Add Sound-Reactive NeoPixel LEDs to a Guitar Using an Arduino

Follow YouTuber ODD RISER’s guide to easily add sound-reactive NeoPixel LEDs to your ax.

Cameron Coward
16 days agoMusic / Sensors

Makers want to make—it’s right there in the name. Like most makers, you probably find yourself trying to apply your tinkering skills to every other hobby you pick up. Decide to start gardening? Better automate the watering schedule. Take up painting? Might as well build a robot to do it for you. If you play guitar, you can follow YouTuber ODD RISER’s guide to easily add sound-reactive NeoPixel LEDs to your ax.

WS2812b individually-addressable RGB LEDs, often referred to by the Adafruit NeoPixel brand name, are a maker’s best friend. You can control the status and color of hundreds of LEDs with a single wire from a microcontroller. In this case, ODD RISER is using an Arduino Uno development board to control the LEDs. You can use Adafruit’s handy NeoPixel library to setup all kinds of effects for those LEDs, but you’ll need one other piece of hardware to make it sound-reactive.

That hardware component is a piezoelectric sensor. If you’re a guitarist and that sounds familiar, that’s because piezo sensors are commonly used as pickups on acoustic-electric guitars. Piezoelectric sensors translate vibrations into a proportional electrical signal. ODD RISER’s Arduino code takes that electrical signal and translates it into commands for the LEDs. The greater the amplitude of the vibrations, the greater the number of LEDs that are lit up. A small USB power bank is all you need to power the setup. The only thing you’ll need to figure out is how to attach the components to your guitar, as you’re not going to want to go drilling into a beautiful Les Paul or Stratocaster.

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