Roger Linn On Creating The LinnStrument

Guitarist, songwriter and instrument designer Roger Linn (LinnDrum, MPC, Tempest) shared this video, telling the story of the creation of the LinnStrument.

Linn discusses the impetus for creating the LinnStrument, the instrument’s design, and the actual physical construction of the instrument.

The LinnStrument is a unique expressive MIDI controller that builds on stringed instrument performance technique. The instrument senses your fingers’ subtle movements in five ways:

  • Strike Velocity
  • Pressure (Z)
  • Left-right (X)
  • Front-back (Y)
  • Release Velocity

This allows for much more expressive control than is possible with most MIDI controllers.

The LinnStrument, along with the Haken Continuum, showcases the expressive potential of moving beyond traditional MIDI controllers and has paved the way for more expressive keyboard synthesizers, like the Expressive E Osmose and Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth.

4 thoughts on “Roger Linn On Creating The LinnStrument

  1. I followed his development via his public postings on this from the get-go. Didn’t have the dollars at the initial first 50 offering, but I got in the next 50 (serial #00068). Best controller I’ve ever used to date, and that’s since 2014. The controller just makes total sense to use, if you know both keyboard chords and guitar chords. A perfect marriage. Even got to play a final version at MoogFest 2014 at his public presentation of the device.

    Original video that caught my eye is here:

  2. Such a joy to see the man talk. Especially now that he has figured out the way to go to bring a creation of his own to the market without the headaches of dealing with coroporations, which he had to learn the hard way.

    And the “string” layout makes so much more sense to apply dynamics. No restrictions on this one and the Continuum, compared to the Expressive E, especially after your fingers get used to spidering around the pads, and get across all those octaves with a single hand. Yeah, I am glad I went for this instead of waiting for the keyboard approach of the technology. But to each their own! I just hope we’ll start to hear the dynamics in songs and on records, instead of silly little youtube videos.

    1. Well, you have to be patient then. The ones with great creative talent have no money, and the ones with money, have no great creative talent 😉

      I think it’s a marvelous instrument though, and I enjoyed the story!

  3. Got mine in 2017 or so. Best midi controller ever, tried all kinds of other MPE controllers. Literally ads a new dimension to your playing. Sound design is hard, because you need to carefully parametrize your sound generators for expression, but the reward is high. Done right, a single preset can lead you to all kinds of results, depending on your play.
    Also, it is open source (protected by patents). This means software support will never be really discontinued, as long as anyone wishes to work on it. Product support is great, Roger is super approachable if for any questions.
    It is also useful as a grid, like a novation launchpad. The built in standalone step sequencer is also great. Especially if you play in split mode. You can run patterns on the step sequencer and jam along with full expression on the other split.

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