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Misa Digital Guitar Runs On Linux 125

Posted by kdawson
from the far-too-many-degrees-of-freedom dept.
conner_bw writes "Imagine strumming a guitar without any strings, on a touchscreen. Think the idea is too far-fetched? The Misa digital guitar claims to be exactly this. Overcoming the natural limitations of a traditional guitar, this new instrument eliminates the need to pluck strings while using the right hand to control sound. Specs: Linux kernel 2.6.31 (Gentoo); 24 frets; touchscreen; MIDI out; RJ-45 Ethernet. My favourite parts of the site are the FAQ (How do you SSH into the guitar?), and this quote from the developer: 'Because the software is open source I'm hoping people completely change the instrument and share new "firmware" with others. Different graphics, different control ideas etc. It would all be free of charge. So I'm hoping that happens as the instrument becomes more familiar.'" The developer, Michael, has not yet promised a delivery date or set a price for the instruments he is manufacturing.
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Misa Digital Guitar Runs On Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    so I can play air guitar

  • Overcoming the natural limitations of a traditional females, this new instrument eliminates the need to interact directly, while using the right hand to control...
  • Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:14AM (#30877696)

    Skip the words, watch a video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2eiP12hQQY&fmt=35 [youtube.com]

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      While definitely cool, don't you need some kind of tactile feedback from the guitar strings to play it better? The same reason why there will always be use for mouse and keyboard too, to provide better control.

      But since I'm not a real guitar player, this could be a fun thing to have (and probably easier to play than a real guitar)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        While definitely cool, don't you need some kind of tactile feedback from the guitar strings to play it better?

        Yes and no; players adapt and the sound of the instrument changes according to limitations. Take drums, using the bounce of the stick from the batter head is part of any good players technique. Where the original electronic kits had rubber pads, modern electronic kits use mesh heads so the feel is similar to a traditional kit. While any half-decent drummer should be able to bang out a performance

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Midi guitars are strange

          If you try to play them the way you'd play a regular guitar, it can quickly turn into a hash.

          However, the notion of using a guitar-like interface for MIDI control is not a a bad one at all. Lord knows, there are tons of different controller-types I'd like to see. Unfortunately, the box with a grid of buttons seems to be on the ascendancy again in the Monome and new Launchpad. I've been hoping for a Theremin-like MIDI controller, where I can control other parameters besides pitch a

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Oops, sorry about the double-post, but I just noticed that there have already been theremin to midi controllers. Moog handled one for a while called the "Etherwave". It cost $5k and is no longer in production. I also found some homebrew information. Should have used google before I shot my mouf' off.

            • That should be easy, shouldn't it? Two proximity sensors and a microcontroller to translate that to midi messages. Or maybe just send raw data via serial port and let a real computer chew it.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              You can also get a nifty touchscreen pitch-bend controller, and run it inline with another midi device, like one of these grids of buttons. Between the two you ought to be able to get the effect you want, though you may not like mashing keys or stroking a touchpad. It seems like you also ought to be able to get the same effect with a touchpad operating a virtual midi controller on your PC...

            • by ZosX (517789)

              photon x25. it is cheap and has a theremin styled controller. just set the cc values to whatever you want.

          • by flyneye (84093)

            Did you see the laser guitar at instructables.com yet? http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Prism-A-Laser-Synth-Guitar/ [instructables.com]
            Not really as advanced as MISA but seems to fit the theremin bill.

          • by liquidsin (398151)

            the next step from MIDI is OSC [opensoundcontrol.org]. higher precision and networkable are my two favourite features. lots of small/homebrew stuff already supports it (plogue bidule, dsmi, iphone apps), and Native Instruments has support for it in some of their newer gear, though i hear the support is spotty and not too well documented. if you're on a mac there's OSCulator [osculator.net] that acts as an OSC host, passing data to/from your midi hosts. there's also work being done to get it running in Ableton Live with some python scripts. I'm e

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

              Plogue bidule is one of my favorite tools. I'll have to look into OSC.

              Thanks for the tip, liquidsin.

        • by conureman (748753)

          I've never used a guitar midi controller, but I always thought that being able to fret a chord across three octaves might prove useful compared to the one full octave I can do on a keyboard. I used to run XXX heavy strings, like .054-.014, wound B strings, &c. That would be good for midi control maybe? The pitch doesn't change much even when you bend'em way across the neck.

      • I am a "real guitar player", and I want one of these. I've been doing a lot of experiments with music lately: alternative tunings, inserting weird things between strings, building my own strange instruments, defretting an electric guitar, experimenting with touchpad as a controller, etc. This "guitar" is on my wishlist.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by flyneye (84093)

        I am a luthier (stringed instrument builder) of traditional archtop and electric guitars,basses and others. I am also a MIDI guitar controller enthusiast. I use a baritone guitar to control my synth. While some tactile elements of tradition are helpful for some patches, using a standard instrument is not without glitches and artifacts(kinda neat if you want to include those elements, absolute PITA if you don't)
        I can see from the video that his touchscreen is a fix to this proble

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        While definitely cool, don't you need some kind of tactile feedback from the guitar strings to play it better? The same reason why there will always be use for mouse and keyboard too, to provide better control.

