Get some guitar feel in your electronic music with the StrumPad MIDI Controller
StrumPad is an immediately impressive MIDI controller that you strum with your fingers. It then manipulates incoming MIDI notes and sends them out in response to the strumming. It looks a little awkward but it seems to work marvellously.
StrumPad MIDI Controller
It’s an Open Source project based upon the Arduino ATMEGA328 microcontroller. It has 6 touch sensors, like strings on a guitar, that react to your “strumming”. Each one is pressure sensitive and senses a strike and a velocity level. It attaches this data to the MIDI stream running through it. So you would normally hook it up between a MIDI controller keyboard and a MIDI sound device or computer. With one hand play the chords you want to strum on the keyboard and with the other strum away to give that cool guitar feel.
As it’s open source you can adjust and tweak the software and hardware as much as you like. For instance, changing MIDI channels from a single to individual channels for each sensor. Other features include the doubling of sounds so that there are always 6 different notes being strummed even if less than 6 notes are being held by jumping up and down octaves.
All the details of how to build and program your own StrumPad are on creator Miro2424’s Hackaday.io webpage.
I’m impressed by how well this appears to work and I wonder if it’s the sort of thing that will start appearing in commercial products. I can see it being incorporated into MIDI controller keyboards like they do with knobs and sliders. It certainly brings in another element to your performance.
- StrumPad Hackaday page.
There was a product in the 80’s that did the very same thing- the Charlie Labs Digitar. I think it’s worth checking out if this interests you/you have a fascination with weird MIDI controllers.