I’m not sure how I missed this one before but here is a video of András Szalay, along with Burr Johnson, at last year’s Fishman NAMM booth. When asked how he achieved the superior tracking of the Triple Play, András, holder of six midi guitar patents, modestly replies, “I’ve had some experience.”
András Szalay has been designing guitar synthesisers from before the very beginning. He holds six patents related to transforming the twang and pitch of plucked strings into cold, hard data.
Wikipedia credits Szalay with designing several electronic instruments including the Wersi Electronic Grand Piano; the AKAI DuoBuddy (right) and DecaBuddy Vocal Harmonizers; the AKAI EWI 4000s and EWIUSB Electronic Wind Instruments.
He is also responsible for three generations of guitar synthesizers: Shadow GTM-6 and SH-075 in 1986, the legendary Axon series in 1997 and most recently the upcoming wireless Fishman Triple Play. Below is a video clip of Szalay playing an early prototype and Bence Bécsy demonstrating the amazing tracking capabilities of the Triple Play
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.
* World's best blog solely focused on music technology, Apple stores, stage magicians, interactive media, Theatrics.com and Beckinfield.**