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Quadraphonic Bass

Jessica “Psy” DeLacy is known for her work in the animation industry. Beyond pixels, and into the audio and music realm, Psy generally built a Quadrophonic Bass, using the Nu-v2 pickups, for her friend and colleague, Paul Kanyuk.

Paul made this nice YouTube video, the first of a series, that presents a nice introduction into the world of multichannel processing: 

Paul did a lovely write-up:

Paul Kanyuk and Psy DeLacy are good friends and colleagues in the feature film animation industry. When they’re not pushing pixels, Psy builds robots, bikes and guitars, and Paul plays bass in cover bands. Paul, being a software nerd and metalhead, has always dreamed of making his instruments do more and recently got caught up in a machine learning project to detect guitar note onsets for triggering samples. When lamenting to Psy the sad state of the art and how a quadraphonic bass could be a huge boost to the project, Psy took that as a challenge to build one. Low and behold, Cycfi sold us the gear, Psy built the instrument, and here we have a quadraphonic bass! Now that it works, we’re a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities, but here are a few fun projects on the horizon:

1) Bass driven synths + visuals: Paul and Psy live in the East Bay (Berkeley/Oakland area), and there’s an active community of modular synth and visualization artists. Given all the outputs on a Cycfi equipped bass, this could be the ticket these modular synth folk to let a guitarist perform so long as we can make the sounds sufficiently weird/unique. Along those lines, being CG professionals, we’d do custom visualizations to take advantage of the Cycfi outputs.

2) Post Rock meets Instrumental Black Metal with one guitar, one bass: Paul and his pal Taylor Holliday, former bandmate/roommate, now neighbors, want to be a band unto themselves, and a quadraphonic bass can provide the entire rhythm sections: bass + two harmonized high gain leads, while Taylor shreds or does synths.

3) ChipTunes Rock Band: Much chip tune music is not truly performable in a rock band sense, but the polyphonic outputs of the Cycfi pickups can make all the difference getting enough reactivity and reliability in pitch tracking and note onset detection.

4) More guitars, more knobs! With one instrument built, Psy wants to make more, and add more features in the process. Just having one MIDI output knob on the quadraphonic bass is a game changer for control, so how about some switches and buttons? An XY pad built into the guitar body is definitely on the agenda.

5) Arduino or Raspberry Pi integration! There is so much opportunity to use individually processed strings to trigger events, lights, or really anything via micro controller. Each string signal could be tied to an event, which opens up a ton of opportunities.