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Thread: MIDI help for disabled musician.

  1. #1
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    MIDI help for disabled musician.

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    Hi all. Hopefully this is the right forum. My son (10) is severely disabled but plays drums and is a pretty amazing grade 3 drummer. He uses a Roland kit as a MIDI device along with Reaper and a VST drum kit. Heís tiny and boy very strong and plays from his powered wheelchair. Iíve built a rudimentary bass drum trigger that works pretty well by backing apart the piezo from the kit but Iím looking for guidance for the hi-hat controller. I canít find anything that is small enough and able to be attached to his wheelchair footplate. It simply needs to be able to send a few midi notes, ideally 1 when held down and 1 when released and importantly not require much physical effort to use. Does anyone have any ideas they could share? Itíd be a huge thing for Jr. so really appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2016
    A Hay Field in Kansas
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    Music - it's big medicine....

    I don't recall ever playing with a drummer that was 100% triggered. Even with a selection of pads and no drums, all of them had high-hats and most had cymbals.

    So what you ask is intriguing in that i've never seen even a drummer solve such a problem. But then, hey... drummers....

    In most sound sets be they synths or drum machines, the high hat is a combination of 2 or 3 notes. Unlike volume or pitch bend, it's really not a controller, certainly not a continuous one, but simply selecting another note.

    Additionally, most modern sound sets exclusively mute the sample, not allowing both open and closed to be played at once.

    You could do this on an old Octapad or similar patched-style percussion controller -- there's several. One patch spot is the closed note; another spot is the open note. That's easy to do. This is what I use when I'm filling high-hats and don't wanna set up a mic -- and don't care if about the actual drum talent ;-)

    But you lose the foot action of high-hat coordination.

    I think a newer perc controller, like the younger brother of the Octapad, the Pad-8, will allow for footswitch input control. It's not a high-hat pedal, but a simple footswitch. But the coordination of drumming is at least somewhat preserved. I'm sure similar controllers can do likewise.

    My bet is that even in the "toy" lines, you can find astonishingly well integrated controls in such plastic keyboards that squirt MIDI. Most don't, but a few of the upper models, and older models, oddly, do. I'm unfamiliar with model names and numbers, but I've seen many pad-style pieces and have found MIDI in surprising places.

    Seems to me that long ago - back in the last century, mid 80s -- there was sold such a high-hat pedal as you're describing. Full pedal action and triggering. But again, the model escapes me. Typically, such devices are obscenely priced to begin with. And certain niche products annoyingly retain their originally embarrassing prices over time instead of going the way of the DVD or something. So it might be a bridge too far.

    This will keep me occupied for the next few days.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2009
    northampton uk home of Dr Who and Blackstar Amps!
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    Might be worth an email to Kenton, those MIDI hardware wizards? Often such companies will help out for such a deserving cause. As a TV/radio/audio tech did some work modding tape machine controls for a young guy in a wheelchair and with a poor grip.


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