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View Full Version : My wickedly technological dream ukulele



kissing
07-31-2011, 06:05 AM
Here's this thought I've been having lately.
It may not interest a lot of traditional folk.. but picture this.

I want a Midi-controlled electric ukulele, 4-stringed, which is programmable so that the strings can play whatever note I want, with many preset tones (like a keyboard synth does), which can be battery or AC powered, that has a standard output jack as electric guitars/ukes do that can plug straight into an amp.

Something that has 4 'string' triggers, so it is played much like a uke is, and the fretboard has no strings, but buttons to press.

Being able to program the strings to any tuning also means that you can have high G, low G, bass guitar, baritone tuning, mandolin tuning, WHATEVER YOU WANT WHENEVER YOU WANT. Being midi, you should be able to customise sounds and effects, and also whether each strings play a monophonic or polyphonic tone.


Upon digging up and down Google in my desperate search for such an instrument, the closest thing I've found thus far is this "Ztar Bass", which is basically a midi controlled bass guitar. It has 4-strings, with all the bells and whistles.

However, what I don't like (other than the price tag) is that it has to use a Midi or USB input/output, and it doesn't seem to have the normal regular 1/4 guitar jack to plug directly into amplifiers. It seems like such a pity though, considering that pretty much all electric keyboards have the regular output jack in addition to the Midi input/outputs...

http://www.starrlabs.com/products/ztars/zbass

What a Ztar can do:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FjYdxAxwaA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FjYdxAxwaA
(though this guy plays it like a keyboard, there are 'strings' underneath which can be strum of picked like on a guitar/uke)


Just thought I'd share some of my madness.
Though all this complicated midi stuff is starting to hurt my head.
Why can't they just make it simple like how I described? A midi controlled ukulele with programmable tunings and a wide selection of tones that has a regular guitar output.........

ItsMrPitchy
07-31-2011, 06:09 AM
I like the sound of a uke like that. Be good for practice especially if it had a headphone jack. Maybe in the future we will see something like this there is always people looking at a new way to take the uke or guitar.

kissing
07-31-2011, 06:12 AM
I wouldn't mind the Misa Kitara if there was a 4-stringed version;;


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SW_36OHNDw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SW_36OHNDw

www.misadigital.com

Maybe they'll be nice and make a Bass guitar version in future (which could easily be used as a uke)

kissing
07-31-2011, 06:14 AM
Or I guess another alternative is installing a Midi pickup on a solid body electric uke.
Anyone have experience with this?

kissing
07-31-2011, 08:58 AM
After hours of mulling over it... the conclusion is to get a keyboard and teach myself how to play keyboard -_-

It's too much fuss and money trying to uke-fy a keyboard -_-

Brad Bordessa
07-31-2011, 09:29 AM
I think you're going to have to have the MIDI jack and cable no matter what. That's what gives you the sounds via your synth pedal.

It's been done (a solidbody with midi pickup/controls - like on a Godin guitar). Kunia Galdeira, a killer local player, has one. I can't remember who he said made it, but it was prototype. He was using an old roland synth pedal to get piano and sax sounds. Kunia is a super tasteful player and he changed his playing style to match whatever sound he was using. Here it is: http://youtu.be/GsCJuEUfznU. Not sure if there is a video that shows it in action.