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LinnStrument....gimmick or game changer?
Old 20th April 2016
  #31
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🎧 10 years
I would be pretty tempted if a somewhat smaller incarnation shows up at a lesser price point...
Old 20th April 2016 | Show parent
  #32
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
LinnStrument simultaneous pitch bends

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
Wow! Roger Linn!

Welcome to Gearslutz!

I have a question - have you you figured any way to bend notes independently and with a reasonable degree of precision? (This would make things possible like Chuck Berry riffs where he hits a double stop on a couple of strings and bends the lower one up while keeping the upper the same. It's a different sound than sliding from one note to another.) This seems to be something that most synth controllers that don't actually use pitch to CV or MIDI conversion on a real guitar (like the Roland guitar synths) don't seem to able to get. (Something that would be even cooler but much harder to accomplish would be a way to bend one note up and another down, both to exact pitch, like a pedal steel...)
Hi John,

Sorry-- I only check Gearslutz occasionally and just noticed your question. Yes, LinnStrument permits not only independent and simultaneous per-note pitch bends but also independent control for the other 2 dimensions as well: pressure and Y-axis (forward/backward movement). It does this using a new MIDI standard called MPE for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression. MPE is supported by us, Roli, Continuum, as well as by about 25 major MIDI sound generators listed on this page:

LS MPE Synths

On the LinnStrument Product page on my site, I've recently posted a video demonstrating exactly the type of independent bends you're speaking of:

Roger Linn Design, click the big picture of LinnStrument.

MPE works in a very simple way: each note (including all 3 dimensions of continuous movement) is sent on its own MIDI channel, rotating through a defined block of channels. There's more information about MPE on my site on this page:

MPE

By the way, all of the above information is available on my site from one of two pages:

LinnStrument Product page: click Products menu > LinnStrument, or

LinnStrument Support page: click Support menu > LinnStrument.

Thanks for your interest!

P.S. I used to live in Tulsa in the mid-70s when I played guitar with Leon Russel, who lived near 21st and Peoria.
Old 21st April 2016
  #33
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Holy crap I want this thing! It's so much easier for me as a bassist than composing on a keyboard. I'm simply not a keys player, but Im decent at faking it. This would really change it up for me.
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #34
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveGTR ➑️
Hi Roger

Thank you for posting and providing additional information, I am a big admirer of your work going back to the first drum machine and Linn 9000!

How would you describe learning curve for a skilled guitarist with some keyboard skills? I am truly inspired by the design but concerned about the time it would take to become fluent and expressive. And that being no reflection on the design but more on the limits of my own free time :-)
It's surprisingly easy to transfer skills from guitar, including vibratos and pitch slides. You can tune it like a guitar if you like, but most people use the default all-fourths tuning because it's isomorphic, so a given chord or scale has the same fingering for all 12 musical keys, regardless of where on the playing surface you play it. Also, the note pads are spaced 19mm center-to-center, the same spacing as the average human hand, so it feels very natural. And unlike a guitar neck's fixed dots, LinnStrument's note lights show you where the naturals are (or any scale you wish), so you can simply play the lights. Here's a new introduction video that gives a nice overview:

Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #35
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AuldLangSine's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Imagine instead of drum pads if a new Akai MPC had a few rows of this technology built in to trigger sounds with more expression.
Old 21st April 2016
  #36
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
As far as lead playing, yes...it's totally natural with the right hand as far as sliding and vibrato, and if you do any right hand tapping on guitar, you'll be right at home.

As far as left hand chords, I was surprised how easily I adapted to having my hand reversed. My fingers fall naturally into open G and C type chord shapes as a starting point, and you can adjust or add notes from there.

I've been playing guitar since the 80's, and I guess you'd call me a shredder type player, and I haven't touched a guitar since I received the Linnstrument, and I am sitting here at work staring at the clock, waiting to go home and get back in the studio to play. I haven't felt like that in years! Just such a breath of fresh air and a huge creative stimulus.

Roger Linn has done it again!
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #37
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuldLangSine ➑️
Imagine instead of drum pads if a new Akai MPC had a few rows of this technology built in to trigger sounds with more expression.
Unfortunately I would not collaborate with the current Akai company. When the current owner Jack O'Donnell bought Akai from the former Japanese company in the late 90s, he immediately stopped paying my legal royalty payments, refused my calls and had his lawyer send me threatening letters to try to scare me off. It took me four years to develop LinnStrument's expressive sensing technology and I have a patent pending on it. I might license it to others, but certainly never to Akai.
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #38
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AuldLangSine's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I am very sorry to hear that. O'Donnell sounds like a genuine thug.

