Digitally Moving An Electric Guitar Pickup

Zulfadhli Mohamad; Simon Dixon; Christopher Harte
DAFx-2015 - Trondheim
This paper describes a technique to transform the sound of an arbitrarily selected magnetic pickup into another pickup selection on the same electric guitar. This is a first step towards replicating an arbitrary electric guitar timbre in an audio recording using the signal from another guitar as input. We record 1458 individual notes from the pickups of a single guitar, varying the string, fret, plucking position, and dynamics of the tones in order to create a controlled dataset for training and testing our approach. Given an input signal and a target signal, a least squares estimator is used to obtain the coefficients of a finite impulse response (FIR) filter to match the desired magnetic pickup position. We use spectral difference to measure the error of the emulation, and test the effects of independent variables fret, dynamics, plucking position and repetition on the accuracy. A small reduction in accuracy was observed for different repetitions; moderate errors arose when the playing style (plucking position and dynamics) were varied; and there were large differences between output and target when the training and test data comprised different notes (fret positions). We explain results in terms of the acoustics of the vibrating strings.