Dexterity enhancing guitar

[Justin Lange's] dad loves playing guitar, but an accident left him with nerve damage that makes it pretty much impossible these days. He just doesn’t have the dexterity needed to form the cords using his left hand. But his son’s hacking skills are helping him get back into it. [Justin] built a button-based add-on that forms the cords for him.

The build has two parts. A frame mounts over the finger board with slots for eighteen solenoids which push the strings down between the frets. These are controlled by the replacement finger board which is mounted below the neck. It has a double-row of buttons that let the player select the desired chord. One button chooses the key, with a second button acting as a modifier to switch to a seventh cord, or minor cord.

The project, which [Justin] has named folkBox, relies on a microcontroller. We spy an Arduino Mega in one of the build photographs but it will be interesting to see if the final project moves to a standalone chip. He’s set a goal for a more robust version of the build some time this summer.

[via Make]

6 thoughts on “Dexterity enhancing guitar

  1. @zee

    It looks like it installs with those carriage bolts at the corners, so I would guess that it doesn’t. Furthermore, the distance between frets AND the distance between the strings changes as you progress up the neck, so you really couldn’t just slide it all willy nilly.

    I imagine this would limit the user to the so-called “cowboy chords”, with variants on the same.

  2. Hmm… EZ-Chord? It’s less than $20 and gets all the cowboy chords to a single button, and can slide up and down to play in different keys (fits like a capo).

    I’m just going to assume that this guys dad is a crazy badass picker and can actually take advantage of the huge cost and complicated nature of this thing.

    Well done, I’m sure being able to play again has brought immeasurable amounts of joy back.

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