Frequently Asked Questions about Expressiv

What is Expressiv ?

Expressiv is a MIDI guitar system which brings un-compromised control over synthesizers from guitar. It instantly tracks which musical notes you press on your fretboard, similar to pressing a key in a keyboard while following most other parameters of how you play. The 16MHz controller sends all this information to the synthesizer with incredible speed giving you, the musician, a fully, immersive synthesizer experience.

Who developed the Expressiv MIDI guitar system?

The Expressiv technology has been developed over the past 4 years in the University of Limerick in Ireland by Phil Samways and Rob O'Reilly. Phil has over 40 years of electronic engineering and digital design experience, and has lectured in the Faculty of Science & Engineering for over 30 years. Rob has a Bachalor of Engineering in Electronic Engineering and has many years of guitar building and music production experience. 

Does Expressiv have latency issues?

Just like any keyboard, Expressiv does not have latency issues. When you press a string against a fret, it acts much like pressing a key in a keyboard, essentially making your fretboard a matrix of 132 unique switches. The system instantly knows which note you are playing and can send a note almost instantly.

What kind of sounds can I get?

Expressiv is a MIDI controller, meaning it does not have onboard sounds. You can play anything that can be controlled with a MIDI keyboard i.e. hardware synthesizers, software synthesizers, DAW's (digital Audio Workstations) and everything with a MIDI-over-USB or regular MIDI input. Think of a MIDI keyboard functions in the form of a guitar. It also has an analog output jack from the pickups, just like a normal electric guitar.

Is Expressiv really the worlds best MIDI guitar system?

Expressiv is guaranteed to work as the worlds best MIDI guitar controller. 

Do your guitars have a guarantee?

We only use quality components and build our products to last a lifetime. We offer a 3 year limited warrantee which covers all the parts in the guitar for normal functioning. 

Is Expressiv another MIDI guitar pickup?

Our guitars do not have MIDI pickups. There is NO pitch detection to send the MIDI signals. Our instruments use an electronic system that senses the frets you press on the fretboard and sends the corresponding notes.

Why is Expressiv better than a MIDI pickup?

Our system has many advantages

  • you can play tapping since there is no need to pluck (but there is a pluck mode that tracks velocity also)
  • There is no latency and it's fully polyphonic
  • Lower strings are tracked as well as high strings
  • You have a regular MIDI output directly from the guitar, there is no need for a dedicated pedalboard
  • With the track pad, you can control MIDI CC (control changes) while you play with your left hand
  • You can play vibrato and bendings

Are there effect pedals that do the same stuff?

There are not. There are some interesting analog effects available but they don't convert your guitar into a MIDI controller, they simply apply effects to your guitar's analog sound with all the unavoidable limitations.

Can you ship to my country?

  • USA: We ship to any location in the USA using UPS express tracked service. 
  • Europe / EU: We ship to  any location in Europe using GLS Express tracked service.
  • Rest of the World: Any other location outside the USA and the EU is a special delivery and has shipping rates. Please contact us via our contact page with your delivery address and we can confirm details there.

What Digital Audio Workstations does Expressiv work with?

Expressiv is a plug and play controller with virtaully any DAW including:

  • Ableton Live | Ableton
  • Logic Pro X | Apple
  • MainStage | Apple
  • GarageBand | Apple
  • Reason | PropellerHead
  • Pro Tools | Avid
  • Sonar | Cakewalk
  • Cubase pro | Steinberg
  • Studio One | PreSonus

Can Expressiv be used with any Hardware Synth?

Yes. All of our Expressiv MIDI guitars have a five-pin DIN MIDI output. This has been the industry standard MIDI connection for over 30 years which means that you can plug Expressiv directly into almost any synthesizer on the market from companies like Korg, Alesis, Roland, Moog, Yamaha amongst many others.

Can the Expressiv MIDI system be used Wirelessly?

Yes. You need a separate wireless MIDI or USB system which will plug directly into your guitar. For professional use, we recommend MIDIjet Pro ( which transmits to a range of 500 ft.

