Expressive Guitar Controller Project 2 Steven Krenn


I wanted to make an expressive Guitar Controller using Max and Max 4 Live. I used an old guitar I had laying around that I wanted to create something fun and new with it. I used a bare conductive Touch Board ( ) for the brains on the guitar, and an application called Touch OSC running on a mobile device.

Here is a picture of the guitar:


I used aluminum foil for the touch sensors which are connected to the Bare Conductive board. For this demo, the touch sensors are controlling my last project, the drum synthesizer. The sensors go from top left; Kick, Snare, Tom 1, Tom 2, Tom 3, Closed Hat, Open Hat. Then the two touch sensors near the phono jack on the guitar are mapped to stop, and record in Ableton Live. Also, there is a stand alone play button on the top right of the guitar that is unsee in the picture. I plan on using conductive paint for the touch sensors in a future generation of this device.

I also had an incredibly hard time working with a Bluetooth module. The original idea for this project was to be completely wireless (other than the guitar jack, which wireless systems already exist) and the Bare Conductive board to be running off of a LiPoly battery. I sadly, couldn’t get a head of the correct bluetooth firmware on my HC-06 module chipset to support HID interaction. Hopefully in a future generation of this device, I can make it a complete wireless system with conductive paint. I wanted to focus on the Max and Arduino plumbing for this project.

On the Touch OSC side, I created a patch that interprets the OSC data to changing the parameters on my guitar effect patch running in Max 4 Live. The Touch OSC patch looks like this:


The multi-sliders control the Delay and Feedback lines I used from an existing M4L patch. The first red encoder controls the first gain stage of the guitar effect. The second red encoder controls the second gain stage of the guitar effect. Together they make a distortion effect on the guitar. The red slider on the right is the amount of reverb time that the distorted guitar receives. The green encoder controls the amount of delay time that is taken in the effect. Lastly the purple encoder is the amount of feedback taken in to the effect.


In Ableton Live the guitar effect has this UI:


The effect parameters can be effected here as well, as well as levels, and a master out.

The drums are pretty much the same as my Project 1. Here is a link to my Project 1:

This is what it looks like in Ableton Live:


Here is the code to the guitar effect:

Here is the drum synthesizer:

Here is the Bare Conductive board’s code:


Also, because this project has a lot of part to it, I will upload a Zip file to google drive that includes all of the files you would need to get it up and running on your machine.

Here is the link to the zip:


For the future iteration of the device I could imagine, Bluetooth (wireless), battery powered, conductive paint on a 3D printed overlay, and a gyroscope. I am excited to continue working on this next semester.

Have a good one,

Steven Krenn