FAQ: “Is there such a thing as simple and cheap Guitar to MIDI connection? What I have been trying since ages is for some MIDI interface that will connect electric string instruments to notation software & soft synths. I’d prefer some “plug’n play” solution (I came across several on the web, in the past months – from Boss, Yamaha and Tascam, amongst others), over complicated and, generally, wildly expensive stuff like MIDI pickups & sound modules. I don’t have thousands of £££ to spend; what I’m after is an affordable device that does what it says on the tin..”
We say yes you can make a cheap guitar-MIDI connection:
If you want to use your guitar or bass as a MIDI controller, then the cheapest way of doing this is with the Sonuus i2M Musicport. This cheap bit of kit will let you use any musical instrument as a solo MIDI Instrument. And the added bonus is that it will also act as an audio interface – which means you can record your guitar too. If you need to know a bit more about the difference between Audio and MIDI then do check our very popular post on this subject. It uses the keyboard as an example, but the principle is exactly the same.
The video below shows a guitarist turning his guitar into a synth using the older Sonuus G2M. The i2M will work just the same … with the added benefit of audio recording capability too. Currently the i2M is selling for $99.00 which makes it one of the cheapest and most exciting accessories you could buy for your guitar.
All you will need after that is some music making software. Try Reaper (has a long free trial and then very inexpensive), Presonus Studio One if you want to splash out, or Audacity for FREE audio recording (not MIDI)
You Tube is packed with videos of guitarists having fun with MIDI so have a look there. Here is a nice example courtesy of halipino.
Beware – the Sonuus i2M is an incredible piece of kit for the money but it is a MONOPHONIC device. In other words, one note at a time. It doesn’t do chords. That costs a lot more!
There is also a very inexpensive software-only solution, called Jam Origin MIDI Guitar Software which is demonstrated in this video. Unfortunately the guy did NOT close his browser while playing (schoolboy error) hence there are a few clicks, but this could be avoided with more attention to set up.
I’ve just focused my attention on the sub £100 in this article, spending more on a Line 6 Stompbox Modeler would enable you to play multiple notes at once. We’ll have a look at that another time.