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Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:31 am
by StevieM

Total beginner still experimenting with Mixcraft 8 Recording Studio demo, only 36 hours left, so need urgent advice.

I have no keyboard (not being a keyboard player). My instrument is an electro-acoustic guitar. I have a Focusrite interface. Recording the guitar is easy and good.

But I want to be able to play my guitar and transform its notes into flute, or bagpipes, or mandolin. I really don't know the terminology, but I'm sure you folks know what I'm aiming at.

I've done some research and one solution seems to be the Jam Origin Midi Guitar 2. I don't want to have to buy an external program like this if what I want to do can be done by Mixcraft 8.

CAN IT? and if so, HOW?

All help appreciated! Thanks


Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:51 am
by aj113
StevieM wrote:...CAN IT?
No. Guitars record as audio. You need something that records as MIDI in order to drive the virtual instruments.

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:05 am
by BillW
While tedious, don't need a keyboard to get midi in. You can use a keyboard instead.

OK - that was confusing. You can use a computer keyboard and not a white/black key keyboard.

You can also point / click on the piano roll. Many of us do that because we don't play keys well.

(A LONG standing upgrade request is to be able to enter on the piano roll using a keyboard - computer or otherwise - rather than point /click or trying to play real time)

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:22 am
by rrichard63
Using the Jam Origin software with Mixcraft is possible, but might be less convenient than with some other DAWs. Quoting from their website:
The very first thing to try is to use it in your DAW just like you would use any other audio effect (say a reverb or compressor). Intuitively most people think of MIDI Guitar as a virtual instrument (VSTi), but try to think of it as an effect first: It has an audio input (your guitar sound) and audio output (the synth or virtual instrument you load into MIDI Guitar). Used this way as an audio effect it should work with any DAW that supports VST or AudioUnit effects.

After using it as an effect you will probably start to wonder how to get the MIDI output from MIDI guitar into your DAW and into its piano roll. Most DAWs have ways to route the midi output from MIDI Guitar to other places and if not you can always fall back to using the standalone version with a virtual MIDI loop. On Mac OS X, virtual MIDI is built in. On Windows you need to install a virtual midi driver, of which several options are freely available. Please see the “Connect To DAW” option in the MIDI Output section of MIDI Guitar for instructions.
Mixcraft 8's way of routing MIDI output to an instrument track involves a virtual MIDI driver as described in the quote. Maybe this will be improved in Mixcraft 9.

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:40 am
by Pete Stobbs

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:47 am
by rrichard63
Pete Stobbs wrote:You could try this?
Same price as the Jam Origin software -- and this isn't affected by Mixcraft's limitation. It would be interesting to read/hear a comparison of the two approaches.

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:53 pm
by GovernmentMule
There is basically about 4 ways to do what you want and none come with Mixcraft and none are free.

I have one of the Sonnus boxes from about a decade ago. It has been updated since but the version I have is only monophonic ( single notes only, no chords). It was alright for that time but mine only had midi connectors and it did not track all that great. You could not play fast notes or lead lines. From there website it is still only monophonic. I personally would not recommend it.

I have the Roland GR-55 also. It's nice but expensive, also polyphonic.It comes with it's own pickup. It plays great and has a lot included sounds. You can use alternate tunings while keeping your guitar in standard tuning and also mix in your original guitar signal. You also can record the midi to a track in your DAW through the USB.

Fishman also has a system with it's own pickup that sends the signal to your computer wireless, it's called the TriplePlay. I've seen some good reviews for this system and there is a lot Youtube videos on it. It is expensive too, but the software looks nice.

As mentioned above there is the Midi Guitar 2 program from Jam Origin, when I bought the Roland they was on the original version and some reviews were iffy. I picked up the new version a month or two ago and was pleasantly surprised. It tracks pretty good, came with a lot of built in sounds and includes a tuner. I have not played around with it a lot but would recommend it and it is probably best and cheapest way to go about doing what you want. There is also a lot of Youtube videos on this software.

Getting good results with any of these options depends on the way you play. You have to play cleanly, if you throwdown a Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie Malmsteen solo with alot of bends, hammer ons and pinch harmonics, it is going to sound like shit.

Good luck whichever way you go.