        But since I'm not a real guitar player, this could be a fun thing to have (and probably easier to play than a real guitar)

        I'm a long-time guitar player, and I have played around with "MIDI guitars" like the Rolands before, however they were actual guitars with sensors much like standard electric guita

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Yes you do. As a bass player who is lucky enough to have a rhythm guitarist that plays a really nice Roland guitar synth having those strings to pluck, strum, caress, DOES make a very big difference in the tone of the played note.

        It is of course much more natural and easier to pick up for a traditional musician, as I can attest to as I picked up the synth guitar the other night and was playing cool synth bass line merely by playing bass style on his Roland. If you were to be blindfolded in the next room yo

    • by hrvatska (790627)
      Made me think of the drumitar [spectrasonics.net] used by Futureman in The Flecktones.
  • by zr-rifle (677585) <zedr&zedr,com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:14AM (#30877698) Homepage
    ...Muse's next album delayed as the riffs are still compiling.
  • hmmm (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by naz404 (1282810)
    I sure hope they don't release the "Misa Jar Jar Binks".

    Misa day startin pretty okee-day with a brisky morning munchy, then BOOM! Gettin very scared and grabbin that Jedi and POW! Misa here! Misa gettin' very very scared!
  • by n1hilist (997601) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:21AM (#30877718)

    That linux rocks! \m/

  • Not that I'm much of a guitar player, but I'm wondering how you bend the strings when there is no string?

    Sounds (and looks) pretty cool though - I think I want one.

    • Re:Bending strings (Score:5, Informative)

      by Aneurysm (680045) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:35AM (#30877790)
      The point is there are no strings, therefore no string bending. If you watch the video though you can see the the right hand uses a touch sensitive screen to control pitch etc. so you can simulate a bending effect. It's not a guitar, just an electronic instrument inspired and shaped by a guitar
      • If there's no strings, what's the point of the neck and the frets?

        • by kombipom (1274672)

          The frets tell it which note/chord to play while the touchscreen controls the effect(s) added and the timing. (from watching the video)

        • by slim (1652)

          I think there are pressure sensors in the neck, which correspond to guitar notes. The touchpad probably has columns corresponding to where the strings would be. So hit the E-string part of the touchpad while holding the first fret of the E-string part of the neck, it will play an F.

          This doesn't allow you to bend notes with the fretting hand. Most guitarists will find this to be major omission.

          • Don't think it works like that. He mentioned that the two dimensions are mapped onto midi parameters (velocity, distortion). That doesn't leave anything left for "which string".

        • If there's no strings, what's the point of the neck and the frets?

          To choose tones in a way 'similar' to how a guitar player chooses them.

        • If there's no strings, what's the point of the neck and the frets?

          anything's gotta be cooler than a fscking keytar...

        • The point: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bragador (1036480)

          It is true that you can already do all that on a keyboard with a touchpad. The interesting thing though is that the keys aren't placed in the same way on a guitar than they are on a keyboard so you can compose things that sound different.

          In other words, you'll be able to compose and play differently since piano tends to make you compose in a linear way, and a guitar forces you to play notes that are all over the keyboard.

          It's a bit like the Akai EWI USB which gives you more control over the sound level depe

        • You still need to play in key using the right chords at the right time. His left hand on the fretboard in actually forming chords like you would with real strings. At least it looks like it to me... and I play guitar (and bass, and drums, and ... but mostly guitar).
    • It's not really a guitar. It is a synthesizer that sounds like a guitar with distortion. I do play guitar. There is a joke among proficient guitar players where the term 'talent pedal' or 'talent booster pedal [deanguitars.com]' is used in place of 'distortion pedal'. While a lot of good players do use distortion, it is used by a lot of not so good, or downright bad players to cover up their bad playing. When you hear that computer sound in singer's voices in the pop songs that are out there today (i.e. young girls and somet

      • by Hamoohead (994058)

        This is technology that allows the engineer [photobucket.com] to move off key singing back into proper pitch within their Digital Audio Workstation.

        God I wish I had some mod points. I'm a sound man and that is some funny shit. I used to have that Farside comic laminated to my console. Haven't seen it in years. Thanks for the memory. And IMHO, Auto-tune IS a suck button. Thanks Cher!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    oh...

  • Simon? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xistenz99 (1395377) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:52AM (#30877866)
    I played guitar hero in the 80's when it was called Simon
  • How do I grep my solo?

  • someone whack him in the head with the guitar! quickly! aargh!
  • I don't want to come over all Luddite - but surely part of playing guitar is the sensation of the strings against the fingers. You know where they are, because you can feel them. You know whether and how hard you've plucked/strummed, because you can feel them.

    I think playing this thing would be a bit like typing on an on-screen keyboard - a second class experience.

    • by mangu (126918)

      I think playing this thing would be a bit like typing on an on-screen keyboard - a second class experience.

