New and improved Potentar

We like what we’re seeing and hearing with [Dorian Damon's] newest version of the Potentar. This is revision 2.0 of the instrument we saw in a December links post. He calls it the Potentar, since it uses a linear potentiometer in a way similar to how the frets on a guitar work (Potentiometer + Guitar = Potentar).

The first thing you should notice is the case upgrade. The original used what looked like unfinished scrap wood, but finished wood of this case really makes the thing look like a traditional instrument. With this design he loses the Arduino in favor of a standalone ATmega328 chip. You’ll notice knobs and a switch on the face of the body. This allows for selecting a couple different kinds of scales and turning the power off. The linear potentiometer and sewing machine button are the same as before. After the break you can catch his description and a quick performance thanks to the audio jack for patching it into an amp.

12 thoughts on “New and improved Potentar

    1. I agree, although Vimeo videos seem to have less compression artifacts than YouTube; This video isn’t in HD or anything though, so it’s pointless.

    2. It’s one of few streaming sites that passes our firewall unblocked. YouTube is dead on arrival here. For that and that alone, it’s worth dealing with any slight quality issues.

  1. “…it uses a linear potentiometer in a way similar to how the frets on a guitar work…”

    Judging by the video, the instrument plays in a way that is counter to the behavior of a guitar. On a guitar, the pitch goes up has one’s hand moves toward the body of the instrument. In this instrument, the behavior appears to be reversed.

    Actually, the sliding nature of the pitch control reminds me less of a guitar than a trombone. A better name for the instrument, then, might be “trom-pot.”

  2. Scales are played, not selected with a switch. It will never do jazz. Using 2 hands with no tangible frame of reference between hands will make this harder to play. This slide controller would make a good pitch bender. I have some low friction 10 turn pots and big copy machine trolley cable to make linear scale controller. Lookup Ondes Martenot & Radiohead. It can even have the cursor run across a real keyboard for musical reference.
    It’s not Vimeo, it’s the worst possible camera placement ever. BLINDED. Use the light, don’t fight it.

  3. Nice upgrade on your project :) Looks good and I look forward to your continuing progress. I might suggest throwing an arpeggiator into the mix for easy scale running and for those fingerboard metallica solos ;) Keep jamming!

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