bass -> midi

Discussion in 'comp.music.midi' started by Al Stevens, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. Al Stevens

    Al Stevens Guest

    I'm looking for a device similar to those that work with guitars to attach
    to an upright stick bass (fretless, the fingerboard is just like an
    acoustic) to use to capture bass lines into a midi sequence.

    I've tried some of the software thingies, but none that I tried are accurate
    in the range of the bass.

    (It doesn't have to be real time. I am willing to record the bass line into
    a wave file and convert it.)

    Does such a thing exist?

    Al Stevens
    http://www.alstevens.com
  2. In article <3UuWa.5277$On2.345863@twister.tampabay.rr.com>, Al Stevens
    <nobody@home.com> wrote:

    > I'm looking for a device similar to those that work with guitars to attach
    > to an upright stick bass (fretless, the fingerboard is just like an
    > acoustic) to use to capture bass lines into a midi sequence.
    >
    > I've tried some of the software thingies, but none that I tried are accurate
    > in the range of the bass.
    >
    > (It doesn't have to be real time. I am willing to record the bass line into
    > a wave file and convert it.)
    >
    > Does such a thing exist?


    I don't think so, no. Wouldn't it have to be inherently flawed, since
    the pitch with a fretless bass is less definitive than with other
    instruments? Yes. And not only that but pitch shifts while playing
    notes in that the finger holding down the string skootches a bit from
    time to time.

    One of the difficulties with generally accepted midi guitar "pickup"
    the Roland GK2a technology has to do with how a "note" is captured,
    converted to a digital format and output to a Roland device (currently
    the GR33 or previous GR30). In order to "read" the note the mechanism
    has to wait for a full cycle of the pitch. The lower the note the
    longer the time necessary for a full cycle. So the more potential lag
    in "triggering" the midi device at the end of the chain of processes.

    Additionally, as a midi guitarist, I note that the lower the pitch the
    richer the tone is with upper partials and the greater likelihood of
    the pickup doing a false read on a harmonic that has cycled to
    completion faster than the fundamental. If it's loud enough, and the
    note low enough you can get false triggers. This later aspect is one
    reason I avoid open strings--too many clean partials or harmonics.

    Additionally I like to play a midi patch of a bass on the guitar
    providing my own bass lines. When I'm doing a lot of this I play much
    higher on the neck that you might expect, tell the device to transpose
    down yet another octave. In this way I have faster triggering, less
    audible (readable) partials to confuse things, and it's easier all
    around.

    More than you needed to know, undoubtedly, but it also answers the
    question of when an upright bass will get a midi triggering pickup.
    Probably never using the current technology.

    Incidentally, though gk2a savy, RMC pickups do not "read" using
    magnetic response from the strings the way the stock gk2a does.
    Instead it reads vibration right off the string saddle, one for each
    string, using a piezo pickup. I think piezo pickups exist for upright
    bass. There's no reason they shouldn't. Therefore this approach might
    have better possibilities. Neither of the caveats mentioned above,
    though, will be appreciable bettered by a piezo-reading bridge like
    those made by RMC.

    --
    ///---
  3. Al Stevens

    Al Stevens Guest

    "Gerry Scott-Moore" <222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid> wrote in message
    news:010820031026118961%222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid...
    > In article <3UuWa.5277$On2.345863@twister.tampabay.rr.com>, Al Stevens
    > <nobody@home.com> wrote:
    >
    > > I'm looking for a device similar to those that work with guitars to

    attach
    > > to an upright stick bass (fretless, the fingerboard is just like an
    > > acoustic) to use to capture bass lines into a midi sequence.


    >
    > I don't think so, no. Wouldn't it have to be inherently flawed, since
    > the pitch with a fretless bass is less definitive than with other
    > instruments? Yes. And not only that but pitch shifts while playing
    > notes in that the finger holding down the string skootches a bit from
    > time to time.


