In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which we covered in Guitar Moderne. We were impressed with the possibilities of controlling effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. The downside was that the unit can be difficult to fit on your instrument and makes a large visual statement that may or may not be to your liking. On the upside, it is very versatile and, streeting at a little over $100, reasonably priced.
The folks at GTC have come up with an alternate device that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago. As hearing anything at NAMM is an exercise in futility, we were glad to come across a video that clearly demonstrates the enormous possibilities of their Revpad. Smaller than the Guitar Wing, it comes with its own hardware multi-effects and can also send MIDI to external effects. On the strength of this video, the effects sound great and the Revpad seems nearly as versatile as the Guitar Wing. At around $1000, it is pricier than the Livid product, but when you factor in the cost of the laptop and/or external hardware effects you would need to add to Guitar Wing, they seem comparable values. What do you think?
If you haven’t got JamOrigin’s MIDI Guitar yet, all I can say is, “What are you waiting for?” From the start, it has been an amazing way to use your guitar to control synths, samplers, and all things MIDI—without any special hardware or pickups. With the finalization of Beta 14, JamOrigin has put the icing on the cake, adding the ability to split the fretboard, an awesome sustain pedal, and a new GUI, among other things. I especially like the way the new Deep Expressor effect allows me to turn my guitar into a banjo. Whether standalone, plug-in, app or all three, you need this product.
Someone recently asked me to define roots moderne. Bursting Blue Bone Bark, the Berlin-based project of Knox Chandler and Eric Mingus, epitomizes the answer. Chandler’s combination of National steel guitar and iPad apps, joins Mingus’ guttural blues shouting and vocal noises for music as primal as the Aborigines and modern as tomorrow.
Acoustic guitarists can seem shortchanged in the march to modernity through technology. The folks at ToneWoodAmps seem to be doing their best to change that. The ToneWoodAmp ($249 direct) uses a combination of DSP (digital signal processor) and a surface exciter to vibrate the back of an acoustic guitar, producing sound effects such as reverb, echo, delay, tremolo and more.
This new instrument from Sweden’s Mind Music Labs is exciting on a number of levels. We have seen built-in controllers before, notably from Moldover’s Robocaster, but the Sensus features its own take on effects and MIDI control, while adding a number of new concepts.