Legato mode in MG3

One thing that has always bugged me about midi guitars is the lack of legato mode. While most midi guitar systems can do pitch bend slides up and down the neck, it never sounds natural. I have a Linnstrument that has been my main midi controller for the past several years and it does this well. I am able to enable pitch bend with a momentary foot switch for vibrato when needed.

I see that MG2 has a legato mode and it didn’t work very well for me (maybe I need to experiment more with it). Will this be something that will be a part of MG3? And if so, would it be something could be controlled via a foot switch (midi controller)? It is the biggest piece of the midi guitar puzzle missing for me at the moment. Breath control is giving me more dynamic playability and legato mode would give solo instruments much more realism IMHO. If anyone has other thoughts and ideas about this, I would love to discuss this more. Thanks for listening…


If by legato you are thinking of what can be achieved in a DAW by note overlaps, you can of course use the Sustainer Module in Piano-like sustain mode. There you have the possibility of setting a release time to anything from 0.1s to 10.0s.
Skärmavbild 2024-05-18 kl. 10.47.42

Thanks for the suggestion, but that is not quite the same. With the sustainer module, it will hold the played notes out by the set release time, but not the note retrigger. When sliding notes up and down the fretboard with a synth in legato mode, it will retrigger the note and not glide between notes like on a midi keyboard (or in my case the Linnstrument). This is something that has been an issue with all MIDI guitar systems. There seems to be a legato mode in MG2 but I need to play around with it to see if it works the way I am looking for it to.

I think we have two different definitions or understanding of “legato” mode. You can insert the MIDI machine “fixed velocity” and then all notes whether slide in/out, hammer on or pulled off will be same loud (similar to the re-trigger function of the Roland GK synths)

having watched a few linnstrument videos, this seems more like a pitchbend issue than a legato one.

as mg2 doesn’t send polyphonic pitch bends, it won’t do what you want regardless of the legato setting.

i think you will be able to get closer to replicating the linnstrument with mg3, but will probably run into problems as the notes will stop sounding as the strings stop resonating.

this might be addressed if the mg3 sustain function passes pitchbend through.

I appreciate the responses. But what I am referring to is the smooth retriggering of playing a glissando on a keyboard controller or Linnstrument with the VI in legato mode. As you move between notes, there is not a definite note on but more of a soft retriggering of the note. When you do this with a midi guitar controller, the note retrigger is very pronounced. I will look at these suggestions to see if they can help with what I’m wanting to do.

I know most of the Linnstrument videos out there are using pitch bend to do slides like this (as well as guitar midi controllers) but it sounds fake and unnatural. With my Linnstrument, I am able to do slides with the VI set to legato mode then activate the pitch bend with a foot switch to do vibrato. This is something I have always had issues with on every other midi guitar system and am hoping there is something that can be done to make this work in MG3. I am going to be away from my studio for a couple of weeks, but will try to make a video once I return. Thanks for listening.


And just to clarify, I am testing all of this in the beta version of MG3.

Out of curiosity, what would be an example of a VI that you would set to Legato mode? I use a Linnstrument too and would like to understand the difference you are discussing. Thanks.

Diva from U-he is the one I have been using most lately, but most VIs can do this. Turn off pitch bend and switch a patch’s mode between mono and legato. Play a gliss up and down the pads to hear the difference.

I think see the difference. With the Linnstrument, when you play a glissando, “Note Off” events have a positive velocity value (meaning how quickly the note is released) whereas MG3 sends a hard value of “0” for all note off events. Also, it looks like Linnstrument note off events come after the next note on event whereas MG3 sends note off (value 0) sequentially before the next note on event.

|09:17:16.621|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note On|1|C4|72|
|09:17:17.240|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note On|1|C♯4|25|
|09:17:17.274|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note Off|1|C4|41|
|09:17:17.349|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note On|1|D4|40|
|09:17:17.366|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note Off|1|C♯4|52|
|09:17:17.428|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note On|1|D♯4|41|
|09:17:17.447|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note Off|1|D4|30|
|09:17:17.519|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note On|1|E4|37|
|09:17:17.554|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note Off|1|D♯4|19|
|09:17:19.198|From LinnStrument MIDI|Note Off|1|E4|50|

|09:17:30.560|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note On|1|C4|42|
|09:17:31.418|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note Off|1|C4|0|
|09:17:31.424|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note On|1|C♯4|21|
|09:17:31.456|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note Off|1|C♯4|0|
|09:17:31.472|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note On|1|D4|21|
|09:17:31.498|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note Off|1|D4|0|
|09:17:31.504|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note On|1|D♯4|22|
|09:17:31.541|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note Off|1|D♯4|0|
|09:17:31.552|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note On|1|E4|22|
|09:17:32.677|From MIDI GUITAR OUT (1)|Note Off|1|E4|0|


Wow, great sleuthing! I need to see if I can set up a script with a midi machine to have the note offs modified. Thanks for looking at this.