    Assuming a reasonably accurate player it should be possible. I recorded a
    bass line and read the wave file into the program named Transcribe! The
    program accurately identified the notes I played as being the strongest
    among all the partials. The device, if such there be, would have to use a
    relative volume threshhold or something to eliminate the partials.

    However, I have been unsuccessful finding such a device. If one exists for
    bass guitar I might be tempted to figure a way to mount its pickups on the
    fingerboard and put up with the occasional wrong note.
  4. In article <qjBWa.8877$qg3.448976@twister.tampabay.rr.com>, Al Stevens
    <nobody@home.com> wrote:

    > > > I'm looking for a device similar to those that work with guitars
    > > > to attach to an upright stick bass (fretless, the fingerboard is
    > > > just like an acoustic) to use to capture bass lines into a midi
    > > > sequence.

    >
    > > > I don't think so, no. Wouldn't it have to be inherently flawed,
    > > > since > the pitch with a fretless bass is less definitive than
    > > > with other > instruments? Yes. And not only that but pitch
    > > > shifts while playing > notes in that the finger holding down the
    > > > string skootches a bit from > time to time.

    >
    > Assuming a reasonably accurate player it should be possible.


    Assuming the most accurate player ever born, the instrument still has
    more perceptible distinctions (to a machine) in its pitch relative to
    many other instruments with a less broad playing field. Bass is a
    beautiful instrument and most decent players are very accurate (I
    suppose I should always say that first when discussing bass and
    trombonist). But machine ears can certainly find more "play" in the
    pitch that you might imagine.

    > I recorded a bass line and read the wave file into the program named
    > Transcribe! The program accurately identified the notes I played as
    > being the strongest among all the partials.


    I use Transcribe too.

    How many seconds/milli-seconds did it need to analyze each note? If
    you fed a real-time line into a computer would you be willing to wait
    half a second for it's accurate identification before it came out the
    amp?

    > The device, if such there be, would have to use a relative volume
    > threshhold or something to eliminate the partials.


    That goes without saying. I'm sure the guys at Roland have thought
    hard and long about pitch-to midi conversion. And actually they have
    done an exceptional job. Louder upper partials and lower notes will
    always be more problematic though if one is to analyze the accoustic
    sound.

    > However, I have been unsuccessful finding such a device. If one
    > exists for bass guitar I might be tempted to figure a way to mount
    > its pickups on the fingerboard and put up with the occasional wrong
    > note.


    Let's assume you're a very accurate bassist with good time and good
    pitch. You'll be astounded at how rapidly you get irritated at a
    machine for introducing wrong notes and bad timing into your well-honed
    skills.

    I think it's noteworthy that there is no gk2a incarnation for bass,
    since there are undoubtedly a lot of bass players that would like to
    operate synths. Again, my assumptions about this are the abundance of
    upper partials and the inherent slow cycle. To read a note a complete
    cycle must be read in. The lower the note the slower the cycle.

    Incidentally, wholly off topic, have you checked out these amazing
    pickups made by a Swiss company, pioneered by a bassist, named
    Schertler? I have a string bass buddy that's raving
    about it. And their accoustic pickups have now been picked up by
    Gibson as their stock pickup. Martin is listed on their site too. But
    the string-bass is a somewhat different technology and supposed to be
    fantastic.

    --
    ///---
  5. Al Stevens

    Al Stevens Guest

    "Gerry Scott-Moore" <222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid> wrote in message
    news:010820031659455640%222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid...
    > But machine ears can certainly find more "play" in the
    > pitch that you might imagine.


    > > I recorded a bass line and read the wave file into the program named
    > > Transcribe! The program accurately identified the notes I played as
    > > being the strongest among all the partials.


    I think Transcribe! goes for the closest note. I played the line on my bass,
    and I think I'm fairly accurate. Close enough for jazz. (I can't believe I
    said that.)

