Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

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katerlouis
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Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby katerlouis » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:47 pm

Hey folks,

I'm wondering if you can get MIDI on a Zeus these days- I find the forum and google results confusing or way out of date, so I figured to ask here directly, Hope that's okay!

Midi works with Piezo Pickups, I assume- so Acoustic guitar sounds should be possible aswell, right?

Greetings,

louis

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby spudmunkey » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:50 pm

As far as they've shown, They haven't done any piezo saddle builds on any of their models that use a headless bridge, synth or otherwise. Their standard preamp/hexaphonic system also *might* not fit into the headless models' control cavity. :think:

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:49 pm

katerlouis wrote:Hey folks,

I'm wondering if you can get MIDI on a Zeus these days- I find the forum and google results confusing or way out of date, so I figured to ask here directly, Hope that's okay!

Midi works with Piezo Pickups, I assume- so Acoustic guitar sounds should be possible aswell, right?

Greetings,

louis


I don't think you can through Kiesel, but you can use Hipshot-compatible Graphtech parts for the saddles and piezo. You'll have to DIY the routing, however.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby katerlouis » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:42 am

darn, I figured :( – Too bad that Kiesel doesn't do this

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:46 am

katerlouis wrote:darn, I figured :( – Too bad that Kiesel doesn't do this

Yeah, they're not super into the midi thing. I'm decently sure, however, that you could fit the Graphtech PCBs in a Zeus without a tone knob, and if you get the Fishman pickups you already get a batttery box.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:56 am

Could routing the wires from each saddle to the control cavity be an issue? You'd have to bundle the wires to go through a single hole you'd have to drill in the bridge, and is there room behind the saddles far enough to allow for full range of intonation...unless you somehow made a hole for each wire, which I don't even know if it would be a possible option... :think:

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:16 am

spudmunkey wrote:Could routing the wires from each saddle to the control cavity be an issue? You'd have to bundle the wires to go through a single hole you'd have to drill in the bridge, and is there room behind the saddles far enough to allow for full range of intonation...unless you somehow made a hole for each wire, which I don't even know if it would be a possible option... :think:

If you want to do it yourself, I'd say rout a small hole where a string-through hole would be on a non-headless bridge for each saddle, then just scratch a line groove to connect them and drill one larger hole to send them to the control cavity. But to be honest, you're better off getting the guitar, taking the bridge off, and sending it to the Hipshot folks. They're super nice and have done a bunch of very non-standard options for people in the past, so I think they'd probably be willing to do it for you. They've definitely done this in the past for the standard Hipshot hardtail bridge.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby katerlouis » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:03 pm

Hard to follow you guys with that much terminology I've never heard of :D

But wait; how would sending the bridge to Hipshot solve the issues of fitting the tech inside the guitar (and the other stuff you talked about :D:D)?

So as you can read, I defenitely won't do it myself. I have a friend who is into guitar modding, has his own workshop etc.- but I probably wouldn't let him fiddle with such things. 2000bugs for a guitar is something; and risking ruining it just for MIDI isn't worth it. I saw the option during my research and just hoped Kiesel would still do it.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:37 pm

katerlouis wrote:But wait; how would sending the bridge to Hipshot solve the issues of fitting the tech inside the guitar (and the other stuff you talked about :D:D)?


I think he meant that Hipshot might be able to modify the existing bridge to accomodate, and they would know best how the bridge would need to work with the extra cabling and hole(s) needed.

Since every string has it's own saddle, and every saddle has it's own wire, you don't want to end up with something like this. ;)
Image

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:44 pm

katerlouis wrote:Hard to follow you guys with that much terminology I've never heard of :D

But wait; how would sending the bridge to Hipshot solve the issues of fitting the tech inside the guitar (and the other stuff you talked about :D:D)?

So as you can read, I defenitely won't do it myself. I have a friend who is into guitar modding, has his own workshop etc.- but I probably wouldn't let him fiddle with such things. 2000bugs for a guitar is something; and risking ruining it just for MIDI isn't worth it. I saw the option during my research and just hoped Kiesel would still do it.

