Piezo, Midi and Firewire

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Nick31, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. Nick31

    Nick31 Member

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    can somebody sort these things out for me. For instance what does it take on a guitar for each device to work, what they do and so on. I was wonedering is the firewire guitars can do what the piezo and midi do and more or are they their own breed ?
     
  2. Nick31

    Nick31 Member

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  3. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Hey Nick, not really sure what you're asking?

    Basically, you've go three ways to get sound out of a guitar:
    Microphone - which senses acoustic sounds
    Contact Pickup/Mic - which senses physical vibtations (like under-saddle pickups)
    Pickups - which sense disruptions in a magnetic field.

    Standard guitar cables carry analog electrical signals - when the pickup's field gets disrupted, the electrical current flowing to the pickup gets disrupted and the amplifier can "read" and translate that into sound.

    USB and Firewire (and other multi-pin DIN type cables) carry digital information.

    MIDI cables do the same, but are a specific format.

    Check out this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickup_(music)

    and this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIDI_guitar

    (note especially the hexphonic pickup needed for MIDI)

    You might also look up the articles on USB and Firewire while you're there.

    HTH,
    Steve
     
  4. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    firewire-an operating system that works to help run audio interfaces/other products...

    midi-an acronym-Musical Instrument Digital Interface-Google it.

    piezo-a mineral related audio process used in a variety of applications...
     
  5. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

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    Steve gives solid info. I'll try to add to that.

    A midi guitar uses either a hex pickup (like the Roland stuff) or a piezo saddle system. The pickup translates the notes you play into midi note numbers, as well as duration and other "events", which are digitized and sent to a processor. Think of midi as not actually SOUND, but CONTROL INFORMATION for a keyboard, module, soft synth, etc, tell them what note to play, for how long, etc.

    Traditional under-saddle pickups use piezo elements like you typically see in acoustic-electric guitars. The piezos sense the sound and DO carry actual sound info, which is typically fed into a preamp of some kind to boost the signal, plus equalization on some models.

    It can get a little confusing, because piezos can be used for either an acoustic-type sound, or midi control input data, or both. So you could have an electric guitar with piezo bridge, and the info from the piezos could feed BOTH a preamp for acoustic sounds AND a processor for pitch-to-midi conversion. The Parker MiIDI Fly is an example, as well as the Godin LGX-SA.

    In the example above, that same electric guitar couls have regular magnetic pickups IN ADDITION TO the piezo bridge. These would be regular guitar pickups. So for example, the Godin LGX-SA has 3 sounds: acoustic, MIDI, and regular electric.

    I have not owned any firewire guitars. The only one I recall is the Gibson Digital Les Paul. My guess is that they would use a piezo or something similar in the bridge, and that the 2 main differences from MIDI would be what the processor is capable of doing and how it outputs the info (firewire cable). Of course, that doesn't do you any good without application software/hardware on the other end of the cable (computer program, digital amp, or whatever).
     
  6. Nick31

    Nick31 Member

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    thanks for the info, sorry if my post was confusing. I wanted to know how these things work, so there I have it.

    I'm thinking of getting a custom explorer built and I'm looking into what pieces of equipment I could add on to it. I was really interested in the Godin SA, but I'm not crazy about the shape and the look overall. I always liked explorer shaped guitars so I was thinking to add the same kind of tech devices to it.
     

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