A video popped up on my radar of the Monome controller being used to strum virtual guitar sounds. It sounded and looked so lovely that I felt compelled to share.
Gridlab Strum is a suite of Maxforlive tools for monome devices. Monome makes these fabulously beautiful, yet understated instrument controllers. There’s the “Grid” which is either an 8 x 16 grid of 128 buttons or 16 x 16 grid of 256. And then there’s the “Arc” which is this row of 4 glowing dials. I often see these controllers combined with modular synthesizers providing sequencing and modulation duties.
Musician and developer Matthew Davidson created Gridlab as part of his Berklee ISEL-P112 Grid Performance Studies. The whole project is available for free on GitHub. You will need to have Ableton Live, Maxforlive 7 and a monome Grid and Arc to bring it all together. A suitable virtual guitar sound would also be a useful addition.
The Grid is then used to dictate the notes being playing, each row forming a string of the guitar. Using the Arc controls you can trigger arpeggios/fingerpicking through to strumming when turned fast enough. Various buttons can change key, patterns, notes, direction and style of picking and the sound is totally convincing.
The monome devices are the probably the most beautiful instrument controllers around and this usage literally makes them shine in the best possible light. They are also premium products, locally made and always in short supply so it may be simpler and cheaper to hire a guitarist for the day. But where’s the fun in that?