Enhanced keyboard sound with old iPad and MIDI controller

Some time ago, I wrote this post about enhancing the built-in sounds of a Casio keyboard, and possibly most other keyboards as well, but I was still unsatisfied because of having to mess with virtual buttons and sliders, which feel unnatural when you are in the thrall of music making. But then, Santa Claus dropped a Korg Nanokontrol2 down my chimney. Now I’ve got all of that intuitive nuance I was missing, plus some, courtesy of the Casio MIDI implementation. This article is essentially the same I posted at the Casio Music Forum a few weeks back, so I’m forgiving my self-plagiarism and reposting it here.

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Introducing Flutino

Under wraps for quite some time, now that it is Patent Pending I can finally talk here about one of my latest inventions, the Flutino. It is likely the world’s smallest (playable) musical instrument. It has a range approaching two octaves and loudness over 100 dB. Better yet: it works in every scale, and never needs tuning or even batteries. No fingerings to learn, and you can be playing another instrument (or anything, really) at the same time. You can sound like a pro in very little time.

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More control for your keyboard

The Casio keyboard I bought a few months ago to learn piano is working great, but it does not give me a lot of control over the sound, since it’s relatively inexpensive. For instance, it has no native way to quiet down a layered instrument so it doesn’t overpower the base sound. This is has been reported by many owners. I found a simple solution that likely is valid for most modern keyboards from most brands.

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Learning piano not so young: The beginning

New Year 2022 resolution: to learn to play the piano. I’m sure many of you have made a similar resolution, and perhaps abandoned it after a while. I am aware of the pitfalls ahead, and so I’d like to tell you how I’ve gotten started. In this article I review the different learning methods I’ve surveyed, the instrument I chose, my general setup, and some basic ideas about the whole thing. I cannot promise this will work, so stand by for another article a few months from now telling you how it went.

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6-string ukulele tunings

Six-string ukuleles are getting quite hard to find, and it’s a shame because they sound particularly ukulele-like, at least to my ears. In this recent article, I tell you how to convert a regular 4-string ukulele into a six-stringer with conventional tuning, but I found that there are a lot more tunings you could use, and some sound just as sweet as the standard. In this article, I go through the math and give you some samples. Read More

Make a 6 String Ukulele

If you do a web search for “6 string ukulele,” you will find that a majority of links lead to the “guitalele,” an instrument the size of a tenor ukulele with 6 independent strings, which is played rather like a guitar. But a few of them will lead to the true 6-string ukulele, where two of its four strings are doubled up in octaves. This one is played like a regular 4-string ukulele, but sounds richer, more uke-like if that were possible (see this video, for instance). True 6-string ukuleles are hard to find, and those that you do find tend to be pricey, but in this article I show you how to convert a regular ukulele into a 6-string uke with a minimum of hassle and expense.

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Two very different pickups, one instrument

My latest ukulele is an exercise in versatility: short enough to go inside a suitcase, long enough to be remain playable under heavy capo and, of course, both acoustic and electric. And not just merely electric, but featuring both a passive piezo pickup and a magnetic pickup, which can be mixed in any ratio. I looked for a wiring diagram that could do this, and found nothing simple. They all required a switch to select the main pickup, with perhaps the ability to add a bit of the other, or had something weird about them. Since the two pickups are very different electrically, there was no assurance that they would mix well. I took a guess, and it worked, though theory predicted that it shouldn’t have. Read on for the solution.

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