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Pitch Bend/Mod wheel add on for SK1/Mojo/Nord Electro?


Dglavko

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I've been thinking about chopping a small controller to create a pitch wheel/mod wheel box with midi in, out and thru so that one might use it with ill equipped SK, Mojo or Electros to control other devices such as synth sounds in a sonic cell, rack synths or table top synths.

 

Suggestions?

 

I know Doepfer makes som DIY products which might work but doubt I have the know how to put one together myself or whether it might work in the end.

 

A nice little 3"x4" box along the lines of the ocean beach drawbars is what I am thinking...

 

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If I were going to attempt that, I think I'd start with an Alesis Q25. You'll also probably need a MIDI Merge box to combine its MIDI out with that of the keyboard's, unless the keyboard has that function built in.

 

It seems like it should work fine... I just wouldn't have any ability to make it aesthetically pleasing. ;-)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Easiest thing would be to hook a couple mod wheel pots to 2 Midi Solutions Pedal Controller boxes. You can just chain them.

I think it might be even harder to make that look pretty that cutting up the Alesis! Pricier, too (those boxes MS boxes are $120 each). And you have to deal with powering them, which is either another MS box, or tapping off the keyboard's MIDI Out, which is already in use, so you'd need a Thru box. So, not so easy, I think.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I appreciate the creativity seen in this thread, but it's too bad we have to discuss personally constructing a device that should likely exist already - having features that also would have been beneficial to include on some of the keyboards listed. :rolleyes::laugh:

 

The weird thing is that there are a handful of non-keyboard control surfaces available that do not have pitch / mod capability; more if discontinued products are counted. Yet many of these have enough knobs, buttons and pads to run the Enterprise, but no pitch/mod control. If a manufacturer can put a gazillion other functions on a control surface, how hard would it be to add a joystick, or paddle at the very least ? (IIRC, one of the discontinued devices did have a joystick, or was it X/Y pad ?).

 

And while I'm on my semi-annual, controller deficiency rant - relating to the equipment the OP listed: In the SK-1 Hammond designed a great sounding, versatile keyboard - available as well in 73 / 88 keys - that has extensive, internally routed MIDI control options, - but little external, front panel MIDI control function - especially pitch / mod capability. It was explained to me, by Hammond, that the vintage instruments being emulated didn't have those functions. OK, fair enough; sort of (I seem to recall some analog synth samples on the patch list, though :poke: ). But then why include MIDI control routing (incomplete, at that) when the original, vintage instruments didn't have MIDI ? The design logic somewhat escapes me..

 

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About once a year somebody poses this question. My turn was last year. I even emailed Bruce Wahler about it. The bottom line is that by the time you build one, you have $300 in it. For $300 you can get a complete 49 key controller with wheels and sliders. Manufacturers don't feel they can have a profit margin just selling a box with only a wheel for $100 and if they charge more then people will be unhappy that it didn't come with more sliders as compared to the 49 key units. So we are stuck in the middle.
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This lack of a pitchbend/modwheel, joystick or other controllers on various organ clones is bit of a mystery.. Especially in the case where Hammond Suzuki seems to have gone to so much trouble to build some degree of sophistication into the SK series midi controller functionality. From my perspective they've missed the boat by not including a very basic method to control pitch and modulation. I highly doubt that many people will be using an SK keyboard as the main hub in a large multi-keyboard/module rig, so very few will use the sophisticated midi controller functionality, and yet adding a simply joystick or some wheels, would have been appreciated by a lot of SK owners, if for no other reason than to play the built in minimoog samples.

 

Incidentally, if my Nord C2 and/or my Mojo had a joystick or wheels, I would still probably be using my Sonic Cell.. however I needed that functionality and to get it I basically had to add a keyboard.

 

Unfortunately, I see building a secondary controller as prohibitively expensive. When you compare this to the Ocean Beach drawbar controllers.. they were great and priced reasonably, but in the case of drawbars you can't go out and buy a mini-controller with drawbars for $75 whereas you can easily get a mini-controller with wheels for that!

