[posted] Midi Bass Controller


Well-known member
hi, this is a project i have been working on for a long time...
it mimics an electric bass appearance but is actually a midi controller, very playable and so much fun!
yes, i am lefty...

this is the second "iteration" the first one was built from an old electric bass and was based on an arduino micro.

the new version is built from scratch and uses a teensy 3.6 and has many additional features.

-four "strings" soft pots with fsr underneath for pitch and poly pressure control
-fsrs' on the bass-body to further sculp the sound, sending note-on and aftertouch
-joystick, sending pitchbend and modulation
-an accelerometer embedded into the neck, for gestural sound control
-a "lfo" wheel, which outputs 4 cycles of a lfo waveform in a full turn
-an input for a source audio hot hand (wireless gestural ring)
-a usb-host implementation that allows the midi bass to control up to 7 usb-midi devices
-small OLED that shows settings (which can be recalled by program change messages)
-an embedded keith mcmillen keyboard for sample playback, chordal stuff etc. the serial midi from this thing is read by the teensy and sent thru usb to the synths as well :)


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Me too. We can show this on the website as-is, but even a short video of real performance with this instrument would really show so much more.
hi there, just a quick update on this project (still no video) :-(

I have changed the midi output of this bass back to normal usb-MIDI client, since I can use it with a laptop directly when I am on the road (touring). Since I wanted a future proof design I also had to change out the teensy 3.6 for a teensy 4.1 and in the process I remade all connections and used a socketed connection for the teensy, so that I could change it easily should it ever break. In the process I took some pictures which I want to share here.

I used the spectra-symbol softpots, they have lengths of up to 1000mm, but I used 500mm. This makes for a somewhat "short scale" bass with a scale of 666mmm, but I like it. Also the 500mm pots are considerably cheaper and easier to get then the 750mm model.

Make sure not to use the thinpot line but the regular softpots! I once tried a set of thinpot softpots, and while they are much narrower and give a more "stringy" feeling, they also require more pressure for a correct output and hence are "hard" to play. what I did was use regular size softpots and cut the excess plastic from either side to make them narrower. this way I can fit 4 softpots on a neck that would normally accommodate 5 bass strings...

in my new midi-bass I also have fsr sensors under each soft pot for pressure sensitivity.