P19361: Optoelectronic Guitar Pickup


Project Summary Project Information

Magnetic Guitar pickups have been used by guitarists seeking to add volume to their instruments since the 1920s. While magnetic pickups do the job of turning string vibration into an electrical signal that can be amplified, they are not perfect. Magnetic pickups are very susceptible to noise, particularly 60 cycle hum caused by alternating current power delivery and neon lights that are common in bars and other places that guitarists are likely to play. Magnets also exert a force that pulls on a guitar's strings, which can have a dampening effect. Neither of these issues are present in an optical pickup that uses infrared light to trace the vibration of a guitar's strings.

Previously, RIT students such as David Malanga have experimented with infrared guitar pickups. These designs served as a proof of concept, but were clunky, and got in the way of a guitarist's ability to play their instrument. The goal of this project is to improve on past RIT designs. The electronics used should be embedded within the guitar instead of outside. We will also experiment with sensor design, allowing improved playability and less sensitivity to being bumped during use, and research reflective options that don't have to be located on both sides of the strings like the current transmissive design. We will also experiment with effects via different DSP algorithms.

Project Name
Optoelectronic Guitar Pickup
Project Number
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Harold Paschal
Primary Customer
Dr. Dorin Patru
Sponsor (financial support)
Rodinia Solutions - Matthew Chabot and Holden Sandlar
Rodinia Solutions

Rodinia Solutions

Team Members

In photo(left to right): Joshua Albert, Garrett Coletti, Anthony Copeland, Timothy Sunnerberg

In photo(left to right): Joshua Albert, Garrett Coletti, Anthony Copeland, Timothy Sunnerberg

Member Role Contact
Joshua Albert Electrical Engineer jma4629@rit.edu
Anthony Copeland Electrical Engineer, Team Lead ajc6919@rit.edu
Timothy Sunnerberg Electrical Engineer tds5710@rit.edu
Garrett Coletti Mechanical Design Lead gmc2020@g.rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Validation Presentation & Dissemination




Risk Management

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morph and Pugh Chart


Mechanical Schematics

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams

User Guide

Test Results

Test Captures

Technical Paper