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In concert video footage of Muse, I've seen both the guitarist and bassist use touch-pad devices integrated with their instruments.

What are these devices, and what are they designed to do?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Those are x-y MIDI controllers more commonly referred to as Kaoss Pads.

If you are familiar with a modulation wheel on a MIDI keyboard, you know you can assign that wheel to control any number of aspects of the instrument, from pitch bend, to volume, to vibrato, an LFO, or perhaps a filter. The x-y pad gives you two of those on a plane, with which you can control anything that's MIDI controllable (even lights if you've got the right setup).

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1  
Matt's guitars are made by Hugh Manson- mansonguitars.co.uk and quite a few have two- or one-dimensional midi controllers. – Dr Mayhem Nov 6 '12 at 8:42
    
A Kaoss Pad is a type of x-y midi controller (that's used by Muse). Other x-y midi controllers aren't called Kaoss Pads. Kaoss pad also has onboard effects and isn't just a midi controller. – yossarian Jul 22 '15 at 21:46

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