Craig MacDonald

Hammond BV, Franken-B (A100 in a BV cabinet), Leslies 122/147/44W, Crumar Mojo, HX3 module, Korg Kronos, VR-09, Roland GAIA, Burn, Ventilator

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The weird thing is that there are a handful of non-keyboard control surfaces available that do not have pitch / mod capability

More than a handful. In fact, I don't know of a single current control surface that has pitch/mod wheels or joystick. The closest thing is the Korg NanoPad which has an X-Y touchpad, and is USB only. Depending on what the SK1/Mojo/Nord owner needs, it might do the trick, I guess.

 

In the SK-1 Hammond designed a great sounding, versatile keyboard - available as well in 73 / 88 keys - that has extensive, internally routed MIDI control options, - but little external, front panel MIDI control function - especially pitch / mod capability.

I kind of understand why they weren't on the original SK1 (61). Originally, the internal sounds weren't designed to respond to pitch/mod controls (that was added with update 2), and they were designing down to a minimum in size, and there would have been no place to put those controls without making the design larger, which certainly didn't make sense when the board's own sounds didn't even respond to them (and customers might have complained or been confused when they took the unit home and the wheels seemingly didn't do anything). But by the time the 73 and 88 were released, the sounds had been programmed to respond to them, and those machines had plenty of usable panel space, so it does surprise me that they weren't added to these models.

 

One thing about front panel MIDI control function though... the drawbars send MIDI CC (as do a number of the buttons). So there are some possible workarounds there.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I even emailed Bruce Wahler about it. The bottom line is that by the time you build one, you have $300 in it. For $300 you can get a complete 49 key controller with wheels and sliders.

Yeah... when you can get an Alesis Q25 for $79, it's hard to see how a company like his could make something and compete. Now, someone like Alesis could probably run them off in China and sell them for $49, if they thought there was enough of a market.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Here you go-

 

MIDI CPU: Instant DIY MIDI Controller / MIDI Encoder

 

The price is right. It is very small and can be powered via battery or adapter. The trick is knowing how to put it to use.

 

 

Wheels, etc. The only problem here is finding a way to order from FATAR. Maybe a service center?

 

Possibly.... might take a bit more searching though.

 

All of that is great for a do-it-yourself project - if one is so inclined, and capable. But for those who want - straight from the box - a strong digital piano, a fully functional synth, and top-notch organ in their rig, the SK-1, 73 - by not having pitch and mod controls - tends to promote the need for three keyboards. As a result, if two keyboards is the practical stage limit then one has to compromise. Now if the SK did have pitch / mod controls one could also attach a small, table-top module - VA focused, or ROMpler - and stay with two keyboards; but that's not doable. Really, the inclusion of internal MIDI zoning / control seems kind of half assed without serious control features - even if the drawbars do send MIDI CC. That's a positive gesture, I suppose; but it doesn't create a front panel control set that matches the internal design at all.

 

That is the main reason why, though I prefer the Hammond clonewheel over Nord's, I have chosen to continue with the Stage 2, 76. Adding the Burn has helped quite a bit; it gives the Nord clone a bit more greasiness, animation, and tonal separation - which are things that the SK-1 manages to accomplish on its own, for the most part. But I'm not provided with consistent, stage real estate that allows for that sort of dedicated organ keyboard - in addition to two other instruments. Few of us have the luxury of the stage plot afforded to Patrick Moraz, or Page McConnell. I think that manufacturers sometimes forget that.

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I like the cut-down Q25 idea, which sounds much more feasible as a DIY for the people who can't really do DIY. Even I could probably remove the 25 keys and take a hacksaw to the plastic. ;-)

 

If you have an iPhone (or other i-device), there are also touchscreen pitch/mod controls you could attach to the SK1. Same problem as the Korg X-Y touchpad, you don't get that visceral physical connection, but they do some neat tricks of their own too. And since so many people have i-devices, it could be a cheap way to at least get the functionality.

 

Pitch bend:

[video:youtube]

Pitch and mod:

[video:youtube]

 

I think this could actually be a pretty decent solution on the SK1-73. On the 61, I don't think there's even enough space for an iPhone/iPod Touch. (Personally, my bigger problem with the 73 is its lack of a low E, which is more of an issue to me than the wheels. Too bad there's no app for adding a key! That's the tougher issue to address.)

