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I had an idea for an effect, and its hurting my brain....
Old 8th May 2012
Gear interested

Thread Starter
I had an idea for an effect, and its hurting my brain....

Hey guys, i had an idea for an effect that doesnt exist, but could be pretty cool. I dont have any idea how to acheive it yet and just the idea is pretty crazy but i want to see what you guys think, so far its just a thought experiment about what such a device would be capable of.

I'm starting a two piece dance punk band, with a friend (she'll be just on drums), and i've been thinking about ways to diversify what can be done on a guitar. I got to thinking about dj's and about what they do with time and pitch manipulation, essentially scratching. I want to emulate this effect on a guitar.

So the idea is to have a midi controller that is a large spin knob. Perhaps something like the monome arc. monome
This is to be used as a temporal controller, and im thinking that i would an open source linux board.
What you then have a recording buffer, so it captures everything you played for the last two minutes, and turning the knob allows you to turn back time essentially, at any speed you want exactly like using a digital turntable, and letting go of it lets it play at real time up to the point in the recording where you moved it back. (so you rewound 10 seconds it would play for 10 seconds).

It gets crazier though, the device would still be recording the stream, so all the stuff you are doing gets recorded at real time, and can be rewound back to. (double pitch bending would start to sound glitchy.... it might sound really cool, or really bad)

I think that it would probably be really difficult to master, even if built properly. and would probably need a temp tap feature, that means you can tab in with the drummer and it gets the beat of the song, and when you rewind it would settle into the closest beat.

So, am i crazy does this make sense? And do you guys have any idea how the **** i can do it. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.
Old 8th May 2012
Ableton and MaxMSP for Live
Old 8th May 2012
you can probably design a patch that does exactly that
Old 8th May 2012
Deal with it.
Xperienced's Avatar

I was imagining myself using the device as you described it and, to be honest, I couldn't get it to do anything cool.

But then I put a few twists on it... Skips the previous beat when going backwards, plays the next backwards three beats in reverse (with some extra reverb), and then jumps back to realtime. I'm not entirely sure that my imagination was realistic there but that did sound a little cool.

If it runs Linux and is open I can help you make it. How much and what with will depend on what direction you want to take it (commercial or one-off project, embedded or just PC with a controller, etc).
Old 8th May 2012
Gear Guru
Are you wanting extreme pitch bending FX? If you scrubbed back and forth several seconds at a time the audio would get very stretched, creating subsonic or ultrasonic stuff ... you can already make disturbing noises like that with a Digitech Whammy pedal ... not sure it's such a good idea in itself ...

There are looping pedals that can sync to midi already that might do what you want to do if you don't need those pitch bending FX ... or use them together ...

I play at venue where a guy sometimes brings a looper pedal and a digitech whammy, and basically it's the only act that's ever got a complaint from management ... it's a bit rough on the ears ...

I could imagine a box that is basically a looper pedal, but with lights to show positions in the bar. Getting it to "know" the tempo, and where the "one" is would be the trick. I would imagine some fuzzy logic software to figure out the tempo based on transient data, and input from pedal switches.

If you got the box to record your stuff, and then end up with flashing lights to indicate positions in the bar, and perhaps lights to indicate which bar ... then you could navigate around by hitting switches. The software could "quantise" your pedal data to choose the nearest transient to navigate to ... you could probably arrange this so that you hit the switch before you need it to change, and it would change at the right point in the file ... rather like auto-arranger keyboards figure it out ...

To be honest, i've considered a lot of stuff like this and come to the conclusion that live looping is a bit of a fad. Giving the illusion of looping is much easier - have arranged backing tracks, but incorporate enough of a show so that it gives the appearance you are building stuff, but it removes the disasterous embarassing moments ...

By that, I mean you can actually play parts against a backing track, but when you need your hands free to move onto the next part, the backing track can use exactly the same sound as you were using, so the transition is not obvious, and you've already established that you can actually play the part, so it's not essential that it be a live loop.

Otherwise, you are restricted to very boring chord choices and lack of variety OR ridiculous pedal stomping activity that WILL let you down at some point.
Old 8th May 2012
Gear Guru
Check out the Korg Kaos Pad ... does similar stuff already. i'm still not convinced.
Old 8th May 2012
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Like i said its mostly a thought experiment at this stage, i dont know how useful it would be, and so i wanted to see what others thought about the idea.

I already have a whammy pedal and it has a different purpose to how i am imagining this. Whammy pedals can get really stupid with how low and high you can get, past a certain point it sounds bad. I also have an ehx freeze pedal that i use to make chord progressions to play electro style riffs over, which is working suprisingly well.
I guess the point would be to try and emulate the musical properties of a turntable.

So what im imagining is the ability to create glitchy temporal effects, with an analouge feel to it. Explaining the recording i was trying to explain how it would work not so much what it would be used for.
Looper pedals are good at being looper pedals, no need to reinvent it.
Also for it to be of much use i think you would have to have the knob on your guitar.

an example for what i would use it for.

Imagine playing a fast repeated riff a few times over, and want to make it a bit glitchy and faster before moving on, you could roll it back a bar a few times and play the first part of rif over and over quickly.

Im downloading the trial for maxlive and ableton and im going to give it a shot prototyping it and ill let you know how it goes.

Xeperienced. Thanks for the offer, im still thinking about it so i'll let you know.
Old 9th May 2012
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Actually you know what, just putting it on a spring loaded expression pedal would probably be better.
So i would map the time shift to the pedal, if it was fully depressed it could reverse time up to a certain point, say 30 seconds. It sounds far more useable.
Old 9th May 2012
Gear Head

Old 9th May 2012
Registered User

it's time to stop talking about this. it can never be done, and will not work, ever. if it was possible, it would have already been on the market, and i would have one. did i mention it's time to stop talking about this?
Old 9th May 2012
Gear nut

You can do this with absolute ease in serato.

Load up a deck with "live mic" track and there ya go, scratch away.
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