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On a guitar, to my knowledge, the frets and the strings are both metallic. If you were to set up a low voltage on the frets and earth the strings you would be able to register which string is being pulled to which fret.
By analysing this you could have a synthesiser set play the correct corresponding
note at the volume registered by the pickup.
This would also allow you to play a different instrument on the guitar (it would act like an electric keyboard) or have different guitar sounds (eg accoustic or different makes of guitar) from the same guitar.
Because it is reliant on the connection and not the note played the guitar would also not need to be tuned.
Not like this:
but this is pretty cool anyway. [wagster, Oct 24 2005]
Hot Chocolate - Every 1's A Winner
[Ian Tindale, Dec 19 2008]
Someone mention robots?
[Ian Tindale, Dec 19 2008]
MC-202 on iPad
Not guitar synth related, just a quick synth related video I made the other day to test some horribly bad colour rendering video LED panels (pair of CN-160) (hence my face in black and white, it rendered skin so badly). [Ian Tindale, Jan 24 2015]
||My guitar synth works differently (a
Roland GI-10). It has a hexaphonic
pickup, and generates midi data from
each single string's signal (and into six
separate midi channels). Your scheme
doesn't make it easy to extract bend
information, whereas my GI-10
separates each string's bend
information (and other handling mess)
into completely separate pitchbend
messages per string.
||During the '70s, experiments were tried
along the lines you suggest, but were
soon abandoned in favour of
information extraction directly from
separated string signals. By the time of
the first commercial midi guitars
(typically the Roland GR series) these
did, I believe, have fret information
(whereas current ones dispense with
this) as well as pickup information for
the conversion process (which in those
days was pre-MIDI, and controlled a
fairly nifty Roland analogue synth not
dissimilar in capability to a SH5).
||The competing Arp Avatar (which had a
dedicated synth that was pretty much
exactly like an Arp Odyssey but without
the keyboard) (and was mostly to blame
for the collapse of Arp as a company)
a retrofit to existing guitars in the form
of a separate hex pickup and processor
(the processor is part of the Avatar
and before long, this is also the route
that Roland were to take for their future
guitar synth products.
||By the way, hits from back in the day,
featuring those synths: The Who had
various hits heavily featuring the Arp
Avatar (at least one is currently recycled
into the theme for some prominent
American prime-time fictional forensics
show) and on the Roland side, Hot
Chocolate's Every One's A Winner
pivots musically around an early Roland
GR500? I forget).
||Vox did this in 1966. The Guitorgan was a Vox Phantom with the guts of a Vox Continental organ built into it, triggered exactly as you describe. It was mains-powered. They were unreliable and unpopular, and Vox only built eighty (I have one of them). Godwin did the same around 1976.
My Casio MIDI guitar works similarly to [Ian]'s Roland.
||How about a robotic guitar you can hook up to a keyboard or other input source?
||Dedicated MIDi guitars like those from Casio used the frets, wheras the Roland use one pickup per string.A good example of MIDI guitar can be heard on Thomas Dolby's "keys to her Ferrari" Back in the 1970's Vox produced an organ guitar, which i've never heard.they're extremely rare. Alternatively play a synth using the handy keyboard
||[Ian] Awesome (second) link! I'm planning on ordering an Arduino controller; I think you've just given me a new hobby.
||Even though this is baked, I would be proud to have thought of it independently. It would make a nice DIY project.
||You haven't explained how plucking would be detected; using a metallic pick or bare fingers, the slight current drain could be detected on contact, like the way some lift buttons work.  Sorry, wasn't thinking; the string-stopping fingers would have the same effect. You would prolly need a metal pick with a wire attached to it.
||Actually, last year I bought JamOrigins MIDIGuitar
app on OS X and also on iOS, and consequently took
my Roland hex pickup and controller off from my
left-handed Hohner G3T guitar. Its more or less as
good as the Roland hardware was, and in some cases
||Also, today Korg announced their re-release of the
Arp Odyssey synth (in mini-key size).
||and Yamaha gave DSI the Sequential name back, apparently instigated by Mr Takahashi, so I might just partially forgive Roland a deliberate circle-jerk their repair centre visited on me.