Hacked Gadgets Forum

June 30, 2011

Digitally Controlled Electric Guitar

at 9:32 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks


Adam Jackman and Pouria Pezeshkian designed a cool Digitally Controlled Electric Guitar for their ECE 4760 Final Project. My daughter is learning guitar and I can see that the electric guitar can have its sound modified in interesting ways just by twiddling the knobs on the guitar. Only issue is it’s hard to revert back and forth between different sounds without lots of trial and error. Adam and Pouria have devised their project to make an end to that issue. Their system replaces the stock analog knobs with digital rotary knobs like the ones that we featured here. A microcontroller mounted in the body of the guitar monitors the user inputs on the knobs and sends this information to an external controller which alters the sound using digital technology in the same way the original analog knob would have. When the musician has the exact sound he likes it can be saved for later use. The controls on the guitar are then used to automatically select one of the presets to be used. I can see a big potential for this item to become a commercial product with little effort.

“Our project allows the user to control the settings of the guitar swiftly and automatically. By replacing the analog interface such as tone-knobs and switch, to digital components, we enter the domain of digital electronics; ergo, we recreate a smarter and friendlier guitar. We employed a combination of digital components to replace the current tone-adjusting technology of a standard guitar as a proof of concept. Our project uses rotary encoders integrated with the microcontroller to control the programmable digital potentiometers. We also added push-buttons, which enable the change between user-created presets. We digitalized the 5-lever switch to communicate with the microcontroller, so that it could control which pick-ups to output. This was made possible by using an analog multiplexor. A small 2×16 character LCD displays the tone and pre-set configuration. One component of the project concept was to ensure that the signal is still allowed to pass through the circuitry in analog form, with minimal effects in the final tone. Because the components used were digitally-controlled analog components, the signal is never converted to a digital signal, an aspect of our product which is very desirable and valuable to musicians. “


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One Response to “Digitally Controlled Electric Guitar”

  1. mac Says:

    now that’s real guitar hero!

    very brilliant idea!

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