Musicians' Diary

How do we play on stage ?


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For quite a long time, we had the idea of playing with electro loops on stage, but we didn’t really want to hire an extra musician for that. I know for ages that many guitarists use loop pedals. I think these devices are suitable when you want to record and overdub guitar loops. But we wanted to be also able to launch drum loops, drones and samples.

I found out that the right solution for that was an amazing software called Ableton Live. This software enables one to set up full arrangements and to launch them on stage. But my problem was how can I use my hands to trigger on stage while playing guitar or oud…?

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An Ableton Live set we use on stage.

The answer was that I had to use my feet of course ! Which means that I need a kind of footswitch. MIDI footswich ? Not even a MIDI port on my cheap soundcard. USB footswitch? I found out that what I was looking for didn’t really exists ! Then I found this interesting link:

https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=112242

That was the best solution ever ! To built my own USB footswitch myself using an old USB keyboard and the suitable footswitches. I found all the necessary components in a very in a rather fascinating area of Istanbul called Karaköy.

And I started to make it on my own…You can see the resulting system below :

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My home-made USB footswitch.
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My home-made USB footswitch.
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On-stage setup.

We did several concerts with this system, and sometimes with hardly any sound-check. We must say that it works perfectly !

[ yann ]

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