Gear Review: Recovery Effects Ghost Writer MIDI Interface Pedal

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Have you ever wished you could play your guitar and have the notes magically turned into MIDI data?  The folks at Recovery Effects have you covered.

There have been attempts in the past to create MIDI interfaces for guitar players with varying degrees of success but none with the features of the Ghost Writer. For instance, glide portamento is achievable with the Ghost Writer and I’ve never seen an interface before that offered it. If you’d like to connect your guitar to a synthesizer that is a huge function to have for full expressiveness and accuracy translating bends. The big sensitivity knob controls how receptive the pedal is to translating MIDI data in relation to the attack of your playing.  

Independent footswitches allow you to toggle audio and MIDI signals or use both. The monophonic MIDI data is automatically assigned to MIDI Channel 1, and transmitted through a 3.5mm TRS MIDI cable on the back of the pedal. The audio is processed through a high-quality buffer stage to ensure no loss of signal. Another outstanding feature of the Ghost Writer is that it’s a single-footprint size pedal and can be used in-line on your pedalboard just like any other pedal. It won’t mess with your regular tone but it’s there if you need it.

The Ghost Writer is monophonic so playing multiple notes or chords will not track well (but that could also be a cool effect on its own sometimes). Any amount of movement or sustain will translate into MIDI data. This may be interesting for some applications but obviously not desirable for most practical use. Many of the tricks used for the accuracy of synth and pitch tracking-based pedals also apply to the Ghost Writer.

Muting with the palm of the hand will reduce the movement of unused strings and improve tracking.  Although the Ghost Writer tracks anywhere on the neck you may find some sweet spots on your guitar that track better. Usually, this is higher on the neck and avoiding open notes helps significantly twitch tracking.  If you’re looking for a particular octave on your synth it may also be useful to transpose octaves up and down on your synth to correspond to your playing. 

It takes 9v DC power and uses approximately 100ma. I highly suggest ordering the MIDI adapter cable at the same time if you buy one as the connection is a 3.5mm type A and not always an obvious choice to have on hand (the most common type of 3.5mm connector is type B for instance). It’s only $10 more, but well worth it.

This is a handy, brilliant little device and it’s astonishing it’s taken this long for someone to execute it properly.  Each pedal is handmade one at a time by a small team in Seattle, Washington and you can find it HERE.

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