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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Musical Interfaces
6-6 Keyboard Controllers
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JAS



Joined: Dec 09, 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:11 am    Post subject:  6-6 Keyboard Controllers
Subject description: Adapting a Standard 7-5 to 6-6 Keyboard Controller
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Hello, I play a 6-6 keyboard (also known as an isomorphic, symmetrical or two-row 'Janko') a 2-octave prototype of which is shown below:

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

This keyboard makes all scales and chords playable with the same patterns (rather than each having 12 patterns).

Anyway, none are currently available to buy but... I was able to adapt a cheap standard MIDI keyboard myself, because it had a very simple key construction that were easy to move to other positions. This was okay for learning, but it's not a great contoller and it's only 49-keys. I'd really like to do the same with a decent full-size 88-key keyboard.

I'll probably have to use more than one standard full-size MIDI keyboards, because more 'black keys' are required than on standard 7-5 keyboards. So, I try to get hold of a broken one cheap, as well as a working one.

The problem is, without opening up several different models, I can't possibly tell which ones are possible to adapt (i.e. if I'm able to move keys around). I know it is possible to adapt some, as one person has managed it here:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/dGUD58gp6Fk

Can you identify this adapted keyboard model? I have contacted the poster of this video, but I don't get a reply.

One day, I should like to be able to create a three-row version of the keyboard away from any constraints imposed by the key/pressure sensors. That is to say, I'd like to be free to build the keyboard how I want it (mechanically), and then place the sensors under the keys where they are needed, rather than being restricted to where the sensors are fixed. However, I can't imagine why these sensors would be available to buy, since creating your own controllers must be a fairly niche hobby.

Does anyone have any knowledge/experience that might help me? Are there any models of MIDI keyboards that have sensors that can be detached and moved about?

Kind Regards,

J.A.S
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wish I could help, all I can say is that this looks very interesting and to me, makes a good deal of sense. It reminds me remotely of a piano keyboard I've seen played on a TV show in which the keys were like buttons. There were several rows of keys skewed sort of like a computer keyboard. When one key was pushed, (at least) two others went down as well due to mechanical connections beneath the keys. This made the keyboard ergonomically comfortable by reducing stretching of the hand. The piano was played by several different Asian children, so it might have been a Japanese or Chinese invention (I don't know). The pieces that were played were complex classical demonstrating that the human hand could manipulate and articulate quite well.

It and this idea you present show that there are certainly other ways to make a musically useful keyboard that would make a more sensible and easier to use keyboard, especially for those who haven't spent years learning the "standard" keyboard. Being a guitar player, it reminds me of the fact that on a guitar fingerboard, much can be done with simply moving the hand toward or away from the bridge to change keys, especially with a capo or bar chords.

Best of luck to you in your search for help.

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golgothapro



Joined: Jan 05, 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Kissimmee Florida

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: 6-6 MIDI Keyboard controllers Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm so blown away. Until this very week I thought I'd invented the 6-6 keyboard. It was the U.S. patent office that informed me such is not the case. I'm sitting on enough injection molded keys to retrofit 100 Behringer UMX 610s into 6-6 boards and until now I never even knew anybody else played one. I'm using one to do a one-man-band along with guitar and I love it. Please tell me how long have you been experimenting with this?
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JAS



Joined: Dec 09, 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:35 am    Post subject: RE: 6-6 Keyboard Controllers
Subject description: Reply
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golgothapro wrote:
I'm so blown away. Until this very week I thought I'd invented the 6-6 keyboard. It was the U.S. patent office that informed me such is not the case. Please tell me how long have you been experimenting with this?


About 15 years now. I started with a 6-6 xylophone though (why anyone would prefer a 7-5 xylophone is beyond me). I too thought I'd invented it, but in a way I'm glad I didn't because I now spend my thought on playing it and making music rather than some dull business venture that would probably bankrupt me.

golgothapro wrote:
I'm sitting on enough injection molded keys to retrofit 100 Behringer UMX 610s into 6-6 boards and until now I never even knew anybody else played one. I'm using one to do a one-man-band along with guitar and I love it.


I thought about using more than one keyboard to complete the full 88-key range.

JovianPyx wrote:
...all I can say is that this looks very interesting and to me, makes a good deal of sense. It reminds me remotely of a piano keyboard I've seen played on a TV show in which the keys were like buttons. There were several rows of keys skewed sort of like a computer keyboard. When one key was pushed, (at least) two others went down as well due to mechanical connections beneath the keys. This made the keyboard ergonomically comfortable by reducing stretching of the hand. The piano was played by several different Asian children, so it might have been a Japanese or Chinese invention (I don't know).


