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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picked up a few toys today: a Roland Torcido, and a Source Audio Hot Hand 3.

The HH3 is charging up right now so I haven't used it yet, but the first trial will be using it with my M5. The M5 allows manipulation of up to 5 parameters simultaneously with an expression pedal and this unit will allow your hand to substitute for an expression pedal.

The console puts out a pair of 0-3.3v control voltages. They're on a 4-contact mini phone jack (the ones with an extra ring). I should be able to build a breakout box that will allow me to feed each control voltage to a different device. Which leads me to...

The Torcido. It's one of four mini rack modules in the AiRA series. Everything on them is voltage controllable, and uses 1/8" phone plugs/jacks. But the coolest part is the free app that Roland provides for download. It offers 31 virtual modules for manipulating the physical module, that can be used 6 at a time. So, even though it seems to be a synth module, it can be configured to work well for guitar. Part of the reason I want to make a breakout box for the HH3 is to use it to control the Torcido with my hand movements. I'm gonna be busy for a bit. :D:D:), and hopefully be able to post some sort of guitar-relevant demo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Need to dig up the appropriate patch cords to use the Torcido, but I've been trying to ride the bucking brahma bull that is the Hot Hand, using my M5. So far, the only things where I've acquired an acceptable level of control is bringing in the more pronounced reverb/Verbzilla effects after I strum. In picking position, everything is mixed dry, and raising my hand after I strum brings the wet mix up and extends the decay.

I tried using it with the Leslie-sim setting so that hand-position could switch between slow and fast, but found that I tended to go back and forth between fast and slow more than I wanted to.

I tried harnessing the HH3 to the pitch shifter patch to try and mimic a Whammy, but only succeeded in getting a sort of guitar nervous theremin. The trick involves finding a suitable adjustment and balance of:
- how much you want the hand movements to change stuff (min/max)
- how you expect to move your hand around when picking and the angle you pick at
- the sensitivity of the unit
- the speed with which it responds (twitchiness)

Some patches/effects are easier to find the sweet spot, and others are much trickier. Part of it is the speed of response needed for the individual effect. For instance, the Leslie speed is either fast or slow with nothing in between, so you're using your hand like a switch, rather than an expression pedal, which requires a less twitchy setup.

It's a nifty controller and I'm glad I bought it, but I can also see why it's not sweeping the nation. Funny thing. I followed the Youtube setup video scrupulously but couldn't seem to get anything going. Turned out the teensy-weensy itty-bitty dipswitches that I needed to set to configure things were tiny enough that I didn't realize I was looking at them upside down and setting them all wrong. Once I pulled out a magnifying glass, things proceeded more smoothly.

Working my way up the learning curve. :)
 

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As tempted as I am with new toys like this, I wonder about a) the learning curve and b) novelty phase, or will I use it.

I think you've clarified things for me. Because I am coordinationally challenged from the waste down (making wahs and tap tempos feel like mental gymnastics, screwing up all sorts of other things I'm supposed to be concentrating on at the time), I keep looking for a better way. I don't think this would work any better for me though, because now I would be stressing over how I'm holding my pick and what happens if I do a pickslide or something. Old dogs, new tricks for me, I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, you get to select which axis - X, Y, or Z - you want to be sensed. I started with X because it seemed most straightforward, but I think I will try the other axes to see if they complement my hand movements better. I should also probably try standing up instead of sitting down.

The one thing I will say that IS complimentary is that the "ring" sensor/transmitter is no impediment to playing whatsoever. Maybe if I was a Travis picker or Chet Atkins, but a regular old plectrum picker is not burdened with wearing the sensor ring. Doesn't get in the way one bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As tempted as I am with new toys like this, I wonder about a) the learning curve and b) novelty phase, or will I use it.

I think you've clarified things for me. Because I am coordinationally challenged from the waste down (making wahs and tap tempos feel like mental gymnastics, screwing up all sorts of other things I'm supposed to be concentrating on at the time), I keep looking for a better way. I don't think this would work any better for me though, because now I would be stressing over how I'm holding my pick and what happens if I do a pickslide or something. Old dogs, new tricks for me, I guess.
I think things like the HH3 should be viewed as one colour in a palette of gestural controls. Whammy bars led the way, and were added to with volume and wah pedals. Envelope control adds another form of control. Folks like Matt Bellamy add Kaos pads to guitars, and folks like David Torn add simpler things like kill-buttons for momentary stutter effects. When I learned that the expression input to my M5 was simply a variable 0-10k resistance, I wired up a photocell, tacked it onto the guitar near the bridge so I could work it with my pinky. The HH3 just adds one more thing.

Tinkering with many of these, one learns that there is no single ideal form of expression control. There are some things one can introduce appropriate levels of emotion via your foot on a treadle, and there are some things that simply don't change fast enough with your foot, or exhibit the sort of translation from emotional/tonal intent to expression that one was hoping for with the right degree of nuance. I still have to learn how to use it right, but I found that working the Whammy patch on the M5 via a photocell felt more expressive at first blush, than trying to control it with the HH3. On the other hand (no pun intended), introducing big-space reverberation with a wave of my picking hand, after I'm done strumming, feels natural and yields the feel intended.

So there is the big picture aspect of match between effect and mechanics of expression.
 

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I think things like the HH3 should be viewed as one colour in a palette of gestural controls. Whammy bars led the way, and were added to with volume and wah pedals. Envelope control adds another form of control. Folks like Matt Bellamy add Kaos pads to guitars, and folks like David Torn add simpler things like kill-buttons for momentary stutter effects. When I learned that the expression input to my M5 was simply a variable 0-10k resistance, I wired up a photocell, tacked it onto the guitar near the bridge so I could work it with my pinky. The HH3 just adds one more thing.

Tinkering with many of these, one learns that there is no single ideal form of expression control. There are some things one can introduce appropriate levels of emotion via your foot on a treadle, and there are some things that simply don't change fast enough with your foot, or exhibit the sort of translation from emotional/tonal intent to expression that one was hoping for with the right degree of nuance. I still have to learn how to use it right, but I found that working the Whammy patch on the M5 via a photocell felt more expressive at first blush, than trying to control it with the HH3. On the other hand (no pun intended), introducing big-space reverberation with a wave of my picking hand, after I'm done strumming, feels natural and yields the feel intended.

So there is the big picture aspect of match between effect and mechanics of expression.
Where it might be more appropriate for me is with the M9. It has two assignable expression inputs so I could still have my tredle for the things I can kinda do with it, like wah and swelling echoes and that kind of thing and then have the HH for some of those reverb effects or perhaps a pseudo-theramin thing. Soes I can gets ma Jimmy on. Hope you give us an update along the way, Mark, as you adapt to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Where it might be more appropriate for me is with the M9. It has two assignable expression inputs so I could still have my tredle for the things I can kinda do with it, like wah and swelling echoes and that kind of thing and then have the HH for some of those reverb effects or perhaps a pseudo-theramin thing. Soes I can gets ma Jimmy on. Hope you give us an update along the way, Mark, as you adapt to it.
I most certainly will. This is as much a journey as it is a purchase.
Sounds like the M9 would provide the best of both worlds. I can only imagine what it would be like to work the foot pedal AND the hand, in tandem with the various envelope-controlled programs on those units.
 

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I most certainly will. This is as much a journey as it is a purchase.
Sounds like the M9 would provide the best of both worlds. I can only imagine what it would be like to work the foot pedal AND the hand, in tandem with the various envelope-controlled programs on those units.
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