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A brand new way to make your keyboard drums sound like real drums.


Here is how it works:


  1. You plug your MIDI controller (a keyboard, groovebox, etc.) into the device, and plug the device into your music-producing system (DAW, synth, etc.)
  2. Hold down a note to play on that MIDI controller. The note won't get sent to your DAW/synth just yet.
  3. Using the included hand controller (75mm x 25mm x 31mm) that plugs into the device, you control exactly when hits happen and how hard those hits are. Make a hit in the air like a handbell, and the note you hold down on your MIDI controller gets sent to your DAW/synth exactly when the accelerometer detects a peak, and it also detects how hard or soft that peak is.


And that is the basics of how this device works.


A few more details:


Everything is open source using very common programs to do the editing. I've designed this using the extremely popular Arduino software, and the instructions will include extensive tutorials about how to easily update the firmware and how you can make literally any modification you want using the source code. At the most basic level you'll be able to easily modify how sensitive the hits are, what keys are mapped to what, and what the velocity range is. If you want to dive deep you can add new options, change the way the accelerometers detect a hit, remap the buttons to something I haven't thought of, etc. If you look at the pics you'll notice it has two 1/4-inch analog inputs as well, and I'm intending on using these for a very important feature that I haven't written the code for just yet! Those two inputs could definitely be used for a wide variety of purposes.


If you know your keyboard drum layouts, you may notice that I'm not using a common one. I've invented a new layout that makes it possible to do the notes of a drum set using nine notes on a keyboard with just one hand. This is completely customizeable, and I'll include several examples in the source code so you can modify it if you want. The current layout is this:


C -- snare

B -- side stick

Bb -- kick

A -- ride

Ab -- hi-hat (open)

G -- crash

Gb -- high tom

F -- mid tom

E -- floor tom


This will definitely be expanded to include a number of other common drum keys, and you can customize all of these in any way you would like. For instance, if you're left-handed, you may want to hold the hand-held controller in your left hand and reverse all of these so the E is your snare drum, F is side stick, etc.


You WILL be able to instantly switch to a "bypass mode" at any moment to turn your MIDI controller back into a regular MIDI controller on the fly.


You'll notice the hand-held controller has two large buttons and one small button. That small button will be used the switch to various features on the fly (such as the bypass mode mentioned above), and the other two buttons are used for rhythm control. The large button that's on the front is used to trigger the hi-hat or ride, but only on front hits. If you want to trigger those cymbals on the back hit, you press down the top button. This will be explained further in the included instructions, but it makes it so you can play cymbals in a time-keeping way that's very similar to how drum set players commonly play.


Why on earth is it open source and why doesn't it have a name?


All of the great musical instruments throughout history have basically been group projects. There are a few exceptions, of course (e.g. saxophone, theremin), where a single inventor developed it, but even with those examples the original instruments were significantly modified by the countless people who came after. The saxophone had a simplistic fingering system and was made of wood. The original theremin was massive and wasn't even called "the theremin", it was called "the etherphone" by its inventor, Leon Theremin.


For this instrument, I'm not taking a very business-like, capitalistic approach. Right out of the gate I want people to start tinkering with it. The pre-order price is set so that if five people order it, I can hand-make those five devices and we can start the community that way. If 5,000+ order it, we can mass produce it but you will still have the code and the ability to do whatever you want with it. 


I'm doing this because I love tinkering, and I think you will too, and I want the music community to get away from expensive products made by giant corporations and start to see the amazing possibilities that we have using the pretty simple (and cheap!) tools that are at our disposal. 


Timeline for pre-orders:


This depends on the number of pre-orders, but I'm hoping I can start sending out the first units in June. Like I said above, this isn't a big product launch from a giant corporation, this is a new device from an inventor who loves making musical instruments. We can scale up or down depending on demand, but the timeline will be dependent on the response. I'm sorry for the vague-ness, but I've learned with my years of making The Glide that the maxim is true: "you don't know what you don't know". However, if you order it, you WILL get one, I can guarantee that.


Please let me know what other questions you have! I'll update this description as needed. Thank you for checking this out, and please spread the word!


Keith Groover


Pre-order the New Thing

Taking pre-orders through the end of May
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