We’ve all heard of midi keyboard controllers but now, they also have midi guitar controllers.
The idea is exactly the same . . .
As far as size goes, it’s pretty similar to a travel guitar, maybe even smaller.
It’s actually a pretty neat concept considering the quality of guitar samples thanks to sites like Splice have increased dramatically, you can simply get one these guitar midi controllers and create a proper tune.
All you need to do is connect it to your DAW and that’s it. Hopefully, you’ll have a chair to sit on while you play with it or even a drum throne, in this case, could work.
Who uses them?
Most beginner guitar players, budding music producers but also professional up and coming musicians who travel a lot. A major advantage with these midi guitar players is you can connect them to most smart devices (Iphone, Ipad, etc), record your tune on the DAW and send it off to be mixed immediately.
They speed up music production drastically which is always a good thing. If you add a Subpac while making beats with a MIDI controller, then things could get even more awesome.
From what I’ve heard, lots of people are actually learning how to play the guitar as well. All thanks to midi guitar controllers.
Also, there are people who prefer using midi guitar controllers over midi controllers to make beats. Just because they are more used to playing guitar.
In addition, they now also have Guitar Midi Pickup and Guitar 2 MIDI converters. The only difference with these vs a guitar midi controller is these two attach to your ‘existing’ guitar. Which is also an option for some people.
Anyways, here are the top Midi Guitar Controllers on the market today and later, we’ll look into guitar midi pickups and guitar to midi converters.
Jamstik Midi Controller – Best Guitar Midi Controller
- The jamstik+ connects via Bluetooth 4.0 to your phone, tablet or computer so you can play guitar with any of the 100's of compatible MIDI apps available
- Smart Fretboard Gives You Instant Feedback
- Play Chords in Minutes with Simple Interactive Tutorials and Games
- MIDI Compatible for Music Production & Composition
- Real Strings and Frets on a Truly Portable Form-Factor
Think of this as a mini guitar. The strings that it comes with are actual steel strings that give you the look and feel of a real guitar. Plus once you hold it, it actually feels like something solid due to the weight. It doesn’t feel like some ‘toyish’ version of a guitar. The Jamstik is the best for simulating guitar strings using a midi format.
The Jamstik is compatible with pretty much everything (Mac, PC, Android, etc) including bluetooth capabilities. It comes with a nice little strap too so you can hold it against your chest and strum away.
You can even bend the sounds like a little guitar. Included also is Jamstik’s own app and if this is your first time playing a guitar, you’ll be absolutely floored on how cool this is. You can literally learn how to play the guitar with this midi controller. No doubt about it.
So this is a great product for beginner guitar enthusiasts and producers alike. Just connect it to your favorite DAW (Logic, Ableton, FL Studio, etc) and start creating your own beats. A lot of producers who don’t like playing chords on a digital piano or synthesizer can use this to play and record chords as well. This year, they also released another version of the Jamstik guitar controller.
Bonus part, you can connect this to your video game console and start shredding on Guitar Hero as well. How cool is that?
Artiphon Instrument 1 Midi Guitar Controller
- Play guitar, bass, synth, violin, drum pads, and more, on a revolutionary MIDI controller
- TIME Magazine "Best Invention of the Year," #1 Instrument on Kickstarter, PCMag Editors' Choice
- The first fretted and fretless digital string instrument; low-latency, pressure-sensitive playing
- Ultra Portable: Lightweight and 6-Hour Battery Life; USB & Lightning Cable iOS and Mac Connectivity
- 2 Stereo Speakers & Headphone Jack for creating on your own, or jamming with friends
This little midi guitar controller became one of the most popular musical instruments on Kickstarter. Same idea as the Jamstik but you can turn it sideways and use this as a keyboard as well.
Again, it’s aimed for beginners and professionals alike. Unlike the Jamstik though, this one doesn’t have that professional guitar feel to it. A great midi guitar controller but I prefer the Jamstick. Just because it has those metal string on it.
That said, the Artiphone Instrument 1 is in a class of it’s own. Once you start strumming on it, you get used to it pretty fast.
The only downside is it’s not so compatible with PCs but perfect with mac, iPads, etc. Also just like the Jamstik, this isn’t a toy either. In fact, playability wise (Especially as a guitar), this might grow on to you faster than a Jamstik.
Unlike the Jamstik though, the Artiphon comes in two colors. Black and White.
Casio Dg-20 Guitar Synth Midi Controller Dg20
- Turn your iPad, iPhone or Mac in to a real musical instrument
- Learn to Play Guitar with the Bundled JamTutor app
- Real Strings, Real Frets, Real Picking... No tuning required
- Connect wirelessly via WIFI, no cable necessary
- Mobile ready, Backpack friendly, 100% portable to Learn, Create and Play music anywhere
Casio tried to dabble into the Midi controller market few years back and this is what they came with.
This Casio midi guitar is actually a great product but back then, the market wasn’t big or knowledgeable enough about music production.
