Getting Started

Start making sounds quickly with your new LinnStrument or LinnStrument 128.

1) Hook it up and play

Connect the included USB cable between LinnStrument's USB jack and your computer's USB jack. You should see "LinnStrument MIDI" among the MIDI ports in your computer's music software. Your new LinnStrument is configured to play nice with the preset sounds of any MIDI synth, which are usually optimized for the limitations of MIDI piano keyboards: it sends only over MIDI channel 1, sending standard Note On/Off messages with velocity, Pitch Bend messages from left/right finger movements with a bend range of +/- 2 semitones, Polyphonic Aftertouch from finger pressure, and Control Change 74 messages for finger forward/backward movements within the note pad.

Once connected, simply select a sound in your music software and play. Try sliding your finger left and right to bend pitch. Try wiggling your finger left and right to perform vibrato.

Tip: If you ever want to return your LinnStrument to these default settings, do a reset: turn on the Global Settings button, then in the Actions column press both NOTES OFF and UPDATE OS at the same time.

You'll quickly notice that the preset sounds in most synths don't respond to your finger pressure or Y-axis (front/back) movements. To learn why this is, and to find sounds that respond best to LinnStrument's expressive touch control, click the Recommended Sounds link on this page.

If you have an MPE synth, here's how to quickly set LinnStrument for MPE play: turn on the Per-Split Settings button, then in the MIDI Mode column hold the ChPerNote button for 1 second. It will turn light blue, indicating that it has set all other MIDI settings for MPE play. Those settings are: Main/Master channel = 1, Per-Note/Member channels = 2 - 8, pressure = Channel Pressure/Aftertouch, left/right (x axis) movement = Pitch Bend with a Bend Range of +/- 48 semitones, and front/back (y axis) movement = Control Change 74.

Most people find themselves switching between the default one-channel MIDI settings at the top of this page (for conventional one-channel synths) and the MPE settings (for MPE synths). To learn more about LinnStrument's MIDI settings, click the link on this page for Panel Settings, then click the Per-Split Settings tab.

1) If you wish to use the round MIDI jacks instead of USB for MIDI output: In Global Settings > Actions column, select "MIDI JACKS". LinnStrument can use either USB MIDI output or the MIDI Jacks, but not both at the same time.
2) To connect to an iPhone/iPad or for other types of connections, see the Hooking it Up page.
3) If you are having trouble getting sounds to play, visit our FAQ Page > "Problems" tab and read the FAQ "LinnStrument is not sending MIDI. What's wrong?"
4) If your new LinnStrument arrives unusually warm or moist, indicating unusual temperature or humidity during shipping, please give it up to a day to adjust to the temperature and humidity in your home before playing. LinnStrument’s highly sensitive touch sensor can also be sensitive to harsh environmental conditions, so to insure a long life for its touch sensor, please try to keep it away from sources of unusually high heat or humidity. 
5) LinnStrument requires only a light touch. In general, you should play it with the range of soft to hard touch that you'd use on a MIDI piano keyboard for playing chords and melodies, not the higher level of force--often using two fingers for each strike--that is often used with drum pad controllers, which are intended for more forceful play. Using consistent high force could prematurely wear out LinnStrument's touch sensor.

6) To help avoid damage to the USB jack from accidental hard cable pulls, attach one of the guitar strap buttons (included in the soft case's pocket) to the corner of the LinnStrument nearest the USB jack, then tie the USB cable around it as a strain relief. Then any cable pulls will pull the chassis and not the USB jack.

2) Where are the notes?

Each of LinnStrument's rows consists of 25 (or 16 for LinnStrument 128) consecutive semitones, similar to the strings on any stringed instrument. By default, the rows are tuned in intervals of musical fourths (5 semitones), just like a bass guitar or the lower four strings of a guitar. And similar to a piano's white keys, the naturals (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) are lit, with the C within each octave lit in blue and the others in green. Try playing some scales, chords and melodies. To learn how to play common chords and scales, click the link on this page for Chord and Scale Shapes.

Tip: You can change the row tuning to that of guitar, cello/violin or other intervals in Global Settings > Row Offset. Or change the lights to highlight any scale in Global Settings > Note Lights On/Off. Or change the light colors in Per-Split Settings > Color.

3) Learn more

To learn more, click some of the links on this page, including:

Recommended Sounds
: This page provides help with getting sounds that work best with LinnStrument, explains why the preset sounds of most synths don't respond to LinnStrument's pressure or Y-axis movements, how to get the best wind and bowed-string sounds, and a listing of synths that are compatible with the new "MPE" standard.

Panel Settings
: This is the primary Owner Manual page, containing a detailed explanation of all settings on the panel, plus some deep hidden settings that aren't printed on the panel.

Hooking it up
: information about connecting to iPads and hardware synths, how to insure LinnStrument is getting adequate power, recommended foot switches and more.

FAQs: Quick answers to most common questions, like "LinnStrument is not sending MIDI. What's wrong?"

Free Bitwig 8-Track
This explains how to download, installand set up the Bitwig 8-Track DAW software that was included with your LinnStrument.

Creating Sounds
: Tips on how to create sounds that take best advantage of LinnStrument's expressive touch capabilities.

LinnStrument forum on KVR: This is a helpful and safe place for asking questions and exchanging ideas with other LinnStrumentalists, who happen to be some very fine people.

Videos: Hundreds of video submitted by LinnStrument players around the world. Seeing others play LinnStrument is very helpful in learning how to play it. There are also some helpful How To videos that I (Roger) and others have created.

Thank you for liking LinnStrument enough to own one. I welcome you into the community of LinnStrumentalists.

Roger Linn