PreSonus Blog

MIDI Guitar: the V6 Remix

The May 2021 Friday Tip described how to use Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2 software with Studio One 5 running on Windows. Unlike the Mac, Windows doesn’t support virtual MIDI ports natively. So, the tip described a workaround of running Jam Origin in standalone mode, and using Tobias Erichsen’s loopMIDI virtual MIDI cable to connect it with Studio One.

Although Melodyne Essential can also translate guitar audio to polyphonic MIDI data, it doesn’t work in real time, track pitch bend, or have features like legato response. However, V6’s instrument track enhancements eliminate having to do any kind of workaround with MIDI Guitar 2, and improves the overall performance.

How to Do It

1. Add a mono audio track for your guitar, and assign its input to your guitar’s audio interface input. Set the track’s input Monitor to on.

2. Insert the Jam Origin MIDI Guitar 2 plug-in into the guitar track.

3. Create an instrument track with your instrument of choice. Mai Tai is my go-to for MIDI guitar, but any VST3 or VST2 instrument I’ve used so far works.

4. Assign the instrument track input to MIDIGuitar2-64bit (fig. 1).

Figure 1: Assign MIDIGuitar2-64bit as the Instrument’s MIDI input.

5. Start recording. I recommend recording the guitar track and the Instrument track. Processing the recorded guitar track, like using a gate or expander, can create some interesting results when driving the instrument. Also, sometimes lowering the clip level improves the conversion to note data.

6. When it’s time to edit the Instrument track’s note data, make sure to set the Instrument’s MIDI input to None (or, delete the guitar track). Otherwise, the instrument will be triggered from both the note data and the original audio data.

And Speaking of Editing…

You always need to clean up MIDI guitar parts to some extent, but some mass operations can save time. Select all the part’s notes, then remove notes with ultra-low velocities and ultra-short note lengths (fig. 2). Note that you need to do this as two separate passes, otherwise you’ll delete only notes that have both low velocities and short lengths.

Figure 2: These operations can help clean up MIDI guitar parts quickly.

Even better, a Macro that deletes ultra-low velocity notes can save a lot of otherwise detailed editing. To create a new Macro that does this:

1. After creating the new Macro, add Musical Functions | Select Notes

2. Double-click on the command, and choose Select and Range. Then, specify Velocity from 1% to 50% (or whatever velocity works best for your playing style and guitar level).

3. Add Musical Functions | Delete Notes

Using a Macro to clean up ultra-short, unintended notes is more fraught, because MIDI Guitar 2 will pick up the transitional notes that happen when you slide from one chord to another. These can be quite short, and I usually want to keep them. So, I select all notes, choose Delete Notes, and start with very short values (like 0.00.10). That deletes some undesired notes. I’ll then repeat with a longer value, like 0.00.20. There’s usually a value that gets rid of notes you don’t want, but keeps the transitional ones.

Of course, you can be less concerned about deleting longer note lengths if you’ll end up quantizing the notes anyway, and just want to delete any notes that are shorter than desired.

Further Optimization

MIDI guitar is never perfect, but given that Jam Origin works polyphonically with guitar audio and requires no special hardware, it’s pretty amazing. MIDI guitar opens up other advantages, like using Note FX, and altering the Chord Track to create more adventurous chord progressions. For further advice about optimization, see the original tip referenced at the beginning, and also check out the documentation on the Jam Origin website.