Today it’s exploding and I hope that Casio brings this midi guitar controller back.
Although the Casio DG-20 midi guitar is considered a classic today, do not be fooled for one second. This is one of the best guitar midi controllers around. Even to this day.
Jammy Midi Guitar
- Super portable digital guitar, ideal for travel, fits in your backpack, only 17'' when disassembled, 27" when assembled
- Totally autonomous, has onboard guitar tones and FX, emulates electric and acoustic guitar sound, plugs via 1/4" and 1/8" jacks, lets you play with your headphones in or plugged into a guitar amp
- Has a companion app that allows to change tunings, use a metronome, emulate effects pedals and play along to backing tracks
- Works as a guitar MIDI controller via USB type-C port, compatible with any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
- Includes a detachable add-on frame, a guitar strap, a bag, a set of custom picks and a type-C charging cable
Jami is this new portable MIDI guitar that looks incredible (Especially with it’s nice glossy finish). It comes in five pieces that you need to set up and then off you go.
5 pieces sound like a lot but once you get it, it becomes second nature. So why the five pieces? Well, it’s got the neck which is two pieces. So the neck and the part you strum with (Playing the guitar) has to be linked together.
The remaining three basically make up the body.
Doesn’t sound that complicated now, does it?
Jami can work as a stand-alone guitar that you can plug into an amp with a quarter-inch cable, or you can plug it in into a computer and start using your favorite DAW.
The responsiveness of this guitar is probably one of the best. No wonder a lot of artists are not gravitating towards it.
It comes with some really cool tutorials and is a simple plug and play device. Included are other things as well like USB cable, a guitar pick and whatever you need to get this thing going. There is a learning curve to it but to be honest, that just depends on how fast you start getting along with this midi guitar.
Good job by Jami. Although new to the midi guitar market, this one seems to be a winner for sure.
Yamaha EZ EG Midi Guitar
- 20 instrument voices, including 9 Guitar, 8 Bass, Banjo, Shamisen and Piano
- 6-strnigs for strumming and finger-picking
- Volume, tempo, balance and capo controls
- Standard tuning plus open tuning options
- 6 lighted frets
Although originally marketed as a tool to learn guitar (It does a great job at that by the way), many home producers have plugged it into their music software (DAW) and unofficially started using it as a ‘midi guitar controller’. Especially users of Cubase. This was created a while ago but Yamaha definitely needs to get back in the midi guitar controller game.
Now if you are not interested in just getting a MIDI guitar controller, there is another way . . .
Why not turn your own existing guitar into a MIDI controller?
Yes you read that right.
All you do is strap this little device on your current ‘real’ guitar and that’s it.
This magical device is called . . .
Midi Guitar Pickup
A midi guitar pick up basically turns your guitar in a midi guitar controller.
Now you can play your favorite sounds on your DAW with your guitar instead of the usual midi keyboard.
There are not a lot of these on the market just yet but they are getting out here pretty quick.
Check out the best midi guitar pickups on the market today.
Surprisingly, they actually do a pretty darn good job overall.
Fishman TriplePlay Connect
- Easy and non-invasive installation on any 6-string guitar
- Low-latency pitch tracking technology
- Connects with the supplied USB and Lightning cables
- Magnetic mounting hardware make it easy to attach and remove the controller
- Includes controller, hexaphonic pickup Lightning cable, USB cable, and mounting brackets and hardware
This is the Bentley of the midi guitar pickups right now. The Fishman TriplePlay a really fun MIDI controller for guitar and iOS. You can basically connect this to any daw whether you are on PC or Mac.
Best part, this device only has two components. One part (Controller module)mounts to your guitar and then you simply slide in the pick up. A variety of different mounting brackets are included so you can attach it the way you like with just some double sided tape.
The module has two buttons and a thumb wheel that you can further assign to whatever you like (Most of the stuff). You can either use a USB cable or even better would be the lighting cable. Both work but if you are really going crazy then the lighting cable would just help make the transfer faster.
Another really cool features is this thing is literally plug and play. However, if you’re going for a long session, it’s better to set it up properly.
If you’re looking for an easy to use midi guitar pickup, this one can really become addictive.
Roland GK-3 MIDI Guitar Pickup
- Mounts easily on any steel-stringed electric without damage to guitar
- Features an adjustable curve design and pickup cable length
- Includes attachment plate for Les paul-type guitars
Now just because Roland made it doesn’t mean this midi guitar pick up can only be used on Roland guitars.
Most report this works wonders on guitars by Les Paul and a few other major brands. To be honest, it pretty much work on any guitar. After all, that’s what it’s designed for.
No matter what guitar you have, just Google some youtube videos and see for yourself.
Guitar to MIDI Converter
If you don’t want to physically attach something on top of your guitar, another option is to get a MIDI converter.
These little guys basically ‘convert’ your guitar’s output to MIDI.
