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  • About LEStrum
  • How to Use
  • Specifications
  • Video
  • Credits

An unique MIDI controller featuring chord mapping and strumming. Like a cross between a Stylophone and an Omnichord!

LE STRUM is a MIDI controller that rewards experimentation. Try playing with dynamics (Envelope attack and release) and reverb/delay effects on your synth or sound module.

While it works great with seas of lush chordy goodness, you can also get some nice punchy or melodic stuff if you use the right sounds. LE STRUM generally sounds best with a bit of release so that the sounds are not cut too abruptly.

If you are using any of the patches that enable “Organ Buttons”, this will mean that LE STRUM is outputting on two different MIDI channels; when you press a new chord button, the chord triad plays on MIDI channel 2 even before you touch a note on the stylus pad. When strummed, the notes play on MIDI channel 1.

For this to work effectively you really need to be able to route channels 1 and 2 to different sounds. If both channels are playing the same sound module (e.g. synth is on OMNI mode) it may not work very well.. more than likely the notes will be killing each other.

Of course Organ Buttons can just be used to play chords at the press of a button, but to get the best of it you should configure your synth setup to play a different sound for each channel so you can also use the stylus pads.

Connect LE STRUM to your MIDI synthesizer or computer running synth software, hold down a combination of buttons to select a chord, then use the "stylus" to play MIDI notes by touching the contact pads on the top right of the board. As the name suggests, you can "strum" across chords using the stylus, providing an unique and expressive MIDI controller.

LE STRUM's 36 chord buttons give you immediate access to 84 different chords (maj, min, dom7, maj7, min7, aug, dim for 12 root notes). You can also play sus4, add6 and add9 chord variations (with some limitations). It is great for learning about chord progressions and can be a helpful songwriting tool

LE STRUM has a special 6 string guitar mode, which knows basic major, minor and seven open chord fingerings for guitar. It can be used to lay down strummed guitar MIDI tracks without a MIDI guitar, and in a more convincing way that you could get from a keyboard. It's more than a toy, yessiree!

LE STRUM is a unique and fun controller which works great with huge pads and delay effects to create swirls of lush chordy goodness by simply pressing a few buttons. Turn on, tune in, strum out. You could even introduce LE STRUM to cousin ARPIE for some chord arpeggiation fun!

LE STRUM has several performance modes which are accessed by holding the MODE button while pressing one of the top row of chord buttons:

  • Mode+C : Basic mode - Stacked triads mapped across all 16 pads
  • Mode+D : Guitar strum mode - 6-string guitar open chords used (maj/min/7)
  • Mode+E : Guitar sustain mode - as above, but chord held after buttons released
  • Mode+F : Organ buttons - As Basic mode but chord triad plays on MIDI channel 2 as soon as button is pressed
  • Mode+G : Organ buttons with additions - as above but with sus4/add6/add9 options
  • Mode+A : Organ buttons with retrig - as above but chord buttons retrigger
  • Mode+B : Load User Patch
  • Mode+Bm : Save User Patch
  • Mode+B7 : MIDI Panic - All notes off
  • Mode+Strum Pad: Set MIDI velocity (16 levels)

User patch can combine settings for:

  1. play on make/break,
  2. damp on make/break,
  3. guitar voicing /stacked triads,
  4. additional guitar octave,
  5. enable added 4/6/9 notes,
  6. enable guitar chord bass notes,
  7. keep chord selection after chord button release,
  8. common note sustain on chord change,
  9. map chromatic/diatonic/pentatonic scale to pads,
  10. enable organ buttons on midi channel 2
  • Kit contains PCB and all components and hardware required to build LE STRUM
  • Soldering is needed to assemble the kit
  • A PP3 battery is required (not included)
  • Integrated ON/OFF switch and power LED
  • 4mm banana plug stylus with keepy-hole in PCB
  • Designed for hackability (e.g. solder wires to the provided holes on the pads to make proper "strings" to pluck)
  • Transmits on MIDI Channel 1 for stylus activity and MIDI Channel 2 for Chord Buttons.
  • Output is to a standard MIDI 5-pin DIN socket.
  • Size 98mm x 75mm x 45mm (incl MIDI socket)
  • Weight approx 120g with battery
  • OPEN SOURCE hardware design
  • OPEN SOURCE firmware for PIC16F1825 microcontroller.
  • Firmware source code (SourceBoost C) and compiled HEX images available on GitHub (A PICKit2 or equivalent programmer is required if you want to load alternative or updated firmware on to the chip)

Video from the LEStrum community

LEStrum is created by Jason Hotchkiss of Sixty Four Pixels.