Artiphon First Observations and suggestions
I’m using Ample guitar which I can set to receive the multi-channel 2-7 string articulations.
1.) String Triggers are suprizingly good when used with a pick. I’m using a Blue Chip Pick, made of a non-wearable aerospace material, which I think will be gentle on the trigger rubber since no sharp edges on the pick.
2.) Pretty easy feel to activate fret, and control whether you get a hammer-on or pick sound.
3.) The muting kind of happens naturally.
1.) The strap positions the instrument too much to the right, so string triggers are at an uncomfortable place to pick, and the neck is at an uncomfortable place to fret with the left hand.
2.) Frets are too wide, makes 5 fret stretches hard for 3 note per string scales, or Police style 9th chords. This is especially noticeable since the neck of the instrument is so close to your body. These stretches are easier on a guitar when the neck is further out in space to the left of your body.
3.) Not enough control over sensitivity settings.
1.) Strap: Add another strap attachment point right behind the 12th fret. This would center the body of the Artiphon at your midline which would be more comfortable.
2.) Frets should be way narrower, especially with this short neck that is crammed against your body. They should be mandolin size. Big guys can play mandolin. I think this is a necessity. Some may argue you should scale the frets like a guitar, but I don’t think that is necessary, as that is only a physical necessity of a real guitar and the physics of a vibrating string.
3.) Should have separate sensitivity controls for sensing pressure and velocity scaling to that pressure.
These string triggers are winners, but they could have more function.
4.) String triggers should be able to separately sense an upstroke from a downstroke. This is one of the major tonal articulations that a guitar player uses. With the most common wrist angle of picking mechanic, the release of a downstroke slightly pops the string away from the body of the guitar giving a full round tone. The release of the upstroke slightly pops the string toward the body of the guitar and frets, less low end and thinner sounding. Ask Bryan Sutton about the tonal differences of a downstroke and upstroke.
5.) More parallel columns of string triggers, with 4 columns being ideal. The right most column would be for a palm muted articulation. The other 3 could be the tonal variations of bright to warm that you get on a guitar as you move away from the bridge. But at least have two parallel columns of string triggers to have two different articulations available. I would set one column to be palm muted in this case.
6.) Chord Directives. Let the user define chord mutes for a combination of fretted notes. For example, If I finger a 6 string open G chord, and I don’t fret the 5th string, this is obviously muted… thus in my user chords I would set 3x0033, which means if I hold down the 3rd fret on the 1st, 2nd, and 6th string, I want the 5th string muted and the 3rd and 4th string open. Also, for moveable chord types you could use some sort of variable system. For example a G power chord would be 355xxx, which the user could put in their library, but maybe they want to put in all 6th string power chords with one go. that would be something like n(n+2)(n+2)xxx. These would be useful for moveable jazz chords. I would give the user the option here to either explicitly define all chords, and/or use moveable forms.
I would make a library of user chords, and then have user songs where you can add the chords from the library to the song. For, example in some songs I may want to do x355xx, a C power chord, and in some songs I may want x35500, which is a C maj7 chord. They are fingered the same, so the Artiphon has to pick one of them.
7.) Make the fretboard two-tone, I would make the fret lines a lighter color. In low lighting, it’s really hard to see the fret lines when forming chords.
Thats it for now.