I'd love to see you license this to be in a product like an MPC that has a built in sequencer. (We'll forget Akai!)

The brains of my set up is an MPC4000. I have never used the drum pads even once in all the years I've had it. I use a connected keyboard, which now seems archaic compared to what you have developed.

If I could buy an MPC type sequencer that had some rows of your LinnStrument built in, to me, that's an absolute game changer.

I'd still have a keyboard connected because I plays keys, but for sequencing solo instruments I'd use the LinnStrument section to get more expression from the sampled instruments. Maybe sequencing drums would work that way for me, too.
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #39
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AuldLangSine's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
2b

Last edited by AuldLangSine; 2nd July 2016 at 10:18 PM..
Old 21st April 2016 | Show parent
  #40
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
As far as lead playing, yes...it's totally natural with the right hand as far as sliding and vibrato, and if you do any right hand tapping on guitar, you'll be right at home.

As far as left hand chords, I was surprised how easily I adapted to having my hand reversed. My fingers fall naturally into open G and C type chord shapes as a starting point, and you can adjust or add notes from there.

I've been playing guitar since the 80's, and I guess you'd call me a shredder type player, and I haven't touched a guitar since I received the Linnstrument, and I am sitting here at work staring at the clock, waiting to go home and get back in the studio to play. I haven't felt like that in years! Just such a breath of fresh air and a huge creative stimulus.

Roger Linn has done it again!
Very cool to read this. I am selling gear to buy one of these. It believe is a must have for my studio.
Old 22nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger_Linn ➑️
It's surprisingly easy to transfer skills from guitar, including vibratos and pitch slides. You can tune it like a guitar if you like, but most people use the default all-fourths tuning because it's isomorphic, so a given chord or scale has the same fingering for all 12 musical keys, regardless of where on the playing surface you play it. Also, the note pads are spaced 19mm center-to-center, the same spacing as the average human hand, so it feels very natural. And unlike a guitar neck's fixed dots, LinnStrument's note lights show you where the naturals are (or any scale you wish), so you can simply play the lights. Here's a new introduction video that gives a nice overview:

Thank you Roger for the personal reply, it looks simply fantastic!
Old 22nd April 2016
  #42
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
For the who have one - are you doing all your synth and drum machine playing with it? I'd like a solution I can use for everything. It would be a lot easier for me to compose piano/organ.etc parts with a controller like this, since I already know the scales on guitar. I really like how expressive you can get with horn samples too..that is truly impressive. But I'd like to save space and retire my Keyboard controller if possible as well.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #43
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LewisWu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I haven't been using the keyboard portion of my keyboard, since i received mine..
Old 22nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #44
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
For the who have one - are you doing all your synth and drum machine playing with it? I'd like a solution I can use for everything.
Haven't gotten too deep into it yet, but I bought a MIDI Solutions Quadra Through 1x4 MIDI Splitter, and am able to hook the LinnStrument to 3 synths, plus a feed to the DAW. I can assign single or multiple rows by channel to each synth.

That was really my main goal...to be able to control multiple external synths from a single, familiar controller.

There is a lot of depth to the Linnstrument as far as midi routing. I believe you can control up to 16 different external instruments in split mode with each of 16 rows sending a different channel.
Old 22nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #45
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
Haven't gotten too deep into it yet, but I bought a MIDI Solutions Quadra Through 1x4 MIDI Splitter, and am able to hook the LinnStrument to 3 synths, plus a feed to the DAW. I can assign single or multiple rows by channel to each synth.

That was really my main goal...to be able to control multiple external synths from a single, familiar controller.

There is a lot of depth to the Linnstrument as far as midi routing. I believe you can control up to 16 different external instruments in split mode with each of 16 rows sending a different channel.
Ok nice. Just seeing if people are missing the lack of a traditional keyboard for playing keyboard parts..but it sounds like that is not the case.
Old 23rd April 2016 | Show parent
  #46
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
Ok nice. Just seeing if people are missing the lack of a traditional keyboard for playing keyboard parts..but it sounds like that is not the case.
While I'm mainly a guitar player, I have been futzing with keys for just as long. There are some things I can do on keys that would be harder to do on the LinnStrument. Mainly quick, percussive chord changes. While I wouldn't abandon my MIDI keyboard controller entirely, I believe it will become secondary to the LinnStrument. I could definitely see pounding out left hand chords on the keys, while playing lead lines on the Linn, for example.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #47
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
This seems interesting to me as a guitarist who has tried many guitar synths over the years, but never really found them to be adequate for PCM sample sounds (Roland and EHX have made great strides w/ non-MIDI synth emulation).

Make sure you watch at the 8:50 mark where he demos "strum mode".

