NAMM 2013: Robocaster Melds Guitar & Controller

Moldover - the man who first coined the term "controllerism", and who has been at the forefront of the scene ever since - has never been one to follow trends with the performance gear he concocts. His latest project, the Robocaster, continues that trend of innovation and while it will surprise many people, it is one of the most fun Midi controllers I've seen so far at the NAMM Show 2013, melding guitar and controller to make a brand new instrument.

Here's how it works: The audio leaves the guitar like with any normal guitar, but there's also a USB which outputs digital information from the guitar's four arcade buttons, touchstrips, accelerometers, volume control and other input devices. This information controls effects software which processes the guitar's output, allowing the performer to add filters, harmonies, way-wah, pitch modulation and any other controllerism-style audio processing desired just by mapping the controls to the desired Midi virtual instruments in the laptop.

The Robocaster is a true family affair - Moldover's brother was responsible for the firmware - and it's been brought to market with the help of Visionary Instruments. Just like Moldover's brother, I couldn't play it (being left-handed), but the video of Moldover performing on it will give you a sense of how much fun it is.

Did you like the Robocaster? Do you think Midi controllers that push the boundaries like this are exciting? Do you think we'll see more of this kind of stuff? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Imagine what My Bloody Valentine might do with this.

  2. Question… Is this going to allow users to record guitar to MIDI in a DAW? I’ve been playing guitar for 11 years and would love to incorporate MIDI from a guitar… or is there a product out there that you know of that can do this?

    Much thanks!

    • MellonHead says:

      for guitar to midi, look for the roland gk pickup series. in addition to the pickup you will also need a pedal or receiver that takes the 13-pin connection and converts it to midi, of which there are a few to choose.

      on another note, to all you fellow lefties: learn to play right-handed! as a left-handed cellist and guitarist i can tell you that if you start out playing right there is no difference at all, and your instrument options will be greatly increased. everyone in an orchestra plays the same way, there are no backwards pianos. only guitars feature this reversed option.

      • This is different from a Midi output guitar in that it outputs traditional guitar audio, and the Midi element is used to control modifiers.

        And yeah, I should have learned right-handed! I’m stuck with it now though.

  3. It isn’t something new actually, guitar midi controllers (roland) exists for years already…got one somewhere on the attic.

    • If you watch the demo, you will see that this is nothing like the Roland relic in your attic. This guitar doesn’t output midi as note information to trigger samples or play patches. This guitar is a both a regular guitar and a midi controller combined. When you interface this guitar with a program such as guitar rig, you can control the parameters of the effects, turn effects on and off and mix/ blend clean sound with effected sound etc.

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