My Dad loves playing guitar. I grew up with his songs. But a bad fall in the winter of 2010 left him with a dislocated shoulder and detached nerves. He could make a crude 'pincher' gesture with his left hand, but couldn't form chords. His right hand, thankfully, was fine.
I thought,’how about I just build something to allow him to get back to his songs?’ Something of a Luddite at heart, he was a little slow warming up to the idea of an electronic device interfacing between him and an acoustic instrument. I knew from the beginning that I needed to replicate a normal experience of playing guitar as closely as possible.
The build has two parts. A frame mounts over the finger board with slots for eighteen solenoids which push the strings down between the frets. These are controlled by the replacement finger board which is mounted below the neck. It has a double-row of buttons that let the player select the desired chord. One button chooses the key, with a second button acting as a modifier to switch to a seventh cord, or minor cord.