Monday, June 13, 2016

My continued tryst with the Zoom G3X

My fascination with this little tiny piece of gear seems to be increasing by the day…
My latest (at least for this blog) has been this and like before – “make it more usable and easy to use” and so I looked at what else (apart from what I have done previously – “MIDI controller”) is there to be done. And lo and behold there was still a couple of things that could be done.
This idea of course was borrowed from Ashbass (
I have pretty much done the same mods that Ashbass has done but have only changed the locations and did not do the Patch select mods since I am already using the Arduino based MIDI controller for selecting the 8 predefined patches.
With these mods I can also now do the following
1.       Tap tempo
2.       Scroll left and right &
3.       Start and Stop Rhythm

Now how cool is that… J

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My tryst with the Zoom G3X

While my tryst with the zoom 70CDR continues, I happened to see some demos of the Zoom G3X and when I did dig deeper found that this processor in fact is loaded with features. So began my tryst with this Zoom G3X.
At the onset this processor is loaded with the same kind of effects (though not so many) like the MS70CDR (which I love by the way), this has some nice Amp modelling and some decent dirt pedals.
As in my previous blog, the major drawback for me in the MS70CDR were these things…
1.       No easy way to TAP TEMPO the tempo and use the TUNER
2.       No way to use my existing pedals / 70 CDR  in such a way that I could get dotted eighths
3.       Had to use a Amp modelling pedal like the Tech 21 series to get a decent sounding tone when running into the PA /mixer
To address these drawbacks, when I saw the Zoom G3X, I jumped at it.
And when I found out that the same MIDI signals can be used (which I used in the 70CDR), I couldn’t but help, pick this thing up…
Now come the hacks J
I took the old 70CDR Arduino board and tweaked the code and viola, the Zoom G3X now does all I want it to.
1.       Change patches via MIDI
2.       Use TAP tempo and Tuner
3.       Dooooooooooooooootttted eighths delay …
4.       There is one more thing I love  - Ability to switch ON / OFF individual pedals in a PATCH (I am writing code [50% done] to control this thingy via MIDI…

Here are some pics and a demo video of my small pedal board with the MIDI controller and foot switch.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My tryst with hacking a Zoom MS-70CDR - Part 2

Making something is one thing, making it unique is another thing altogether .. but making that usable after the lightning strike of an idea is something nice and the feeling of doing that is something indescribable.
That indescribable thing is what I am writing about.
After making the MIDI controller for the MS70CDR, I found out that, though it worked like I wanted it to, it was not practical to use it live. And so I set about making that smaller / compact to set it on a pedal board...
There was no sense making to too small, where the foot switches cannot be used without interfering between themselves.. and also there needs to be a USB shield along with the the Arduino...
So I split the two.. make the Arduino UNO + USB shield into one small box and then make the foot switches into another one.
This is the brains unit (Arduino UNO + USB shield)
I took a simple Hammond 1590 box. Added a 15 pin D type connector (to connect the foot switch box) and made provisions for the USB cable (to the 70CDR), a simple power connector and a big enough hole to plug an USB cable (to connect a computer to program if a need arises),
This task looks simple but it drove me crazy to get this snugly fit inside).

And now for the foot switch thingy....
I found a nice box ideal for something like this when I was Japan...
I then made the necessary measurements, drilled marker holes and then used a reamer tool  to get the holes of the size I wanted (this tool called the reamer tool, is such a blessing I tell you, wondered how I got along with out having this []).
Once the mounting of the switches, LED's and connectors were done, then began the painful work of soldering all of them. At the end .. it came out sweet...

And now for the final thing...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My tryst with Arduino and MP3 shield to help play ambient music at worship times

Every worship musician knows that the right kind of music goes a long way in worshiping the LORD. If the right music is played at the right time, the worship experience is so refreshing and enriching.
If you have the keyboard player with you while worshiping he/she can help in playing ambient pads or other soothing music helping in facilitating and making your job easier, but at most times, we might not have that luxury…
Some worship leaders when leading solo, carry these ambient pads and play them out of their IPAD’s into a volume pedal and into the sound board…

But if you are playing the guitar, then this task also becomes cumbersome…

So, I wanted to do something that I can use like a guitar pedal…. (I like guitar pedalsJ)

·         Use an Arduino and a MP3 shield and make one…

·         Play and loop a MP3 file (these ambient pads come for different scales  ...)
·         Use foot switches to change the scale, play the selected file and STOP when needed…
·         Have a 7 Segment display to indicate which scale is  the ambient pad playing (and when you change you need to know which scale to choose)

·         The 7 Segment display can show only A, B, C….. etc but how do you show A#, C#.....
·         How in the world do you indicate Minor scale files – Am, Bm… etc
·         After using the MP3 shield the number of available Digital pins are only 4

After much thought, I came up with the following solutions…
·         Have the . (dot) at the 7 segment display to indicate if it is a ‘ # ’.
·         Have an LED to indicate if it is a MAJOR or MINOR
·         Use the Analog pins and use a Shift register for the display..

Sounds simple isn’t it? WRONG…. It was challenging… but I love challenges (the thing that I am worried is after I overcome the challenge and know that I can do it / I have solved it, I lose interest in pursuing it)