Wiimote Project

Wiimote Projects => Project Videos => Other Projects => Topic started by: hybritar on July 16, 2012, 09:14:59 PM

Title: Wiimote MIDI controller keytar
Post by: hybritar on July 16, 2012, 09:14:59 PM

I'm thinking of using a Wiimote for my project which is a sort of keytar.  It's very difficult to explain what's this exactly is, but basically I am trying to create a fretboard that emulates a bass guitar fretboard to the extent that you can play one note at a time, and send a midi signal. So I'm wondering if anyone has made a fretboard utilizing Wiimote hacknology.
If a more specific question would work, what I'm thinking is in the lines of creating a grid of IR LED's that would indicate the fret position. More simply put, a row of IR LED's to indicate the fret position, and a row IR LED's to indicate the string position, in the form of ROWS and columns / Strings / Frets.  I don't need a full 22 frets, although that would be nice, I mainly need about 8 to 15 frets the more the better, and I'm not restricted to 4 strings, I could do 6 strings, it's just that I'm not playing chords, or much in the way of polyphony (maybe two or three notes). Currently I'm trying a USB keyboard hack, and I've tested the connections and have a complicated scenario.

The advantages of the Wiimote method that I can see is that this would be remote controlled, and hopefully I will not have to resort to a nightmarish segmented fret approach used on MIDI guitars.  I'm figuring that if I provide the IR LED's to indicate the fret, and string positions, I can send that to a software app (MAX/MSP, or C#) where the software decides what notes to send to the software synth. This obviously is not about strumming chords, it would simply be a way to input notes using the standard fingering positions. I play guitar, and I also play keyboards. But I would like to try playing the bass lines with the left hand on a fretboard which comes more naturally while playing melody and chords with the right hand on a keyboard.
Sort of like a tap instrument, but not fully polyphonic (although that would be nice, the more the better right?)
Title: Re: Wiimote MIDI controller keytar
Post by: hybritar on July 17, 2012, 05:24:38 PM
I have blogged about this briefly on my website, where there is a diagram of the row, and colum LED idea:


Here are some links to get you familiar with MIDI guitars.
MIDI is the musical instrument digital inface. It is a protocol for sending musical notes to a synthesizer.
This enables the hardware for generating tones to be seperate from the hardware that interfaces with the player.
This is commonly called a MIDI controller.
Using a segmented fret design. Conventional guitars have a single fret. Frets conduct electricity, so the string in conjunction with the fret can be used as a switch instead of using buttons.

If you look at the neck of the guitar you will see strings and frets crossing the strings. It forms a grid.


Usually with a guitar, in order to initiate the sound the guitar strings are strummed or picked with a plectrum.
Some players, most notably Eddie Van Halen have developed a technique of "tapping" the frets and strings on the neck to initiate the sound without picking.  If this was done electrically, using the strings, and frets in conjunction as a switching mechanism, then a tapping method could be used to initiate the notes.
Or the position of the finger on the fretboard could be sensed by closing a circuit when the string is pressed against the fret.

My idea is to translate this grid of the fretboard into a grid of IR LED' lights that the Wiimote, interprets as mouse pointing, or clicking in music software that is designed for this purpose.

I see two ways of presenting the grid.
One way is to have an IR LED representing each position on the fretboard grid. Representing each place where a string crosses a fret. Another way is to have a row of LED's representing the frets, and a row of LED's representing the strings.
When a string makes contact with a fret, the corresponding fret, and string LED is lit.