Ribbon Guitar : Positional Tracking

Fort Houston
Nasvhille, TN

Circuit Bender’s Ball Performance

May 2015
Elliott Sharp
Tony Youngblood

Design Document
Hackaday Article
Prototype Video
Build Photos
Materials & Software
Interface Hardware
Bass Guitar
Effects Pedals

Ribbon Guitar is an experiment in digitally appropriating the natural gestures of guitar playing for sonic manipulation. The bass acts as a four channel ribbon controller. The frets were removed to accommodate four graphite strips. Wire connected to an analog input on a USB microcontroller was soldered directly to each string. When a string was pressed to a graphite strip, an analog voltage, representing the position of contact could be digitally interpreted. A bank of potentiometers and buttons was added to expand the instrument’s functionality. The instrument originally operated using the MIDI protocol, but was later improved to support OSC communication.