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King of Strings

New Frequencies | Projects

  • King of Strings: A large-scale, interactive guitar that produces real sounds and can be played by more than one person at the same time.

     A lot of hard work and critical thinking went into making this sound installation. Throughout the semester, busted ideas generated new ones. The King of Strings started out as one simple idea and turned into a larger dream. The project first started out as a small scale iteration with one string connected between two pieces of wood. The hard part was finding the right material that would be used for the strings. Guitar strings and wire would be tested first. The guitar strings and the wires did not give off the sound we wanted so we moved on to something else. Surgical tubing worked best because it is stretchy and durable.  The next step was to build a contraption to house all the components. Two boxes designed in Rhino modeling software and laser cut were used as final prototypes to house the strings, sensors, and technology. A lot of technical work was put into this project.Vibration sensors, an Arduino board, breadboard, speakers, wires and amplifiers had to be connected in a certain order for the strings to make sounds. The chord sounds were created digitally using Max MSP. The sensors attached to the strings would vibrate generating different sounds for each chord. This project was built for anyone to enjoy, regardless of whether you are a musician or not. If you like music and like to generate sound by the touch of your fingers put your mind to it and who knows what you can make




  • King of Strings: an interactive instrument that produces the sounds of guitar chords being strummed. By plucking elastic strings, this sound installation can be played by either one user or many users at once. 

    Each string corresponds to a guitar chord. When a string vibrates at a certain threshold, a chord is produced using a series of components, electronic, including a computer, audio interface, amplifier, and speakers. The King of Strings is comprised of wooden housing boxes that use ratchet straps to attach to columns spaced 15-20 feet apart.  The housing boxes secure the strings to either column and hold the electronics in place needed to get a vibration reading from the strings.  There is an Arduino used along with vibration sensors to determine strings being plucked, and a computer program called Max MSP to create the sounds of guitar chords being strummed.

    The King of Strings was made to bring the enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that comes from playing an instrument to people who aren't able to or don't know how to play one. Some people will never have the knowledge it takes to play an instrument, so this installation breaks down that barrier of learning and time commitment. It allows for non-musicians to have a musical experience that completely hinges upon their own input.