Presenting GridInstrument: a musical grid app for iOS

Posted on October 28, 2017 by David Hilowitz

GridInstrument is an iOS app that lets you play your iOS device like a musical instrument. Instead of a piano keyboard, notes are arranged on a grid (much like the Ableton Push or scale-mode on a Launchpad Pro).

One of the coolest features of the app is that you can hook up your Ableton Launchpad controller directly to it (using the Apple Camera Connection Kit) and it will let you play your Launchpad like a musical instrument. Here’s a video of the Launchpad tethering functionality:

The app has a simple sound generator built in, but where it really shines is in its ability to output MIDI data. It has Audiobus 3 support so that you can send MIDI to other apps. It also has Core MIDI out support so that you can send notes to outboard hardware or even to a Network MIDI connection. Here’s a video showing how to connect it to a Moog Little Phatty:


  • Change octaves
  • Change keys
  • Choose from over 20 musical modes (“Major, Minor, Dorian, Mixolydian, etc.”)
  • Choose between two grid layouts (“Diatonic 4th” and “Chromatic”)
  • Core MIDI out so that you use GridInstrument to control your other instruments
  • Audiobus 3 support
  • Launchpad integration (connect your Launchpad Mini in low-power mode without a hub or any other Launchpad with a powered hub)

OK. That’s it. Enjoy!

– Dave


  1. This app is great! … but to be really useful I need to be able to control which midi channel(s) it sends to.

    Comment by Raindro — November 4, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

  2. Thanks! After seeing your comment, I made a new version (0.8.1) that allows you to select to the MIDI channel. I’ve submitted it for review to the App Store, which means it should show up in the next day or so.

    Comment by David Hilowitz — November 7, 2017 @ 2:48 pm

  3. I hope launchpad mini support will be added soon.
    The buttons are not mapped correctly 🙁

    Comment by jaijai — November 10, 2017 @ 7:41 am

  4. Hi jaijai. Not sure what you mean. Most people (including myself) are using GridInstrument with a Launchpad Mini. Which buttons are not mapped correctly?

    Comment by David Hilowitz — November 10, 2017 @ 9:15 am

  5. Woops, my bad… I tested it first with my launchpad mini attached to my focusrite itrack dock.
    In this case launchpad mini does not show up in de device list, only the other launchpads.
    Testing with the apple cck works perfectly.
    I will have to use it without the itrack dock, that’s okay.

    Thank you for your fast response and creating this awesome software 🙂

    Comment by jaijai — November 10, 2017 @ 10:15 am

  6. Ah, cool. Glad you got it working! 🙂

    I wonder why it didn’t show up when connect through the iTrack Dock. Does anything show up in the Launchpad integration device list when you have it hooked up through your dock? If so, what if you choose your Launchpad Mini then choose “Original Launchpad” from the Device Type menu? Although, now that I’m thinking about it, that’s probably what it would have defaulted to anyway, so that should have worked. Very odd.

    Comment by David Hilowitz — November 10, 2017 @ 10:25 am

  7. I am loving this but have come across one issue. When using my Launchpad Mini, the scale notes from Gridinstrument get sent to the iM1 as well as the non scale notes as if I have the Launchpad directly controlling the iM1. Any thoughts?

    Comment by Eban Crawford — November 10, 2017 @ 12:36 pm

  8. Hi Eban,

    I don’t have the Korg iM1 app, so I can’t test it, but…

    If iM1 has an MIDI input selector, then you should be able to simply select “GridInst Output” as your MIDI input.

    If not, another possibility is selecting a MIDI output channel in GridInstrument of 2 (well, anything other than 1, which the Launchpad itself uses). You could then configure iM1 to listen only on whatever channel you set GridInstrument to. I’ve looked at the iM1 manual ( and it seems like it offers a bunch of different MIDI channel-related settings (none of which I understand). One of them has to be right. 😉

    As I said, I haven’t tested it, but those are the two approaches that come to mind!

    Comment by David Hilowitz — November 10, 2017 @ 12:53 pm

  9. Never mind, figured it out. Brain fart. Loving this app!

    Comment by Eban Crawford — November 10, 2017 @ 12:58 pm

  10. A first impression vid and an iPad improv jam.

    Comment by Eban Crawford — November 11, 2017 @ 10:44 am

  11. Fantastic app… bravo!
    Thinking of live performance, if the midi channel could be selected via the launchpad mini (e.g. pushing the top button 5 turns the grid into a channel selector) I’d definitely ante up for it as an IAP or paypal – whatever.
    Anyway, thanks for creating this awesome app!

    Comment by Jeff Howard — December 30, 2017 @ 1:28 pm

  12. I’m loving your app! I would like to request a feature that allows to select “none” when selecting the root 🙂 so one can work with only two colours when using the chromatic layout! would it be possible?

    Comment by jacob — June 15, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

  13. […] Crossposted on the Decidedly website. […]

    Pingback by Presenting GridInstrument: a musical grid app for iOS | David Hilowitz — August 21, 2018 @ 5:05 pm

  14. Hey!
    Love the app! Such a good idea that I’m amazed hasn’t been done properly until now!
    One question though, is there a way to make this work with BeatMaker 3?
    I’ve found a couple of ways but none are that intustivs!


    Comment by Tom Needham — December 9, 2018 @ 6:29 pm

  15. Hi, So it’s 2020 and just wanted to say your app is the only reason my launchpad has not ended up on eBay. Thank you for the update last month I hope you can continue to support it.
    Any chance of colour editing in a future update? Or themes, possibly, then white and blue can be the ‘classic’

    Comment by John — May 28, 2020 @ 8:31 am

  16. Does this work with akai lpd8? Will I have to midi map it before use?6

    Comment by Vuyani — December 30, 2020 @ 12:16 pm

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