Basically:

If you get a Zeus with no tone knob, you'll have extra space in the control cavity for Graphtech's Ghost piezo system and the MIDI module's PCB (or the Acoustiphonic preamp, but I don't think you can fit both)
If said Zeus also has the Fishman Fluence pickups, those come with a battery box, which you need to power all your new gizmos
Sending the bridge to Hipshot is so they can do all the necessary mods to the bridge, since they're familiar with the system's engineering and have in the past done several mods to parts to fit the Graphtech parts

The thing you'll have the most trouble with is probably the jack plate, as you'd need a custom one for the midi jack out. Overall, pricy, but also muuuuuuuuch cheaper than the nearest equivalent, which is this Strandy at almost 4 grand:
[url]https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VGStrandBlued2--boss-v-bdn-vg-strandberg-sweetwater-usa-exclusive-blue-with-ebony-fingerboard
[/url]

A simple Zeus (and I specced out a multiscale to test the price, so you can save some on this estimate) runs about $1500 shipped
The Graphtech Hexpander midi preamp stuff is like $190
The Graphtech Ghost saddles that are compatible with the Hipshot headless hardware (the lefty Strat Elite ones, btw) are like $125
Let's say (but honestly I think this is over cost as they can do this standard on any bridge they offer if you order direct from them) $200 for the Hipshot bridge mod, direct from the folks in the know

Runs about $2025 total, in this estimate, maybe like $2150 including labor if you don't want to do it myself

Hope that helps explain, @katerlouis :D

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby jb63 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:08 am

You will want to look into whether or not multiscale and midi work together. They SHOULD, but it’s something I haven’t tried.
I am 100% positive that you can cram all that gear into a Zeus and you could just use a GK kit if you wanted to, but the graphtech saddles are a prettier solution. It all depends upon how you want to use your midi. If you regularly want to do Pat Metheny synth solos, go crazy and set it up with all the options you can.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby katerlouis » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:08 am

So Hipshot does the mod on the bridge alone– but how does this not require a separate hole into the guitar body?
The hardware and hole drilling still needs to be done by me / my friend / a luthier? Or could I send in the whole guitar?

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:50 am

katerlouis wrote:So Hipshot does the mod on the bridge alone– but how does this not require a separate hole into the guitar body?
The hardware and hole drilling still needs to be done by me / my friend / a luthier? Or could I send in the whole guitar?

Hipshot mods the bridge to allow routing the cables from the saddles into the body neatly - you don't need one, but it's messy and could break easily otherwise. You or someone else would need to drill a hole or groove or something to connect that hole to the control cavity so you can get the wires to your preamp. You need both, but this way there's not the risk of you damaging your bridge trying to drill through the metal.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby ExDementia » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:02 am

spudmunkey wrote:As far as they've shown, They haven't done any piezo saddle builds on any of their models that use a headless bridge, synth or otherwise. Their standard preamp/hexaphonic system also *might* not fit into the headless models' control cavity. :think:

Actually the Zeus acoustic uses the same Graphtech piezo saddles that other Hipshot bridge, piezo equipped models use, and the same preamp board as the CC275. So they do have the individual wires going to the saddles.

The website incorrectly states that it uses the LR Baggs Ribbon acoustic pickup, because the website is often wrong on these things, lol.

Here's the saddles:
Image

Hard to get a good shot of the wire, but you can see it between the two action set screws:
Image

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby MarshallTSL » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:08 pm

I don't think there's room for both processing cards in the Zeus cavity.
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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:35 pm

MarshallTSL wrote:I don't think there's room for both processing cards in the Zeus cavity.

If you're just doing MIDI (not midi and acoustic), if you don't have a tone pot it could probably fit.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby katerlouis » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:50 am

Well, since they offer chambering, what about just use the chambered areas for the hardware?
Or ask nicely to make more room in the control cavity.

