridge etc 
3.The pickup design, mount and installation
4.The analog input filters and pitch to midi converter
in the box (axon, gr-30 etc) 

and most importantly:
5.  How you have set the input control parameters of
that box 
6.  interacting with How you play
7.  and How you listen

You cannot acurately judge a midi guitar system, or
vg-8 without insuring proper pickup installation, and
hex input setup adjusted to work with YOUR playing

You may have to modify Your playing style to track
more accurately, to get the sound out when and how you
intend.  That of course is true of acoustic
instruments as well.  

I was surprised to find out from the various emails
that fingerpicking doesn't work with midi guitars. 

I never use a pick on midi guitar, I use my thumb and
3 fingers.  Jee, I thought it worked.  I guess I just
fooled myself for the past 3 years.  What do I know, I
have only played guitar for 32 years?  I probably
don't even know how to play the guitar, I have just
fooled myself into thinking that.

IMO, playing cleanly triggered midi guitar using
finger picking is much like playing clean, precise
finger picked acoustic guitar.  If you play sloppy, it
sounds sloppy.  But I am no expert player.

And I know I am a fool because I actually enjoy some
the the sounds on the Roland GR-09 like sax, hammond
organ, and god fobid, trumpet.  Do I sound like Ben
Webster, Jimmy Smith or Miles? Hell no, was I supposed
to?  I sound like me, a fool having fun with sounds. 
When I play (an actual) acoustic guitar I don't sound
like Django either.

Peter has specific desires of creating sounds on the
pc, and using midi guitar to control them.  As noted
by others the best path for that is probably a high
grade midi controller (axon), controlling a sound
source that allows this pc dump.  

As noted, Roland GR-09, GR-30 don't allow that.  And
yes, the midi output on a gr-09 and gr-30 are slower
than using the internal voices.  In spite of that, I
enjoy using the midi out of my gr-09.  I use it to:
1.  Input to the oberheim drummer so that it interacts
with my playing.
2.  Input to the oberheim cyclone to arpeggiate the
midi note stream before I route the midi stream back
into the gr-09 voices
3.  Input to a kenton midi to cv convertor to control
one or several moog synths which are used as either
   a.complete synth (vco, vcf, adsr, adsr, lfo.....)
or b.input sound from either the vg-8 or gr-09 into
the synth filter and envelope generators and other
modulators.  I find that a complex sound like a sax is
much more fun to modulate than a square wave or
triangle wave oscillator (even if that ocs has dynamic

While the Roland vg-8 is not midi, it is a fun, and
highly tweekable sound source (hexaphonic modifier)
that reacts to and expresses subtleties of playing in
a most wonderful way.  I use the vg-8, and the gr-09
individually and in combination (using roland
us-20)for a vaste amount of tone colors, and subtle,
(almost) instant response (vg-8) when that is

It sucks how much fun I am having with this gawd awful
midi guitar, fake instrument sounds, and slow midi
control, looped into multiple echoplexes with old
codec chips.

And the answer to the most important question?
I use .10's, or are they .11's?

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