Anybody make their own midi controllers? lets make an instrument

I know a luthier i was trying to get to do something more up to date with midi guitar but he was a traditionalist, however he does work with carbon fiber and with eigenlabs pretty much out of the picture and the endlesss app creating an entire new generation of electronic musicians i suspect a multi-polyphonic guitar like carbon fiber instrument would be the hit, 
all i have to do is somehow get facebook to let me back on my page i was banned from even though i hadnt been on it in months lol. I am calling them tomorrow. The button idea is a good one as is the breath controller have to think of something to change so there's no copy-write issues, they have the ones like the morph, then you have the sea board, the artiphon and all that - none of them quite touch the eigenharp though.
 From a business standpoint eigenlabs had two fatal errors - prohibitive cost, obscure programming language - yes awesome instrument but just not for the average joe, limiting their customer base to a small niche. They were ahead of their time by about 10 years. I believe mpe pretty much is the death toll for thie obscure language i could be wrong i haven't compared the two.
However they did make it public domain so there are private entities keeping the software alive. personally i would steer clear of that, honestly if those buttons sent mpe data say like the que-neo then you could get jiggy. that controller is fairly pretty versatile if one takes the time to program it..........
So carbon fiber body - buttons that have the mpe capability - all cake.....ergonomic design, extra expression controllers......i will have to look into just what can and cant be done. Entry level product say 400-500 range - midrange 1300 and high end for 2000 puts you right in competition with the big boys right now

If you can make this for a final price of 400-500, then hats off! :slight_smile:
Just be careful with carbon, the dust from cutting and sanding it isn’t healthy, might be better to give it to a professional entity. Carbon fabrication isn’t cheap though…

I’m fascinated with the idea of designing new MIDI instruments/controllers. One problem with creating a controller with a large number of buttons is that this can push the price up quite quickly. If you consider that the Eigenharp Alpha had 120 high-quality multi-directional buttons with a coloured LED…how much are they going to cost each…? Even if you could knock them out for £3 each that’s already £360, just for those buttons.

I’m interested in experimenting with microtonal music. Controllers for that, like the Lumatone and Microzone, have tons of buttons - 280+ for those - and they cost thousands.

I’d have thought 3D printing and laser cutting would be the easiest ways to design and produce the instrument body.

Linnstrument took a fairly economical approach by not having separate buttons. Roger Linn kinda beat you to it though.

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ya see i have a linnstrument and it is great but to be honest the morph kind of smokes it as far as actual mpe goes - now the set-up i use is kind of odd and the only explanation i can come up with for why it works like this is the two are fighting each other for control of the 16 midi channels causing a random factor in what plays or what doesn’t - probably dependent on velocity , i can use the linnstrument to play notes as a keyboard and use the morph to modulate the inputs as they are being played.
Although I have set them up on separate tracks but i guess there are only 16 channels period unless you run something else that has it’s own tracks or some such. I have even set them up daisy chained so one goes through a vi then feeds into the other one which is feeding into a vi of its own, course technically the sound coming out of the vi
s isn’t sound until it is made into sound after it is recorded for prosperity, but it did create some interesting interaction of the protocol making for an interesting modulation
The morph and the linnstrument are as far as I have been able to determine almost equally responsive, just the morph has wider playing surfaces where as the linnstrument has very smalle zones - when it comes to mpe seems less is less and more is more so the wider area you have on the playing surface - the better response you get. Shrug I think i may skip the seaboard as just more of the same, maybe the continuum as that looks interesting lol.
I am totally new to electronic music and already working my way up to the mi.mu gloves being my next major instrument purchase - although i would really like to get into designing my own instrument - picture this if you will

