Introduction: Pick-Sound

Pick-Sound is a technological piece of equipment that allows users to access sounds on their guitar from the use of scanning picks on a RFID scanner inserted on the back of the guitar. The sounds come from Pure Data software which is stored in an Arduino board.

On this instructables page, it'll show you how to put together your very own Pick-Sound interface to allow you to do the same.

Step 1: Getting Started

The first step in any project is to get all the equipment pieces that you need so that your ready to start building. What you'll need to get hold of is:

- Arduino Uno board

- RFID Tag

- RFID reader pack

- Jumper wires

- Pure Data software

- USB Cable

- Solderless breadboard

Step 2: Fixing Together the Arduino Uno and the RFID Reader

To fit the the Arduino Uno and the RFID reader together follow the steps shown below. These steps are relative to image shown at the top of the page.

First grab the breadboard and place your RFID reader on it making sure all 8 pins on the reader are inserted firmly. It is important to know that inserts on the same row on the breadboard all correspond with each other. As you can see on the image above, wires are inserted to holes in line with the pins that need to be connected.

Grab your first wire and connect it to the Digital Pin 2 on the Arduino Uno and to the top right pin on the RFID reader (row 5). As you can see it is inline with pin but not exactly next to it, as long as it's in the row it will connect perfectly. The next wire should be connected to the GND (Ground) pin on the Arduino Uno and to the bottom right pin on the RFID reader (Row 3). The other should be connected to the 5V pin on the Arduino Uno and to the bottom right pin on the RFID reader (row 4).

After this connect the jumper wires which are attached to the coil of that came with the RFID pack and plug them on the underside of RFID reader.

Step 3: The Sketch

The next step is to open up the Arduino software, which is free to download if you already haven't, and upload this sketch that will allow your Arduino board to co-operate with your Pure Data patch.

The sketch is:

SoftwareSerial RFID(2,3);//RX and TX
int i;
void setup()
RFID.begin(9600);//start serial to RFID reader
Serial.begin(9600);//start serial to PC
void loop()
if (RFID.available()>0)
Serial.print(i, DEC);
Serial.PrintIn(" ");

Step 4: The Patch

The patch is what will make the sound signal change between dirty and clean tones. It's up to you how you'd like to design your patch, you might want to add or change certain inserts, but if you want to replicate this design keep reading.

Step 5: The Patch: Section A

The first part of the signal chain is connecting the Arduino software to Pure Data. This part of the patch should allow your Arduino Uno board to co-operate with PD.

The [Debounce 200] only allows one our tag to be triggered once in the time specified, on this occasion it's 200 m/s. This can secure a more accurate reading as the data from the tag is quite temperamental by ending multiple amounts of data at once.

The [sel], [comport 9600] and the 5 squares functions to the top right choose what Serial port is being selected. For me it was box 5 that was needed to link the two together. My serial port was called '/dev/tty.USBModemfa131'.

Step 6: The Patch: Section B

This part of the patch is the two channels that will be selected.The one to the left is a distortion sound and to the left is a clean setting with a reverb effect added. It's up to you how you create you channels, you could add more/different distortion elements and manipulation effects to suit the sound your after. This is it at it's very basic.

The yellow box is a switch which is always on, differing between left and the right channel.

The [osc~400] is an oscillator that produces a sound to use for your patch.

The [clip~ -0.1 0.1] is the insert that distorts the sound. The numbers -0.1 and 0.1 are the points in which the wave is cut so a compressed distortion sound is made. That can be edited to your own preference.

The [freeverb~] is a reverb insert.

Step 7: The Final Step

Now all the previous steps have been completed it is time to get some sound!

Everything should work perfectly providing your Arduino is linking with your Pure Data patch. When it is, turn on the Audio ON option in the Media drop down menu when on Pure Data. This should allow sounds to be made.

WARNING! - Make sure your volume is down before turning on just case high pitched frequencies are being made. It could damage your speakers and hearing.

Step 8: The Future...

In the future it will be time to install a Raspberry Pi board which will enable jack leads from a guitar to be inserted in the interface so sounds can be provided from the guitar rather than the oscillator on Pure Data. Then the interface will be ready to be inserted in a guitar so the PIck-Sound interface can be completed.