What do you mean with "MIDI AND ACOUSTIC"?
Sounds like the guitar could have acoustic modeling on its own?! That's exactly what I'm looking for! (I really miss the 5 acoustic models on my Line6 Variax Shuriken...)

A friend of mine had bad experiences with piezo pickups. He said the routing has issues, like that the piezo pickups, even if the guitar should use the normal pickups, the piezo routed signals through? Any experiences with that? I hoped there is a "real switch on of thing" :D

How would the output be handled? A 13 pin midi cable or via usb?

Thank youuuu.

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby GuitFiddle » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:36 am

I've done a LOT of the Graph Tech Ghost installations with the Hexpander and Acousti-phonic modules, several into Carvins. The short of it is that you need room for stuff. At a minimum, you are probably going to want a Hexpander volume and Acousti-phonic volume control. That's 4 controls minimum - mag vol, mag selector, and the other two aforementioned volumes. Of course that's not including the S1/S2 momentary switch or the 3-way source switch. So even if you make it work for you, you'll be missing out on the full functionality the system offers. Then you need a way to mount the 13-pin jack, which happens basically one way - routing a flat relief in the side of your guitar and drilling a through-hole to the cavity, because the 13-pin plate will only mount flush and not on a curve.

The most painless way to make all this happen was with the Carvin/Kiesel active electronics control layout. Mine were wired up to be a full-on passive mag setup on the top row; vol/tone/split/split through its own dedicated tip/ring jack. Bottom row was piezo volume, hex volume, and S1/S2 momentary switch. These carried only the powered elements (piezo and hex) through a TRS jack. Either system could be used and sent independently of the other; splitting or re-combining though a single jack sucks and I don't recommend it. 13-pin jack still routed into the body side. Ghost piezo element cables were routed into tiny notches in the pickup ring in front of the bridge and into the cavity. But I don't even think Kiesel will play ball with you these days on this control layout.

Honest opinion? Kill this particular dream, it's not worth it. Find either a Godin LGX-SA or LGXT or xtSA, or a used Brian more .13 guitar. Both use the RMC Polydrive and LR Baggs piezo systems which frankly are superior to the Graph Tech Ghost system anyway (I say that being a big fan of Graph Tech), especially post-2012 systems. To make it worse, my search for an acceptable LGX-SA lasted 2 years. While Godin is normally known for solid quality, they had a major slide on the LG-styled line for a while and I wasted a lot of time and money sending guitars back. But I finally got a good one at least.

Good luck, I fully understand both your desire and what is going to be a bit of disappointment and frustration.
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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby katerlouis » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:54 pm

Kudos!
I didn't understand roughly 70% of what you said there, which I guess strengthens your point in that this dream is not worth it. Too bad, though :D – just imagine th––– we've all dreamed this dream, haven't we?

But– wait. maybe (probably..) this question is already answered, but like I said; I didn't understand much :D
We are talking about MIDI here, right? How about only piezos to get acoustic sounds?

How would that work?
(please remember my lack of special terminology :D)

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Re: Midi on a Zeus / Midi in general?

Postby HarlowTheFish » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:03 pm

katerlouis wrote:Kudos!
I didn't understand roughly 70% of what you said there, which I guess strengthens your point in that this dream is not worth it. Too bad, though :D – just imagine th––– we've all dreamed this dream, haven't we?

But– wait. maybe (probably..) this question is already answered, but like I said; I didn't understand much :D
We are talking about MIDI here, right? How about only piezos to get acoustic sounds?

How would that work?
(please remember my lack of special terminology :D)


Basically, you'd need the same bridge modifications, but a different circuit board/preamp thing, just a normal stereo 1/4" jack, and no weird routing, with one condition: no tone for the magnetic pickups, and only your choice of a piezo master volume or a piezo/magnetic blend. Basically like a EBMM JP with the top switch always in the middle.


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