Thank you for the detective work! I’ll add a release setting on the synth modules, in the next update.

In old school MIDI I believe legato was unofficially defined as sending a note on, before sending a note off for the previous notes. Ie overlapping notes. That came from mono synths I believe. This is also what MG2 does.

But now with MPE, we need a more general solution. We can obviously bend the notes instead of triggering them, but since a fretboard often cause small gabs between the notes, I think it works best if we add a little sustain for a note to “connect” (ie bend) into the next note. It might also be useful to add a bit of compression to pressure so that you don’t have to work as hard with fingers.

Lets try to add this as a new LEGATO midi machine.


THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!. I have been wanting this for years on a midi guitar. Looking forward to putting this feature through its paces.


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Exactly, in order to trigger the legato mode it needs overlapping notes, something you cant do in a single guitar string, so this fuction in MG2 was very helpful to make legato lines without retriggers in the note on. Also when you dont overlap very note ha is own note on trigger.
Should mention that this function is not only needed to play classic synths but in many today sample libraries (strings, bass, etc etc) there is also a legato mode which is very important to achieve the maximum realism.
Bending never will equal the sound of a legato, is a different articulation and the result is very different.
Also the Sustain module is a very different thing
So I hope some legato function would be present in MG3, and if possible with no conflict with pitchbend which in MG seems to be excluyent.

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As a longtime midi guitar user, I feel I must add my two cents!
legato sounds every other note in swing and other styles. It’s simulates tonguing on the saxophone, for example , and propels the lines forward.
. This cannot be accomplished with a pedal. It happens too quickly, and must be an organic execution to preserve the music. The guitar simulates this with hammer ons and hammer offs. It is, in my opinion, what makes Guitar lines (and horns, etc.) so much more compelling than piano. Guitarist spend their lives practicing articulation with these techniques. Legato implementation must incorporate these techniques to be a] guitaristic, ,b] musical.
Most legato applies to intervals of 1/2 step or whole step, and most a minor 3rd.
Occasional reaches greater than a 4th could incorporate a pedal as well. So, I’m not ruling it out, only saying it is not as commonly executed and, therefore not as important.
How to implement this ? I’m not sure but I think you are on the right track to slightly delay note off when a pitch bend of a m2, 2nd, m3 or 4th is detected. Perhaps the note on can also be reduced when the delayed note off is sensed.
Thank you for reading!


Very interesting. Thank you for chiming in.

Assuming we are able to “connect” the notes (by deferring note offs), would it be of any use to have a way to define a legato pattern based on tempo, keys, etc?

Your description of the legato technique in guitar is very accurate and I agree that its a very important one in the guitar.
About the implementation you mention Im not sure if its adecuate because you relate it to the pitch bend and I think are different type of articulation, its not the same to bend a string than make a hammer on or off in the same string, the resulting sound is different. This could also generate a conflict, when it detects that it is a pitch bend and when it detects that it is a legato?
The implementation I think is already in MG2 and it works reasonably well, the legato in synths and sample libraries that include this articulation works most times. The problem in MG2 is that it creates a conflict with pitch bend which does not work when legato is active.
If I’m not mistaken it is based on the distance in time between the note off and note on.
And although it is not the perfect solution, in most cases it works relatively well.

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tempo and keys to define a legato pattern Would that work even though, at least percentage wise, there might be less legato usage in a slower tempo. But you cannot anticipate the aims of the player. The key of a song would not be relevant.

I think a more important goal would be to discriminate between a pitch band and a hammer on /hammer off.

this should be possible because The former happens relatively gradually, and the latter is a sudden event.
TriplePlay already incorporates this in their auto PB feature.

Thats what it already does. It may have to be improved, but I suppose what we really want is to discriminate among notes that are right-hand-triggered vs left-hand-only-hammer-ons/lift-offs.

This auto mode (floating pitch for notes, chromatic for chords) was how MG always worked. It actually arose because of the pitch bend limitation of MIDI 1.0. We can put it as an option in the CHROMATIC module, to leave single notes floating.

I want to make sure we are all on the same page in that my initial request and the later discussion about hammer ons are two different discussions. They might have some overlap, but to accommodate what I had initially brought up, it cannot be limited to a range of hammer ons (2-3 semitones). Being able to slide up and down the fretboard without re-triggering notes with the VI in legato mode is what my initial discussion was based around. Maybe they can both be addressed by the same functions, but limiting the range will not work for synth legato mode. Thanks for listening.