 There is some interesting possibilities with midi being controlled by light, now i have just started fiddling with the leap motion and plan on getting the specktr gloves as an interim until i can afford the mi.mu which also allows me to become familiar with the programing in the software glover - but the problem with the leap motion is you are working with invisible finite regions which makes it very difficult to get the feel for playing notes.
 You get the same issue with the gloves, now a couple of them have where you tap your fingertips or palms, not quite sure what you do with the mi.mu but they are a tad more expensive so they may have a good method - enter an instrument that has a led matrix that allows you to play your software and hardware instruments by breaking the light beams, I will have to look to see exactly how that would work probably couldn't get above the playing surface much but then again we do live in the age of miracles 
 for ergonomics it would have to be something that was comfortable to stand up and wear and i have an idea of how the matrix itself would work as there is a button controller that splits the board that is pretty interesting other than it keeps everything basically locked in theory and the whole entire joy of electronic music is if you choose not to be popular and fabulously rich by doing amazingly boring and highly uneducated cro-mag stuff that is so simple it really illustrates how much the human race is actually devolving uh um - 
 anyway if you want you can pretty much toss theory out the window and ive spent so many years studying music, then went and got a masters in an unrelated field i am just sick of theory for one because it does become a trap, tired of relearning my instrument and just too damned old to start over yet again - 
enter the app endlesss - god i love it that app came right about the time i was really beginning to debate on quitting music all together - since then i have literally thousands of tunes and have tackled a learning curve that only a madman would actually be crazy enough to take on all at once, been through dozens of instruments and thoroughly blown minds with the sounds i make, although for the most part the same people asking how are you making those noises are apt to follow that question with why are you making that noise but shrug point being there is a freedom to electronic music that locking a person into theory defeats because theory is old - and while it is fantastic as a way to discuss ideas and explain what is being done after the fact, key is a myth,
 They entire concept is based on western theory and only makes sense to the ear because that is what the ear is used to hearing, if you go to asia and listen to some of the singing with their microtonal warbles it sounds absolutely horrible to the western ear.

I listen to a wider assortment of music than anybody i have personally met and more than likely anybody most people have met and to this day i still keep my asian music, especially indian and chinese to instrumentals because i just can’t get used to the microtonal singing. Hell i even listen to diamanda galas early works when she was quite insane and used her voice like a bludgeon with vibrato that while astonishing in its control and depth, was about as annoying as fingernails down a chalkboard until you got used to it. lol
Anyway long story short i like the idea of a split playing zones - with a combination of the 5 dimensional cloth mesh that they are using now, as well as a purely gesture controlled aspect as well - how to combine that into a workable instrument is of course the next stage of the equation but 3-d printing is the way to go for fabricating the actual body and misc parts not carbon fiber -
I am just not digging all the flat surfaces - its time to break out of that box as well, oh and don’t get me wrong i do like the linnstrument, probably not as much as the eigenharp would have been, but then the lack of satisfaction with all the polyphonic instruments that I have played so far and it is a long list, has led me to in 4 months of playing electronic music on a computer and 11 months counting using my iphone and ipad has me seriously looking at getting to know the tech so i can design my own instrument - one that frees a person from the curse of flat surfaces and at the same time offers a point of reference the gesture midi instruments dont provide -
I suppose more later once i look into the led hint i saw previously and get more familiar with the leap - i still haven’t really got into midi programming yet just the learn and with the glover app it’s really necessary to have a little bit better grasp of midi programming to make the workflow more efficient

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I’ve also been working on the design for a MIDI 2.0 Compliant Guitar Ecosystem that reduces the workload of the composer/performer.

Though enhanced musical expression is an obvious advantage of such an instrument in isolation, the ability of one’s DAW and or Synthesizer to be MIDI aware of the guitar’s settings in real-time, it is the latent potential of automation and real-time interactive control over effects parameters/properties and signal path, as well as preamp and amplifier controls that I see as equally if not more attractive from a pragmatic point of view.

