Extended Guitar Performance

In the last meeting with my project’s supervisor, two ideas where proposed and it was concluded that both ideas should be examined further.

Thus, the momentary goal is to do further research in both areas and, in so doing, to establish, which idea is most suitable to act as the main topic of the project and, beyond that, of the Master’s thesis.

Idea #2 is described in the following section:

The essence of the second idea is to equip a guitar with additional sensors, especially accelerometers, that register movements made with the body of the guitar and/or the pick and sends them to a PureData patch for example that uses the incoming parameters to activate and modulate certain effects. Consequently, a guitar performance can be additionally enhanced by the (natural) movements of the player and give a life performance a whole new dimension.


As already touched upon, accelerometers will be attached to the body of the guitar. Here, especially the neck appears to be a good position since it is a part that can be moved quite easily while playing. Another sensor could be fitted upon the pick to pick up either its natural strumming movements or to pick up specific movements of the player to modulate an effect.

The data gathered by the sensors will then be conveyed to a computer – ideally via wireless means to not restrict playability.

A specifically designed PureData patch will be used to convert the incoming signals into parameters to activate and modulate certain effects.

The effects can either be made from scratch in PureData itself or the PureData patch is integrated into a DAW via VST to trigger commercial effect plugins.

A major challenge will be to come up a suitable solution to detect the movements of the pick. Since it is so small, a correspondingly small sensor will be needed in order to not impair playability. Battery and wireless sender will probably be fitted on the wrist.

A potential solution is a certain ring, a commercial product, that acts as a kind of accelerometer. Of course, further research will be done in this area.

As it is the case with the first idea (Guitar Drum Map), a cooperation with other guitarists is possible and desirable. They could provide valuable insight into their natural playing movements, which effects they would use and, furthermore, can provide feedback on playability and feasibility of the setup.

Plan of Action

  • Research setup possibilities
  • Find a working setup
  • Examine natural movements of guitarist and identify convenient movements that do not limit the guitar playing itself
  • Identify suitable effects that may be triggered by the movements
  • Learn PureData
  • Create a patch to modulate incoming guitar audio signals
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