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Bits on a string part 1

by alexpikkert

Published on March 16, 2016

Could it be possible to combine Littlebits wit a normal musical instrument ?

Yes I think so….

To experiment with this idea I made a basic three string electrical guitar unit with the possibility to add different bits for different sound effects.

The design of this unit is based on a dulcimer.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulcimer.

It is a "living project", when more fun constructions enter my mind, they will be added in separate projects. just search for "bits-on-a-string" to find them....

Duration: > 5 Hrs.

How To Make It

STEP 1 : The guitar unit

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This unit is made of a wooden plank (l x w x h = 710 x 95 x 28 mm). It has no sound box, the sound is only amplified with electric pickup elements.

STEP 5 : The pickup elements

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The pickup elements

I took a few old 24V DC relays I had laying around apart and removed the coils to make these pickup elements. Underneath each coil I mounted a very small neodymium magnet. Now the vibrating strings on top of the coil influence the magnetic field and generate an electrical signal in the coils. This signal can then be amplified and they activate the bits to make different sound effects.

STEP 6 : Episode 1: the amplifier

To test the basic sound of this guitar unit I connected the following bits: USB power – microphone - synth speaker. The pickup coils were connected in series with the microphone bit. In the video you can hear the amplified sound with the microphone bit switched in “normal” mode and in “other” mode, the last sound is different because it is fully distorted. The strings were tuned to A, D low and D high. (just a random selection) See:

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