When Fishman released the TriplePlay Wireless MIDI Guitar Controller, it represented a giant leap forward in guitar-synth performance, tracking, ease of use and price point, with guitarists everywhere quickly adopting it and singing its praises. With the debut of the iOS-compatible and super-affordable TriplePlay Connect, it seems certain that many more players will jump on the TriplePlay bandwagon.
The Connect hardware consists of the same hex pickup that the Wireless system employs, along with a small, simple control module. Installation is straightforward and requires no permanent modifications, just a little double-sided tape.
It’s in your best interest to follow the installation instructions carefully for optimum performance, but here’s how forgiving this system is: To meet my looming deadline for this review, I positioned the hex pickup under the strings of my PRS Silver Sky without even using the height spacers, and affixed it with Scotch tape! I called up the free TriplePlay Connect app on my iPad...and it worked. Like, instantly, from the very first note I played. Now, I will obviously do a proper install as soon as time permits, but that should give you a sense of how unfussy this system is.
The app itself is easy to understand and work with, but it’s also super deep. It’s impossible to list everything here, but you get boatloads of great-sounding instruments, with the ability to layer any two or split them - for example, by putting bass on the two low strings and organ on the top four. There are lots of loops in various styles that you can trigger on the fretboard, drag onto a grid or map into phrases. There’s a tuner, effects, EQ and more, and the unit’s volume knob can be assigned to control a variety of functions. Once you record something you like, you can share it in several file formats. If you take the time to get to know this app, you could create rich powerful music and use it in a live context as well. And it’s free!
So that’s the iPad story with Connect, but there’s more. If you connect with the included USB cable, you can access synth programs and apps in any Mac or PC. I plugged into a Windows 10 machine, called up Cakewalk by Bandlab, inserted my favorite soft synth and was tracking right away. Ditto with Garage Band on my iPhone. It worked seamlessly and instantaneously. It’s just a great feeling.
Anyone who has played any non-TriplePlay guitar synth is probably saying, “Yeah, but how is the tracking?” It’s the best I’ve ever tried. I’ve been a TriplePlay Wireless user for a few years now, and this technology works amazingly well. It’s fast and accurate. It can handle bends, vibrato and whammy bar work. For complex passages, I’ll generally go in and clean up a few notes (as I do with my regular guitar playing), but I can absolutely do things I could never do on a keyboard. I couldn’t imagine my studio without a TriplePlay, and the Connect gives me more options than ever. Bravo, Fishman!
PRICE $229 street
COMPONENTS TriplePlay Hex pickup, controller, pickup mounting pads, Tune-o-matic bridge bracket, controller mount, end-pin mounting bracket, string spacing feeler gauge, strain relief
KUDOS Easy installation. Fast, accurate tracking. Incredible musical tool