Guitar becomes an improved color organ

[Charles] wanted to put some LEDs in his guitar. He also wanted individual notes to output certain colors, but he couldn’t find any projects with tone-based algorithms to convert sound into colors. After about a year of work, his ColorChord guitar was born.

Unlike every other color organ build we’ve seen, the color of a note does not relate to the absolute pitch of the note. Instead, the colors are mapped within a musical key. A I chord will always be Yellow, a IV chord will always be purple, and a V chord will always be blue. Playing in the key of C will have the LEDs output yellow, purple, and blue for a C, F and G chord, respectively.

Right now, the processing the guitar’s audio output is handled by a PC. [Charles] says that latency is a big issue, so we’re guessing that’s the reason he hasn’t moved over to an embedded solution yet. He hasn’t quite figured out how to automatically determine the key of a song, but he’s working on that.

[Charles]‘ build reminds us of the Rickenbacker Lightshow from the early 70s. It feels wrong to compare a Rickenbacker to a lucite Strat copy, but we’re going to say the ColorChord is superior to the hand-painted automotive tail light bulbs of the Rickenbacker.

Check out the hott lixx that are just way up high on the tiny strings and you mash your fingers on ‘em below:

Comments

  1. Dino says:

    Bonus points for the Lava Lamp!

  2. jordan says:

    This is fantastic! I love color organs and sound-reactive displays.

    I hope he’s looked at FMOD for processing his signal on the PC… It has a demo that displays the note being played. Dunno if his solution is better or if he’s seen the FMOD examples.

    Regardless, well done :D

  3. 1000100 1000001 1010110 1000101 says:

    Pretty damn cool

  4. kaoD says:

    OMFG I WANT ONE NAO

    I’m currently bulding a kite with LED illumination, but this completely beats anything ever built with leds. Totally.

  5. gyro_john says:

    THAT WAS AWESOME!! I didn’t get the point until I watched the video. Back-lighting to make the whole guitar body light up was very nice.

    Great colour choices. I liked the metallic brown effect.

    Man, you should make a few of those for sale.

  6. nikescar says:

    That’s pretty friggin coo! Would be even better if the clear poly body was clouded with some 2000 grit.

  7. Harvie.CZ says:

    Probably can use guitar picks with separate coil for each string for this. Then just add separate terminals for each coil and use couple of LM386 ICs (or similar) to drive one LED per string.

  8. reipoom says:

    awesome, love the colors.

  9. blue carbuncle says:

    @kaod I’ll tell you how I did a similar hack back in the day (2001ish) Get a .wav to MIDI converter software-translates the noise into notes. Use AudioJACK software to run the output of that program into MUSIAC (deaf software that turns music into color via MIDI) and voila! Instant early rave light show! Like I said this was back in the day so most of it is probably abandonware at this point. This was back in the day. Also an easy way to get a cheap guitar midi controller. Admittedly, the note recognition is hit or miss sometimes. Perhaps it has improved over the years.

    Nice job to the builder! Glad you took your interest to the next level :)

  10. t&p says:

    where the hell do you get an acrylic guitar?!?

  11. Dan Fruzzetti says:

    Brilliant! This touches the MUSIC rather than the PITCH

  12. ansil says:

    nice never thought of using a computer to do this. we built a color changing led display for a customers guitar that changed via the pitch of the note playing. 12 filters in two octaves all analog.i like this better

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,754 other followers