#1
WAIT. Before you get on my case for not wanting to tune my guitar, listen. That is not the case. Just believe me.

Okay.


I am a guitarist that plays many different styles of music, and when practicing, it can get annoying to have to tune to the several different tunings that different artists use to write their music. Also, I'm too much of a cheapass to buy more guitars to keep in different tunings. So I was sitting in class yesterday and decided to try to draw something up to solve this problem...

Now, I'm sure SEVERAL companies have already mass produced something like this, but it's for sure HELLA expensive. So what I came up with was...


A fixed bridge guitar with an additional, very thin optical pickup [not so knowledgable about these.] about .5 cm from the bridge. This would make it possible to send a signal of an almost pure tone to a cpu recessed into the guitar, which would process the pitch of each string. On either the top or back of the guitar would be an interface about 2inx5in with a thin bar-type screen to display the selected tuning, 10 preset buttons, 6 up-down arrows to select pitches for each string, a reset-to-standard-tuning button, a "Store Preset" button, and an "Activate Tune" button [whatever, I can't think of what to call it.]. Under the bridge and where the strings enter the body would have to be a small system of motors that would be able to tune the strings, but also lock when not in use. The cpu would be connected to the optical pickup, the motors, and the interface. Like for an active pickup, the whole system would be powered by 4 rechargable AA's in a slot in the back of the guitar.


It would [hopefully] work like this...


1. Dial in a tuning, activate a preset, or press the "Standard Tuning" button on the interface.
2. Remove your left hand from the strings and strum all 6 strings.
3. Quickly activate the tuning process via the interface.
4. The pickups would get the sound of each individual string and send it to the cpu to be processed and compared to what it should sound like based on the tuning represented on the interface.

Steps 5 and 7 are only if the motors themselves cannot individually lock, and a bar or some other mechanical device must be used to lock them after use.

5. A small motor would unlock the tuning rig underneath the bridge.
6. The cpu would find whether each string was flat, sharp, or in tune, and accordingly power the motors to tighten or loosen the strings.
7. The motor locks up the tuning system.
8. Play.


I'm hoping to try and make this as 'seperate' from the guitar as possible, as in you can pretty much cover up the interface and you would never be able to notice it was there, and you could play and tune like normal if you wanted. I'm also thinking you would need some fairly long strings in case the tuners in the bridge pull too much string from the tuners at the headstock, in which case the strings would slip from those tuners. You would probably have to reset the whole system every once in a while as well, in order to keep enough string in each set of tuners.

This is a really vague idea so far and I'd just like some tips and advice, and any other comments you wish to give.

Oh, and some questions...

Are there small motors that lock up fairly well when not in use?
Should I talk with a mechanic before continuing with this? The tuning rig sounds pretty difficult.
Does the interface sound like a practical idea? Any tips on creating it?
How expensive would a cpu powerful enough for something like this be, and how would you set it up to operate this system?
How expensive are optical pickups? Can they be made at home, or is the process extremely complicated?


Thanks in advance for all of your help.
#6
Obviously you did not read that I do NOT wish to purchase a system such as this.

This isn't the thread to talk about buying a Robot or a VG or some overpriced thing like that..


I'm asking for advice on building something.

EDIT: the guy above me made his message RIGHT before mine, sorry, not talking about you. Thanks for the link, btw.
#7
i can only answer for the CPU: logically, it can't be more expensive than 20-40$, seeing as that's how much a tuner costs.
Quote by bi-ah!
this is UG
of course they're going to say
0H it'5 @ jAcK50l\l!??!?!
iT i5 TeH p\/\/naG3!!!

but yeah its fine
#8
If you change tunings so often....why don't you just buy a tuner pedal?

I mean it'll go just as fast as a self tuning guitar would, you wouldn't break strings as much as some complicated computer would (i hope), your strings stretch and go out of tune if you drastically change your tuning, so you would still have to fine tune which would be easier and faster by just looking at a pedal...

Seriously i go from E standard to C standard and everything between fairly often and it really isn't that big of a deal with a pedal.


...Oh and if you get the Planet Waves tuner pedal (i have it and it is awesome) you can use it to split your guitar signal which can be useful if you ever need to.
#9
Thank you for the input Sten, but, unfortunately, it doesn't really help my cause =[

slash_angus_VH: I'm thinking differently... Would there not have to be enough processing power for 6 strings, not one? Or would it be the same?
#10
Quote by Firequacker
Obviously you did not read that I do NOT wish to purchase a system such as this.

This isn't the thread to talk about buying a Robot or a VG or some overpriced thing like that..


I'm asking for advice on building something.

EDIT: the guy above me made his message RIGHT before mine, sorry, not talking about you. Thanks for the link, btw.

I have no idea how the Trilogy works, but it seems to be a good way to do it. Programming or whatever...no, that's too much work, and and way more expensive. The self tuning system by Gibson or whatever is 900 dollars. That's without the guitar.
#11
I believe the Line 6 Variax guitars do something like that.
Will says:
DON'T FEAR THE REAPER!
- SmarterChild - says:
I don't know if I can help it.

Member #6 of the "I play my guitar as high as Tom Morello does" club
#12
Yes, the Variax does use a very similar system as far as the optical pickup, surface-mounted interface etc, but I'm not so sure on the motors system. That's the iffiest part of my idea.. It just sounds TOO complicated once the motors come in. I could actually tackle the rest of it EASILY... but yea.
#13
I just re-read the original post, and I was blown away by the complexity of your idea.

I can see what you want to do being very expensive, I would recommend investing in a Variax, or a few different guitars.
Will says:
DON'T FEAR THE REAPER!
- SmarterChild - says:
I don't know if I can help it.

Member #6 of the "I play my guitar as high as Tom Morello does" club
#14
Doing it your way would be expensive, tricky and require a decent amount on programming knowledge. That being done, I'm totally sure it could be done as long as you had the know-how to do it.
Go with forsaknazrael's idea is my suggestion - quick, relatively cheap and isn't anywhere near as complex.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#15
Well, I too was unaware of those robot guitars or whatever. So i thought this was a damn cool idea!
Top notch, Firequacker