It seems like a very expressive input device that is geared towards "guitar wired" brains like mine and I'm sure many here. Think it will catch on? I'd love to try one, but at $1500, it's pretty steep for just a controller.


It's a bit too rich for my blood, but I think it's awesome and a good step in the right direction. I've done all the Roland style GK stuff from the 80s on, and frankly none of them seem to have the nuance to do subtle expressive techniques like the Linnstrument.

I think though, that the Roli Rise might be a better choice for me. I had a Push for a while. I got it as a poor man's Linnstrument, and frankly I just had too hard a time wrapping my head around a different layout. In the end my sh!tty mashing about on a standard keyboard with aftertouch is good enough for my purposes. If Linn did a guitar-esque style controller based on this touch tech... Now I'm interested. I bought a Starrlabs controller once and it was more money than the Linnstrument and it was a hunk of crap.
Old 25th April 2016 | Show parent
  #48
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
Ok nice. Just seeing if people are missing the lack of a traditional keyboard for playing keyboard parts..but it sounds like that is not the case.
The piano vs. stringed-instrument layout debate is an interesting one to me. Here's a page on my site in which I discuss the inherent problems of the piano layout, and why I used the stringed-instrument layout for LinnStrument:

Piano problems

Also, here's a video by LinnStrumentalist Jonathan Stein demonstrating 2-handed jazz play:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjcVcrl7XgU
Old 25th April 2016
  #49
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with many of Roger's points regarding the grid layout versus the piano layout, especially with the current implementations of mpe controllers in a keyboard lacking one of the things I see as an advantage of keyboard-type controllers, which is the travel that a keyboard has. It does feel satisfying Pressing a key when it moves downward. That said, im almost certainly going to get the linnstrument in a few months when I have the money instead of the Roli I was also considering, as I believe the benefits outlined by mr. linn make the linnstrument a superior controller.
Old 25th April 2016 | Show parent
  #50
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BobTheDog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto ➑️
While I'm mainly a guitar player, I have been futzing with keys for just as long. There are some things I can do on keys that would be harder to do on the LinnStrument. Mainly quick, percussive chord changes. While I wouldn't abandon my MIDI keyboard controller entirely, I believe it will become secondary to the LinnStrument. I could definitely see pounding out left hand chords on the keys, while playing lead lines on the Linn, for example.
I have to agree with this, for a lead and bass machine the linnstrument shines for me, absolutely amazing.

For chords (even being a terrible keys player) I still prefer a keyboard (or better still a guitar).

I keep practising with the Linnstrument with chords and I am getting better so maybe after a time this will get better but I still have a problem with consistent velocity for notes in chords, for arpeggios the linnstrument shines though.

Don't get me wrong, the Linnstrument is the best overall controller I have but for playing chords I'm not quite there, I prefer a graded hammer weighted keyboard.
Old 28th April 2016
  #51
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Recently I've come to the realization that I tend to dislike the "all in one," "do it all" type of offerings in favor of multiple devices with their own unique properties. If somebody came out with the best all in one instrument which was the perfect combination of all musical approaches I'd hate it. I like that when I'm at a piano, the very nature of all of it's idiosyncrasies influences me to play particular things in a particular way. I also like that if I'm in front of something like a Linnstrument/Push/Continuum/Roli etc. it influences me to play completely different things in a completely different way. For me, I'm not having a constant competition for the best or most useful instrument, rather I seem to be building a collection of things that allow me to approach making music in a number of different ways, each unique in some way to the other. That's why I'm really excited about things like Linnstrument and other alternative controllers, and thankful for the folks who help bring them to fruition. I hope to own one someday.
Old 28th April 2016
  #52
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I found an iPad app called MusixPro that has a Linnstrument layout. It's not going to be nearly as complete since it doesn't have the touch that really makes the Linnstrument so expressive, nor all the options, like strum..the arp..etc. but I wanted to at least get the general concept and idea.

I think it's a fantastic layout, even for chords. For me, it is very easy to see the chord shapes and create more complex arrangements with tensions or inversions.I am so used to seeing notes and scales this way that I was able to play much more sophisticated progressions within a few minutes, as compared to a keyboard, which I am much more slow and basic on.
Old 28th April 2016
  #53
Gear Guru
I'm not to keen to learn a new platform myself. I'm pretty happy with what I have now.

I've been using the Axon system since 1999. I have the last Terratec version, it's excellent.

Stumming works great, no gliching. So do hammer-on's and other player tricks. Even ZZ Top style harmonic thumb picking works. It's faster than I can play, I show folks by playing F on high E and then sliding the finger up the fingerboard as fast as I can. Every note fires perfectly.