    > I use Transcribe too.
    >
    > How many seconds/milli-seconds did it need to analyze each note? If
    > you fed a real-time line into a computer would you be willing to wait
    > half a second for it's accurate identification before it came out the
    > amp?


    Nope. But realtime isn't a requirement. I want to capture the bass line and
    insert it into a sequence for all the reasons one would want a midi rather
    than an audio track. I can do it on the keyboard, of course, but I play bass
    differently on the keyboard.

    > Let's assume you're a very accurate bassist with good time and good
    > pitch. You'll be astounded at how rapidly you get irritated at a
    > machine for introducing wrong notes and bad timing into your well-honed
    > skills.


    I get irritated at live bass players, too, when I'm playing the piano.

    > Incidentally, wholly off topic, have you checked out these amazing
    > pickups made by a Swiss company, pioneered by a bassist, named
    > Schertler? I have a string bass buddy that's raving
    > about it. And their accoustic pickups have now been picked up by
    > Gibson as their stock pickup. Martin is listed on their site too. But
    > the string-bass is a somewhat different technology and supposed to be
    > fantastic.


    Thanks. I'll look into it. I do not like the Fishman pickup I'm using. Of
    course, it would help if I had a decent acoustic bass. I use the Steinberger
    stick more and more. Maybe because it fits in my Corvette?
  6. In article <KxUWa.11250$qg3.555156@twister.tampabay.rr.com>, Al Stevens
    <nobody@home.com> wrote:

    > "Gerry Scott-Moore" <222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid> wrote in message
    > news:010820031659455640%222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid...
    > > But machine ears can certainly find more "play" in the
    > > pitch that you might imagine.

    >
    > > > I recorded a bass line and read the wave file into the program named
    > > > Transcribe! The program accurately identified the notes I played as
    > > > being the strongest among all the partials.

    >
    > I think Transcribe! goes for the closest note. I played the line on my bass,
    > and I think I'm fairly accurate. Close enough for jazz. (I can't believe I
    > said that.)
    >
    > > I use Transcribe too.
    > >
    > > How many seconds/milli-seconds did it need to analyze each note? If
    > > you fed a real-time line into a computer would you be willing to wait
    > > half a second for it's accurate identification before it came out the
    > > amp?

    >
    > Nope. But realtime isn't a requirement. I want to capture the bass line and
    > insert it into a sequence for all the reasons one would want a midi rather
    > than an audio track. I can do it on the keyboard, of course, but I play bass
    > differently on the keyboard.
    >
    > > Let's assume you're a very accurate bassist with good time and good
    > > pitch. You'll be astounded at how rapidly you get irritated at a
    > > machine for introducing wrong notes and bad timing into your well-honed
    > > skills.

    >
    > I get irritated at live bass players, too, when I'm playing the piano.
    >
    > > Incidentally, wholly off topic, have you checked out these amazing
    > > pickups made by a Swiss company, pioneered by a bassist, named
    > > Schertler? I have a string bass buddy that's raving
    > > about it. And their accoustic pickups have now been picked up by
    > > Gibson as their stock pickup. Martin is listed on their site too. But
    > > the string-bass is a somewhat different technology and supposed to be
    > > fantastic.

    >
    > Thanks. I'll look into it. I do not like the Fishman pickup I'm using. Of
    > course, it would help if I had a decent acoustic bass. I use the Steinberger
    > stick more and more. Maybe because it fits in my Corvette?


    Okay then, now we're getting somewhere. If it's a matter of wanting to
    do data entry, and you're not adverse to electric bass, then get a
    simple solid-body guitar and a gk2a pickup and GR30 (used are readily
    available on such as EBay) and you have a data entry system. Unless
    there is some radically different kinesthetic distinction between
    data-entry on a bona-fide ebass and an electric guitar. And I can see
    that there is at some level.

    I play P-bass and because of it's more fundamental difference in size
    and length than an electric guitar I tend to play it quite differently.
    Rather than a lot of guitarists who just play their guitar licks on
    bass, and then, if life was fair, would be beaten up after the gig.