I was, at first, quite obsessed with the Janko 6-6 keyboard which has six rows, but since buying the over-engineered Japanese Chromatone keyboard you mention (which incidentally has keys that are far too small) I realised that (even an ideal sized version) is fantastic for the hands ...but not for the brain!

The amazing thing about the Janko, is that you can pretty much flop your hand on the keys and play any chord without hardly moving the fingers. However, the down side (I think) is that it's difficult to think quickly when each finger has to land on a different row. Another problem is that it makes you think far too much in terms of fixed patterns, even more than a guitar. That's my opinion anyway.

So now, my ideal is a three-row version with longer keys (than a Janko), the important point being that I think it's better to play along only two rows at a time (like a traditional keyboard). That being the case, I can also settle for a two-row version, as the patterns are merely a mirror-image of eachother and it's good practice for any three-row versions I might play in future.

JovianPyx wrote:
It and this idea you present show that there are certainly other ways to make a musically useful keyboard that would make a more sensible and easier to use keyboard, especially for those who haven't spent years learning the "standard" keyboard.


I've looked into quite a few alternative keyboards, but I find many are over-engineered, based on restrictive ideals (being able to reach common chords, etc) and I can't imagine getting into playing with fiddly little buttons (your fingers can't 'dance' over the keys) and some of them don't have an acoustic embodiment. Overall, I think the three-row 6-6 is the best compromise for any style of music, for acoustic and electronic keyboards.

Thanks for your interest!
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golgothapro



Joined: Jan 05, 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Kissimmee Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:20 pm    Post subject: 6-6 MIDI Keyboard controllers
Subject description: EZ interface
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Thanks for the feedback. I'd like to use at least a couple of tiers of 49 key
6-6s. If I offset one a half-step from the other I could play all 7 fundamental chords and scales with just 14 patterns! It's also cool for different voices and stage presence. Remember those pics in Rick Wakeman's rig in his solo album "6 wives of Henry VIII"? Awesome look. Next best thing to a pipe organ surrounded with pipes.
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seraph
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

slightly related to the 6 by 6 design but I too am experimenting with new keyboard layouts (for microtonal music). check this out (and follow the links for details).


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golgothapro



Joined: Jan 05, 2013
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Location: Kissimmee Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:42 pm    Post subject: 6-6 MIDI Keyboard controllers
Subject description: Alternate keyboards
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What an incredible body of work and very diverse. Once you get out of the box there's no longer any boundaries are there? My late cat "Snow" use to appreciate what I played and strange looks when I went off key. Interesting because your cat "Ada" obviously took position to listen to what you played. Considering it's all math then it only stands to reason that there be more than just one configuration of controller. Might as well just go for what you are most comfortable with.
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seraph
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I would like to have your opinions on how to build alternative note layout cannibalizing existing keyboards.
If you look at my blog you will see a number of videos and articles where I try to explain my approach and which difficulties I met.
Any suggestion appreciated Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

also check this out Exclamation

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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golgothapro



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Location: Kissimmee Florida

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:35 am    Post subject: Microtonal Keyboards
Subject description: Construction Technique
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They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and now I get it. Here I think I'm all that coming up with the 6-6 on my own only to run into a pioneer like you slicing octaves up anyway he pleases. Too funny. I noticed all the boards you pictured feature membrane switchboards with individually spring-loaded keys. The first controller I modified was a FATAR and it was built this way. I got my friend with a milling machine in his garage to mill pieces I sawed off the original keys so they would be seamless when I super-glued them together. I then used that one key as a master to make a silicone mold to make the rest with two-part plastic. Long white keys are fairly easy since the top surface is uniform and flat. The short sharp/flat one's are more of a challenge because they require a two-piece mold. I used the same technique for making the master for the Behringer board but; then I had a CAD made from it which was used to make an ABS plastic injection mold. Protomold here in the U.S. jacked me on the piece prices on small quantities so I had the white one's re-tooled in China at a fraction of the cost. That was through Crosspoint International.
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JAS



Joined: Dec 09, 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:17 am    Post subject: 6-6 Keyboard Controllers
Subject description: 6-6 Keyboard Controllers
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This, on the other hand, looks like a complete nightmare!

http://www.dodeka.info/DodekaFrancais/Instruments.html

I think this is the result of an obsession by someone who refuses to face facts. It's a real shame.

It might be relatively easy to pick out melodies (like playing on one string of a guitar) but imagine trying to play pieces on the thing! Since most music is composed mostly of tones, it makes no sense to favour semitones by placing them in a linear row.
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