This project reduces the clutter and complexity of my current rig for use in gigs.
Before I got the Fishman Triple Play synth pickup for my guitar, my rig was fairly simple to setup. It consisted of a multi-effects device and a loop pedal. Over the years I'd had a variety of different loop pedals and multi-effects devices. At the point I "retired" the old rig, it consisted of a Zoom G3 multi-effects pedal and a Boss RC-30 loop pedal.
I have/had evolved a very small rig, it easily fits into a Husky 19" tool bag, largely because, living on a boat in Panama, I have to transport all of the equipment to and fro by dinghy, and we often play outdoors and we get a lot of rain in Bocas (like 300 inches a year). So the equipment gets exposed to a lot of humidity and the occasional wetting at gigs, and more than once I have been caught in a tropical downpour when moving equipment to a gig, or worse, at 1:00am in the morning coming home from a gig. Occasionally we have had to huff the equipment on a jungle trail for a quarter or half mile, so we also need to be able to carry it all (hence the small Stagepas 300 PA). I have good dry bags for everything, but still, there's a lot to move, I also move the P.A., mic-stands, and my guitar for each gig, so smaller is way better.
But when I got the FTP synth pickup and iPad working the first time back in November 2018, I immediately fell in love with it. If for nothing more than being able to add a good sounding Bass to the mix, overlayed on certain strings with the guitar sound, that would be enough to make me change, but with the ability to add virtually ANY sound ... from classic instruments like piano, strings, horns, organ and piano to spacey environmental sounds and effect, the guitar synth (FTP+iPad) has really terrifically opened up the horizons of my sound, and I don't think there is any way for me to go back now. It's just too much fun!
However, with all that new flexibility comes a new level of complexity. Whereas in the old rig, I basically had two cables between four connectors, along with two wall warts, now all of a sudden I had something like 12 cables and 24 connectors to deal with. Besides the fact that adds a lot of time to setting up and tearing down at each gig, a lot of the connectors are fragile "consumer" level connectors like 1/8" (3.5mm) jacks and micro-usb connectors. So there's a lot of potential failure points, and they are more likely to fail than "pro music grade" 1/4" guitar cables.
Meet the New Rig, same as the Previous Rig
I had joked around about it with my friend Chris .. that maybe I would just rip the guts (all the circuit boards) out of things and combine them into my own floor unit. But, for other reasons, around the beginning of the year, I had started the rPi Bare Metal vGuitar project, and until about July I put most of my effort into that (still ongoing) project.
However, in August, I think, I got a 3D printer. Got addicted to it pretty quickly. So actually what I've been doing for the last two months or so has centered itself on 3D printing. I got into a string of "practical" projects for the boat that sometimes had nothing to do with music ... from parts for the head, to new lighting fixtures, to designing my own brushless DC fan.
So the vGuitar project has been lagging. I figure I'm about 50% done with that as I have scoped it out to 18 months ... so I'm about 9 months into it at this point.
However, there is a growing need to start doing gigs again. Apart from getting rusty, I need to make sure that I stay in the music cycle here in Bocas. So about 3 weeks ago I decided to do just what I had described to Chris ... rip the guts out of various pieces of the previous rig, and solder or othrewise wire them together into a single box of some kind. This is specifically to address the complexity and time of setup and to eliminate as many of the consumer connections and cables from the system as I can....Read more »