How long will it take to deliver a MIDI guitar from order?

Each Expressiv MIDI guitar is hand built in Ireland. Building each guitar to our high standards is very time intensive and currently, our production is extremely busy. From placing a standard order to shipping is approximately 6 months. However, each order is an individual case and this timing needs to be confirmed.

Is the MIDI Bass available?

Yes, but because we are only producing and delivering the first models now, the build time is quite slow.

Do you have payment options?

We have multiple payment options. Our standard policy is:
- A €350 payment deposit to commission your custom build.
- A further €350 payment can be made during the the painting and finishing process prior to final assembly. - The final balance payment can be made on completion of your guitar prior to shipping. At this stage we can send detailed photos if you would like to see your guitar prior to shipping.
Payments can be made by any of the following options:
A) Electronic bank transfer - full bank details can be provided.
B) PayPal - we can send you a payment request to your email account
C) Online store - accepts payment deposits.
D) You can provide us with your credit card details and we can process the agreed deposit amount.


Do I need multiple cables? IE (JACK and MIDI)

As standard, it requires a separate MIDI or USB cable along with a standard guitar cable to play at one time. But there is an optional power source which allows you to power the system through the 5pin DIN MIDI connector and also play guitar at the same time from a single cable. This is not standard as it requires an external interface box).

How is Expressiv Powered?

Expressiv can be powered from 3 options:
A) When plugged in with a single standard USB cable, it powers the system from any USB power source including a computer or standard USB power adapter
B) There is a built in 6000mAH Li-Ion battery which continuously recharges (when the system is switched on or off) when plugged in from the USB cable.
C) There is an optional power source which allows you to power the system through the 5pin DIN MIDI connector. (Option C is not standard as it requires an external interface box).

Can I have a Custom designed Headstock on the MIDI Pro guitar model?

You can get a custom shaped headstock. Each Expressiv MIDI Pro guitar is custom built in Ireland. This will need to be discussed individually at the time of order.

Do you ship the guitar with a hard shell case?

We can ship your guitar in a Gator Hard Shell Case. It is made of an extremely durable ABS plastic with aluminium rim, lockable fasteners, an interior foam padding along with an accessory pocket. Of course it provides extra security for your new MIDI guitar during shipping and is also great for safe and secure storage afterwards.

Does the MIDI Guitar allow to play MIDI and NORMAL at the same time?

You can play both MIDI and Normal pickups outputs from your guitar at the same time. In fact you can play all of the four outputs at the same time (including the standard electric guitar output, the piezo acoustic output, the 5pinDin MIDI and the USB MIDI output). There is an individual volume for each output and it allows you to blend and transition between each.

How much does shipping cost

Shipping varies from different options and depending on which country you are from. Any countries within the EU has an €49 charge for GLS tracked courier. USA as standard has a FedEx Express option of €149 which is a very fast and reliable service normally taking approximately 3-5 working days to arrive from the shipping date.

Does the guitar have strap locks

Each guitar comes as standard with security strap locks which are hand made by Schaller in Germany. They are professional grade quality and will provide the highest security to avoid your guitar from damage due to falling off the strap during performance.

Can you customise the setup? Eg change control changes and other features?

There is a menu which appears on the LCD screen when the joystick is held pressed. The octave and toggle buttons allow you to easily navigate through the options. From there you can change many parameters such as control changes and MIDI channels etc. All of the parameters can be stored to memory which allows you change the default settings.

Does the guitar need drivers or extra interface?

All of our instruments are plug & play with any Hardware synthesizer, DAW or computer/laptop. They have both a USB and 5pin MIDI output along with a standard guitar jack. This means that you can plug directly into any computer or synthesizer without extra drivers, interfaces or other equipment. All you need is a standard cable.

What String Types do you have

We always build with Ernie Ball Strings regular slinky strings (10-46 gauge) and recommend them for optimum performance with our Expressiv MIDI system.