Various problems


#1

Hi. Firstly I love the idea of the I1. That love hasn’t so far translated to using it. Fingerpicking is nigh on impossible for me, with notes missed, notes cut off early, notes not correctly recognised. barre chords practically impossible to achieve. It’s great for strumming chords (so long as I don’t have to barre), but for single note stuff, it’s just not up to it. Am I doing something wrong?

Then comes editing. I use Windows, so there is the problem of having to use the Artiphon program separately from the testing program. It’s such a pain. I’ve read that it’s possible to use loopbe or loopMidi to get around this. I’ve tried both, and cannot for the life of me work out how to do it. I currently have LoopMidi installed, but there is no option in the Artiphon program to pick where the midi comes from.

Finally the Android App. When I bought the I1, I thought the release of the app was imminent. This seems not to be the case. It’s over a year since the last person asked about the app, and you said then you were ironing out bugs and making it more compatible with more devices. Is there a release date for it yet?


#2

Hi David,

Luke from Artiphon here! The INSTRUMENT 1 is certainly its own thing and has a bit of an adjustment period similar to any other instrument, however there are some options that may result in better playing experience.

I might suggest playing around the INSTRUMENT 1’s various sensitivity settings (Method, Hammer-On, and Aftertouch) in the free Artiphon iOS app or our INSTRUMENT 1 Editor program for Mac and Windows, in order to dial in the instrument to your preferred sensitivity level. Specifically, lowering the Method sensitivity may help prevent accidental notes.

You may also find that a different strumming/picking method helps to better articulate individual notes. Try picking purely side to side with little to no downward/inward force to see if this registers more consistently.

Could you explain in more detail what you mean by picking where the MIDI comes from in the INSTRUMENT 1 Editor program? I myself am unfamiliar with LoopMIDI and Loopbe, though there are a number of MIDI whizzes here in the office who I’m sure could answer some specific questions.

And the Artiphon companion app is currently only available for iOS devices, as Android development is purely experiment and is not officially supported at this time by Artiphon software and hardware. Some other users on the forum have had success using their INSTRUMENT 1s with such Android apps as ThumbJam and Audio Evolution Mobile. For more information, please refer to this thread: Artiphone successfully working on Android (Galaxy Note 4 with Marshmallow OS).

Drop us a line any time, as we’re always happy to chat. Thanks!

– Luke


#3

I’d love to ‘play around’ with I1’s various sensitivity settings, but it just isn’t possible in windows, is it. You can make changes to your sensitivity settings, quit the program, open the sound production program and test, close it again, go back to the settings and change the settings again, etc. I think you’d agree that that saps any spontaneity out of the procedure! Maybe just me.

I’ve already changed my picking style, so I don’t collide with the next ‘string’, and do try to avoid downward/inward force. It has helped a bit.

I’d read somewhere (I’m afraid I forget where) that using loopBe or LoopMidi could allow you to use I1’s settings program and a sound production program at the same time, using virtual midi ports. As I’ve said, I never managed to work out how that works.

On Android, I do use Walk Band (I couldn’t find Thumbjam on the store), and that works ok, but once again doesn’t allow you to make changes to I1’s settings that the companion app would.

Thanks so much for replying, I appreciate it! I’ll continue trying the I1, as I said I love the concept, maybe one day I’ll love the object too.


#4

I think ThumbJam on Android needs a Samsung device with Soundcamp. But Audio Evolution is also worth checking out.

It’s worth persisting with the sensitivity settings, despite the frustrations of the Windows one-MIDI-app-at-a-time shuffle. Certainly some people manage to get really good at picking on the I1 (check out the videos from Will Podolak and Jeff Smith), though it’s one of the areas where you have to adapt your technique most to play at all fast or fluidly, and you’re right about barre chords being a challenge. And if you’re a nails player you may as well forget about it.

But one of the brilliant things about the I1 is the way it gently leverages your existing guitar skills into new and ultimately even more satisfying ways of playing – particularly in tap and fretless modes, which are where it absolutely sings (though the latter needs MPE and I don’t know how well supported that is in Windows and Android apps). For instance, spending time in tap mode trains you to think arpeggios rather than chords, which opens up the usual guitarist’s blockily chordal approach to fingering shapes into a more fluid and melodic sense of fingerboard harmony; your repertoire of forms loosens, expands, and moves freely between chordal and scalar playing, and there’s that fantastic feeling of your fingers knowing things you don’t.


#5

Cheers, Nick, great reply! It didn’t originally occur to me that I would find it difficult to play the I1, having been a guitarist for 44 years, I just figured I’d be able to extend that effortlessly to I1 playing. I am a nails player, but still I’ll persist, and hope I can improve.

A lot to think about - I’ve been viewing the I1 as a guitarist, and not as if it’s a different thing entirely. Thanks!


#6

Yes, I did try giving up my nails, but it was too much of a sacrifice. As you’ve probably found, it’s possible to play with the pads of the fingers and side of the thumb if you play towards the edge of the triggers on the fingerboard side, avoiding contact between the nails and the rubber; it can help to rest the base of the hand on the I1 and hold it against your ribs, which positions and angles the thumb and fingers approximately where they want to be. (Will manages to hold it steady without a strap this way, though I’ve never quite managed to mimic his technique.) And it’s worth experimenting with trimming your nails as short as you can bear to get them while still leaving enough to play real strings. But it’s still a bit like trying to play a Toblerone; I tend to use the triggers more for drones and tremolo than for actual picking.