Why use more than one Channel?


@Derek 'forgot to give credit to Robb_Fesig and others who mentioned the same-note-on-different-strings reason.

So Derek, how do you like your Roland GR55 and GK3 hex pickup setup? Years ago – decades ago – a friend bought one of the first versions of Roland’s pickups. I recall him having a lot of “sensitivity” issues. Do you use yours professionally?


Hey Ron, From what I know of the guitar synthisizer the original Roland design had 6 synthesizers in the floor box, one for each string. Roland converted each strings pitch and velocity into a MIDI note/velocity message and then used the MIDI system to address and trigger each synth for each string using MIDI channelizing. There was a list of reasons for the decision, the first being that in order to emulate the guitar action you needed separate synths because some notes would be stretched while others were not. If you did this (stretching one string while striking another string unstretched) on a single channel all notes on that channel would be stretched. The stretched notes generate pitch bend data for each string/tone generator (synth). Each midi channel has only one pitch bend message stream so you need to use more channels to do independent string processing. The second reason Roland chose this way was the MIDI was ready to port to other external multi-timbral synths and later on to vstis in a host like C3 or Mainstage. As Derek pointed out many configurations are available this way, from simple to very complex. The new Fender product shown in the video is a way different beast more akin to a multi tier button accordion in that the neck has the note triggers built in the frets. I hate the way they do pitch bend but agree that some latency is removed by removing pitch to MIDI conversion.



Thank you for the excellent description of the Roland multi-synth system, dave_dore. Santana does a lot of bending one string while keeping its neighbor unbent. I’m sure there are other scenarios – maybe brass – where multiple channels are a necessity, or at least a nice-to-have feature.

I’m out to build a guitar that looks like a guitar, and is picked or strummed like a guitar, but it is really a midi code generator. Its output will be limited to start and stop commands, no bends, but with hammer ons and hammer offs. The code is already 13 pages long – albeit that is a bit inflated due to the 6x nature of a set of guitar strings. Additionally, due to the limited number of microprocessor ports and thus the limited number of notes, it will not have the issue of the same note existing on more than one string. So I’m okay with just one channel. But when I first saw the reference to multiple channels, I thought maybe this was something that was going to sink my project. So far, it looks like I’m okay.


I read this regarding Channels and decided it is worth the effort to use one channel per string. It would be like building the perfect electric car in anticipation of the perfect energy source. So some day I’ll be able to add sensors on all the frets for all the strings (currently I’m limited to 32 sensors). Microprocessors will continue to get faster and to add more ports or ways to bring more signals in. Here’s the link to the article (the TV example was a great help):
BTW, there’s an interesting history behind our QWERTY keyboards. They were designed to be the worst, so that people would type slowly to keep the levers with the letters from getting tangled up. Now we know that it’s better to design with the future in mind.


@Corky is the little sax box made by Maestro? I came so close to buying one for my clarinet “back in the day”. But, no dough. I saw The Carpenters and their clarinet/sax player had one. I remember it being a few analog filters and you could get a pretty good imitation of several other woodwind instruments. There was one on display at the music store where I took sax lessons. I had great lust in my heart for it. :grin: It’d probably sound pretty cheezy now.


Yes…it is!

It has tabs for amp, fuzz tone, bass sax, tuba, muted horn, oboe, clarinet, etc. I haven’t tried it for quite a long time, but I was able to run a guitar thru it 45 yrs ago. I played alto sax thru it, and if you played it with a solid tone, it worked very well. No soft passages tho, because the effect wouldn’t kick in. It’s amazing some of the crap I’ve managed to save (or hoard).



In good condition too!


Yes it is! Check out this jewel from the 1960s. Very heavy…needs a little clean up tho.

AND…another thread I’ve stolen.


Very cool Corky, old British mildew in the flesh . Don’t fret on the thread you had plenty of help :rofl:


Just added that gem to our playlist!


Our bass player Steve found a Univox Super-Fuzz pedal he forgot he ever had in his mom’s closet a couple years ago, clean and stock, just needed a fresh battery. Thing is apparently worth some serious dough these days! This could be a new thread…


A Cantabile Ebay type of thing, lol.


We learn from everywhere and everyone; no problems “stealing” a thread. Interesting gadgets. I should sell some of my old stuff, either that or write a program to tell me which toy I should play with today.

People really “dig” Matchstick Men but I think it is about the singer’s girl cheating on him. Maybe it’s Anger Management Therapy. LOL


Using a Clarinet:

Using a Guitar:


That’s nuckin’ futz! It really does make his clarinet sound like a fat bari sax. It seems to just be octave dividers and some fuzz but next time I record a wind player I’m going to mess around with that. On guitar it just sounds like an octaver stomp box.


Back in 74, I would have never thought there was ever a reason to have a guitar sound like a bass and guitar at the same time. To me, a few good sounds, but mostly unusable. How time changes everything.

There’s another video of a guy playing sax thru it, and the clarinet sound was dead on.

I’ve seen these units selling as high as $1600.00. Thinking about putting it online. Otherwise, it becomes a museum piece, or trash dump filler after I’m gone.


Hi, yes I like it. The guitar modelling is better than my Variax 500 as well.

I went this route as I am a south paw player and have gotten fed up of waiting for Line 6 to ever do a leftie version of a JTV.

my Variax 500 is great but getting old, so I was worried about it as a main guitar.

So for my 50th birthday (mid life crisis number 5!) i purchased a Mexican strat in Black, left handed, and fitted the GK3 to it. It plays much nicer than the Variax, and certainly the acoustic modelling is better.

For straight guitar sounds I send the modelled GR55 output straight into a Line 6 Helix, as the flexiobility of processing is better than the GR55, but you can then have a lot of fun with the GR55 guitar synthesis, but I must confess I need to experiment more with that, but am usually time poor, so have been neglecting guitars for keyboards of late…


How do I assign certain notes to one channel, and other notes to another? I am reading where I am supposed to start Cantabile, click on an instrument’s Name/Source in a song, and click the 3 dash stack at the top right on its resultant plugin editor (done it), then I choose Create Parameter Binding and I get a Learn Binding screen but don’t know what to do next. Maybe View>Background Rack would be a better choice, but even there I don’t know what to do next.

I’m running a paid version of Cantabile Solo version 3.0 build 3543 (x64) 23 May 2018 10:52 AM
Any help would be greatly appreciated. The goal is to set certain keys to one channel, other keys to another, and so on. Eventually there will be instances where a note may exist on more than one channel. My plugin editor is Grace Software.


You use MIDI filters or multiple input routes. Are you talking about a range of notes or random groups of notes you want to channelize?


@dave_dore Let’s assume I have a 24 fret guitar for simplicity. I want to assign notes E2 thru E4 on the 6th string to channel 6; A2 thru A4 on the 5th string to channel 5, and so on (for D, G, B, E). There is an overlap starting at the 6th string’s 5th fret (the A4 there is the same note as the A4 on the open 5th string) – but it should not be the exact instance of that note (i.e., the two could play out of phase). So how is that done? Similar overlaps exist on all but String 1. All channels will play through the same output. .