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electronic MUSICIAN

Power App – MOTU Digital Performer 8

By MARTY CUTLER | January 28, 2014

Alternate tunings and more for MIDI guitar

OBJECTIVE

Set up your MIDI guitar with Digital Performer’s Multi-Record feature to create alternate tunings, splits, and more.

BACKGROUND

One of the advantages of MIDI guitar is the ability to output MIDI on a separate MIDI channel for each string. That means (for instance) that—even if your MIDI guitar doesn’t support alternate tunings, such as DADGAD or Drop-D—your DAW can help. In this example, we’ll use MOTU Digital Performer 8 (DP8) to create an alternate tuning patch.

Step 1 Set your MIDI guitar Output to Mono mode. For example, Fishman’s TriplePlay requires a reboot procedure for the pickup before selecting Mono mode output to external instruments. Consult your MIDI guitar manual to set this up.
Step 2 In DP8, enable Multi-Record and create six tracks (one for each string).
Step 3 Load any instrument (a multitimbral instrument isn’t necessary, but makes assigning different patches-per-string more efficient), and assign each track to that instrument. (For a multitimbral synth, select a different MIDI output channel.) Step 4 For each track’s MIDI input, assign a consecutive MIDI channel from your MIDI guitar.
Step 5 From DP8’s new Channel Strip, insert a Transpose plug-in and set the transposition to the interval you want for each track. The plug-in will transpose notes from that string on the fly. You can save different tunings as Chunks in a DP8 file and access all of your tunings from one DP8 file. Save this for later recall.
 

TIPS

With this setup, your options multiply exponentially. In addition to creating tunings, you can assign splits with (for instance) bass on the lower two strings, a pad on the 3rd and 4th strings, and a DP Device (a layer of multiple patches from different instruments) on the 2nd and 1st. If you select all six tracks and choose MIDI Editor from the Project menu, you can edit recorded notes from all strings in a single window.

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