    --
    ///---
  7. Al Stevens

    Al Stevens Guest

    "Gerry Scott-Moore" <222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid> wrote in message
    news:020820031627420230%

    > Okay then, now we're getting somewhere. If it's a matter of wanting to
    > do data entry, and you're not adverse to electric bass, then get a
    > simple solid-body guitar and a gk2a pickup and GR30 (used are readily
    > available on such as EBay) and you have a data entry system. Unless
    > there is some radically different kinesthetic distinction between
    > data-entry on a bona-fide ebass and an electric guitar. And I can see
    > that there is at some level.


    It's that there's a huge difference between an acoustic and an electric
    bass. I can play an electric bass somewhat, but I can't make it swing.
    Everything is in the wrong proximity to my head, I suppose, and the wrong
    half of my brain is at work.

    My electric bass is a Steinberger stick bass, which has the strings and
    fingerboard of an acoustic and is played upright with the peg on the floor
    where it belongs. I can play that bass. I suck on anything where the
    fingerboard is horizontal. (Except piano.)
  8. <SNIPPAGE>

    | I think it's noteworthy that there is no gk2a incarnation for bass,
    | since there are undoubtedly a lot of bass players that would like to
    | operate synths.

    If one may interject at this point:

    * Yamaha B1D Pickup use it with a Yamaha G50 or Axon AX100
    * Axon AIX -103 use as above + some Roland boxes
    * Roland GK2B just launched...not sure of compatibility here

    D.
  9. In article <GW_Wa.11591$qg3.599020@twister.tampabay.rr.com>, Al Stevens
    <nobody@home.com> wrote:

    > "Gerry Scott-Moore" <222ggg@adelphia.net.invalid> wrote in message
    > news:020820031627420230%
    >
    > > Okay then, now we're getting somewhere. If it's a matter of wanting to
    > > do data entry, and you're not adverse to electric bass, then get a
    > > simple solid-body guitar and a gk2a pickup and GR30 (used are readily
    > > available on such as EBay) and you have a data entry system. Unless
    > > there is some radically different kinesthetic distinction between
    > > data-entry on a bona-fide ebass and an electric guitar. And I can see
    > > that there is at some level.

    >
    > It's that there's a huge difference between an acoustic and an electric
    > bass. I can play an electric bass somewhat, but I can't make it swing.
    > Everything is in the wrong proximity to my head, I suppose, and the wrong
    > half of my brain is at work.
    >
    > My electric bass is a Steinberger stick bass, which has the strings and
    > fingerboard of an acoustic and is played upright with the peg on the floor
    > where it belongs. I can play that bass. I suck on anything where the
    > fingerboard is horizontal. (Except piano.)


    Oh, okay, I get it now. when you mentioned Steinberger I thought you
    just meant a headless ebass. I didn't realize you were talking about
    one of those baby-bass affairs.

    --
    ///---
  10. In article <bgiu6b$epk$1@newsg4.svr.pol.co.uk>, NoHeadRequired
    <info@NoHeadRequired.SPAM.tk> wrote:

    > <SNIPPAGE>
    >
    > | I think it's noteworthy that there is no gk2a incarnation for bass,
    > | since there are undoubtedly a lot of bass players that would like to
    > | operate synths.
    >
    > If one may interject at this point:
    >
    > * Yamaha B1D Pickup use it with a Yamaha G50 or Axon AX100
    > * Axon AIX -103 use as above + some Roland boxes


    Thanks for the update. I knew Axxon had some solutions. But bless
    them, and their superior technology, I'm thinking of the future where
    Axxon, Apple and the Democratic Party are all doomed. Don't want to
    unnecessarily put money in soon-to-be orphaned (despite potential
    superiority) technlogies.

    > * Roland GK2B just launched...not sure of compatibility here


    Good to know we can soon all suffer together...

    --
    ///---

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