Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Is it soup yet?

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Self Tuning Stringed Instruments

Guitars and Pianos... in tune for life.
  [vote for,

This idea is to design a small actuator device connected to the tuning pins of any stringed instrument.

A computer would "listen" to the instrument as it was being played and make tiny, subtle adjustments to the string pressure to ensure that it stayed tuned in real time.

zigness, Feb 20 2004

(?) I found one! http://www.quantumb...photon_analyzer.htm
It costs $1895... [k_sra, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Electronic guitar tuner http://www.ishop.co...23/shopscr1040.html
A deaf man can now tune his guitar. £20.00 [Klaatu, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Self-tuning piano system http://www.newscien...s.jsp?id=ns99993143
From NewScientist, a description of engineer and inventor Don GIlmore's system that heats the strings electrically to render a tuning. [bristolz]

Sounds like the text of the idea was describing this http://www.selftuni...com/tech/index2.htm
"A small computer mounted inside the self tuning guitar controls motors that are linked to each string. [bristolz, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Sounds like the text of the idea was describing this http://www.selftuning.com/tech/index2.htm
"A small computer mounted inside the self tuning guitar controls motors that are linked to each string. [half, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Please log in.
If you're not logged in, you can see what this page looks like, but you will not be able to add anything.
Short name, e.g., Bob's Coffee
Destination URL. E.g., https://www.coffee.com/
Description (displayed with the short name and URL.)

       What happens when your computer crashes?
k_sra, Feb 20 2004

       I'm no musician. However, I do know enough about the lot to say that they're often too sentimental about their instruments to allow them to be inundated with gizmos and whatsits.
If the technology would be small enough as to be almost unnoticeable, then (+).
motive power, Feb 20 2004

       I nearly posted a computerised piano tuning device some time ago but I discovered that it is in fact baked...
po, Feb 20 2004

       I wouldn’t mind have a self-tuning piano because I can’t tune that myself; but for stringed instruments I prefer to tune them myself, especially considering that a properly tuned instrument is not always in tune according to the standard equal temperament tuning.
AO, Feb 20 2004

       I have to respectfully disagree with [blissmiss] and her assessment... having been a professional musician myself, and having a number of professional musician friends, you would be shocked at how much effort is applied to make things ever more efficient and "easy".   

       There is nothing to be gained by anything being arbitrarily difficult. The easier it is for something to be manipulated, the better the musical art can become.   

       As an example, Vladmir Horowitz had his Steinway specially regulated to have VERY fast action... that helped him play the way that he did. (I've actually played that piano by the way -- it's amazing.)   

       To me, the who point is NOT so much to master a skill, as it is to create something beautiful (or interesting or scary or whatever you're going for) for the ear.
zigness, Feb 20 2004

       Let's not neglect self-stringing instruments.....
normzone, Feb 20 2004

       don't do it norm, you are among friends...
po, Feb 20 2004

       its a wise man who knows his instrument.
po, Feb 20 2004

       what kind of idiot cant tune their own instrument, most people that play their instruments long enough should be able to tune the strings off of open A
morbiddesire, Feb 20 2004

       Self tuning through modern electronics. <link>
Klaatu, Feb 20 2004

       Pianists, and fretted instrumentalists aside, having to tune your instrument is a good exercise for your ears. Actually it's a good exercise for everyone, but pianists don't usually do it.   

       The less you have to listen to your instrument, and it is automated, the less you will be able to detect inaccuracy. Have you ever heard a violinist that didn't have a good ear? It hurts those of us with even moderately good ears. Of course [zig] does say it's for guitars and pianos.   

       Also, the just intonation/equal temperment problem mentioned above still stands.   

       Would be good for pianos tho.
swamilad, Feb 21 2004

       BTW, one idea I've had for a guitar tuner would be a set of six rectangular bi-color LED's that would sit behind the strings. When a button was pushed, each LED would flash red and then green at the frequency of the proper string. The net effect would be that if a string was in tune it would appear as a stationary red and green stripe in front of a yellow background. If sharp, it would appear as a moving red and green stripe moving toward the green side; if flat, it would appear as a moving red and green stripe moving toward the red side.
supercat, Feb 21 2004

       I have played guitar for many years and I still cannot tune any of my guitars by ear. I used to play in a band where the other guitarist used to tune my guitar for me by ear, they always sounded way out of tune to me so I started to use an electric tuner.
sufc, Feb 21 2004

       For guitars, violins, or other similar string instruments, all one really needs is an electric tuner, or a good ear.   

       For pianos and maybe harps, however, this would be a very, very useful device. Of course, having over 200 little motorized apparati in one piano would probably be quite expensive.   

       And I don't think the piano tuners' union would appreciate this very much.
WordUp, Feb 22 2004

       [WordUp]... I don't think the mechanism is really a problem... have you seen a grand player piano lately? The Yamaha version is only $2,500 more and it's vastly more complex than what I'm talking about...   

       The union on the other hand... I can see the picket line forming already.
zigness, Feb 22 2004

       Question to those that keep bringing up equal temperament... that puzzles me... I'm not sure what it has to do with anything.   

       Equal temperament (or not) applies only to the relationship between strings, not to the desired frequency of each one individually... in other words, there is a "correct" frequency for each string regardless... the device only has to know that.
zigness, Feb 22 2004

       Hmmm, possibly it wouldn't be that much more expensive. When you consider a Steinway goes for upwards of fifty grand, however, I think I'd rather have a trained professional come in to do it, as I'd trust a human ear that Uses tuning instruments much more than just the instrument alone.   

       Of course, these little mechanisms might affect the tone quality of the strings, too, whether it be for better or for worse.
WordUp, Feb 22 2004

       With regard to intonation, the frets on a guitar (and I presume other fretted instruments too, although I only play guitar) are a compromise. Each string has a specific wavelength which varies according to the thickness/whether it's wound or not. It therefore follows that the wavelength is different on each string - this is why if you look at the bridge of a guitar, you'll see that each string is a different length. This is to make sure that the string is exactly twice the wavelength of that note - if you don't do this, the higher up the fretboard you play a note, the more out of tune it sounds.   

       If you play a 12th fret (ie: octave) harmonic it should be exactly the same pitch as the fretted note - if the string is too short the note sounds sharp, if the string is too long then the note is flat. Each note you hear on a guitar is comprised of the resonance of the string and the harmonics generated - electronic tuners work on the harmonics, so if the string intonation is wrong the tuner will give a false reading.   

       Incidentally, The Who used to tune to each other only, rather than to a tuner, and would usually end up somewhere between E-flat and F. John Entwistle, the bass player, had perfect pitch and because of the compromises I mention above, found certain tunings physically painful because he could hear the discordant harmonics that the others couldn't.   

       Incidentally also, Jimi Hendrix, Guns n' Roses and many other bands tune to E-flat. If you try and play their music on a guitar tuned to E, it quite often doesn't sound quite right, but not in any way you can put your finger on...
kmlabs, Dec 07 2004


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle