Suitable effects for Idea #2

As the title suggests, this blog entry will be concerned with suitable effects for the “Extended Guitar Performance” project. Admittedly, one could argue that any effect can be triggered by a guitar player’s hand movements. However, I want to discern certain effects that are especially suitable for this kind of expression control and sound well when modulated by the natural hand gestures of a guitarist.

There is also a decision to be made if the effects should be activated (turned on and off) by certain hand gestures/movements or if the intensity of the effects (like a dry/wet knob) should be modulated by certain hand gestures/movements. Of course, implementing both options is also possible.

Additionally, as my idea involves placing a sensor on each of the guitar player’s hands, there are effects that will be triggered by the movement of the picking hand and others that will be triggered by the movement of the fretting hand.

Automatic Solo-Mode

The first idea for an effect is based on the following observations:

  1. A typical guitar solo takes place higher up the neck (fret-wise) than the rhythm guitar part.
  2. Rhythm guitar tone and lead guitar tone almost always differ a little and often differ a lot.
  3. It is stressful to activate all lead tone effect pedals when your solo comes up in a live situation.
  4. It is stressful to disactivate all lead tone effect pedals when the solo ends and the rhythm guitar part must be continued.

The effect I came up makes use of this observations. The idea is to automatically activate an assortment of effects, typical for a lead guitar tone, if the guitarist reaches for higher frets up the neck and to subsequently disactivate the lead tone effects as soon as the guitarist comes back to lower frets with his/her fretting hand.

This “Solo-Mode” effect is achieved with an accelerometer (for details check blog XY), placed on the back of a guitarist’s hand, that interprets the length of the neck as the X-axis. According to the position of the guitarist’s hand along the neck (and thereby along the sensor’s X-axis), the “Solo Mode” effect is turned on or off. A certain fret which serves as the point of reference when to switch the Solo Mode on or off must be determined.

I really hope that this works the way I picture it XD.

Individual effects that the “Solo Mode” could include are:

  • Overdrive/Distortion/Fuzz/Booster
  • Delay
  • Chorus
  • Reverb
  • Octaver
  • Harmonizer
  • (Different) equalizer settings (compared to rhythm tone)
  • (Higher) volume settings (compared to rhythm tone)

Neck position as altering factor

IF the system works, the fundamental idea of using the fretting hand’s position along the neck to modulate sound could also be extended to other effects. The intensity of an effect could be increased for instance as the fretting hand moves up or down the neck.

Possible examples include:

  • Faster/slower delay times according to neck position
  • “more of” some effect/more intense settings
  • High-pass filter sweep
  • Low-pass filter sweep
  • Bandpass filter sweep
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