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MIDI Guitar and Logic

Mr. V

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Logic users are really fortunate to have access to such an amazing and still growing collection of tips and tricks on offer here. This is my first contribution. Hopefully other MIDI guitarists (as well as others using MIDI converters: bass players, violinists, wind instruments, etc) will add to this thread.


MIDI guitar is not for the musician seeking the sonic equivalent of a Staples Easy Button. Tolerance for delayed gratification is a requisite character trait.


It goes without say that the guitar needs a good set up (truss rod adjustment, frets in good condition, pickup distance from strings, string height at the nut, and string height at the bridge end of the neck) which is typically concerned with intonation and optimizing tone. The above are very much relevant to MIDI guitar but more importantly, the emphasis is on 1. eliminating string buzzes that can trigger ghost notes, and 2. achieving the most amount of sustain as pitch detection can go astray during natural note decay.


Then there’s the issue of playing with clean technique.


Mono vs Poly mode

This needs to be set up in the controller. Axon converter terminology in the String Mode section of the software editor is Separate (mono) and Common (Poly).


In the Roland GI-20, it’s a simple matter of setting the Parameter knob to Mono/Poly, then using the Value buttons to chose the mode you want.


The advantage of Mono mode is having the flexibility to assign a different voice to each string on their own separate MIDI channel. Also pitch bend is per string and not a common response effecting all strings.


Look at the MIDI Activity In/Out monitor in Logic’s transport for a quick visual that each string is playing on a different channel. The Event List gives a fuller visual of the multi-channel activity.





At this point, you can record all of this data to one track, then then demix by channel.

In Logic 9: Arrange Window>MIDI local menu>Separate MIDI Notes>By Event Channel. Now you can assign each new track a different SI, effects, panning, automation, etc.


Here’s a synth-combo set up in the environment that can be used with one software instrument track. This set up allows individual volume and pan control of each SI channel strip as well individualized pitch bend etc. This could be useful for live performance (which I don’t do) but can be equally inspiring for sound design.




This shows it assigned to the SI track after using the MIDI Thru Tool.



To create such a set up, you need to turn off Automatic Management of Channel Strips in the Audio section of the Project Settings in order to be able to create new Instrument channel strips in the environment.


An alternative to this would be to use a 3rd party multi-timbrel SI such as a Kontakt multi with each track assigned to a unique channel MIDI channel that correlates to MIDI channels assigned to the guitar strings.


I’ve used the more simpler Poly mode ever since the days of the Yamaha G10, the Alesis MMT8-HR16 combo, and a Roland U220. It works great for keyboard parts that don’t naturally use pitch bend.


Input Filtering

No matter how clean my technique or light my touch, false triggers are gonna happen!


This is an input filtering setup below was offered by Erik Simon over at the apple discussions forum. It has made a huge improvement in my ability to capture a relatively clean performance resulting in minimal clean up work afterwards... and increasing my satisfaction when playing in realtime.


This set up works great with the Axon which is very sensitive. The values to be filtered out can be determined by analyzing your recorded MIDI performance as in this example. Take note (no pun intended) of the velocity of short notes, then adjust that value in the Transformer to filter out the greatest amount of false triggers. (The default low end of the velocity range of the Axon is 41. Use of this input filter seems to "clean up" any low velocity false triggers.



Any remaining false triggers can be reduced with this Transform setting: Remove Short Notes.



Transform by Kalamazoo Man, on Flickr


In my case, I couldn’t use the input filtering set up above with the Roland GI-20 as it created some sort of MIDI feedback loop where note release increased and would not decay. On as side note, I ended up preferring to use the GI-20 as it was very easy to dial in a combination of Play Feel and Sensitivity that matched my playing style with minimal ghost notes.


If the velocity range needs to be expanded due to the limited velocity range of the controller, you can use a Transform setting such as values less than/= to, or inside a range, that are scaled to a specified range.


While you could use a Transform velocity limiter setting to achieve the lack of dynamics that are characteristic of organs and electric pianos, it's much easier to just use Dynamics in Logics Inspector.


This is stuff I worked through out of necessity and hope that it will be of benefit to other users of alternative MIDI controllers.



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Mr V., thank you so much for sharing this detailed tutorial. I'm certain that this will be a godsend to many people looking for this in the future.


Thanks! :D




You're very welcome. I'm pleased that you see the relevance of this topic as it was written for adventurous guitar players who are just beginning to explore MIDI guitar. My intent was to illustrate how the tools available in Logic can minimize any technological barriers to the potential gratification of using this type of controller.


Keyboard players have it easy. Just hook up a cheap, plastic USB keyboard controller and start makin' music. :D Just kidding.


Funny to think that cheap, plastic USB Rock Band/Guitar Hero-type guitar controllers may be the next big thing in the world of MIDI guitar.



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.... I will implement what you just described and, should you wish, I can post my feedback!


Thanks so much,




Greeetings manofra,


Yes, please post your results (what worked) and any questions you have.


What is your set up? Type of pick up (GK, Ghost, RMC)? Converter?

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