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.


The Easiest Headphone Holder

headphone holder

Small things can really make a difference. I spend a lot of time at the computer, and if I think about it, I probably put on and take off my headphones unreasonably frequently. Having nowhere to put them grates at my soul, chipping away at my mindset slowly but surely. If we approach desk-sitting like Team Sky approach cycling, we should be considering marginal gains when trying to improve, and so I present the g-clamp headphone stand. Easy to implement, easy to use, fits on any desk, simple and effective. Gone are the anarchic days of madness when I put my headphones in a random spot on the desk. Those crazy times are over. I now know where my headphones are at any time, anywhere.

But wait, I hear you cry, how can I, too, achieve such a state of elegance with my desk-headphone setup? I'm glad you asked, because I made a set of instructions that you can follow to reproduce my configuration. Yes, you too can achieve this marginal gain. Imagine the increased productivity, the saved time, the improved mood! You can find said instructions right here.