Mechatronic guitar

mech guitar

The Crazy J is a completely computer controlled acoustic guitar. Spawned as a Georgia Tech graduate class project it features 6 picks and 23 fingertips. These combine to generate 29 individual notes. The whole setup is controlled through a MIDI interface. There are several sample mp3s on the site. How does it sound? Well, let’s just say I hope in the future our robot overlords can play an instrument without making it sound like a harpsichord.

[thanks nullset]


  1. Thomas says:

    I actually got to see a demo of this thing last June while I was at an engineering camp at Tech. It’s biggest limitation was that it couldn’t play anything that required slides especially well. But it could handle “Layla” fairly well (that was the only song that was played on it for us).

  2. chris says:
  3. craash420 says:

    Captured By Robots sounds like a cool idea, but their web designer should be dragged into the street, beaten senseless, and tattooed with “I will not put dark text on a black background”.

  4. Chris says:

    Its been a few years since Ive seen them play and at the time they only had 2 of the robots. He’s done a lot of upgrades since then and added a bunch of other robots. I doubt Ill be attending any more shows as it seems J has gone back to ska (which i cant stand) with the addition of “the headless hornmen”. I would HATE lugging all of that stuff around (as hes the only member of the band who could manage such a task) loading all the equipment with 4 other people is a pain enough to not ever want to go on tour. I never really liked the music, I went because of the novelty of the whole thing. If you get a chance go see them…err..him…err..them?

    I do agree about the design…i suspect it could be “part of the act” though

  5. spaz says:

    For the guitar… If they had used an electric acoustic they could eliminate the sound of the solenoids. It could help to make it sound less like a harpsichord. And are there any major limitations preventing the use of 5 “fingers” that move up and down the neck rather than fixed positions? Cool hack though!

  6. Connor says:

    Captured! By Robots is awesome. I saw them (him?) a few weeks ago and can’t stop listening to “The Ten Commandments”.

  7. H8tred says:

    With an electric guitar, he would have to shield everything. Interference and what not…

  8. baslisks says:

    its not bad just a bit harpsicordy like everyone says. If he could make it a bit more rounded it sound a ot better.

  9. Caramelzappa says:

    New Hack A Day background.

  10. Elumguy says:

    The captured by robots guy graduated from the same high school I did!

    Now I just need to be captured by something..

    This guitar thing is nifty and all, but it seems like an awefully large and overly-complex setup just to play a guitar, especially when its limitations are considered. But I guess that just shows how involved in the world of mechtronics I am…

  11. Forest says:

    It really doesn’t sound anything like a harpsichord, and besides, harpsichords kick ass!

  12. GinsuGuy585 says:

    The reason why it sounds shitty is because of the picks. The picks pluck up and down, 90 degrees off of the proper direction, which is side to side. The guys who made it must not play guitar, or they would know plucking vertically makes a horrible sound.(also why they needed the robot to play for them) if they rotated the plucking assembaly 90 defrees, and staggered the solenoids/picks, the guitar would sound and probably look, much better.

  13. chuckfucter says:
  14. yep, 3rd time in a week and a half. Where’s my check or at least the credit?

  15. Thomas Murach says:

    I, a live organic harpsichord maker, cheerfully challenges robot to hand weapons only duel for slagging off harpsichords! Further, to improve the machine, instead of picks try a variation of the e-bow..
    good luck, see you at dawn

  16. Melodie cook imanishi says:

    This reminds me of Japan’s clever company Maywa Denki, who I’m sure inspired this. Thomas Murach, organic harpsichord maker, do you take the apologetic, terrible ex-girlfriend challenge?

  17. Yeah I coulda built this too, i say Humbly…So Ms ex, are you now japanese? see my site,, you’ll find my phone number…and more personal details…

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