Strike a Chord With This LED Ukulele

You may laugh off the ukulele as a toy or joke instrument, and admittedly, their starting price tag and the quality that usually comes with such a price tag doesn’t help much to get a different opinion on that. But it also makes it the perfect instrument for your next project. After all, they’re easy to handle, portable, and cheap enough to use a drill and other tools on them without too much regret. Plus, a little knowledge to play can get you far, and [Elaine] can teach you the essential, “all the pop songs use it”, four chords with her Arduino powered LED Ukulele.

As first step, [Elaine] drilled holes in her ukulele’s fingerboard to place some LEDs at all the positions required to play the four chords C, G, Am, and F. Connected to an Arduino attached to the ukulele’s back, each chord will light up its associated LEDs to indicate the finger positions required to play the chord itself. Taking the teaching part a step further, her next step is to extend each LED with a second, light sensing one, and read back if the fingers are placed at the correct position.

[Elaine] has already plans to turn the ukulele into an interactive game next. And if four chords are eventually not enough for you anymore, have a look at another LED based project teaching to play any major, minor and major seventh chord on the ukulele.

10 thoughts on “Strike a Chord With This LED Ukulele

  1. “You may laugh off the ukulele as a toy or joke instrument, and admittedly, their starting price tag and the quality that usually comes with such a price tag doesn’t help much to get a different opinion on that. ”

    “Tiptoe through the tulips.”

    1. I lived in Hawaii for 4 years, I can day it’s not a toy. Yes it’s easier to play than a piano, but it still takes skill and practice. Especially if you try to metal songs and/or fingerpicking songs on an ukulele.

  2. I enjoy playing the Ukulele and have a number of them most are of the “toy” variety at about $30 but with a new set of strings become quiet acceptable to play and they are very easy to play. But my Hawian made uke is much nicer to play and does sound much better but that come at a significant cost. (But then I get nervous draging it around with me)

    When I was in a uke band a few years ago I did buy a nice gloss black uke specifically to put LEDs in it unfortunately I never got to finish the project – one day

    If you would like to see the uke in the hands of someone capable have a look on YouTube for James Hill and his rendition of Billie Jean

    1. This is absolutely beautiful. It makes me want to go buy another uke. I started off on that at 8, then to baritone uke, tenor guitar, then six string. My friends bullied me about playing the regular ukelele (1962-63), so I changed. Never played like this man.You Need to go on tv- Ellen DeGeneres, and all news stations. I love your playing! Have a CD out yet?

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