Rob O'Reilly - Expresiv MIDI Pro Guitar

Started by admin, January 05, 2018, 07:34:18 AM

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rockzvezda1: Thanks man for letting me know about the arduino chip and everything else!! :D Seriously a big thank you! :) I don't want one anymore.

So the Solange is basically flawless in tracking but doesn't do bends well when tested at NAMM other than that the best MIDI guitar out there :) Build time 12 months....very long time.

Visionary Instruments looks cool, thanks for the link!

I've been looking at the Jamstik for a while but will wait for some video reviews to see the pros and cons.

Maybe a Godin Tripleplay will sort me out or maybe I'll manage with the SY-1000 when I finally have one...

I haven't had a computer for a long time but will buy one soon:
Maybe I'll manage with just Jam Origin's Midi Guitar 2?

Just look what this guy can do with it and a breath controller:

Rob OReilly

Hi Rockzvezda1,

Rob here. It sounds like you need to do a software upgrade. If you drop us a quick email to we'll be happy to help.

All the best,



Expressiv MIDI Pro 2
Select Option
The World's # 1 MIDI Guitar.
Get ready to take your performance to a whole new level. A groundbreaking fretboard scanner. An intuitive XY pad. A beautiful traditional instrument. Powerful 16Mhz processors. Together these features lift you to new dimensions of sound. And they will do the same for everything you create.

WATCH Expressive Midi-Pro In Action
READ Technical Spec

Lightning speed.
Latency is a thing of the past. The Powerful 16MHz processor sends picked notes within 10 mili seconds. A patented Polyphonic fretboard scanner transforms your strings and frets into 132 unique velocity sensitive switches allowing you to trigger MIDI notes from multiple modes at blistering fast speeds. Think mind blowing synthesisers with real guitar at the speed of Van Halen.

Plug & Play with everything.
Instantly connect to any hardware synth, Digital Audio Workstation or standard guitar amp with the ultra-durable plug and play outputs. Access the powerful humbuckers and traditional acoustic output from the stereo guitar jack. The high-performance USB or 5-pin MIDI output control any of the thousands of synthesiser and electronic sounds available. Use all four outputs at the same time and create a mind-blowing wall of sound.

A deeper connection to your synth.
The intuitive XY pad brings more functionality to your fingertips. Dynamically trigger notes while bending, modulating, and controlling virtually unlimited assignable parameters. It performs incredibly well with a plectrum allowing you to seamlessly transition between string picking and XY triggering or simply effecting the notes you've played.

Introducing Tap Mode, A whole new musical experience.
A palm push on the Tap Mode button effortlessly shifts you into control you've never known. Instantly trigger notes by touching the string on a fret, just like pressing a key on a keyboard. This allows one-handed playing while giving your other hand full freedom to control note parameters - a detail that keyboard players enjoyed for years. And playing faster than ever is a breeze with two-handed tapping. Tap Mode will inspire a new musical experience no matter what kind of music you perform.

Dynamic controls.
Its simple layout allows you easily access all of your controls for any parameter, any Patch or any sound. Play the highest notes of a symphony down to the earth thumping lows of powerful synth bass with the Octave Up and Down shifts. Easily get in any key with a Semitone shift. Change MIDI channels and send patch changes to control any or multiple synths at any time. Intuitive control is at the heart of the Expressiv MIDI Pro leaving your spectators wondering what world you came from.

Customize yours.
Fully customize your exact preferences with the easy to use menu. From individual string gains to XY mapping and play modes, your  performance will be a dream. The 32 character illuminated LCD display brings full MIDI control to any situation. And the onboard memory allows you save your favourite settings so your guitar is yours.

Go Acoustic.
Play completely traditional on stage and in the studio or just add another beautiful layer to your wall of sound! Hand made piezo saddles by Graph Tech in Canada bring a powered acoustic output from stereo guitar jack.

Custom Built for Professionals.
We designed and engineered the MIDI Pro for world-class musicians. A Beautiful maple neck and ebony fingerboard give smooth, fast playing with a traditional feel. Hand-wound Seymour Duncan humbuckers bring a powerful tone-rich output. Handmade Schaller locking tuners give extremely stable tuning along with ultra-fast string changing. Machined aluminium control plates with a black anodised finish bring striking lifetime durability. A hand-filed brass nut gives optimum playability with high sustain for years to come. We hand spray all of our bodies with 4 coats of primer followed by 3 coats of ultra-durable and stunning satin white finish. The Expressiv MIDI Pro will perform like pros expect: flawlessly!

Please email for a updated Technical Spec Document.
$3600 USD

Yadrichik Chaya

So glad I got the Jamstik Studio Midi Guitar instead! :)
I really can't see how this one is better in the midi domain when I can play parts with really fast picking in 220 bpm with a felt piano patch - zero glitching - with the jamstik.
Can even do the funky stuff that he had trouble with in the video ;)

Yadrichik Chaya

This one is in 200 bpm but I can also do the same thing in 220 bpm but that has more to do with putting a strain on me and not the Jamstik ;)


Quote from: Smash on December 03, 2018, 10:09:59 AM
Edit- just watched video. Conductive frets I think. It doesn't do traditional bends - pitch bend from kaos pad. So very much a latter day synth axxe.

