I have also been working on a new instrument rack that I now feel comfortable sharing with yall. It is an autochord-type instrument that will allow you to lay down some nice string pads without having to learn a whole bunch of different chord inversions (I know a whole bunch of chord inversions and I can tell you it is better to leave room in your brain for something else). It is made to overcome the Launchpad’s specific shortcomings–the weird form factor and the lack of velocity sensitivity–but it really can be used with any MIDI controller. And its best feature? It’s totally free!
As you can see, the String Machine has a total of 6 controls, which, for maximum utility, should be mapped to different knobs. The Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release controls are pretty obvious: they affect the envelope of the string sounds. The interesting thing, though, is the bottom two controls. The Volume control is actually a MIDI volume control, which means that if you strike a note and change the control, nothing will happen. It will only affect the NEXT note. This is good when you want to hold a note down and have the next note be at a completely different volume, this way you don’t need to affect the note that is being played. The last control is Chord Type and can be used to play different chords: Major, Minor, 7th, 6th and Sus to be exact. This means that all you really have to do is select the chord type with the knob and play the root note on your keyboard and you are off and running. Very handy when you are trying to play chords on a tiny (computer) keyboard. Also doesn’t sound so bad!
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