Rocking a New Sound for Guitar

We’ve seen inventive sound hacking from [Jeremy Bell] before on Hackaday. You may remember reading a few months ago about how he invented a new way to produce that familiar effect DJs create when scratching records. By clipping samples from cassette tapes and stretching them across a set of short rails, he was able to refashion the audio pickup to glide over the tape at his fingertips. With a clothes pin wrapped in strips of foil teetering over a contact, he had a responsive tactile switch to aid in producing the cutting needed to carve out a beat.

Since then, [Jeremy] has been evolving this same switch concept and testing out new applications for it. The most recent of which he appropriately referrers to as the “Rocker”. With an electric guitar as a starting point, [Jeremy] uses a similar switching technique to bounce back and forth between two audio signals. The first of which being the sound produced in real-time by hammering on the frets of the guitar, and the second channel having a slight delay. By leveraging the glitchy effect created when switching between the two channels he is able to produce a sound all its own.

The prototype seen in his video is table-bound like the early versions of his Scrubboard, yet he’s able to play one-handed with the guitar and demo his device like a cake walk. It’d be fantastic to see this quirkiness and ingenuity taken to the level of his previous hack, leading to a stand-alone add-on for the guitar. Either way, this is yet another great example of sound play:

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Cassette Tape Hack Turns Scratching into Sliding

It’s common to see a DJ use a turntable as a musical instrument. Physically manipulating a record while its playing produces its own unique sound, but it takes some finesse and puts strain on the delicate workings of the player when you do it. With this in mind, [Jeremy Bell] has refreshed the notion of appropriating old technology to create new sound with his home-brewed scrubboard.

Making use of a cassette tape, [Jeremy] dissected samples from the reel and laid them out in horizontal strips over rails to hold their form. The pickup from the tape player has been hacked into a separate piece that glides smoothly over these rails, giving the user the ease of control. To produce the immediate cutting effect that is less easy to perform with his device than a record player, [Jeremy] created an on and off switch which is simply a close pin covered in foil that teeters over a metal contact (in this case a coin). The end product sounds exactly like scratching a record, but better because he’s doing it with hacker showmanship. One can only image the awesome potential for more elaborate setups having multiple tape samples and the like!

There are a few different videos of the scrubboard in use on [Jeremy’s] website. He is also running a Kickstarter right now in order to turn the project into a stand alone instrument with improved features.

Thanks Omar, for telling us about this cool re-envisionment!

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Turntable sequencer scratches with coins


[tvst] has an interesting take on a sequencer. His design uses coins on a turn table to trigger midi events in a loop. There are four tracks available, each having its own sensor above the spinning platform. The sensors consist of an IR transmitter and receiver setup as a voltage divider. When something passes below the IR transmitter and reflects the infrared waves back up to the receiver, the output of the sensor moves to digital high. The four sensors are connected to an Arduino which is used in conjunction with ttymidi, which converts the Arduino data into midi events.

We like projects that provide a more tangible interface for the user. Coins work well for this setup. They reflect infrared enough to trigger the sensors, and they’re easy to pick up and move without upsetting the rest of the tracks. It would be great if this could be expanded to differentiate between coins (pennies versus dimes, etc.) in order to increase the resolution from four different events to eight or more. Check out the video after the break. Continue reading “Turntable sequencer scratches with coins”

iPod spinning vinyl

Here’s a quick demo that FAT’s [Theo Watson] put together. It uses the iPod’s accelerometer to measure how fast it’s spinning and plays the sound file accordingly. This only works on the iPod touch 2nd gen because of its curved case. He says scratching is coming next, but currently the app doesn’t know which direction it’s spinning since it’s measuring outward force. This project was done in response to [vanderlin]’s AR scratching that used fiducials on records.