Playing the guitar is a great way to impress people at beach parties, but learning to play the guitar isn’t easy. Even grasping the basic theory is a big task and that’s before you even start to practice finger positioning and movement. That’s why Tolgahan Çogulu and Selçuk Keser built this Automatic Microtonal Guitar to make things a little easier.
This guitar isn’t fully automatic in the way the same way as a player piano. At this time, the prototype only has a single automatic string (the high E) and so it is very limited in range. And the guitarist still has to do a lot of the work. They have to pluck the string and push buttons in the correct sequence as they do. But the guitar is able to adjust the exact point that those buttons push the string down onto the fret board. Because that point alters the length of the string, the guitar can alter the note for each button the guitarist presses as they play.
The prototype works by using an Arduino Mega 2560 board to control a series of tiny servo motors attached to the guitar’s fret board with 3D-printed mounts. The servos move small sliders back and forth along the string to change the pitch. The guitarist pushes down on the sliders like buttons, forcing them to push the string against the fret board at the set point. It is useful mostly for adjusting the tuning prior to the start of a song, but future iterations may be able to alter the tuning during a song.