Score & Midi Guitar Questions


I’m a long-term Cubase user, however, I’ve never used the Score facility, but am very interested in exploring it. From time to time I need to create scores - I’m still writing things out by hand at this point. None of my scoring needs are particularly ornate, but I would like to be able to input from a guitar, rather than a midi-keyboard. I understand that this is possible if I have a midi-pick-up fitted to one of my guitars. If any of you reading this have experience of this approach, I’d welcome any advice that you might have to offer.

In addition to the above question if there are any books or online tutorials that you can point me in the direction of, I’d be extremely grateful.

Many thanks.

Here are two, you might find this to be enough to get started, and there are a few people who will be happy to help out more, myself included. (including a midi guitar player)

Thanks, Steve. Do you have any recommendations regarding audio-to-MIDI pickups?


Cubase works very well with MIDI guitar. You might want to explore Step Input in the MIDI Editor chapter of the Operation Manual. Look it up in the Index.

If you create key commands for the Quantize values, then you can fairly quickly entering passages with the end result looking fantastic. Select a Quantize value, (1/1 whole note, or 1/2 half note, etc), play a note. It appears in the score. Any note you play on your guitar (with a MIDI converter) will be entered. Set another Q value (1/8 eighth notes, etc). Play more notes.

In my experience, it’s more challenging to have the score editor interpret a recorded passage. But if you want to write short scores and know what you want them to look like, then Step Input will produce beautiful results.

There are some exciting new technologies available for MIDI guitar:
MIDI Guitar app
This is a software solution that works as good as a Roland GK pickup + converter.
An advantage of the MIDI Guitar app is that you can use it with any electric guitar. No hardware installation required, except the connection between your guitar and your audio interface.

Fishman Triple Play: a wireless solution
This is more expensive but the tracking is a bit more accurate than the MIDI Guitar app.

Both work great

If cost is an issue (It’s always an issue :laughing: ), then the MIDI Guitar app is hard to beat.

You’ll have to do some reading to see if your current computer and operating system are supported by either of these solutions.

Here are a couple of useful but SX-era score tutorials.

I currently use the Fishman Triple Play (placed on a Telecaster) and it is quite nice although like most MIDI guitar controllers it is really helpful if you have really good technique. My technique certainly isn’t flawless so I always need to spend additional time running through a deglitch process.

I also have a Godin SynthAccess guitar (the nylon string model) that I use to drive my Axon AX100 MK II. The Axon uses a MIDI cable (guitar to unit). I believe this helps, slightly, with the accuracy of the tracking. Both the Axon and the Fishman were developed by the same person whose name escapes me at the moment. The Axon is no longer sold.

I’m a relative newb to Cubase and have not tried the Staff editing tool so I can’t help you there…it looks pretty nice though and plan on giving it a spin in the not too far distant future.


+1 for the Axon AX100 MK II with a hex pickup, properly set up, which I would regard as the “gold standard”. I think I read somewhere that the Triple Play won’t convert any quicker, it’s just that the developer could pack more into a smaller package and add features such as wireless communication. I haven’t been able to try the Triple Play but I suspect it’s just as good as the AX100 MK II, but clearly you need a computer to use it, which might not be ideal for live performance.

If you use Kontakt, have a look at, and even the free HMT1 can be useful inside Cubase.

Aloha guys,

I have always used Roland pitch to voltage convertors. GR50/GR33/GR55.

In order for me to ‘ride this bucking bronco’ (using this method) several things work for me.

1- Use MIDI ‘Mono Mode’
This basically turns your ax into six separate MIDI streams with six diff ‘bend rates’.
Record each on a separate MIDI channel and track in Cubase.

2-Use appropriate ‘bend rate’ settings.
Most keyboards/sound modules/synth plugs etc come with
bend rates set to ± 2. This is not good for MIDI guitar use.
Bend Rates need to be set to at least ± 12. (My GR 55 uses ± 24)
Thank you Warren Sirota.

