Steel Guitar tone or pitch shifter

Hi all. I build a Steel Guitar that operate without pedal levers. Instead it use WIFI on the pedal side and servo motors in the main body to change the tone of the guitar.
All work just fine and I am playing the guitar as often as I can. I decided to build a second steel .However I received an suggestion to use pitch or tone shifters to change the string tone electronically instead of servos.

I tried circuits some time ago, but the sound quality is bad. I tried voice shifters but all have a rather disappointing quality. Did anybody ever tried something like that, or can recommend a IC or circuit?

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I’m curious about what motivated the suggestion.

I wouldn’t expect an analog approach to work well in real time. I would expect to be able to get quality output only by working in the digital domain. You could hook up each pickup to its own channel in a DAW and then connect the pedals to a pitch shifting VST for each channel, and see if you can find a pitch-shifting VST that you can configure for low enough latency for acceptable playing experience while still having good-enough audio quality. How you would get the pedals to talk to the VSTs I have no idea…

Personally, I like your current approach of doing it by actually changing the tension on the strings. :smiling_face:


I think people are seeking easier and modern ways to do things, keep in mind the Pedal steel guitar was never upgraded since the 70’s. My electro steel is the very first upgrade ever. The second build hopefully will be less complicated and easier to build, or that is the plan anyway.

Yeah. Part of me says the DAW approach is way more complicated, and the other parts says that “headless” boxes running Linux have been in use for audio production for a long time and I think that you could run most VSTs on one.

But I’d also wonder if it would sound like autotune.

I’d think you could test that by installing one of the free DAWs that support VSTs on your computer and see what it sound like with the various pitch-bending VSTs even for a single channel? Might determine whether it’s worth trying.

I was hoping the electronic gurus could suggest an IC and circuit that can be used. Keep in mind the shifting will only be for a short time. If I use a program base system to test, the outcome will not be the same as on a smaller system. I will need to keep it small to fit 10 to 12 individual circuits in, one per string.

I’m not a musician so I don’t know if this is helpful.

I also saw multiple projects where modules like this were modified to allow adjustable pitch. Perhaps these circuits could give some clues on how to build a suitable pitch bender.

Hi thanks for the info. I think the ATtiny85 circuit looks promising. I will order the Ic today and let you know the outcome. Attach a multi turn pickup to go with the shifter and will also work with a auto frequency reader to work with a planned auto tuner.

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