 

I rarely can spare a hand for wheels, so I prefer aftertouch, but that's even more rare. (I've hooked up pedals to do pitch bend, too.)

 

As for the lack of wheels requiring a third keyboard, if the above options don't do it for you, there's also the possibility of mating the SK with a "first" keyboard that has wheels, like a PX-5S or a MOX8, so you still have the functionality somewhere in your rig (and, with MIDI, can probably find a way to integrate the function with either board).

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I've tried the X/Y pad in MidiStudio for iOS; also using the sliders as drawbars. It's all very similar to using the tonewheel organ model in GB iOS, or Galileo; sounds good, looks good, but the tactile connection is often a challenge. That said, other than cutting down a 25 key controller, or building something, iOS apps may offer a somewhat workable, and cost-effective controller solution. Obviously it's a matter we have to take into our own hands - as manufacturer response is hit-or-miss with this kind of stuff; sometimes they listen (as with the CP4), other times it takes a long while, or doesn't end up happening.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I haven't been able to get a clear answer on if a second keyboard wiith a wheel will be able to do pitch bend on an sk1/xk1c or not. But now I've cross posted.

 

Yes it will for the Extra Voices on the SK-1 when the MIDI In mode is set to "EXVOICE". In this mode the second keyboard and any other MIDI Input will only trigger/affect the Extra Voices.

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One more point about the i-device vs. the NanoPad... If you're looking for the pitch/mod function to control the extra voices on the SK1 itself, to use an iPhone (or iPod Touch), you would just add a MIDI adapter. To use the USB-based Korg would be more complicated and messier.

 

Of course one of the nice things about the i-device approach is that so many people already own them. Otherwise, it's a pretty pricey way to get pitch/mod controls... $229 for the least expensive iPod Touch, plus the MIDI adapter, you're approaching $300. (Though you can easily pick up a 3rd gen iPod Touch on eBay for under $100.) But if you've got that phone sitting in your pocket anyway, it seems like a reasonably good solution.

 

One thing I'm not certain about is how easy it would be for the i-device's pitch/mod control to be able to be used on the SK1 extra voices AND be able to be used on any sound source you may be controlling from the SK1 (say, an attached sound module). You would need to be able to merge the i-device's MIDI Out with the SK1's own MIDI out. This would be easiest (requiring no other hardware) if the SK1 could be set to combine THRU and OUT functions, i.e. merge its own MIDI OUT with an echo of the MIDI IN, sending the combined MIDI data to its OUT. From the manual, it looks like the SK1 might be able to do that, at least on certain MIDI channels. There is a "MIDI Template" parameter for "MIDI In" which seems to have options that would permit the MIDI IN data be merged and sent back out the MIDI Out on the Lower/Pedal channels.

 

(The SK1 manual really needs a good going-over by a native English speaker! But that's a whole other topic.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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SK1 owners may already know this, but I just discovered, you can set a footswitch for pitch bend... and it looks like the SK1 supports two simultaneous foot switches through it's foot switch jack. So if you got something like a Rolls RP8, you could plug that into the foot switch jack, and have one foot switch for rotary toggle and another for pitch bend (along with the separate foot switch you can attach for sustain pedal).

 

It's not as good as a wheel... it's for the internal sounds only (i.e. won't help if you're looking to send pitch bend to another device), and it will only do the one pitch bend you program into it (i.e. I would program it for a whole step up bend), but it still does provide a way to do some common pitch bend effects within the unit itself.

 

(You can actually program the two foot switches to do all sorts of things, it doesn't have to be rotary toggle and pitch bend.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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SK1 owners may already know this, but I just discovered, you can set a footswitch for pitch bend... and it looks like the SK1 supports two simultaneous foot switches through it's foot switch jack. So if you got something like a Rolls RP8, you could plug that into the foot switch jack, and have one foot switch for rotary toggle and another for pitch bend (along with the separate foot switch you can attach for sustain pedal).

 

It's not as good as a wheel... it's for the internal sounds only (i.e. won't help if you're looking to send pitch bend to another device), and it will only do the one pitch bend you program into it (i.e. I would program it for a whole step up bend), but it still does provide a way to do some common pitch bend effects within the unit itself.

