FAQ: “Is there such a thing as a simple Guitar to MID connector? 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: it is possible to purchase a guitar-MIDI converter or a bass-MIDI converter and a USB interface for less than £100. If all you want is a monphonic device that will transcribe the notes you play into performance data then the Sonuus B2M Universal BASS to MIDI Converter (for bass guitar) and the Sonuus G2M Guitar to MIDI Converter (for electric guitar) will do the job. Simply connect the guitar to the Sonus. The the only other thing you need is a USB-MIDI interface so you can then connect it to your computer (for using in software) or a hardware MIDI module. You could also use it on an iPad or iPhone with a suitably compatible MIDI interface – partner it with theIK Multimedia iRig MIDI Interface . You then need some kind of MIDI software with virtual instruments to get any sound – at the budget end try Mixcraft (PC) or Garageband (Mac/iPad). With a bit more to spend look at the Cakewalk range. (These are uncomplicated and easy to get started with).
Sonuus also make the i2M musicport. This has built-in MIDI interface and is a direct way of connecting up your guitar to your computer via USB without having to purchase an additional interface. It also acts as a recording interface too, so you can use your guitar as a MIDI controller and get a good quality recording of it.
You Tube is packed with videos of guitarists having fun with MIDI so have a look there. There is a nice example here courtesy of halipino.
Beware – the Sonuus 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 Roland or Line 6 device would enable you to play multiple notes at once. We’ll have a look at that another time.