Richard McClish and Keith McMillen developed the Zeta Mirror 6 in the late 80s, and it also employed fret scanning. One thing that happened was that the electric current running on the string and forming arcs with the fret damaged the sensor over time. Not sure how this one handles that (perhaps just pressure sensors under the fret?)

Here's a nice article on the Zeta Mirror 6:

Keith McMillen has had a prototype for his StringPort2 that employs fret scanning AND does bends. At NAMM 2020 they told me it's ready for production but awaiting for investors...

(BTW, Keith McMillen's StringPort I -- which was pitch analysis only -- was incredibly expressive, fast and accurate. It was $1000 and depended on a Mac to work, so I don't think sales were stellar...)

Some fret scanning guitars from the past:

MCI Guitorgan

VOX Phantom VI


While I am encouraged by the performance of the Expressiv MIDI Pro 2 based on the videos I've seen, I have reservations about the overall design goal, the marketing methods and the service requirements should the instrument need repair.

Design Goal: Who is your target audience?

Is it someone who wants near flawless, instantaneous MIDI conversion from a guitar?

Or someone who wants to control pedals, amp and effects modelers, or even sequencers from their guitar?

Is it designed for live or studio use? Or both?

From my perspective its design goal seems to try to be everything to everyone. Like throwing spaghetti on a wall to see what sticks.

Consider that this instrument incorporates all of these features:

  • Fret scanning switching to drive MIDI targets

  • Control anything with any MIDI implementation from your guitar

  • On board visual system monitor, X/Y pad, joystick, buttons.

  • Piezo bridge pickup.

  • Magnetic pickups.

  • Whammy bar.

  • USB, MIDI 5 pin, Hi Z 1/4 inch outputs.

This list is certainly a collection of excellent features. But is it too much for a product that  must prove itself primarily as a MIDI controller? And be affordable?

At over €3,000 it is certainly not affordable.

Why not make the same guitar with only the MIDI controller functions? Have some buttons to select presets and banks. Maybe a few pots for parameter controls. You could sell it for half the price. And you'd sell ten times as many of them.

No whammy bar. No on board visual system monitor. No X/Y pad. No joystick. Make a deluxe version with these features. Or make these features available as BTO options.

As far as piezo pickups are concerned, make them optional too. You can buy piezo pickups direct from Graphtec or RMC.

Personally, I'd rather have a Cycfi NU 2 at the neck and an RMC hex piezo in the bridge than a mono Graphtec piezo.

A basic instrument with excellent MIDI control via fret scanning that I could personalize with my own magnetic and piezo pickups would make me want to spend a lot on my ultimate instrument.

So how does the MIDI setup get implemented without the on board visual monitor? In software. On a tablet, phone or computer.

As a very complex MIDI controller, a small screen with lots of menu diving won't cut it. At least to fully utilize the instrument to its full potential in a studio setting. For that you will need an editor and an associated librarian.

The visual feedback would be a nice option for users who need a quick way to set up a live performance set. But it's an unnecessary add on in the studio.

Speaking of software, where is a full demo of the software? Or a full owner's manual?

How do you match pitch bend ranges between the controller and target synth? Can you have multiple ranges for multiple simultaneous targets?

Can you do specific string assignments to separate targets?

Can you have polyphony on a string in tap mode?

Finally, I come to what is a show stopper for me. Service.

This is an extremely complex instrument. Even if it was stripped down to just its MIDI controller functionality, the potential for service requirement seems high.

I can't see myself ever buying a guitar that must be sent from Texas to the UK for service. What is the turnaround time? Who pays for shipping? What is the warranty? How long is it in effect? How much for repair after the warranty ends?

I don't see anything on the web site that answers these questions. Buyer beware.

Hamer Duotone, Brian Moore i213, Taylor 710 BCE 

VG-99, FC-300, RMC Fanout
RJM Mastermind GT10
Kemper Profiling Amp
Radial JDV Mk3, X-Amp
Mesa Recto Pre + 20/20
68 Fender Bandmaster (AB763)
Marshal AS80R

UA Apollo X6, Twin X, Logic Pro, Luna, Melodyne Studio



Read this entire thread from the begining, and ALL posts


History of Rob O'Reilly's funding'Sullivan_(engineer)
Sean O'Sullivan is an entrepreneur, inventor and investor, born in New York City and currently living in Princeton, New Jersey. He is best known for co-founding MapInfo Corporation,[1][2] which popularized street maps on computers, and for coining the term "Cloud Computing".[3][4][5] He is the founder and managing partner of SOSV, a $525M venture capital operation. O'Sullivan has had an unusually diverse career, being described as a "renaissance man".[6


