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Digital preset switching analogue circuits (guitar related)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by EtherealEntity, May 3, 2011.

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  1. EtherealEntity


    May 3, 2011
    Warning. Really long post!

    Hello everyone, I have joined here to learn about electronics and hopefully succeed in an idea for electronics controls for an advanced custom guitar I am going to have built.

    I'll begin this post by saying I know nothing about electronics except the very basics of analogue circuits and guitar controls.

    I run my guitar into digital equipment, either hardware or the computer, where all settings are saved in presets. The sound can be drastically changed at the click of a button, rather than turning multiple volumes/equalizers on an amplifier etc.

    I want to apply this same idea to the pickups and electronics in the guitar.

    I like very versatile sounds, but do not like playing around with controls after each preset is setup. My pickup wiring on this guitar will be very versatile, with many different combinations of controls being used.

    I need to be able to change with presets, between settings that would have involved turning multiple knobs and flicking switches on the guitar.

    Here is the idea I have;

    With some kind of interface, buttons, switches, whatever it may be, I want to be able to digitally save presets to physically switch the analogue control circuit.
    The individual pickup wirings will be extended out from the guitar to an external circuit which I can house in a box. The various controls/pickup combinations that I wish to use will be wired up as normal with various pots and switches, but on an external box. So far, a normal guitar.
    I then want to be able to press 'save' when a sound is dialed in, and have it recallable by the digital interface. I'm guessing that would somehow switch the controls and move things physically for that to be possible? I want to have around 5-10 presets available for recall.
    Note that with this setup, the sound itself would not be passing through digital electronics. It would be analogue electronics controled by a digital interface.

    If that is not possible....

    Idea 2
    An entirely analogue circuit, with 5-10 switches to switch between presets. I presume these presets would be set in stone when making the circuit, obviouslly not 'saveable'.
    I imagine this would take a lot of planning and be a very advanced circuit, but very possible if planned carefully. Each switch would simply engage various components, using a bunch of various components instead of one potentiometer, for example.

    Or..idea 3
    Entirely digital. I imagine that Idea 1, using digital presets to physically switch things would be really difficult.
    How about if I used entirely digital controls? I don't mind the guitar signal going digital at the pickup stage, afterall, it's going straight to digital modelling equipment.
    I had a 10-band equalizer pedal which was all digital. You could move physical faders to set up, and then press save. You could then recall the presets, though the faders would not move when you did so. You could run it in manual mode and use the faders 'live' though.

    I hope I have made this clear enough. I am just wondering which of these ideas seems best, most easily achievable, cheapest, and so on.

    Thank you very much for any help you can give. I am not looking for any advanced stuff yet, just want the idea down and know it's possible so I can work on it with the guitar builder and ask for any help he needs on the digital side here.
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    to do the sound processing it seems you want to achieve, even your analog idea is still going to have to be digital in the audio processing.

    This is a majorly complex project with any of your 3 options, way above the abilities of most electronics techs, even professional ones.

  3. EtherealEntity


    May 3, 2011
    Thanks :)

    Maybe scrap the digital idea, I'm realising it's pretty complicated!

    Are you sure about option 2, though?

    To me that sounds something a guitar tech could achieve with careful planning, and possible fully analogue. It would just be an expanded version of ordinary guitar controls, with physical switches changing between circuits and different tone settings etc.
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