The way it works is that instead of connecting your guitar to a guitar amp, you connect it to your guitar to midi converter.
The converter then goes to your computer and you can use your DAW to record / edit, etc.
Sonuus G2M Guitar
- Any Electric Guitar can be used as a solo MIDI Guitar
- Also works with bass, voice and wind instruments
- True plug-and-play
- Fast & accurate
- Near Zero latency
The Sonuus G2M is a great little device that converts any guitar into an ultra-fast MIDI guitar (Hardly any latency or delay). It doesn’t require a special pickup (Like a MIDI guitar pickup) or anything like that.
It requires a standard 9-volt transistor battery which comes with the unit.
The cool thing about his guitar to MIDI converter is the sound is actually pretty cool. Even when you strum on your guitar super fast. Hardly any latency or delay which makes is a pretty solid choice.
If you get a chance, try it out for sure as most users are quite satisfied with it. That said, some people reported it might not do such a great job on bass guitars. Especially the 5 string ones.
Sonuus i2M Musicport
You know how some bass guitarists don’t like the Sonnus G2M so much? Well, bass guitarists love this guitar to midi converter by Sonnuus.
In fact, it works great with other instruments too. Anything that has somewhat of audio output, this little device can convert it to a midi signal.
So you can go nuts with it using your DAW, etc.
Bottom line, it works great with most guitars but be careful, concentrate on finishing your tracks because the amount of fun most people report gets the distracted very easily.
Great job team Sonuus.
Midi Guitar Brands
Midi guitar controllers have only recently gained popularity so expect to see more of the big players dabble into this market. In fact the biggest midi guitar brands today made their debut through a Kickstarter campaign. So I guess it’s fair to say that there is still some time to go before midi guitars really make a dent in the music production space.
Here are some of the famous MIDI Guitar Brands today:
A music and technology company that is based out of Minnesota, the Zivix team is the mastermind behind the Jamstik MIDI guitar controller.
They have some other products as well like The Puc which will connect all your typical home studio devices through bluetooth. So no more wires lying around all over the place.
They also have a product for all you air guitar fans. With the success of Jamstik, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on these guys.
Mike came up with the idea for a midi guitar controller way back in 2011. Today he’s the founder of Artiphon and is on a mission to create some ground breaking instruments that will help music producers worldwide.
They did a phenomenal job with the Artiphon Instrument 1 and have some more new fire in their pipeline. Both Artiphon and Zivix are groundbreakers in this industry so it will be exciting to see what they come up with next.
I think it’s fair to say that we all know Casio (Thanks to their brilliant keyboards). Casio started off in Japan with pipes, calculators and keyboards and quickly established themselves as not only leaders in the musical equipment industry but in producing other electronics as well.
Their popularity seemed to have died off in North America (At least in the musical instruments department) but they are still very big worldwide. It is very nice to see that they took a shot at creating midi guitar controllers some 10 years ago. Let’s hope they give it another shot today as the amount of music producers today is staggering.
You and I both know that when it comes to guitars, Yamaha takes the cake and then some. Yamaha has produced the top-selling guitars of all time so it’s only fitting that they get into the midi guitar controller market as well.
Although they released the Yamaha EZ EG Midi Guitar almost a decade ago, they really need to start developing some new stuff. The music production game has changed drastically and they need to get back in the midi guitar game.
They got their start from kickstarter (No pun intended) and it’s safe to say that they delivered. A young, up and coming company that looks incredibly promising.
Let’s see what kind of new midi guitar related products they put out. As we are definitely on the lookout.
What is a midi guitar?
A midi guitar is somewhat of a new concept. Few years ago, when the midi keyboard controller was introduced, it revolutionized home music production.
Today we have something called a midi guitar controller. Same idea except instead of a keyboard, you use a guitar. So whatever you play on your guitar, shows up on your computer DAW (Another name for music making software).
A midi guitar is already proving to be a fun learning and music making tool for guitar players (Beginners, amateurs and professionals) worldwide.
How to use guitar as a midi controller?
You can use a standard guitar as a midi controller by using a guitar to midi converter or guitar to , that’s why you need a midi guitar controller. Once you have one, then you can connect your midi guitar controller to your favorite DAW and use your guitar midi controller in any style you like. Whether it’s electric, bass, acoustic, classical, whatever . . . you can literally create any sound.
How to make midi guitar sound real?
Want to hear the biggest secret here? This depends on the sound samples that you have within your DAW. If you have quality guitar samples, then you’ll create phenomenal guitar sounds. It all depends on what you put in. Garbage in, garbage out. A good place to get quality guitar samples is Splice. If your midi guitars don’t sound like a real guitar, your sound samples are of low quality.
How setup midi guitar in Halion?
Same way you would connect any midi controller on any DAW. If you can connect a midi keyboard, you can setup a midi guitar controller as well. It’s the same concept. Instead of a keyboard, you playing / user interface is a guitar. That’s it.