3- I don’t want to hit this one too hard.
IMHO to really use MIDI guitar properly you have to be a ‘killer’ player.
There is no other way around this.
For simple lines or pads, OK not a lot of chops are needed.
But to really play this thang, clean MIDI ‘Note on’ and ‘Note off’ info is required.

Ironically players of the two styles of guit playing that work well with a MIDI guitar
(classical and jazz) have the least interest in sounding like other instruments. Ha!

Once the performance (and editing is done) I often merge
the six MIDI streams into one and scoring happens as normal.

I only score for live musicians/choirs etc so once the work
is printed (and unless changes are needed),
I usually never go back into that project in Cubase again.

5-Really get to know the ‘List Editor’ and the ‘Logical Editor’.
These are your friends when it come to using MIDI guitar.

Example: I truly believe Steiny put the ‘Delete Short Notes’ preset
in Cubase just for MIDI guitarists. It is a Godsend when using MIDI guitar.

A lil story from another post:

_BTW here is a kool lil MIDI guitar trick.
Using Mono Mode, playing a nylon string guitar patch in Cubase with six different sound modules each routed to
one speaker in a 5.1 sound system.
If you sit in the middle of all the speakers and play, the perspective is like you are right in the sound hole
of the guitar.

Try that keyboardist! :slight_smile:_

Good Luck!

Curteye, you’ve really got to post more on your midi guitar setup. I’ve picked up 3 great items on your above post that I may have only stumbled across with more playing time. Of course, THAT TIME is minimal.

As for tracking, I still can’t say enough about this iGuitar. It’s about 8 years old now but seams to beat everything else I’ve tried. It was also fitted with a USB port and with an ASIO driver records right into Cubase

Something that may work for scoring is You Rock Guitar (YRG) and they are cheap.

I used to have a Fender Start driving an Axon AX50 USB. While it was fast and handled bends really well, not having the smoothest playing technique meant I kept generating too many false notes, triggered by just touching the string before actually picking or strumming. However, I was impressed by its responsiveness compared to the delays I remember hearing years before on a friends Roland MIDI pickup.

We had only got it for possibly putting in incidental sample sounds, so given the learning curve that would be required to be able to use it consistently verses the amount of times we would, we sold them.

Since the YRG was so cheap (<US$100 at the time), I bought one to just muck around on. It has plastic coated string-wires for plucking/picking/strumming and a separate plastic moulded fretboard with ridges for strings. The fretboard doesn’t allow bending, for which the whammy bar is to be used, and the string-wires feel a bit like fence-wire.

It is designed to be used for real direct MIDI or MIDI over USB work, and includes a range of samples on board and some patterns to which you can play. It even has a ‘safe’ note filter, that only plays the pentatonic notes for the key of the pattern.

However, its real advantage is that it can be configured to not trigger on fret touches, but only on the string-wire hits. Conversely, it can be used polyphonic so that ANY fret touched will play a note, even those on the same string, without hitting the string-wires. As with the Axon, you can have separate MIDI channels for fret ranges and each string.

This makes it have almost no learning curve for putting clean notes into scores. On first use, my wife had no problem playing chords with the YRG driving EWQL Pianos to produce very passable Steinway piano. Though she thought the string-wires felt strange, she thought that it wouldn’t take long for her to play proficiently.

As I can now sort of play lead, I would not hesitate to use it for any incidental instrument samples where we don’t have a long-term need to buy the real thing. However, the lack of real bending precludes decent expressive driving of solo string samples.

Certainly, given the flexibility of usage, and that lack of real bending is not an impediment for scoring, I would think that the YRG is probably the easiest way to MIDI score if you are a guitarist. And you don’t have to think which guitar you want to risk drilling holes into for securely mounting the pickups for any other MIDI system, though I did find a way to use existing Strat screw-holes with the Duncan pickup for the Axon.

If you do get one, I would suggest slightly loosening the string-wires (about a quarter turn) so they feel a bit more normal.

Thank you for sharing those MIDI guitar power tips!