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Hardware Hacking Music Linux Build

Misa Digital Guitar Runs On Linux 125

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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  • Re:Video (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:13AM (#30877946)

    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 on an old electronic kit, it may not be a convincing performance. Especially if the aim is to replicate the sound of an acoustic drum kit.

    Midi guitars are strange, the ones I've played didn't track chords at all, had bad latency and bending a string even very slightly (as happens when fretting or picking hard) would tend to make the synth patch bend an entire half tone. Initially difficult to adapt your playing for but doing so can actually improve your technique.

    My understanding of the MISA thing is that it does not emulate a stringed instrument at all, calling it a guitar is a misnomer. An electric guitar is a plank of wood, a magnet and some wire; we like it just fine the way it is.

  • Re:Video (Score:2, Interesting)

    by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:13AM (#30878348) Homepage

    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 problem. As for strings, I'm sure I would try bending at the neck for a couple weeks till I get out of that head. It wouldn't affect my favorite patches though, pipe organs and Hammonds and I have a MIDI wah-like controller I would use for the leslie effect. Like he says, don't compare it to traditional instruments. I would love one of these on its own merits.

  • Re:Thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Sunday January 24, 2010 @02:47PM (#30880596) Homepage Journal
    Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Also, TFA mentioned that the touchscreen is a simple X Y MIDI CC. Devices like that, such as the Korg KAOSS pads, have been out for awhile. My question(I'm a longtime guitar player) is if the touchscreen could be calibrated(via OS hacks?) for fingerstyle playing. That is, to calibrate seperate resting positions for your thumb and then five other spaces for the other strings and then each tap in that particular spot would pluck its respective string.

    Think of playing songs like Fleetwood Mac's Landslide or Metallica's Nothing Else Matters. If the software controlling the pad could be changed to support that, I'd buy one. Otherwise it's just a fancy KAOSS pad.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.