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Topic: ArduGuitar! (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic



Many of you are already aware of my project to replace all the switches and knobs of an electric guitar by digital circuitry controlled by an Android phone.

Well, thanks to many of you, I have reached a first milestone: I have a working ArduGuitar!

You can read all about it on the ArduGuitar Home Page at: http://www.arduguitar.org/  but for those who want a quick overview here it is:

I ripped all the pots and switches out of an old Ibanez RG 140 guitar and put in a circuit that I made using vactrols and controlled by an Arduino Micro, connected to my Android phone by a cheap JY-MCU bluetooth module.

On the phone I run some Processing code, using the the Ketai library to handle the bluetooth coms.

This allows me to select pickups, change volume and tone, as well as record and activate "preset" configurations, e.g. the "Woman" config that Clapton made famous, by tapping on my phone velcro'd to the top of the guitar!

It works great!

Now to start on the next much improved version!

Thanks to you all!


From your page:

First, I analyzed the circuitry of an old IBanez RG140 guitar which dated back to 1980. Don't worry, that's not old for electric guitars, in fact people pay more to get even older junk - as if any technology was better in the 1950s than it is today?

Old guitars' advantage is not the electronics in it: it is the wood they are made of. A 1980's mid-end guitar possibly has better woods than many of today's high-end guitars. Besides, some of them were handcrafted, and China still wasn't what it is today, so not that many companies were outsourcing production to China (I believe Singapore was more popular back then: the Asian Tiger)

An extremely high number of laws have passed since then that limits exploration and export of certain types of woods (such as Brazilian mahogany), which makes them extremely expensive nowadays.

Other than the quality of the pickups, the electronics in a guitar are so simple, one can compare a handmade American Fender to a mass produced Chinese Squier in that department (everything else is different!)

My guitar is an unknown Spanish brand called "SX", a Les Paul clone, bought in 2008 for cheap. It was sold as having the body made from solid mahogany. I doubted that at first, but once I installed Seymour Duncan pickups in it, and changed the strings for 0.010" D'Addarios, it started sounding beautiful, bluesy, perfect! Then I realized it was indeed made of mahogany: in 2009 the company was raided by some enviromental agents for illegally importing mahogany from Brazil and eventually had to pay an extremely high fine. All of their current guitars are made of crappy woods. My specific guitar has, since then, more than tripled in value.
Some of my projects:
Shield for DS1337+, DS1624 and AT24C1024B (RTC, temp & mem): http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php/topic,126197.0.html
CHDK Camera remote shutter (BT, IR, USB): http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=295377.0


Hi Bob

Great project.  Thanks again for sharing it.  Do you find you miss being able to wind the volume on your guitar back (or up) as you play with your little finger or side of your hand?  I like the idea of presets but wonder if I'd miss that fine control while playing.

"There is no problem so bad you can't make it worse" - retired astronaut Chris Hadfield


Do you find you miss being able to wind the volume on your guitar back (or up) as you play with your little finger or side of your hand?  I like the idea of presets but wonder if I'd miss that fine control while playing.

Thanks!  I can interact with the guitar via the touchscreen of the phone:

  • tap the pickup images to activate/deactivate/split pickups

  • drag horizontally to change volume

  • drag vertically to change tone

  • long press to save the config

  • menu button to write the config to disk for future use

But the little finger "wha-wha" is lost, that's true, at least in the current version...  But I'll think about it for the next release!

Also I was thinking about sticking the phone to the guitar where the old control were, but that seemed boring ;-)

Thanks for your comments!

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