Music

Festival-goers greeted by huge playable guitar

Festival-goers greeted by huge...
The huge playable guitar installed certainly seemed to strike the right chord with festival-goers
The huge playable guitar installed certainly seemed to strike the right chord with festival-goers
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A 12-foot tall, 500 lb playable guitar at the entrance to the Boulevardia festival earlier this month
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A 12-foot tall, 500 lb playable guitar at the entrance to the Boulevardia festival earlier this month
Layers of MDF were machined and then laminated together to form the body and neck
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Layers of MDF were machined and then laminated together to form the body and neck
Feel the sustain: For a consistent sound, the guitar tones output by the guitar were exported from GarageBand
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Feel the sustain: For a consistent sound, the guitar tones output by the guitar were exported from GarageBand
The huge playable guitar installed certainly seemed to strike the right chord with festival-goers
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The huge playable guitar installed certainly seemed to strike the right chord with festival-goers
The painted and finished body was later adorned with festival-inspired stickers
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The painted and finished body was later adorned with festival-inspired stickers
The guitar was made from MDF and steel, with CNC-machines layers making up the body and neck parts laminated together, and cavities created for the electronics and wiring
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The guitar was made from MDF and steel, with CNC-machines layers making up the body and neck parts laminated together, and cavities created for the electronics and wiring
The 12 foot, 500 lb guitar installation was positioned at the main entrance of the Boulevardia festival in Kansas City
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The 12 foot, 500 lb guitar installation was positioned at the main entrance of the Boulevardia festival in Kansas City

Chris Riebschlager and his team at Dimensional Innovations were recently asked to come up with something special for a two day music festival earlier this month in Kansas City called Boulevardia. Aiming to create something to engage and captivate visitors, the designers came up with a 12-foot high, 500 lb installation shaped like an electric guitar that visitors could actually play.

The guitar was made from MDF and steel, with CNC-machines layers making up the body and neck parts laminated together, and cavities created for the electronics and wiring. Inside, a Bare Conductive touch board was used to make the 16-gauge galvanized wire stretched from the head to the bridge conductive.

When a touch was detected, some simple code sent a message to a Raspberry Pi brain and caused a WAV audio file to sound through an amp at the back of the installation. For a consistent sound, the guitar tones were exported from GarageBand.

Large buttons positioned on the guitar's upper body were connected to the Pi's GPIO header pins, which allowed strummers to "play" chords by choosing appropriately marked minor and major chords from A to G. The system also offered players the chance to play clean or dirty.

Feel the sustain: For a consistent sound, the guitar tones output by the guitar were exported from GarageBand
Feel the sustain: For a consistent sound, the guitar tones output by the guitar were exported from GarageBand

The Pi's 3.5 mm audio jack was found to be less than ideal for the sonic output, so Riebschlager opted to use HDMI as an audio out via an adapter, resulting in clean audio being routed to the stage monitor. The painted and finished body was adorned with festival-themed stickers, and the installation positioned at the festival's main entrance.

You can watch a short demo of the interactive installation in the video below. As you'll see, the guitar can't really be played in the traditional sense, but that's probably just as well. Imagine the callouses after a few minutes fretting that thing! If you want to have a play, the guitar is to be installed at the offices of Dimensional Innovations in Kansas.

Sources: Chris Riebschlager, Dimensional Innovations

Boulevardia Guitar in Action

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