Introducing the Misa Tri-Bass. The tri-bass has been designed specifically for tomorrow's electronic music. Although it looks like a guitar, and has a name like a bass guitar, it is played like neither. The tri-bass design is pretty far removed from traditional guitar, even more so than the original misa kitara. Partly this is to try and break any assumptions people may have of digital guitar style instruments; mostly though, it's to make the instrument fit perfectly in a modern electronic music setting. So with that out of the way, let me break down the core elements of the design.
The neck is touch sensitive to encourage sliding along the neck. In fact, that's what it's all about. There are no push buttons. This is to stop the bad sound of amplitude and filter envelopes restarting, something that happens when trying to slide across an array of push buttons. When you set your synth to glide, this neck design will make sure it sounds better than anything. The fingerboard is wave shaped with channels to lock the finger to the sensor area. This is mainly to provide the tactile information a player needs about their hand position.
The tri-bass has three "strings" only - six strings are unnecessary. YES I know that's a controversial statement to make. But after learning how other people were using the misa kitara, understanding their expectations as "digital guitarists" and most importantly seeing the workflow and processes others are currently using to produce modern electronic music, I knew it was the right decision to make. One note alone through a synthesizer can be enough to completely cut through any mix and provide enough tonal information to sound like bliss (if you're doing it right). Do you really need six? (And this is not to sacrifice musicality, because the multi-channel nature of the instrument - see below - more than makes up for it.) Too many times people have picked up a kitara and tried to play a barre chord. It's not really right. These sorts of six string chords are just not important for what the tri-bass is trying to achieve. The design is a reminder that the tri-bass is not meant to sound like a guitar, and it forces the user to adapt their playing style to a new electronic form. The other reason for the low string count is that three widely spaced strings allows me to do interesting things with the layout as I have more space. The result is to make playing much more comfortable and enjoyable, especially live and in dim light conditions.
The tri-bass body and neck are solid wood just as an electric guitar is. The maple neck feels really comfortable to play. This is my favourite part of the design because I think this, coupled with the embedded electronics, provide that perfect balance between traditional and futuristic forms. There is something special about combining old materials with new ones, even though it can be an engineering nightmare.
The tri-bass is a controller only and does not have an on-board synthesizer. State of the art software synthesizers are freely available to generate sound and musicians rarely limit themselves to one synth only. I want to leave the option open to the players to choose sounds based on their own taste, rather than being stuck with something provided on the hardware. Furthermore, most synthesizers are highly configurable. So my aim has been to give the tri-bass no configuration options at all, to prevent the requirement of configuration at two ends which is messy, especially when sharing presets. A minimalistic interface with configurability at the sound module end is most effective.
Perhaps the coolest element of the tri-bass is that it is multi-channel by default. The screen lets you control multiple synths or sounds simultaneously. You can mix different sounds together just by touching different parts of the screen.
In summary, I am very proud of the misa tri-bass. It is a solid, robust and stage-worthy product that has had a lot of thought go in to the design, and a lot of work go in to the engineering. I hope you like it.
Touch screen on the body
-for instant sound changes while you play
-multi-synth control (up to 4 simultaneous)
3 continuous touch-sensitive grooves ("strings") on the neck (Tuned EAD)
-allowing you to smoothly slide and play MIDI notes with near-zero latency.
USB and MIDI ports
-to connect directly to synths or computers with sound libraries
Supports VST and AU plug-ins
-use your favorite sound libraries installed in your computer
- there are no on-board sounds, this is a MIDI controller for guitarists
Use it with your favorite DAW:
-Sonar, FLStudio, Ableton, GarageBand, etc.
Solid wood body and neck
-feels great, plays great and available in white or black
-for freedom on stage
AC Power supply included
-for playing long sessions
The Misa Tri-Bass is a MIDI controller. It makes no sound of its own, so you need to connect it to a sound generator (like a synthesizer, or a computer). It has two main parts:
- touch sensitive neck
- touch screen
WHAT IS INCLUDED: One Misa Tri-Bass with internal rechargeable battery, power adapter, MIDI cable, MIDI-to-USB cable.
HOW IT WORKS
To play a note, you hold down a note on the touch sensitive neck to designate which note you want, and then you press the touch screen. When you release the touch screen, the note will stop playing.
In the standard playing mode, the touch screen is divided up in to four sections. Each section corresponds to a different MIDI channel (numbered 1-4) as in the image below:
When you play a note, the channel it will play on depends on the section on the touch screen that was tapped. You can tap multiple sections simultaneously.
Typically you will assign a different synthesizer to each MIDI channel, so you can control up to four sounds at once. For example, you may assign channel 1 to a synth lead, channels 2 and 3 to variations on a bass patch, and channel 4 to a sound effect.
If you want a sound to continue playing even after you have lifted your finger off the touch screen, you can sustain the note. To do this, drag upwards on the particular section you want to sustain until it turns white. Later, drag upwards again to turn the sustain off. Any pressed notes on the neck will be sustained when the section is tapped.
You can drag a finger across the large touch pad to control multiple effects simultaneously. The large touch pad measures your finger position along the x and y axis. When you drag your finger along the x axis, the tri-bass updates the effects values of any control assigned to CC 16 on channel 1. Similarly, when you drag your finger along the y axis, the tri-bass updates the effects knob positions of any control assigned to CC 17 on channel 1. You can also control effects from the smaller pads. For the smaller pads, only the x axis is measured. Each pad controls CC 16 on its own channel.
NOTE: If you want to assign a touch panel axis to a control in software such as Ableton, you first enable Ableton's "MIDI Learn" function for the particular control you want to assign, and then drag either along the top half or bottom half of the touch panel depending on which axis you want to assign.
ALTERNATIVE MODE: SAMPLE PAD MODE WITH TAP
By pressing the two far corners of the touch screen simultaneously, you enable a sample pad mode which does two things:
- It displays six squares that behave as sample pads. All pads output to channel 1 and each is tuned to a different note. Since these are sample pads, your hand position on the neck does not affect the sound of these pads. The pads are tuned below the E string (notes B, C, C#, D, D# and E), so you can key split the notes in software like Ableton to get the neck to control a different sound source to the pads. The pads also output a linear x-axis position control (CC numbers 18, 19, 80, 81, 82 and 83). Again by key splitting, if you want you can use these pads to control other parameters without triggering a sample.
- Pressing notes on the neck will cause them to be played (to channel 1) even when the touch screen is not pressed. This allows you to do two handed tapping, or use the drum pads while playing on the neck simultaneously. The large X/Y pad can still be used to control parameters (but in this case it doesn't re-actuate the pressed notes, which is a good thing).
ALTERNATIVE MODE: SLIDING CHORDS WITH PORTAMENTO
You can enable this mode by pressing all four corners of the touch screen simultaneously. I have always been mesmerised by a very specific multi-synth configuration that lets you slide chords in a unique way. I say unique because a keyboard cannot do this. You set up three identical synthesizers on three separate channels (channels 9, 10 and 11) and make sure each synthesizer is monophonic, so that only one note can be played at a time on each synth. Glide/portamento must be enabled for each synth. Finally, split the tri-bass strings by entering this mode. Each string will output to a different synthesizer allowing you to slide chords while taking advantage of the synth's portamento capability.
To see the battery life remaining, press the two corners of the touch screen closest to the neck.