I am old enough to remember Gittler’s first time around, about thirty-five years ago. It heralded the first truly radical shift in guitar design since the lute morphed into the instrument we know today. The world wasn’t ready at the time, though the Museum of Modern Art in New York recognized it as a gorgeous piece.
Here’s hoping the guitar world has come far enough to support this amazing instrument this time around. If you want to get in on the ground floor, join their kickstarter campaign.
It may seem like I am devoting a lot of blog space to the new Jam Origin MIDI Guitar but, trust me, it is a game changer. Here is my full review in Electronic Musician. And below is another video, by David Wallimann, that goes through some of the features. He seems as excited as I am. If you have been put off in the past by the expense, hassle, and tracking issues of MIDI guitar, those days are over.
Source Audio epitomizes the kind of forward thinking encouraged at Guitar Moderne. From the company’s inception it has eschewed the kind of “vintage is better” thinking pervading much (but thankfully not all) of the effect pedal industry. Vintage is great, but Source Audio has taken the challenge to push the world of guitar performance into the future. Their centerpiece product—Hot Hand—is a ring that remotely controls their line of guitar and bass effects, as well as any other effect with a continuous control input. Now, through Hot Hand USB it can also control plug-in and DAW parameters on your computer.
The NAMM show offered a multitude of effects in a showroom-style vacuum. My compadres at Premier Guitar go out in the field to show you how they are actually employed. In this Premier Guitar Rig Rundown Vernon Reid and Doug Wimbish demo the gear they are currently using in Living Color, providing a compendium of effects available to the modern guitarist and bassist. Reid is running parallel signals through VG-99, Guitar Rig, iPad and Ableton Live effects, as well as a host of other processors, while Wimbish combines distortion, filtering, and looping in creative ways. These guys are on the gear cutting edge—check it out!
Most modern guitar sounds continue to exist in the instrument-pedals -amp world. Mark Wingfield is one of the few to explore the possibilities that spring to life when you attach a hexophonic pickup to the guitar. In his masterful use of Roland’s VG-88 and soft-synths in a laptop he remains almost alone among purveyors of the instrument. He was kind enough to take time out of a schedule so busy it doesn’t allow for Facebook (or maybe because it doesn’t) to wax eloquently on his path towards this approach to the instrument as well as modern music in general.
As Joe Gore says here, his last demo was more about imitating other instruments with the new Fishman TriplePlay synth guitar system. Here he shows some of the potential for creating otherworldly sounds using this new wireless MIDI controller for guitar.
We recently reviewed the i2M audio MIDI interface, which works amazingly well in a monophonic capacity. But if you need polyphony with perfect tracking all the time. The best solution is still a fretboard controller.
Perhaps you remember the SynthAxe: a synthesizer controller constructed roughly in the shape of a guitar, where notes were triggered by pushing down rows of buttons arranged like frets on a fingerboard? Between the average guitarist’s lack of interest in all things synthesizer and a price tag of $8-$13,000 dollars, it is no wonder it never caught on—Allan Holdsworth notwithstanding. But for the last couple of Winter NAMM shows, two companies have been showing products that recall this relic of the Eighties. Misa Digital and You Rock Digital are betting that the increased interest of guitarists in all things digital, combined with a lower price point can revive the concept.