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Player Guitar Preliminary Design Review. Lucas Gilbride Rick Denney Dan Forrester Randy Hood. Introduction.

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Player Guitar Preliminary Design Review

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Player guitar preliminary design review l.jpg

Player GuitarPreliminary Design Review

Lucas Gilbride

Rick Denney

Dan Forrester

Randy Hood

Introduction l.jpg


Our project is a device that plays downloaded music in MIDI format on an acoustic guitar. The design will use stepper motors attached to guitar picks to pluck the strings and will use solenoids to depress the strings so that different notes can be strummed.

Objectives l.jpg


  • Successfully Encode/Decode MIDI Files

  • Play test song from memory

  • Play MIDI file saved to memory

  • Optimize timing of mechanics (Motors and Solenoids)

  • Design working model of top four frets

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Guitar Design

Using the top four frets these are the notes that can be produced (not including flats and sharps), which when played together can create most common chords. We are going to use solenoids to apply pressure to these spots on the neck of the guitar.

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Hardware Overview



User Interface


Motor and

Solenoid Controllers


MIDI Decoder




Flash Card


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Software Overview



MIDI Decoder

User Interface

Flash Driver


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User Interface

Our design will incorporate a user interface so that songs can be played by the user much like a typical CD player. We will have play, stop, pause, and skip track buttons. There will be a LCD display that lets the user know what track is selected.

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Compact Flash Card

  • Small removable mass storage device

  • Connected to microprocessor with a 8 bit data bus

  • Microprocessor interfaces w/ CF card with registers on CF card

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Solenoids will be used to hold down strings in order to play notes. A solenoid will be picked based

on its size and power characteristics.

The end of each solenoid will be padded in order to prevent damage to the guitar.

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Stepper Motors

Stepper motors will be used to strum the six strings on the guitar. The stepper motor used will be pick based on its size, price, and power specifications.

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Possible Extensions

  • Add more frets to design

  • Elaborate on user interface

  • Expand on string plucking timing

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Division of Labor



User Interface






(Reading and Storage)



Overall Assembly

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  • CDR

    • Research/Test Components

    • Working mechanics

    • Understanding of Microprocessor architecture

  • Milestone 1

    • Implemented FPGA logic

    • Completed MIDI translator code

    • Working motor and solenoid drivers

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Milestones Cont.

  • Milestone 2

    • Combine Code and Subsystems

    • Begin testing, debugging, and optimizing

  • Expo

    • Full functional design

    • Cosmetics added

    • Possible design extensions

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Risks/Contingency Plan

  • Difficulty programming MIDI decoder

    Solution: Use MIDI decoder chip

  • Problems using flash card to transfer MIDIs

    Solution: Use serial cable

  • Strength of solenoids

    Solution: Explore other more expensive atternatives

  • User interface display

    Solution: Use computer generated interface display

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The Player Guitar is the perfect product for the music lover who is unable to play the guitar, but loves the relaxing sound of an acoustic guitar. A great compliment to a player piano. Trying to start a band and missing a guitar player? No problem…. buy a Player Guitar.

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Any Questions?

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