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String break warning

This little chip in the guitar hears strings for near break warnings..
  [vote for,

Place a small chip at the head of the guitar and it records the sound of individual strings. Before a string breaks completely its quality starts to deteriorate marginally (assuming the string is not being tightened all the time) these changes are so minute that the ear might not pick it. But the chip compares a string sound with the previous recorded sound and checks for change. It then predicts when the string will break. there are 5 LED' at the head of the guitar and then start to glow in progression, 1 glow means you are safe and 5 glow means buy new strings. This is of great use just before concerts for small bands who don’t just want to stock up strings
nomadic_wonderer, Nov 14 2003

Halfway down the page. http://alanhorvath.com/LSN1a.html
[Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Predictive Software http://www.smartsig...index.asp?cks=FALSE
Anticipates failures by analyzing subliminal signals. [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004]


       // Before a string breaks completely its quality starts to deteriorate marginally (assuming the string is not being tightened all the time) these changes are so minute that the ear might not pick it. //   

       Really. First I ever heard of that... do you have any documentation of this effect?
waugsqueke, Nov 14 2003

       [waugsqueke] nope, none. but i know sound qaulity alters with wear and tear
nomadic_wonderer, Nov 14 2003

       Strings dull over time, yes. But there is no sonic hint of impending breakage on which to base your device.   

       Any guitarist worth his/her salt knows when to change the strings and does not need a visual cue to tell them.   

       They also have strings on hand for break situations. You can easily snap a brand-new string in the middle of an over-enthusiastic solo.
waugsqueke, Nov 14 2003

       Here is the <link>
Klaatu, Nov 14 2003

       In general strings break in 1 of 2 places, either at the top tensioning point (this does not have to be the tuning key by the way, if a locking nut is used the break point will be at the nut well below the tuning key) or at the ball end (or bridge saddle end for those bridges that are of that type).
Assuming that the string isn't being tightened during tuning when it breaks then there are only 2 usual causes for breaking: 1) the player creates a sharp high shear point in the string that is greater than the string's elasticity (like fretting and bending the high E string up several steps)at it's tension points or 2) a very old (this can be a subjective time frame) set of strings that has not been peak shear stressed will eventually suffer from metal fatigue.
Since I know of no way to test for metal fatigue that is cheap and small enough for most musicians to carry in a gig bag, I can see no way to predict string breakage in scenario 2. In scenario 1 there might be a way to test (though I doubt it) but I'm sure that the test algorithm would need to be changed every time you changed types of strings (different companies and types of strings use different metallurgy) or possible even within a particular manufacturer's strings due to standard deviation in manufacture. Obviously this would have to be a pretty expensive set up. Although it might be worth it for the biggest acts, I don't see the average bar band affording anything like this (guitart techs or roadies are almost always cheaper than technology for some things!)
I think the best way to know when a string will break will remain the old TTD method for a long time to come. (TTD test to destruction or just play them until they break)
Also, be aware that there are parameters such as acidic level of each individuals skin (sweat), temperature, humidity ect. that can effect the strength of a string and thus the complexity of the algorithm would greatly increase along with what information your gauge would need to keep track of.
soundman, Nov 14 2003

       Actually, for a metal guitar, it is entirely plausible that for a given brand of string, you could constantly measure how the resistivity changes across the string as it is plucked, and use one of the new predictive software models to track minor correlations to predict failure. Certainly would make an interesting research project, even if the economics of guitar strings make it unlikely to be a commercial success.
DrCurry, Nov 14 2003

       DrCurry, I agree that this way might be possible The actual resistivity of the string (as measured) shouldn't change too terribly much with the frequency of vibration. You would need to able to measure incredibly small incremental changes in resistivity. I still think even with this method you'd run into definition problem.
I'm not sure that anything cheap enough for mass production would have a fine enough definition for the job (be able to detect small enough incremental changes). Mostly because there are atmospheric and other considerations that do have an effect on resistivity that would need to be filtered out as white noise.
As you point out , the economics just don't support what you'd need to measure that fine of detail. I still think a roadie and spare guitar would be the cheapest most sensible option.
soundman, Nov 15 2003

       Of course, one COULD just alter the musical ideas to fit whatever strings you have left... Make the best out of a given situation, since you might not have a choice at that moment. I saw a man recently play a violin rigged so that all four strings popped off on command, so that in the end he took the elastic out of his underwear, stretched it over a coathanger and continued to play Czardas... no prob.
stringstretcher, Nov 15 2003

       Speaking of string breaks, I herd that Stevie Ray Vahn's guitar tech used to slip a small peice of wire insulation over the base of the string to reduce friction at the bridge, just behind the saddles. I've tried it, and it works.
troglodyte, Jan 10 2004


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