I have had my ROR Bass for about a year now. #150. As a bass player, I have always regretted not getting a Peavy midi bass when I had the chance back in the 90s. For years I've been interested in bolstering my bass guitar with a synth or just synth depend on the song. I've messed with pitch to midi before and it just never kept up with what I wanted to do. The Fishman Triple play has probably been the best pitch to midi device that I've used. I tried out a gk-3b into an Axon, but the latency and triggering are always a problem for fast and low notes. The last few years, I've been dreaming of solving those issues like the old Peavy, so I was really interested in Industrial Radio basses. On occasion, you'll see a Peavy online, but you start to think that time and abuse can add up and how long will they last and if there's a problem, who will fix it? With Industrial Radio taking forever to make orders and the fact that they simplified their design (no display on the horn) and the need for a break out box... I was very happy to cast my lot with ROR. Everything you need to play is with in the bass itself, which is great.

Rob and Shea were attentive through the process of trying to come up with the kind of bass I wanted feature / design wise. For essentially a custom bass, there were a number of limitations that seemingly weren't an issue with IR basses and guitars. I spent the extra money to get a custom color, and fair enough they said to pick from a RAL color chart. I bought a color chart and picked my color, because screen swatches on a computer and real life doesn't =. I was hoping to match the look of a Chris Squire Rickenbacker. But they only offered at the time black pickguards and black hardware. So on and so forth. All this was happening at the end of Covid, so I can understand that there might have been other issues at work. I did get a custom color, but it took a while to find a qualified painter to do the job. the final paint didn't exactly match my color chart... but it doesn't look bad. Its just not the bass the way I had hoped to get. I asked about all sorts of modifications that I would be willing to do if they weren't, but was warned not to do them... fair enough. The bass is more about what it can do than how it looks, and it looks good, just not exactly like I was hoping. I'm reminded a little of Henry Ford saying you can get a Model T in any color as long as its black! Just go into it knowing there might be some limitations.

Now as far as the performance of the bass and its midi functions go... Its mostly very good. The neck has an unusual carve... there's a flat part along the center line which is different from a traditional neck and the carve where it meets the body is definitely unique. The bass it self sounds great and plays a little bit like an upright bass as far as the neck and string action feels. The midi functionality is quite good. I haven't set it up to push out midi per string yet. But you can do quite a lot of interesting things with it depending on your set up. its fairly sensitive to pitch bend, so if you rest or anchor your thumb on the E string while playing others, you can put pressure on the E and bend the other strings as though the "un-played" E is a mild whammy bar. It has a tap mode, which is fine, but I find its just as easy to never use it as the triggering is pretty good for tapping, picking, or fingering as usual. The one issue I have had is with the latency. At times, and I haven't been able to say why exactly, there's an up to 12ish ms latency through the USB. Depending on how you're playing its more or less pronounced. The 5 pin midi out seems to have better performance. I've tried to figure out if its a laptop issues, Cubase / VST, USB hub issue, or bass issue. The beauty of the system is that I can record on my DAW the audio and midi info at the same time to figure out the delay time. I don't know if other owners have had a similar experience. Generally speaking, its a great bass and the midi works well, but would love to understand why the latency is an issue from time to time. One other quibble... the ROR guitar has a built in tuner, yet the bass does not. Maybe that's because there are a few other functions on the bass and they maxed out what the internals can do... but it doesn't seem like a tuner function should be that expensive in the software budget.

For any other US potential customers, please factor into your budget paying off the mobsters that run the US customs import racket. I got my bass in the middle of a cold winter and didn't want it stuck in the cold for any longer than was needed so I had to fork over $200 extra to get it delivered. Maybe we could get ROR and IR to license a US builder if there's enough demand in the states. If there were any repairs to be made... shipping back and forth would likely have the same mobsters getting their cut in the transit.

I hope this was helpful to anyone interested.


Brent Flash

Welcome to the group ThomasDV!  :)


Thanks everyone for this board! I've been lurking for a while, but just recently got into bass synthesis beyond just midi guitars. Suddenly, the GK has become really important to my way of thinking and playing. I'm actually becoming GK crazy and planning on making perhaps the first double GK, double neck bass/guitar for use with my band. God help me. ;-)

I'm hoping to contribute in swapping sounds for the Sy-1000 as I've enjoyed many of the contributors offerings as well. This is a great community here and I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have about my ROR bass from a consumers point of view that isn't already covered. I was pleased to see that Rob has also chimed in in the past. I wish midi guitars and basses were better understood and used by the consuming public as more competition and innovation would be great for everyone. The most important point for me is instant annotation / transcription when noodling a song idea. Being able to go back and see what I did 2 years ago, let alone 2 minutes is a huge boon when trying to re-learn parts to either replicate or better refine without painstakingly listening and stumbling through fingerings and everything else. See the notes, get it back into muscle memory quick. Anywho... Glad to be here. Cheers.