Electric Guitar Controls via Arduino


I am very new to Arduino (love it already) and have been trying to get my head around the question of electric guitar controls.

A very simple electric guitar circuit is given below:

I would like to make that type of circuit, replacing the mechanical switches and pots by electronic ones commanded by an Arduino.

My question: Is it as simple as it seems? Just replace switches by relays and pots by digital pots? What about side effects? Will there be pops and buzzes and other unwanted sounds?

Any advice or pointers would be great.


It's almost possible like that, yes.

The main thing to watch out for is the pickups create an AC waveform that alternates around 0V. Digital pots, in general, only work with positive voltages. Unless you shop around for a digital pot that has a split rail power supply (+ and - voltage supplies) and can handle negative voltages, then you will lose half of your waveform.

Little reed relays would be ideal for replacing the switches - it's not as if you're handling much current :wink:


Thanks majenko!

So you are saying that it may work?

I am having a really hard time finding out how to buy digital potentiometers, and I have no idea about the 2 rail power stuff.

Actually, I am a beginner in all this :slight_smile:

Could you give me any ideas of where to look for that kind of digital pot and the reed relays?

Thanks so much!

I'm also interested to build a digital pickup swithing system powered with arduino. Is there any progress ?
It would be nice if there is a easy solution with relays, if so, which one should I take.
Thanks in advance,


This has progressed very very far, thanks to this forum and many others!

Forget relays, though...

Check out my full detailed reports at my website , and also a little write up I got in HackADay.

I've spent lots and lots of time on it and the result is really really cooooool!

Let me know what you think!

Hey, Thank you Bob, i've already saw that post. It's realy cool, but a little to complicated I think.
I thought to do an extension of the allready used hardware, maybe to use banks and presets. 3 or 4 banks in which you can select 5 presets with a 5 way switch. It's that somehow possible, for sure it is but I really don't have the knowladge for this right now.
But thanks again, I will look up your project, maybe I've get an idea.