Keith McMillen's StringPort

July 22, 2010

First things first: This is mainly a guitar product, and Keith, Andrew, and Diane from McMillen instruments dropped by our offices mainly to show it off to our axe-slinging suite-mates at Guitar Player magazine. However, I dropped in, and not just to get invited to lunch at the Chili's that represents the peak of the culinary scene within walking distance of our offices. (Hey, at least we're spittin' distance from San Francisco Airport.)

I wound up staying for the whole demo because the product was such a cool piece of technology: An audio interface for guitarists that uses a divided pickup--the same kind you'd stick on your six-string to interface to a Roland V-Guitar system--as the front end. This lets you play all manner of synth sounds with your guitar.

If you're wondering, "Why not just get a Roland V-Guitar system?" the answer is that the String Port makes it much more straightforward to plug into the world of software synthesizers. It also does some highly sophisticated, string-by-string pitch and harmonic analysis to decide which MIDI note to feed your soft synth, and uses this information in much more complex ways than MIDI allows to drive its own software suite of synths and effects.

But since we got tons of video, it's better to show you than to tell you. Check these out, and tell us if you don't think the string port lets guitarists finally be every bit the tech geeks that keyboard players have proudly been for years. It may not make the one in your band less egotistical, but there's always version 2.0 ...

If you have trouble seeing the videos below, CLICK HERE.

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