Gear Review: Ghost Writer MIDI Interface Pedal with Recovery Effects

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

There have been attempts in the past to create MIDI interfaces for guitarists with varying degrees of success, but none with the functionality of Ghost Writer. For example, portamento glide is achievable with the Ghost Writer and I’ve never seen an interface before that offered it. If you want to connect your guitar to a synthesizer, this is a huge feature to have for total expressiveness and precision translating bends. The large Sensitivity knob controls how responsive the pedal is to translating MIDI data based on the attack of your playing.

Independent footswitches allow you to switch between audio and MIDI signals or use both. Monophonic MIDI data is automatically assigned to MIDI channel 1 and transmitted via a 3.5mm TRS MIDI cable on the back of the pedal. Audio is processed through a high quality buffer stage to ensure no signal loss. Another great feature of the Ghost Writer is that it is a single-footprint pedal and can be used inline on your pedalboard like any other pedal. It won’t ruin your usual tone, but it’s there if you need it.

The Ghost Writer is monophonic, so playing multiple notes or chords won’t 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 attractive for some applications but obviously not desirable for most practical uses. Many of the tricks used for synth-based pedal accuracy and pitch tracking also apply to the Ghost Writer.

Muting with the palm of your hand will reduce the movement of unused strings and improve tracking. Although the Ghost Writer records anywhere on the fretboard, you may find sweet spots on your guitar that fit better. Usually it’s higher on the neck and avoiding open notes helps tracking the jerks considerably. If you’re looking for a particular octave on your synth, it can also be helpful to transpose octaves up and down on your synth to match your playing.

It takes a 9v DC supply and uses around 100ma. I strongly 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 3.5mm connector type the most common is type B for example). It’s only $10 more, but so worth it.

It’s a handy, brilliant little device and it’s a wonder it’s taken so long for someone to run it properly. Each pedal is handcrafted one by one by a small team in Seattle, Washington and you can find it HERE.