View Full Version : Playing with my new favorite toy.

10-10-2016, 04:46 AM
I've long used a keyboard controller/synth for my MIDI sequencing fun, but my preferred instrument is guitar. I've had this cool little gadget called a "You Rock Guitar" lying about for some years but only recently picked it up and begin messing around with it in earnest. Besides the slew of internal samples and backing synths I have Cubase and Logic Pro (and Garage Band, of course) along with the usual suspects from Native Instruments and IK Multimedia, and it's a real kick in the pants to be playing, say, a drum kit using fretting action instead of picking at the fake ivory. The actual guitar stuff is, of course, the coolest of all, for all I'm still experimenting to get an acoustic sound put together I really like. It's a labor of love. :jam:

Can't believe I've waited so long to have a play with this thing! It's a blast. Here's a demo video that came out a few years ago showing some of what it can do. There's a metric butt ton of related stuff on YouTube.


Shawn Farrell
10-19-2016, 02:12 PM

10-19-2016, 05:01 PM
Yeah, it's really a hoot to play. I just doubled down on portability, too, by picking up one of these bad boys last week. I have Cubase for the iPad as well as SampleTank and AmpliTube, so I'm not restricted to just GarageBand. Hard core music rack on the go!


10-19-2016, 07:55 PM
:rock:Deedle eedle eet.......like "Bill and Ted"

10-20-2016, 03:33 AM
Here's a pic of my actual device, along with a shot of my grand old Seagull. I've been an "unplugged" guy all my life but this electronic shite is really starting to grow on me. ;D

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10-25-2016, 08:59 AM
And, because there's no such thing as too much fun, I recently dragged out my MIDI keyboard to flesh out my tool set. I'm not much of a keyboard player but it's great for tapping out drum tracks and bass licks and stuff like that. The laptop stuffed into the old CPU bay behind the guitar is where the DAW lives, and that feeds amplified speakers behind my regular monitors. Off the top left corner you can just see part of my microphone for my vocals stuff. I grew up primarily as a vocalist and I also do a lot of my own voiceovers for animation gigs. Helps keep my overhead costs down when I can be a one stop shop. :jam:


10-25-2016, 09:25 AM
keyboard for a drum machine ha!! get a tablet or use it properly and yes I know you mean the dedicated pads at the top but still a total waste, having said that whenever I play keys for more than fifteen minutes my wrist really start to ache so prefer my electric guitar

10-25-2016, 09:30 AM
Diff'rent strokes. I love using my keyboard for drum riffs, and have no need for anything different. It's also way more efficient than having a third MIDI device plugged in that I don't need to pay for or make room on my desk for. :D

11-18-2016, 04:15 AM
Bit of geek play with my digital instruments. While I will never be prancing around on a stage like Pete Townshend so playing untethered is not a necessity, I wanted to try getting there anyway, because reasons.

FIrst issue is the guitar is powered either by the USB cable or by four AA batteries. Ditching the USB was the primary goal, and I just have this bad feeling about how fast it would drain AA batteries, even though I have a ton of rechargeable ones available.

Enter a smartphone on-the-go charging pack. You can get a nice 16,100 mAh one for under US$30 these days, and in quite manageable sizes. More than enough juice to keep going for many hours on a single charge, and you could easily swap them out at need.

So, now the USB is gone, how to get the MIDI signal to the DAW? My guitar has a MIDI out port, and now there exist multiple devices that convert MIDI to BlueTooth with very low latency. I picked up one from Yamaha but there were other options. It wasn't dirt cheap, but still under US$50.

Then four Velcro dots on the battery pack and the back of the guitar, a couple of rubber bands to keep the BT transmitter attached to the battery pack, and some 6" cabling. Et voila:

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Apart from the short cables, from the front you can hardly see the added stuff and it's more than flat enough it doesn't get in my way when playing. It does add nearly a pound to the weight but that's what a strap is for.

I will be replacing the ugly rubber bands with some black Velcro cable tie straps when I take the time to acquire some extra ones.

In practice, over both GarageBand on an iPad Air and Logic Pro X on a Macbook Pro I can't hear any latency at all even when playing some heavily-modified sampled and multi-timbral instruments. BlueTooth 4.0 has come a long way. :jam:

11-20-2016, 10:11 AM
So, what do Spinnys do when there's no new LW (yet) to learn, he's between gigs for a few days, and it's snowing to beat the proverbial band outside?

Make music, of course!

Working up this year's Holiday card, which will be an animated music video (mostly using LW, natch) to the tune of my performing "I Believe in Father Christmas," playing all the parts on my digital guitar. Believe it or not the synth solo was the most challenging for me, probably because the notes weren't arranged with a fretboard in mind. My hand is still sore from spanning all those frets. ;D

Why do you care? Why, you probably don't, but I felt like dropping a bit of General Discussion on you ere we gear up for a drive in the snow for a family birthday gather. :boogiedow

11-22-2016, 04:43 PM
Well, relaxing with a cold one after a somewhat frustrating day in the salt mines—er, studio, and decided to take a listen to the most recent mixdown of my song arrangement. I kind of like this rendition, I think I'm going to put a fork in it and start working on the vocals. I just picked up a nice Scarlett audio interface so I'm going to stop miking up via direct USB and give this thing a whirl. Well, start to, Turkey Day looms which means family socializing instead of hiding in my cave. ;D

Here's a link if you'd care to take a listen. No, a digital guitar will never replace traditional ones nor were they meant to. It's just another way to record crazy fun MIDI and synths using a different interface for those of us more comfortable around a fretboard than a keyboard. The sounds are unique, special, and way cool in their own right without being slavish copies of their analog cousins.

Spinny Makes Greg Lake's Ears Burn (https://soundcloud.com/mark-dyson-8/i-believe-in-father-christmas-instrumental-bounce-v003/s-otwVx)

11-22-2016, 05:34 PM
If you're curious, this is the audio interface I mentioned. It was an early Yule gift to myself after I cashed the down payment on a 60-second full CGI commercial spot gig (with voiceovers and sound track). I figured I owed myself a treat. :D


11-28-2016, 10:13 AM
Break time! My workstation dims the screens for five minutes every hour to remind me it's time to take a break. This is how I usually spend that interlude.