The programming wizards at Fishman continue to toil night and day on software worthy of what could be a tipping point for MIDI guitar. When the Fishman Triple Play Guitar Controller ships later this year it will include at least two pieces of software, hopefully as innovative as the hardware it accompanies.
The standalone software is still cloaked in secrecy as negotiations continue behind the scenes with undisclosed vendors and partners. Fishman is determined to ship the unit with Mac and PC software that includes a library of sounds and effects for DAWless customers. It is expected to include all the effects and editors of its more interesting software plugin brother. Software for iOS is also expected.
Fishman showed off the current state of the software at the 2012 NAMM conference in Anaheim. In addition to patch selection, tuner and other expected elements, it includes an elegant graphic interface for setting up split configurations over the fret board and a display with real-time visual feedback on notes as they are fretted. A Fishaman representative recently told me (while reiterating that all is still in development and subject to change) that configuring split setups will be as easy as dragging a selection across the screen to assign different instruments to different strings or sections of the fretboard.
Recent online discussions have questioned the Triple Play’s ability to track slides, string bends and other staples of guitar playing. Fishman assures me that all this and more is supported by the Triple Play. Bend parameters will be as configurable and flexible as any MIDI instrument, allowing the user to control the range and extremities of pitch bends based on individual patches. For example, you probably want your Synth sound to bend more than your Piano patch. (Or maybe not. You choose.)
Some of the greatest minds in MIDI guitar are working on this product (more on that in a future article) and it appears at this stage the Triple Play will equal or surpass any other existing guitar MIDI product. If Fishman can ship a simple graphic interface for setting parameters and patch settings, this should help propel them miles ahead of the currently cumbersom Roland competition and their nonexistent software editor. Actually there is an excellent software editor for the Roland GR-55 created by a skilled and dedicated user. Apparently Roland Corporation could not be bothered to provide such an essential tool.
Exciting times await the patient MIDI guitar enthusiasts out there.