Need advise on Spaceship electric guitar

I have this project in mind, but not sure if it’s feasible.

It’s an electric guitar with onboard displays that will simulate automotive gauges or airplane avionics (MP4 videos). The fretboard dots will be addressable LEDs.

I have in mind: Two thin circular 3.5 inches displays and a square/rectangular one controlled by an onboard keypad.

All this probably controlled by a combination of Arduino and Raspberry.

At the push of a button, the screens will display videos of “working” automotive gauges (the rpm and speed will move randomly). Another push of button and the guitar will transform in airplane or spaceship mode (will simulate working avionics and radar). Other modes can be added later.

The airplane artificial horizon gauge could use the feed of a sensor to actually follow the guitar movements.

In one of the modes, the LED’s on the neck will become a view meter. The view meter will take it’s signal from one of the guitar pickup. Other modes for the LED’s will be available.

I have also in mind to dismantle a guitar wireless transmitter (I already use those on my guitars) and put it onboard. The regular guitar cable could then be used to power the system (without an additional cable). Or maybe power all the systems with batteries (That should last at least 3 hours).

A pen style laser could be fitted to the end and behind the neck (by the guitar tuner) and controlled by the keypad.

I will be using a DIY guitar kit that I will modify to fit all the electronics.

Although I want this guitar to be playable, it will be most of the time on display on one of my studio wall. So one of the modes will alternate between the differents modes at set determined times. One of the screen could show the time in one of the modes.

Batteries here won’t be an option so the guitar cable will be used to power the system.

I only have one arduino project under my belt (an electric guitar lamp) so I’m a newbie in the micro controller world. I’m versed in making MP4 animations for the gauges. I will need help for this project.

I have the strangest ideas since some stuff have become legal here in Canada…

See photo montage below for an idea of what I have in mind…

That sounds feasible but it would be easier and more "realistic" to use real analog gauges. If you can do it without the displays & videos, you can probably do it all without using a Raspberry Pi.

In one of the modes, the LED's on the neck will become a view meter

You mean "VU meter".*

I've done a "VU meter effect" that has random variations such as direction reversal and inversion (more LEDs go off with more loudness) and it has 6 other sound activated sequencing & blinking modes (with variations of each). The effect I made is useless as an actual meter because it self-adjusts (using a moving average) for lots of "meter action," no matter the overall loudness.

  • VU stands for "volume unit". Technically, a VU meter has certain specified response times and a peak meter (or peak & average meter) is a lot more practical in the digital age. But, It's OK to say "VU meter" as a generic term for an audio level meter. But, don't say "view meter".


Sorry about the Vu meter, we speak french over here. It’s about time someone correct me about it…
Speaking of the vu meter, I forgot to mention that I would have to add an onboard mic for it to work while the guitar is on the wall.

About the analog gauges, would they fit into the body ? Aren’t they a little thick for that ? Is it possible to moves the needles or light the over rev limit red light with inputs from the arduino ? Also, I would have to decide between the car vs plane version.

I was also intending to use the screens for other purpose later on (I haven’t decided what). Maybe just color schemes and maybe actuals videos.

At a ZZ Top concert in Montréal (more than 30 years ago), they both where using similar guitars with onboard working radar tv screens. They also had lasers at the end of the neck (that’s where I got the idea). Those where real tv screens. The guitars must have weighed a ton (they used them only for one song).

Take a look at the Sharp Free Form Display (FFD). Especially the round one. Youtube video from 2015. I don't know if they are available yet.