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:04 pm
by GovernmentMule
By the way, here is a video of a guy using the built in looper on the Roland GR-55. I wish I was this proficient with it.

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:45 pm
by dathyr1
I have gone several different routes with playing with a midi type guitar. I know you are looking for something
with little cost, but i dont know if you can come across something that you would be happy with.

As the first person mentioned, you need some kind of converter to change the audio of the guitar to MIDI.
If I took my standard electric guitar and converted it to MIDI i found that you also have to play precise to get good results with a regular guitar. So if you are a good guitarist you should have no problems

I did try Midi Guitar 2 from Jam Origin when they first came out and worked fairly well but had tracking problems doing finger picking with it and the lower notes on the Guitar were fighting me to get the right notes. They have done many updates since i tried it so it is probably much better now- but I never did go back to it to test/try. I have their two programs one for Standard guitar and the other for Bass.

I never tried midi adapters that would install on the guitar itself. I think it was because they wouldnt work well
on my hollow bodied Electric Guitar.

I then invested in a totally digital MIDI guitar which mine you cant get anymore, company shut down last year.
It is an awesome guitar, easy to play, tracks well low latency for creating songs with a DAW, but wont mention the name cause you cant get it anymore. Plus it did cost several hundred dollars but it is worth it for me to special finger picking, finger tapping, and other things. Too bad the company went under.

I know this may not be much help for you, but just wanted to show what I went through to find something
that worked well for me on the guitar side. i am a keyboard player also.

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:02 am
by Zaffi
I use midi guitar 2.

Download loopmidi and make a virtual midi channel. In midi guitar set the output to this channel that's all.

In mixcraft open a virtual instrument track and choose your instrument.

Works out of the box for me 32 and 64 bit.

I can play what ever instrument I want!!!

Try it! there's a demo.

And strap a Numark Orbit on your guitar to control everything. So nice. :lol:


Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:50 am
by StevieM
Thanks guys for all this! I will continue to explore

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:17 am
by dathyr1

Just adding one thing to Guitars/devices. I just bought another midi controller device which is very expensive but thought I would throw it into this conversation.

The device is from "Artiphon" and is called "Instrument 1". It is strictly a midi controller(looks like a guitar fretboard) and has no sounds built into it-it does have speakers on it. If you go onto YouTube and type Artiphon for search you will see what I am talking about. Bear with me I would not recommend this as a guitar replacement and doing real serious guitar playing, even though some of the demos shown on YouTube they do song tracks and I have played several similar things that I do on my guitar.

The controller is a multimode device and can be set up for doing strumming, bowing, sliding, and tapping. It looks like a guitar fretboard which has 12 Frets, but each fret is the same size and neck width is wider than a standard guitar neck which makes it somewhat hard on my fretboard thumb after playing it for a while. The Strumming area has 6 kinda rubberized sensor/contacts which each are about 1/2 long to represent the 6 strings. Instrument 1 does not work well with a pick at least for me where the pick kinda feels like it sticks to the contacts as I strum over them, so i fingerpick/strum using my fingers with Instrument 1. I am getting used to playing it little by little and I am going to use it for special sound playing on the DAW tracks. So far it works well with any DAW and Virtual instrument I have-Kontakt, Omnisphere, Serum, etc.

Just thought I would give an FYI on the device and i really like the device for what it can do.

take care,

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:12 am
by Starship Krupa

Re: Using guitar to play virtual instruments

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:33 am
by dathyr1
Hi Starship,

What you are talking about is very similar to my other guitar I didnt want to mention cause they went out of business. I will mention them now which is called The YouRock Gen2 Guitar. It too is a midi controller that connects via USB. I think I bought it for $200.00 when they had them at Guitar Center several years ago.

Here is an example of one on youtube:

the guy doing the demo didn't know how to play it very well. It plays better than he is showing.
Just wanted to show what the guitar looks like.

I love playing this guitar- it looks a feels like a guitar and lightweight, it is too bad they went out of business. They had just released another more professional model and then the business closed shop.

Reason I bought the Instrument 1 from Artiphon because it has the new "MPE midi" features which is going to be one of the possible new midi standards on instruments in the future. Look up MPE midi and you will see what I am talking about.

Starship if you get the one you are talking about you should have allot of fun with it. I do with mine.

take care,