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Ya keith mcmillan and his crew are working with the idea of mpe and guitar, 

now i do know that my godin connected up to the sy-1000 and into an
mpe capable daw now has the synths - soft synths at least tracking the
pitch bends pretty well compared to the last time I messed with it, and with a little adjustment midi guitar can probably do some interesting things that couldn’t be done without polyphony
I actually had to sit down for a while and decide if i want to
keep playing guitar but that baby has seen me through the good times, and most especially the bad so i decided that her dedication and loyalty cannot just be tossed aside,
i will just have to make time for her - godin’s tracking is much better than t
he gk set-up i was using (i just miss my sustainer - however there are options for that as well that will make up for the loss of a hardware one.) so i will have time to explore
that a tad more

oh and the interaction one gets with the leap and guitar
opens up some wide possibilities as far as modulation and
even note triggering and say arpeggiation and
sequencing goes - that has interesting possibilities
because you could still have a unit that is aesthetically
pleasing to the eyes, yet has the ability to interact
on a higher level with electronics
considering how inexpensive a leap is one could use
it to really open up what a guitar can do with pretty much
the editing app being the primary expense .
I am not really sure what mcmillan is doing per se for their
project - but his stuff uses that mesh so i suspect the mesh
is graphed to the fingerboard perhaps, now the morph has a similar
mesh but it is very responsive without haveing to tweak anything,
i started with that and i have yet to have to do anything with anything
in order to get the polyphony from it, it just works that well. Pity about
their bluetooth - and the joue or whatever is on my list to try
but i mean right now everybody is working with the sensor mesh,
If you could get a combination fo the mesh for brushing and tapping,
in conjunction with the various motion sensors and proximity sensors
you could eliminate strings and just use taps, slides and drags in conjunction
with gestures and still have a visible instrument to play
People prefer to see a person playing an instrument because that
is what they expect to see lol

ya i forgot all about 3-d printing and that is the way to go. Everything right now is 

some variation of a sensor mesh - i spect that technology is fairly proprietary specially
since polyphonic instrumentation is hot now and fixing to get hotter -
i will be looking at the hints i saw of led controlled midi and see how that would work
picture the leap - mixed with the morph - but with a visible zone of light waves
that would make it a little easier to know where to put your hands - the gloves are a hit and i am going to get some, but the audience expects to see an instrument and
ultimately they should see the artist using something to create the pallette
i mean imogen live is like sorcery, but whos to say that she is the one doing it?
it becomes less a musical performance and more a magic show. Having a visible instrument to play gives the people what they expect.
I watched a video of a lady in some european city playing some stuff with
the specktr gloves which i will get one of soon, nobody was even paying
'attention because she didn’t have anything to cue the audience
that she was a musician playing music - hell they probably
thought it was someone listening to the radio.
Dj’ing you can get away with that but an actual musical
performance i believe will appeal to a broader audience with
the visible cue of an instrument -
Perhaps something like say a sax -

Are you just thinking out loud? I don’t want to waste time here if you didn’t create the thread to have an actual discussion.

Also, both these systems for guitar have been polyphonic from the beginning, and are among the fastest tracking guitar controllers currently being offered without taking out a second mortgage on one’s home.

Fishman TriplePlay

Graph Tech Ghost Hexpander

“…working my way up to the mi.mu gloves being my next major instrument purchase…”

Re: the mi.mu gloves, I recently noticed these new finger-tracking gloves for 3D/VR which look similar.

They’re only advertised as sending data to 3D software plugins, but it would be interesting to try using them with a VST.

Well, the price is certainly better.

It won’t take much. Someone just needs to build a software bridge in Unreal or Unity, to read in their data and output MIDI.

I’d be hesitant to invest before that happens, but I’m sure it will.

I mean, look at what’s already been done…

  • GECO did a particularly great job of translating Leap Motion’s sensor data into meaningful gestures that were intuitive to work with. Sadly, all of their eggs were in one now-discontinued basket, controller-wise.
  • I’m sure the developer could be persuaded to relaunch the product with Smartglove support, should somebody convince Rokoko to send him a pair.

I’ve sent them a note, so I’ll see if they reply. Incidentally mi.mu recently released the Glover software for these as a separate product with support for other controllers including Leap. (It would probably be an ideal companion for the Rokoko gloves too, though I can’t see them adding support for a cheaper rival!)

https://mimugloves.com/glover/

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