      I had that same experience when I tried to play an electronic saxophone. All the feel of the reed in the acoustic instrument is gone.

      However, guitars have been "electric", which actually means a hybrid instrument, for decades now. This Misa is actually a third generation instrument, we have the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, and the touchscreen guitar, three entirely different instruments that s

      • the electric of electric guitar is only the manner of picking up the string vibrations - a coil with magnets instead of a microphone. by all other means an electric guitar is a real guitar (except that most electric guitars are solid body guitars to avoid feedback).

        • by mangu (126918)

          by all other means an electric guitar is a real guitar (except that most electric guitars are solid body guitars to avoid feedback).

          You have never played a guitar, have you? Playing an electric guitar is fundamentally different from playing an acoustic guitar.

          Probably the best analogy would be to say an electric guitar is to an acoustic guitar as an organ is to a piano. In a piano the string is plucked by a hammer, while in the organ the sound is emitted continuously by the air flowing in the tubes.

          An elect

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dunkelfalke (91624)

            I play guitar for almost a decade and I've built a couple of electric guitars by myself. But it seems you don't know shit about the history of electric guitar. The only reason for solid body was to avoid feedback at high volumes. All the effects came much later.

            And no, playing an electric guitar is not fundamentally different from playing an acoustic guitar. There are some additional tricks that differ, but most things are pretty much the same.

            • by Hamoohead (994058)
              I'm a sound man and guitar tech. I have built (and worked on) more than a couple. The GP is WRONG about a fundamental fact of acoustics where guitars are concerned.

              Both electric (we're talking well built, not Musician's Friend Strat or Les Paul style budget models) and acoustics both "dissipate" sound at about the same rate. The path is just different. With an acoustic, the sound is radiated by vibration of the wood and is directed outward by the sound hole. In a solid body, the vibrations are constr

          • I have played plenty of guitars, for 30 years.

            There is basically no difference between playing an electric and playing an accoustic.

            I own 5 guitars, A Strat, a Les Paul, a Yamaha bass and 6 string acoustic and a Takamine acoustic.

            The taka acoustic has a very good pickup, and great sustain, at least equal to the strat!

            Any extra sustain comes thru distortion/compression with an amplified guitar.

            The downside with nthe acoustic with picup is too MUCH sustain, otherwise known as feedback.

            AC due to mods in this t

    • I don't want to come over all Luddite - but surely part of playing guitar is the sensation of the strings against the fingers. You know where they are, because you can feel them. You know whether and how hard you've plucked/strummed, because you can feel them.

      I think playing this thing would be a bit like typing on an on-screen keyboard - a second class experience.

      I think i would like it WAY more than a guitar... but that's my taste... part of it being that I'm not expecting a guitar, i'm expecting a new fun piece of technology.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:11AM (#30877938) Homepage Journal

    I heard they wanted to do it in C#, but that idea fell flat, so they went with C.

    *groan*

  • In the footer of the Misa digital guita it says "Copyright 2010 Misa Digital. Patent pending." I wonder what's being patented. There is plenty of prior art in this area if you do much digging. A good example is this [youtube.com] from the 1980s. I wouldn't be surprised that if this goes to production that the company finds itself on the receiving end of a patent infringement lawsuit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mejogid (1575619)

      What looks unique to me is the use of the touchscreen not to interact with virtual strings but to control midi parameters - the neck is used to finger chords, and all notes fingered are played no matter where on the touchscreen you tap. The touchscreen is used to modify pitch and distortion with multiple fingers at the same time for multiple chords.

      In comparison, your example involved fingering chords and 'virtually' strumming them - much closer to a typical electric guitar. If it's an effective instrumen

  • Nice Midi device. Stop calling it a guitar.
  • I think he could make it really sing, just like he does with the synthaxe.

  • Shameless plug-

    If you are interested in recycling an NDS into a touchscreen whammypad that you can embed in or velcro to a real guitar, check out-

    http://gzyx.org/ [gzyx.org]

    It comes with a fedora-11 derived LiveUSB appliance distribution that boots straight into the open source rakarrack f/x processor. Along with a server to listen via wifi to the NDS which runs a homebrew remote control application, to control changing f/x presets and mapping 2 parameters to the X and Y of the touchscreen.

    100% open source, self host

  • I've played bass for ten years, and was in music school for bass for 4 years. In my last semester I got severe tendonitis and basically stopped playing. The Misa looks perfect! I only hope the price isn't too steep.
  • Yeah, it doesn't offer the capabilities of the Misa, but you can noodle a bit with your Guitar Hero/Rock Band controllers, drums or guitars. I just got it hooked up and it works (with a bit of chaining between MIDItar, Max, LoopBe and Fruity Loops).

    If nothing else, MIDItar makes for an inexpensive MIDI drum kit - and for that use, it's pretty effective.

  • Just when I thought all the fun of playing guitar had been completely eliminated, somebody yet again proved me wrong.

  • How do you really shred without some good, heavy-gauge strings? The tactile feedback is part of the guitar experience!
  • by bollox4 (852236)
    Awful, no matter which platform this arrives on.

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