The Z5S Ztar w/ 'log' neck!!!

The Z5S shown here, with added TCA and Ribbon control, is $2095. The base model Z5S in satin black and/or graphite is $1595. Hands down, the Starr Labs Ztar Z5S is the most affordable yet professional MIDI guitar on the market today. Ultra-fast and accurate string trigger technology allows for precision playing and ultimate control of your synthesizers and DAW's.
The Starr Labs Z5S with added TCA touch pads and Ribbon controller.
Ztars are the most accurate & fastest string trigger based MIDI guitars on the market.
Multiple user programmable controllers and triggers. 
Starr Labs string triggers & TCA pads: fast, precise, accurate expressive!
The Z5S Ztar with logarithmic neck, TCA pads, and Ribbon controller.  For the professional MIDI guitarists in all of us!


A great site for Ztarists!

Here is a fantastic site geared directly towards 'Ztarists': More Ztar. Enter and you will find a plethora of playing tips and tricks, concepts for composition, and a jukebox full of songs made with Ztars! Thanks a ton to Tapper Mike for this great resource!


Ztar Z6S-XP's in Black & White...

The Starr Labs Ztar Z6S-XPA is the most professional MIDI Guitar controller/instrument in the world.

Today's Ztar has fastest, most accurate and precise string trigger system available on the market.

6 programmable pots, 6 touch sensitive programmable pads,  Ribbon, Joystick, Ableton Live fingerboard layouts and sysex templates, gives you ROBUST control over all aspects of your synthesizer, sampler, DAW!


Starr Labs Ztar Z7S MIDI Guitar controller! NEW! SALE!!

(This is for NEW Z7S Ztars only. Lead time is 8-10 weeks from time of order to shipping.)


Starr Labs Ztar Z7S-XPA in Sound On Sound Magazine!

 Below you can read a great critical review of our Ztar Z7S-XPA from the wizards over at SoS. (All copy, text, photos, copyrights belong to SoS.)
Fed up with the vagaries of pitch‑to‑MIDI guitar, but don’t have time to learn to play a keyboard? The Ztar offers clean, keyboard‑like MIDI from an instrument that guitar players can relate to instantly. Could be just what you need...
Dave Lockwood
San Diego‑based Starr Labs (originally the Starr Switch Company, until 1996) have been making guitar‑like MIDI‑controller instruments since 1992, but somehow it has taken us until now to get our hands on one at Sound On Sound. Taking a radically different approach to the pitch‑to‑MIDI strategy adopted by most of the other pioneers in this field, founder Harvey Starr reasoned that, as MIDI is a key‑based protocol, it made most sense for MIDI guitarists to address it via a set of keys, but with those keys arranged in a pattern that corresponds to a guitar fingerboard. The solution came in the form of the iconic Starr key‑based ‘fretboard’ that has continued to grace the majority of the company’s models over the last 18 years since the Ztar came into being. The keys on a Starr Ztar neck are actually low‑profile, long, narrow buttons arranged in rows, to represent fret positions, and columns, to replicate strings. Pairing the pressure‑sensitive Starr fretboard with a set of triggers for the right hand results in a guitar‑like instrument that outputs clean MIDI with none of the delays and pitch detection errors that plague pitch‑to‑MIDI instruments.
Starr Labs’ instruments have always been customisable to a degree, with plenty of options and configurability available to purchasers. Early Ztar models generally had a bank of six elongated switches, or ‘Trigger Bars’, for the ‘picking’ hand, as well as a selection of larger pad surfaces suitable for drum triggering, but an option for right‑hand triggers based on six short lengths of real guitar string was soon made available. These are perhaps easier to adapt to, for most guitarists, and also allow notes to be ‘damped’ in a fairly intuitive way. The strings generate no pitch data (in the basic ‘guitar’ mode), merely note‑on timing, and velocity. In other modes, however, the strings can also be used to send chords, trigger sequences, or apply Continuous Control messages simultaneous with picking notes. You might, for example, want to be able to add modulation or crossfade between voices via velocity....
Read the full article/review here: SoS


Ke$ha... and a Ztar!

Max, guitarist for Ke$ha, performing in Las Vegas with a Ztar Z7SX

Ke$ha's good sleazey-fun take on dance-pop rock has the kids and charts taking notice. We love her, and guitarist Max, of course, and can't wait to hear more sonic mayhem they create with their Starr Labs Ztar Z7SX!