Pick zone detection allows me to change patches depending on where I pick the note. The 3 zones follow the strat 3 pickup spacing, easy to do. String splits, fret splits, you can set up a dozen of them, if you can keep track of all of that.

The detectors fire off 1/2 waveforms for less latency. I can only sort of feel it on the lowest notes. I play pretty fast and it keeps up.

I use a Fernandez "Sustainer" Dragonfly guitar as the controller. Set on fundamental mode, it avoids the one problem all guitar midi controllers have, the dreaded "midi note off" problem when the string decays.

With that rig I can hold a full Hammond chord for hours. Live it works so well I never get any attention, the keyboard player gets all the applause for my synth solos.
Old 29th April 2016 | Show parent
  #54
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
I'm not to keen to learn a new platform myself. I'm pretty happy with what I have now.

I've been using the Axon system since 1999. I have the last Terratec version, it's excellent.

Stumming works great, no gliching. So do hammer-on's and other player tricks. Even ZZ Top style harmonic thumb picking works. It's faster than I can play, I show folks by playing F on high E and then sliding the finger up the fingerboard as fast as I can. Every note fires perfectly.

Pick zone detection allows me to change patches depending on where I pick the note. The 3 zones follow the strat 3 pickup spacing, easy to do. String splits, fret splits, you can set up a dozen of them, if you can keep track of all of that.

The detectors fire off 1/2 waveforms for less latency. I can only sort of feel it on the lowest notes. I play pretty fast and it keeps up.

I use a Fernandez "Sustainer" Dragonfly guitar as the controller. Set on fundamental mode, it avoids the one problem all guitar midi controllers have, the dreaded "midi note off" problem when the string decays.

With that rig I can hold a full Hammond chord for hours. Live it works so well I never get any attention, the keyboard player gets all the applause for my synth solos.
Very clever solution to the sustain problem. I applaud you, sir. I do with there were a newer implementation of guitar to midi, though. At any rate, In my case, I enjoy learning different instruments as I feel each of them improves my musicianship. I suppose I don't play most of them as technically proficient as someone who focused on one, but it does improve musicality, and I enjoy the process of learning. I guess the main pitfall is sometimes I spend more time learning than writing, so it also has its pitfalls. Lol.
Old 5th May 2016 | Show parent
  #55
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deng's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thought I'd post this from a newsletter I received from Elektron yesterday.

Link

Been getting into HW synths machines of late and likely to pick up the keyboard version of the A4 he is using.
The LinnStrument will be of interest to me further down the track..... guess you’ll want/need at least an 8 voicer to realise its potential…..LOL!!
Old 5th May 2016
  #56
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's a quick improv I did using a bass and sax sample from Logic's ESX24 sampler. I'm still working on getting the occasional glitches out of my playing...those occur when my finger accidentally grazes a note on an adjacent row.

http://www.joeporto.com/gs/sax1.mp3
Old 26th September 2016 | Show parent
  #57
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
In a rage of GAS, only half-way skimming thru the first page of this thread, I bought a Linnstrument.

I am not familiar with the stringed instruments layout, what would be the smart and quick way for me to learn to play the Linnstrument?
Old 26th September 2016
  #58
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Not that I've ever played a Linnstrument, but as with any instrument, you can't go wrong starting with scales (major, minor, chromatic), block chord shapes, patterns, etc. Once you have a feel for those shapes, you can take it in whatever direction you want.
Old 26th September 2016 | Show parent
  #59
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
LinnStrument chord and scale shapes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siem ➑️
In a rage of GAS, only half-way skimming thru the first page of this thread, I bought a Linnstrument.

I am not familiar with the stringed instruments layout, what would be the smart and quick way for me to learn to play the Linnstrument?
Hi Siem--
Thank you for buying a LinnStrument. There's a helpful page on my site called "Chord & Scale Shapes", accessed from the LinnStrument Support page. It tells you where common chords and scales are located on the LinnStrument fingerboard. If it helps, imagine an 8-string bass laying flat on a table and tapping the string to play notes. At the bottom of the chord and scale shapes page is a link to another helpful web article on this topic.
Old 27th September 2016 | Show parent
  #60
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donsolo's Avatar
I've thought a lot about this since getting hip to what ROLI is doing with their Rise controller. I think this is the elegant solution for string players where the Roli stuff is the elegant solution for keyboard players.

I think for me, as a guitarist primarily, the linnstrument is going to translate my skills better, and my question as to what the surface feels like was quickly addressed (thank you again).

I don't think 1499 is that bad of a price. It's comparable to an american-made guitar or a mid-level horn or low grade pedal steel.

I'd like to see Stanley Jordan do something with it. I wonder how we can get one into his hands?
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