Electric guitars with onboard USB and MIDI? How about guitars with built-in pressure sensors, light sensors, and faders for something a little different? Doug Theriault sends in his latest homemade instrument creations, a USB guitar and MIDI guitar with some unusual features:

TSG1, TSG2 Project Page

… the Sensor Guitar (TSG1) [is] equipped with two cds cells (light sensors), two pressure sensors, internal feedback loop and four sliders rescued from a salvage yard. It uses MIDI to control parameters to virtually any electronic device. My second device, the TSG2 (sensor guitar version 2) … has all electronics built inside of it. It has one infrared sensor, one internal kill switch, 8 external switches and 12 potentiometers to control external electronics via USB interface.

The sensor-to-USB interface Doug employed is the US$50 Create USB (CUI) interface, as used by students at UC Santa Barbara and covered previously here on CDM.

Here’s how Doug built the instruments, and how he uses them in performance:

The sensor guitar to MiDi box design was designed from scratch. The MiDi box itself was made with my specifications by engineer Alex Norman. I initially liked the design, but found that connecting 16 wires up before performing in rushed environments did not suit me well.

The sensor to USB guitar was put together by me.

The strings operate independently unless programmed with the computer (pitch to control parameters). The sensors are used as expression.

The first sensor guitar was designed to be used with the guitar and with dancers. I used it in many dance installations where the dancer would move and it would effect my sound from the guitar or other sample sound or both at the same time.

The second instrument was made because I’m getting older and I like to not carry around as many things!

Hey, I’m pretty young, and I’m always for carrying around less gear!

Great designs, Doug; I hope I get to see them in action!