Robotic guitar like instrument

This guitar bot is part of the Legue of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, or LEMUR.  As you can see in the video, it has 4 strings, each mounted on it’s own unit. The pitch is controlled by a sliding bridge, while the strings are plucked by a series of picks mounted to motor. The sliding bridge is quite fast, being able to shift 2 whole octaves in a quarter of a second. The final effect is quite nice, we would listen even if we weren’t watching a robot work. This is the kind of thing we should expect to see at the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.

[via Hacked Gadgets]


  1. Marty says:

    excellent concept, poor application. surely choosing a well known piece which is royalty free is a far better way to show it off? I’m listening to this and CRINGING at the composition.

  2. raged says:
  3. andrew says:

    I thought the music was pretty good and the machine was impressive. I think in terms of servos too much because it always surprises me how much can be accomplished with what appear to be stepper motors.

  4. Dax says:

    Sounds great. The slide effect works in this case, however it will be very limiting in the amount of pieces it can play. I would add a “mute” so that you can deaden the sound while the bridge is changing pitches.

  5. rectilinear says:

    @marty: With regard to robotic instruments, why play something that a human guitarist can play, when you can play something a human guitarist could never physically play? Thus, you have to, well, DIY. I like it.

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    The first part was hauntingly cool, but about halfway through it turned into “eric clapton shreds”

  7. Music is an interesting place for physical computing to be so popular if you think about its roll in society in the past. It’s been a performing art, something that people spend their lives mastering, filled with emotion and feeling. Something people aspire to being able to achieve. I’m fascinated by the mechanics of this project but as a live music fanatic there’s just not that level of improv, direction and feeling(currently anyway… and somewhere inside I hope there won’t ever be) that can be found in a good live performance where a band is just operating on the same wavelength but by no means mechanically.

  8. kyle says:

    @strider_mt2k: Wow yeah I don’t listen to clapton and now i know why. robot:1 clapton:0

  9. K says:

    saw this when you did the story on the competition a ways back. I liked it so much it is now on my MP3 player.

  10. It’s just amazing, good video.

  11. YenTheFirst says:

    The machine does have mutes, they’re right under the rotating picks.
    Check out the video from about 2:03-2:15. You’ll notice that the screaming overdriven string on the right isn’t using the mute at all, while the ‘pluck-pluck’ strings to the left are.

  12. blizzarddemon says:

    Haunting indeed, but they need a better shred song to show this things potential.

  13. Philippe says:

    Shouldn’t that be spelled “league”?

  14. sol says:

    not really a repeat. the link you posted was to a general overview of all the entries in that contest. this hackaday post is specifically about one of the entries (one of the best, in my opinion)

  15. Richard says:

    taking the ‘robot guitar’ thing in a somewhat different direction, we have a street performer locally who’s a retired engineer.

    He plays a fiddle in the conventional manner, and made himself an automatic guitar so he could accompany himself!

    it’s powered by a treadle operated by his right foot, and plucks chords that he selects by pressing pedals with his left foot – the plucking seems to have more than one set of cams as I’m sure I’ve heard more than one plucking pattern.

    i reckon it’s a pretty cool hack, making a guitar possible to play with your feet. :-)

    There are a couple of movies of it in action on his myspace page

    it’s quite a sight, and fascinating to watch him play it right there in front of you.

  16. Jeff Wallin says:

    It would be great if it were tuned properly. The string second from the left being the worst.

  17. theorifice says:

    someone needs to throw the ebow on this.

  18. chaoxor says:

    Sounds as if Autechre attempted to compose some instrumental black metal :D
    I like it, especially the 2nd half where it starts sounding crazy.

  19. Avik Dhupar says:

    Sounds very much like a sitar, minus the bass.

  20. Greeny says:

    Thanks for your help.

  21. Bass Player says:

    I loved that Eric Clapton video. Boy can he play the guitar well. The machine will be replacing musicians in the future…ha ha.

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