Connect with us

music.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Deigh, Oct 5, 2011.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
    Now here is another problem for everyone to give me advice on!!!

    I play jazz guitar, because of the difficulty of finding others to play with I have resorted to computer programs to provide my

    backing and using Band in a Box and Encore have built up a good repetoire of numbers. I have a home version and a battery

    powered computer/amplifer setup that I carry around with me in the campervan. I use Macintosh computers.

    I like to play around with the tune for a few minutes before calling in the backing rhythm. To do this I have to hit the

    spacebar of the computer and this is a problem because it means I have to take away a hand (and my eyes) from the guitar for

    a few seconds and this causes a break in the flow of music.

    Question is...how can I do this with my foot? I have a foot operated volume control to which I can add buttons.

    I have considered....
    1. Mechanical, where I have a wire running through a cable to a 'finger' on the keyboard.

    2, Electrical, whereby an electro magnetic relay punches the spacebar.

    3. Electronic, where I run a pair of wires into the keyboard and 'short' out the spacebar.

    4. Radio, where I somehow utilise the radio mouse.

    All of these have major problems. Anybody got a simpler way?:confused:







    `
     
  2. TBennettcc

    TBennettcc

    292
    2
    Dec 4, 2010
    Why do they have major problems?

    Is there a way to change the key assignment in the software, so you don't have to use the spacebar? This might allow you to use a latching foot switch driving a transistor circuit.

    Is the backing music the only thing going on with the computer? What about having it play, and using a mechanical footswitch to just break the connection from the computer audio out to the speakers? You could attach headphones before the switch so that you could keep track of the backing music and time it correctly to un-mute it.
     
  3. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
    Is there a way to change the key assignment in the software, so you don't have to use the spacebar? This might allow you to use a latching foot switch driving a transistor circuit.The spacebar is the easiest way of triggering the program, it can also be done with the mouse but I'd like to know what you mean by a transistor circuit?

    What about having it play, and using a mechanical footswitch to just break the connection from the computer audio out to the speakers? Don't think I'd like that solution:eek:, but thanks for offering it. :D

    This problem has been irritating me for years, I've had the odd idea about how to do it but despite the fact that I am a serious 'problem solver' this has always beaten me. Throwing the question to this format is done in desperation. Any serious musician would understand the need for the modification.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  4. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
     
  5. Digital_Angel_316

    Digital_Angel_316

    41
    0
    Oct 1, 2011
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,404
    2,777
    Jan 21, 2010
    Find a cheap keyboard. Take it apart and see if you can find the contacts for the space bar and connect some wires to them. See if touching the wires together emulates a press of the key. If so, connect the wires to a foot switch (I'd use a twisted pair cable) and see how you go.

    You may even find that you can have both keyboards plugged in together. If this is the case (and if you're really clever (and lucky) you may be able to strip away most of the keyboard and fit the bits you need into the box with the key switch.

    That approach would probably be most easy with something like one of the flexible (roll up) keyboards, but you'd have to sacrifice it for the cause and it may be a little expensive.

    OK, maybe not so expensive.
     
  7. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
    Couple of interesting ideas here...I have considered the opening up of the keyboard and looking for the contacts and may persue this road. The problem in this case is that my computers are Macintosh and rather old. If I stuff up the contacts I will lose my irreplaceable equipment and that would be unnacceptable.
    thanks anyway!!!
     
  8. TBennettcc

    TBennettcc

    292
    2
    Dec 4, 2010
    A roll-up USB keyboard should still work... USB is USB, right?

    Which Macs and how old? Do they have USB?
     
  9. Digital_Angel_316

    Digital_Angel_316

    41
    0
    Oct 1, 2011
    Here is the concept I presented in a commercially available form that applies to the MAC as well as PC keyboard and mouse emulation.
    Keyboard Control
    Foot Pedals and
    Programmable Foot Switches


    Foot Pedals can compliment your keyboarding providing greater comfort, higher productivity, and lessen wrist stress associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. The three pedal system will allow you to use one pedal for the shift key, one for the ctrl key and one for the alt. However, they are fully programmable to be any standard key on the keyboard, or to emulate a mouse click. For many users, the pain associated with mousing is caused by the action of clicking, not from moving the mouse.




