Expressiv MIDI Guitar – An Electric Guitar/MIDI Controller Hybrid


The Expressiv MIDI Guitar is a new MIDI guitar controller, being produced by Rob O’Reilly via a Kickstarter project.

Expressiv uses a smart fretboard scanner to know which notes you are pressing, the same way that keyboardists get a note when they press a key. This leaves your strumming hand free to control any parameters such as pitch bend, modulation and octave shift using the onboard touchpad, joystick and buttons.

Also, with the flick of a switch, you can change from synthesizer control to standard guitar functionality.

The Plug and Play functionality means you only have to plug a standard USB cable directly into your computer with no hardware, driver or power supply required.

Here’s the official video intro:


  • Scale Length: 648 mm;
  • Weight: 3.25 kg;
  • Maximum Length: 1030 mm Maximum Width: 254 mm;
  • No. of Frets: 22;
  • Hardware: 6 rear locking tuners for quick string change and stable tuning; fully adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge; adjustable trussrod;
  • Fingerboard Material: High grade maple fingerboard with ultra-tough white lacquer and non-chip binding and black edge fingerboard position dots;
  • Neck Material: Maple bolt-on neck with smooth easy-slide matt black finish;
  • Pickup Type: Wilkinson WVSB (bridge) and VSM (middle) single coils;
  • Switches/Controls: 3 way pickup toggle selector switch; 1/4″ out, USB out, MIDI out; X-Y Touchpad; Joystick control and 6 assignable MIDI control buttons; MIDI
  • Guitar: Expressiv MIDI Guitar System;
  • Circuitry Type: Volume, 3-way mini-toggle pickup selector;
  • Body Style: Matt black laminate wood frame w/ infinity mirror in clear acrylic centre;
  • Strings: 010-046 D’Addario;
  • Included: 3 Dunlop plectrums, Chequered strap, 3 adjusting allen keys, polishing cloth;
  • The standard ROR Expressiv MIDI Guitar model is RIGHT-HAND. Also available in LEFT-HAND models.

The Expressiv MIDI Guitar is available to project backers for €449. See the project site for details.

24 thoughts on “Expressiv MIDI Guitar – An Electric Guitar/MIDI Controller Hybrid

  1. The body shape of this guitar needs to be improved. Maybe something in the looks of a ‘Flying V’ ? Unless that is a patent issue. I don’t know the laws of the land.

    1. I really don’t like the flyingV shape because you can’t really rest it on your lap as you can guitars with “waists/hips”. Even this guitar could be rested on the leg, but might not be that comfortable.

      I’m ok with the shape of this.

  2. firstly they say you can play it like a normal guitar, yet fail to do so at all in the video. secondly they are pushing this as if they’ve made the first and only midi guitar that can still be played like a regular guitar, which is far from the truth. midi guitars have been around in so many different forms for such a long time. i’m with ron r. in this one. looks like they are after the hipster market.

  3. yea Ive used almost every midi guitar option and none are really good imo. some are alright and get you close enough. if you dont do certain things and you adjust how you play to them, it is doable but thats about it. its going to be hard to get all the nuances that make a guitar besides just the basic note data but maybe well get there someday.

  4. Seems like this guitar is geared toward EDM, and monophonic playing which is fine, I guess.

    There isn’t any mention of velocity sensing or bend sensing.

    The demo doesn’t show much about the chords thing. How does one play open notes if it is reading taps on the fingerboard?

    Another approach to this kind of functionality is to use something like MIDImorphosis to convert pitch to MIDI and use some other controller source to do the other stuff.

  5. Tacky and cheesy looking with that led-mirror effect. Bad shape as you hav no hand support on the upside of the body. And pichshift on a guitar? Ok, I can see the point going down i bass pitch. but up? And as mentioned above, I would very much like to see this “guitarist” play this thing as an ordenary guitar.
    Not the first thing I’ll buy.

