Nord-Keytar Gigging Setup

How to look like a prat live on stage

The Rockband 3 Wireless Keytar has no reason to have a midi-out port, or a mod wheel and pitch bend control, octave up-down buttons, program change buttons, a velocity-sensitive 2 octave keybed, or a wireless USB receiver. And yet, it has all of these things. It costs less than £40 secondhand, comes with a strap, and I'm currently using it as a wireless controller for my Nord Electro 6.


Because I was so preoccupied with whether or not I could, I didn’t stop to think if I should.


The USB receiver on the keytar allows it to be plugged into a computer, and some sort of driver/midi software combo can be leveraged to turn this into a fully functioning midi device. I really don't like bringing my laptop to gigs though, so in comes the Raspberry Pi.

Keytar -> Wireless Receiver -> Pi -> USB Midi cable -> Nord

A kind soul has made a driver that converts the raw output of the keytar into midi messages. After installing this on the pi with a fair amount of difficulty and swearing, and getting the script to start at boot without the need for any user input, the pi becomes a plug 'n' play device for Nord-keytar communication. Finally, I can take my funk solos with style, as long as I remember to keep an eye on the keytar battery life. At least if the batteries run out I can preserve some dignity.


My New MicroKorg

I picked up a MicroKorg for a very reasonable price and haven't been able to stop playing with it since. As a classically trained pianist I always used to (internally) turn my nose up at these sorts of machines - how could you ever make something interesting with so few keys. The MicroKorg has 32 small keys, and it was initially quite difficult to get used t