    • Plug and Play
    • Factory Pre-programmed:
      Top Jack - Left mouse click
      Bottom Jack - Right mouse click
    • Can emulate any standard keystroke
    • Can emulate all mouse click functions
    • Can create Macros for common phrases or key action - 1200 characters per module
    • Programming software included with on-board memory chip to store functions
    • Pedals are front hinged for easy triggering
    • Low profile design
    • USB Connection for PC, Mac, and Sun
    • Works with Windows, all MAC OS-X, Linux, and Unix
    • Only Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Windows7 offer full function of mouse clicks
    • Using the downloadable programming driver allows
      reprogramming one or more of the pedals to perform
      any combination of keyboard actions
    WEB SITE REFERENCE:
    http://www.fentek-ind.com/FootPedal.htm
     
  10. TBennettcc

    TBennettcc

    292
    2
    Dec 4, 2010
    He says his Macs are rather old. I don't know if they're running OS X or not, or whether they have USB. He will have to let us know. Good find.
     
  11. Digital_Angel_316

    Digital_Angel_316

    41
    0
    Oct 1, 2011

    Need to get to USB compatibility or adapter. you asked the right questions:
    Which Macs and how old? Do they have USB?
    I think there may be a serial port or ADB to USB product or an upgrade board.

    One hates to recycle their beloved equipment, but we are reaching the end of an era and
    maybe a school kid or hobbyist would love to get their hands on a good deal for an old
    mac. But good products are also adaptable and that is why there is an aftermarket for
    such adapters and upgrades.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. jackorocko

    jackorocko

    1,284
    1
    Apr 4, 2010
    I am not sure I see the issue. You want to step on the spacebar? This is a problem how?

    You already complained about having to use the keyboard while playing so there seems to be no issue in having to use it for anything more then tapping the spacebar once with your big toe while it sits on the ground. You have two feet as well!!!
     
  13. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
    Using LC3 which is pre-USB. Marveleous machine, now been in use best part of twenty years, black and white, A4 screen, ideal for music. bit slow by modern standards, but so am I!:eek:
    Other computer is powerbook 190 series. Keep ripping into it to effect repairs and have a couple of nearly dead ones for cannabillasation.

    Hanging onto this old stuff for several reasons, one is that I'm in my 82nd year and not keen to spend lots of dough just to impress people. Second reason it that my Encore program would have to be replaced if I bought a new computer. So I put up with slow startup times and pretty lousy screen defiition so I can spend more of my pension on whisky.:D
     
  14. davelectronic

    davelectronic

    1,087
    12
    Dec 13, 2010
    Good on ya, nothing wrong with the old stuff, as you say works fine, i am using a 10 year old machine, and have another couple of old ones, one day there be of no use and obsolete, but for now they run fine, my eldest daughter disagrees saying to slow, i tell here to slow down whats the rush.
    My old machines are good for at least another 4 years, and longer if updates are still available, and still longer if not, most software will still be supported.
    Dave. :)
     
  15. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,404
    2,777
    Jan 21, 2010
    Maybe keep an eye out on ebay for a compatible keyboard, or see if there's a mac user group in your area (probably all on-line these days) and see if anyone has a spare keyboard.

    Maybe there's a "hacker space" in your area where you could get hands-on assistance with modifying the keyboard?
     
  16. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
     
  17. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
    This idea has some merit but the keyboard is needed between tunes to set up for the next number and I aint keen on bending down to floor level to do this! Perhaps I could get my foot up to the keyboard to do the triggering. NAH, too many problems there!!!:eek:
     
  18. TBennettcc

    TBennettcc

    292
    2
    Dec 4, 2010
  19. Deigh

    Deigh

    169
    8
    Apr 26, 2011
    Thanks for reply. Apart from LC3 I also have performa 5200CD, and a couple of early iMacs. They are all still working. A few years ago I went into PC laptops because they had several music programs that were not particularily good on Macs. Since then I've had two which have gone to the great internet in the sky and am now on my third. Would like to get back to Mac but that would mean upgrading the Encore program.

    Getting back to immediate problem, The LC3 is the home computer and is ideal for writing new stuff and tidying it up. Once that is done I transfer the data to the Powerbook 190
    which is the portable part of the operation. It is mounted on a wheeled frame with an SC5 and a battery powered amplifier. I have installed extra batteries to service the SC5 and the powerbook. This unit lives in my campervan and with it I can play/busk for nearly 6 hours. It can all be recharged in the camper.

    The trigger to press the spacebar must be applicable to both the LC3 and the Powerbook so really the answer has got to be an electromagnetic unit physically punching the spacebar as a finger would do! So this is the direction I am going to persue. :D

    regards
    Deigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2011
  20. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,404
    2,777
    Jan 21, 2010
    How about a foot pedal operating a solenoid?

    Or even easier, a foot pedal pneumatically operating a "finger".

    The latter would be safer as the amount of force and the distance of travel would be more easily "modulated" by your foot action. (and it may be quieter too)
     
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day

-