Jan 20, 2015 | By Simon

Although there have been hundreds of smartphone apps and nearly just as many tools for learning how to play the guitar, the most effective way of learning is oftentimes by seeing the finger placement done in real-time on an actual guitar.  

Unfortunately, most who set out to play the guitar oftentimes don’t always have an experienced guitarist who already knows the chords to lead them along the way through each song.  Even if they did, it would probably involve an expensive tutoring fee considering the amount of hours necessary for learning to play.

Aiming to solve this problem - with a little help from his 3D printer - and recreate the experience of having somebody listen to and teach chords, Instructables user MushfiqM has made the process easier (and cheaper) with his Digital Chord Chart.  

Using tablature - a commonly-used shorthand method that teaches where fingers go on a guitar’s fretboard - the Digital Chord Chart uses LEDs embedded within a 3D printed housing of a guitar neck to communicate to a rock star-in-training where their fingers need to be placed in order to play a specific chord.  Considering that a majority of popular songs in the history of rock and roll consist of just 3-4 (or less) of these chords, the amount of songs that are possible to be learned using the 3D printed Digital Chord Chart is in the high thousands.   

Starting with a reference model of a guitar neck from GrabCAD, MushfiqM then modified it to attach to a box that would house an Arduino using Autodesk Inventor.  Once the model was complete, he 3D printed the guitar in three parts and attached them using epoxy glue.  

Once the physical housing was 3D printed and complete, he then soldered a matrix of 30 LEDs and connected them to a magnet wire, which were then attached to an Arduino UNO.  For the front-displayed graphical interface, MushfiqM used a 2x16 character-based LCD and a low-cost IR remote control.  The Arduino code (which is included on the Instructable page) features all the necessary code and chord charts stored in the flash for minimal programming.  

For anybody looking to step up from their Guitar Hero video game without having to break the bank on guitar teaching aides including the $400 Fretlight guitar, the Digital Chord Chart appears to be the perfect blend of a DIY project with an invaluable purpose.  

See the build - including all of the necessary hardware and software files - over on Instructables.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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