[Clare] isn’t the most musically inclined person, but she can strum a guitar. Thanks to a little help from an Arduino, she doesn’t even have to do that.
She built the strumbot, which handles the strumming hand duties of playing the guitar. While [Claire] does believe in her strumbot, she didn’t want to drill holes in her guitar, so hot glue and double-sided foam tape were the order of the day.
The business end of the strumbot is a micro servo. The servo moves two chopsticks and draws the pick across the strings. The tiny servo surprisingly does a great job getting the strings ringing. The only downside is the noise from the plastic gears when it’s really rocking out.
Strumbot’s user interface is a 3D-printed case with three buttons and three LEDs. Each button activates a different strum pattern in the Arduino’s programming. The LEDs indicate the currently active pattern. Everything is powered by a USB power pack, making this a self-contained hack.
[Clare] was able to code up some complex strum patterns, but the strumbot is still a bit limited in that it only holds three patterns. It’s good enough for her rendition of “Call Me Maybe”, which you can see in the video after the break. Sure, this is a simple project, not nearly as complex as some of the robotic guitar mods we’ve seen in the past. Still, it’s just the ticket for a fun evening or weekend project – especially if you’re introducing the Arduino to young coders. Music, hacking, and modding – what more could you ask for?
13 thoughts on “Strumbot: The Guitar That Strums Itself”
I’d rather do the strumming and have something else fret with the frets!
Darn, you got there first!
Been done. Even for violins. Even as long ago as 1908:
Hasten to add – this in no way diminishes the coolness of Clare’s hack, which is fun and seems to me to be a great proof of concept and worth trying to improve on.
It is exactly the sort of hack that can entice non-tech kids to venture into the world of tech. It’s a robot that might appeal to a music kid more than a wheeled vehicle. Elegant? No. Still awesome? Yep.
Agree about the appeal :-) Though I think this hack is a good demonstration that there are different dimensions of elegant. Is it elegant like a slender, polished silver art deco somethingorother? perhaps not. Is it the other kind of elegant that is impressively minimal, a demonstration of how simple something can be and still be cool? I’d say yes :-) That’s the “neat hack” quality.
but … how does the strum-bot do a slap strum? I mean … just up’n down is like making espresso just with water. Without the coffee.
More servos? More chopsticks?
I like the idea, but it doesn’t sound good.
It is not meant to sound good. (=
Anyway, here’s Wonderwall…
That is great, Clare. Your song brought a smile to me.
It’s actually not a bad idea so you can eat a sandwich and play your favorite solo or put it on a dual necked guitar.
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