Inspiration: For my final project, I am developing a new
product for a guitar to make improvised solos easier to play for beginning musicians. I drew inspiration after seeing a
self-playing guitar at a Jimi Hendrix exhibit at the Seattle EMP Museum over
winter break, and wanted to explore new ways to play the guitar.
Problem: I am modifying the concept of a guitar capo –
which is a clamp that presses every string down on a desired fret to raise the
tuning and key of what you are playing.
Currently, capos are only functional for pressing every string down on
one fret – you cannot choose individual notes to play. With my product, the musician can choose
individual notes to play with the capo, while also using their left hand to
normally play the guitar. This ‘two-handed’ method of playing has the potential
to make guitar solos more complex.
Purpose: The notes in a guitar solo come from a variety of
music scales that govern sound for a specific key, that is, there are “rules”
for which notes can be played together.
Currently, there is no product that can automatically play these notes
from a specific scale. With the
capability to play individual notes, musicians can index into a scale of their
choice, set up the capo with desired notes, and then use their hand to play
additional notes on the neck of the guitar.
Functionality: The capo has a clamp design, with a spiral spring
between the arms for proper security. I
chose to design the capo opposite to the G7th Capo I drew inspiration from,
that it, the capo will be facing away from you rather than toward you. This way, it will be easy to put on while
holding the guitar, in fact, you can take it off and put it on with one
hand. The part of the capo that goes on
the fret board of the guitar will have small beads that will press down the
string. For easy use, these will be
Audience: This product is meant for beginners to practice
solos, but is suitable for any guitarist.
The ability to play a chords – or individual notes – as a “second hand”
gives a new method of playing guitar, and can be used by anyone. It is also an important tool for guitar
lessons, and can communicate the importance of learning scales to develop
playing skills. When I was learning
guitar, I only wanted to learn songs I had on my iPod, I wasn’t eager to learn
scales or chords. With the new capo,
teachers can employ a different method for their students to learn with the
capo, and students will be engaged with this new tactile way of learning the
importance of music theory.