You sit down with your six-string, ready to bash out that new song you recently mastered, but find you’re out of tune. Redditor u/thataintthis (Guyrandy Jean-Gilles) has taken the pain out of tuning your guitar, so those of us lacking this necessary skill can skip the boring bit and get back to playing.
Before you dismiss this project as just a Raspberry Pi Pico-powered guitar tuning box, read on, because when the maker said this is a fully automatic tuner, they meant it.
How does it work?
Guyrandy’s device listens to the sound of a string being plucked and decides which note it needs to be tuned to. Then it automatically turns the tuning keys on the guitar’s headstock just the right amount until it achieves the correct note.
If this were a regular tuning box, it would be up to the musician to fiddle with the tuning keys while twanging the string until they hit a note that matches the one being made by the tuning box.
It’s currently hardcoded to do standard tuning, but it could be tweaked to do things like Drop D tuning.
Commenters were quick to share great ideas to make this build even better. Issues of harmonics were raised, and possible new algorithms to get around it were shared. Another commenter noticed the maker wrote their own code in C and suggested making use of the existing ulab FFT in MicroPython. And a final great idea was training the Raspberry Pi Pico to accept the guitar’s audio output as input and analyse the note that way, rather than using a microphone, which has a less clear sound quality.
These upgrades seemed to pique the maker’s interest. So maybe watch this space for a v2.0 of this project…
(Watch out for some spicy language in the comments section of the original reddit post. People got pretty lively when articulating their love for this build.)
This project was inspired by the Roadie automatic tuning device. Roadie is sleek but it costs big cash money. And it strips you of the hours of tinkering fun you get from making your own version.
All the code for the project can be found here.