Starr Labs iTar(tm) for iPhone and iPad

Yes indeed, we here at Starr Labs have been working on the iTartm, a MIDI guitar/instrument application for the iPhone and iPad. The more we labor over what we want the iTartm to accomplish the more we expand its scope of control, programmability, customization, and interactivity. Think pages of customizable control screen surfaces with dozens of controller and trigger types, arranged and implemented however you like. That said, we invite any serious programmers/developers to join us in the iTartm conversation. Seriously, contact Harvey Starr harvey@starrlabs.com and be a part of the Starr Labs team that unveils the best MIDI guitar/instrument application onto the world, the iTartm!


Starr Labs Ztar Z-LP (LesPaul) MIDI Guitar FOR SALE!

Starr Labs Ztar Z-LP (Les Paul arched maple top, mahogany back)
Z-LP Arched Maple Top, clear coat finish... is nice!
Ztar Z-LP Mahogany back
Ztar Z-LP!



Create Digital Music and the future of guitars!

    There is/was a great discussion happening over at the awesome blog Create Digital Music about guitar technologies, the guitar as an instrument in general and how it and it's players fit into the realm of modern music making gadgetry and innovation. Guitarists can be some of the most 'purist' musicians out there. Let's face it, it can be hard to compare the tactile interaction and expressiveness that can be harnessed with a guitar in the hands of a master with someone pushing buttons and turning knobs. But why the hesitant nature of even the most experimental of guitarists to openly embrace true innovation in their chosen instrument? Is it a matter of having to learn or re-learn techniques and concepts found within this new technology?
    Guitarists have manipulated their instrument over decades, creating new and exciting tones and sounds full of subtleties and high expressiveness, and they've done this with generally few technological advancements to their rig (amps, pedals, pick-ups, strings etc...). Enter the realm of synthesis and MIDI, and many guitarists quickly turn the other way and head back to their tried and tested ax. I suppose what I'm getting at is the importance of actually creating and sculpting a sound and how its characteristics directly pertain to its performance and expressive capabilities, regardless if its being triggered by a keyboard or guitar. A lot of the MIDI guitars/guitarists out there, both past and present, seem to only take on the roll of a 'controller' versus that of an actual expressive instrument used in composition and performance. To say it plainly: using an instrument's inherent values and characteristics to create/express/sculpt one's music, not simply trigger it.
    We here at Starr Labs are constantly asked to show a Ztar playing, of all things, guitar samples. While this is all fine and good, it still speaks to the overall importance of the sound's characteristics, and what you can do with it other than simple sample play-back and amp/rig emulation, i.e. triggering speed, accuracy, precision, velocity sensitivity, bends etc... 'If its guitar sounds you want, why not play a guitar?' is the rebuttal we get from those persons interested in alternate MIDI instruments/controllers who want to hear serious synthesis manipulation and performance innovation. Sampling/emulation harware and software have improved immensely since the dawn of MIDI, with decent products such as Sampletank and Orange Tree providing realistic guitar sounds full of expressive qualities that are right at home when played on a Ztar. On the other hand, we're quite excited about the innovations in modal and additive synthesis hardware/software such as Prism and Razor from Native Instruments, or the amazing engine found in the Nord Modular G2, and the resurgence of the Karplus-Strong algorithm! We're indeed fans of pure synthesis and the creation of new sounds and how they can be expressed through a Ztar!


Our Alternate MIDI Controllers!

Though Starr Labs is well known for our professional line of Ztar MIDI Guitar controllers, it stands to be told (re-told) that we've designed and built many other alternate MIDI control instruments. From keyboard-like controllers with alternate key/note layouts, to MIDI foot controllers and other multi-array MIDI instruments. Check out Roger Linn's site for a great little archive of Alternate MIDI and New instruments for music expression. Here are a few photos of our goods:
ZB12 Grid Keyboard layout, multizones, multi-channels, full polyphony, 5 1/2 octaves vertically.

ZB 2424

Floor Pad foot controller.

Floor Pad foot controller.


MicroZone U-648 hex key layout


A new Ztar for Rob Swire of Pendulum

We here at Starr Labs were excited to build this amazing custom Ztar Z6S-XPA for Pendulum front man, Rob Swire. Can't wait to see/hear what he creates with this beautiful beast of an instrument!
The latest and greatest Starr Labs custom Ztar Z6S-XPA for Pendulum's Rob Swire!