 

(You can actually program the two foot switches to do all sorts of things, it doesn't have to be rotary toggle and pitch bend.)

 

Great that there's a semi-workaround, and it seems that your post will certainly help some SK users... Still when I see that big section of blank real estate on the SK1 73's front panel, and think of the obvious missing parts - when there are full-blown controller assignments within, I can't help but think that someone in design goofed up - sort of like the rumored Korg M/10 - 01/W debacle :laugh:.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SK1 owners may already know this, but I just discovered, you can set a footswitch for pitch bend... and it looks like the SK1 supports two simultaneous foot switches through it's foot switch jack. So if you got something like a Rolls RP8, you could plug that into the foot switch jack, and have one foot switch for rotary toggle and another for pitch bend (along with the separate foot switch you can attach for sustain pedal).

 

It's not as good as a wheel... it's for the internal sounds only (i.e. won't help if you're looking to send pitch bend to another device), and it will only do the one pitch bend you program into it (i.e. I would program it for a whole step up bend), but it still does provide a way to do some common pitch bend effects within the unit itself.

 

(You can actually program the two foot switches to do all sorts of things, it doesn't have to be rotary toggle and pitch bend.)

 

That's great - I missed that - At the risk of being told to go back to the sk manual, how is that done?

 

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I don't have the manual handy for page numbers but IIRC these are in the Control menu and manual section. First set the Glide parameters to do what you want. Then select a foot switch (it can have 2 with a TRS Y cord) and set it to control Glide.
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Picking up on something I mentioned earlier... Yes, the drawbars send MIDI CC, but they don't send a continuous range of values from 0 to 127, they send 9 values along that continuum to represent the 9 possible drawbar positions. I think this might work if you wanted to use the drawbars to control VB3, but it's not going to be very useful for things where you really want continuous control. The only available 0-127 control appears to be CC#6 which is sent by any of the 4 effects knobs on the top right of the panel. (Oddly, all four knobs send the same MIDI CC.)

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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About once a year somebody poses this question. My turn was last year. I even emailed Bruce Wahler about it. The bottom line is that by the time you build one, you have $300 in it. For $300 you can get a complete 49 key controller with wheels and sliders. Manufacturers don't feel they can have a profit margin just selling a box with only a wheel for $100 and if they charge more then people will be unhappy that it didn't come with more sliders as compared to the 49 key units. So we are stuck in the middle.

So I take it from that this that Bruce would put something together with a wheel or two and midi out for $300?

 

As an aside, I have picked up a microstation and it is now sitting dangerously close to my hacksaw....

 

It would fit perfect on the mojo if I sawed off those minikeys but comes close already!

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As an aside, I have picked up a microstation and it is now sitting dangerously close to my hacksaw....

 

It would fit perfect on the mojo if I sawed off those minikeys but comes close already!

 

Funny, I once picked up a Microstation specifically to use with my Mojo, and I had that exact same thought. I ended up returning it, but before I did I was considering making a custom stand to hold it over the buttons for the lower manual, just high enough that you could still reach them. Or I imagine velcro would do the trick if you didn't mind it hanging a foot off the right side.

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About once a year somebody poses this question. My turn was last year. I even emailed Bruce Wahler about it. The bottom line is that by the time you build one, you have $300 in it. For $300 you can get a complete 49 key controller with wheels and sliders. Manufacturers don't feel they can have a profit margin just selling a box with only a wheel for $100 and if they charge more then people will be unhappy that it didn't come with more sliders as compared to the 49 key units. So we are stuck in the middle.

So I take it from that this that Bruce would put something together with a wheel or two and midi out for $300?

 

As an aside, I have picked up a microstation and it is now sitting dangerously close to my hacksaw....

 

It would fit perfect on the mojo if I sawed off those minikeys but comes close already!

 

I think he (bruce)was mostly trying to scare me off of the idea.

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  • 2 years later...

Ran across this and was Curious if anyone has tried this iPhone mod wheel app. It also has a ribbon option. The site claims it can be used on a Hammond SK to control pitch and mod for extra voices.

 

Modwheel phone app

 

The Hammond SK Release 2 notes state: Incoming MIDI pitch bend (2 semitones) and modulation controls are enabled when the MIDI IN mode is set at "EXVOICE".

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