Digital Pedalboards with Kaki King

Lighten your rig and streamline your live performances by using Apple MainStage to create a digital pedalboard.

40 Minutes
5 Sections

Guitarists love pedals, but dragging pedalboards on tour can be a real pain. A battery can die, a power supply can fail, a patch can come undone, and your set suffers. The good news is that you can put together convincing sets with just a laptop.

In this free course, we'll look at how world-renowned guitarist Kaki King, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s all-time greatest guitarists, uses Apple MainStage 3 on her latest world tour and how you can lighten your load and streamline your setup for your next tour.

You’ll see exactly how Kaki creates and manages her setup, the pedals she uses, and the Apple MainStage settings for a few of her favorite tracks. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to create different “guitar pedal” patches within MainStage, switch between the patches using a MIDI controller, and use MIDI mapping to control parameters of pedals with an expression pedal or other controller.

Kaki King

Guitarist, Artist, Icon

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” Brooklyn-based composer and guitarist Kaki King has released 8 albums over the past 13 years. She has performed on every continent over the course of multiple world tours, and has presented her work in a variety of prestigious arts centers, including the Kennedy Center, MoMA, LACMA and The Met. She has created music for numerous film and TV soundtracks, including “August Rush” and Sean Penn's “Into the Wild," for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score.

Her latest work, “The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body,” is Kaki at her visionary best: deconstructing and redefining the role of solo instrumental artist though virtuoso technique, insatiable imagination, and boundless humanity. This groundbreaking new multi-media performance uses projection mapping to present the guitar as an ontological tabula rasa in a creation myth unlike any other, where luminous visions of genesis and death, textures and skins, are cast onto her signature Ovation Adamas guitar which has been customized specifically for this production.

In addition to her own solo work, Kaki has also collaborated with NYC-based string quartet ETHEL, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, premiering a classical piece commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. In April 2017, Kaki recorded her first full-length album with a symphony orchestra, commissioned by Berklee College of Music.

More About Kaki
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kaki king
guitar pedals
music technology
audio effects

Course Outline

  1. Section 1

    Kaki's Setup

  2. Section 2

    Starting from Scratch

  3. Section 3

    Making Your Own Sets

  4. Section 4

    MIDI Control

  5. Section 5

    Wrapping Up


Who is this course for?

This course is for tech-minded guitarists who might be interested in ditching their 99-piece pedalboard for a sleaker, more versatile setup. Kaki King is one of the world's most renowned guitarists, and she takes you through her pedal setup so that you can come up with your own.

You don't need to have a copy of Apple MainStage to take this course, but it will certainly help.

Are there any requirements?

There are no other courses required before taking this course, but you should have a good working knowledge of guitars and pedals before getting started.

How long does it take?

You can get through the readings and videos in this course in under an hour.

What will I get out of it?

You'll learn how Kaki King creates her myriad guitar effects using only Apple MainStage software, an audio interface, and two pedals. We'll also walk you through how to set up your own Apple MainStage set, so that you can get started from scratch.