  6. Are there really any good MIDI guitars? It seems like there are 100 bad options…I have done a ton of research and reviews are pretty sad for them all.

    I am fine with a MIDI guitar that does not control like a guitar. I just want a midi controller that maps like the neck of the guitar. I got it down to the YRG Rev 2 and something from Starr Labs. Any thoughts on those?

    I want to control my hardware synths through MIDI (Jupiter 6, Little Phatty, Super Bass Station, Oberheim Matrix 1000, JX3P, MOS-Lab Modular, Roland SK-88, Twisted Electrons AY3 and TherapSID)

    1. Either wait for the You Rock Guitar Pro (it’s taking them forever, 2.5 years late) or get a Fishman Triple Play and put it on a regular guitar. Those two options, plus the Starr Labs are the best ones, especially if you’re going to control software synthesizers.

      I’m going to build a “digital” guitar that’s just a well intonated neck and bridge on a solid body, with a Fishman triple play, Livid Instruments Guitar Wing, an Amptone XY pad, and a vMeter. No pickups or audio output, just various USB MIDI controllers interacting with the MIDI signals the guitar puts out through the Fishman pickup.

  7. I have waited for so long for someone to invent this kind of thing, but i have one question….

    is it not possible to obtain a pitch bend by bending the strings u would when playing guitar normally??

    other than this i think it is utterly perfect and i am sure u guys are gonna be super rich this time next year.
    Well done guys, well done!!!!

  8. They need to be more “expressiv” in the information they give on this thing if they want serious people to give them any money.

    It has a standard guitar jack… Why? Is it one midi channel or one per string? What happens if I press three notes at once on the same string? Can I play notes on more than one string at a time? What happens if I bend a string? Can I replace my own string when they break (because they will!). Can I tune the guitar any way I like? What are the strings made of, and how do they react with my fingers. Can I “strum” a chord on it (seriously, just play a G7 for us or something at least). Does it have a software interface for set up, or do I just capture hardwired standard midi and route it myself? And so many other details!

    From the video I would have to say it’s just a Guitar Hero type controller that uses strings instead of buttons for on/off note sends. Which is completely useless to any real guitarist.

  9. Have been playing around with stuff like this for years. What I have found is nothing plays or feels like a real guitar.

    I think PITCH TO MIDI is a more effective way to use your regular guitar for this purpose. Don’t forget you have an insane number of foot controllers that you could use for modulation, etc. Why would you want to limit yourself to hands only, that’s like creating a device that allows me to make pedal changes with my hands. Pointless!!!

  10. well i actually do like this product, i would be using it mostly in the studio because I’m not crazy about having to use my midi keyboard to record synth tracks. i would have liked to have seen how you can use the strumming hand to play the guitar, or perhaps you only use your off hand for modulation.

  11. Here we go again with a Kickstarter trying take advantage of the short collective historical memory to answer a question that’s already been answered many times.

    Use the GUITAR YOU PLAY with a device that leverages pitch-to-MIDI. Heck even some of the Roland MFX pedals support it and do it quite well and do it in a way that you will actually use it.

    Coming from a fan of the Ovation Breadwinner that guitar design is hideous and looks like a jig saw accident. They seemed to have paradigm shifted themselves into silly then taken it a step backwards by adding the infinity disco mirror effect. I think it would even make a hipster a little ill.

    To each their own but that sucks.

  12. Not bad but as many other’s have already pointed out, this has been done before. Starr Labs have a huge number of similar options.

  13. Is is a step in the right direction. Projects of the past like Zetha and Synthax were abandoned cause of the cost and not being good guitars. THis looks like a guitar. Ot surely news to add more expression – each note needs a velocity sensor and the piano test needs to sound like a piano – not like a MIDI guitar. All midi guitars fail that test today. Still I am a believer in fretboard-based MIDI guitar. If these guys get it of the ground, they will make all right steps to make it complete.

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