Overview / Helping Hand, The Project

It's commonly said that 90% of new guitarists quit in the first year. There are a lot of resources out there that tell people how to play chords correctly, but there is nothing short of an actual person that can tell you when you're doing something wrong, to stop you from developing bad habits and making things harder than they need to be. That's where Helping Hand comes in, it shows you how to play chords finger by finger and lets you know if you placed your finger in the right spot or not. It takes away the need to click through countless websites and read confusing chord diagrams, Helping Hand shows you what to do and gives you feedback right there on the instrument itself.


I was in charged of the physical prototype, while my two partners took charge of the coding. I iterated and created a proof of concept with a ukulele instead of a guitar because it is smaller, cheaper, and has two less strings, but the concept could easily be taken over to a full bodied guitar. 

Prototyping / Bringing the Design to Life

Mill out the orignial fret board, to create space for the electronics to sit






Laser cut a replacement

fret board to cover the electronics out of cardboard to insure proper shape,

then laser cut the final out

of thin wood 

Solder Neopixels together so that one sits below each fret





Make new frets out of conductive copper wire, wire each on with copper tape and a wire that will connect to a capacitive touch sensor



Wire management! There's nothing sweeter than a nice and clean circuit board



Put it all together, restring

the ukulele, and admire

the beauty

The Interface / How it Works