Jump to content

Entry for August 2020's Guitar Of The Month is open - ENTER HERE!

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

billm90

Ace Frehley Flashing Guitar, Electronic Ideas?

Recommended Posts

So I had some idea of a flashing lights guitar I wanted to build, then I came up on ace's frehleys flashing aka ufo guitar and it was more then I imagined.

So I am thinking of breaking off into 2 builds.

make an ace semi replica, and continue on my alien/mechanical guitar.

this question is about the ace guitar.

Question is, how to get the strobing lights to strobe?

I have throught up 2 ways to do this. I was going to use LED's (obvisouly a better choice). but firring that many at once will be a challenge with a simple circuit.

My first thought was a mechanical design. a slow turning motor that spins in something like a mini distributer cap (I have one from a V-8 engine model) this connection would complete the power circuit to each set of leds, thgus making it strobe. Im sure plenty could go wrong with this design.

second... I have a lame led flasher toy (it strobes like 4-5 leds in different patterns), if I could get those leds removed to trigger a low voltage relay (maybe 3v there) and have it complete the connection to the massive power it would take to light up that many leds, I would be set.

those who dont know what this looks like

he turns it on at 16 seconds in.

perhaps someone else has a better approach?

I gather the guitar will be mostly batteries. thats OK.

Also to simplify things, do they make circuit boad material for DIY, sized big enough to cover a les paul body?

nyhal15.jpg

Does anyone know what is on top of this guitar to make it look like that?

I have no idea what is on it. it looks like a light brite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this one?

UFO_7a.jpg

UFO__6b.jpg

make some circuit, find one. use something like a 555 IC, i dont know, but there are a lots of circuits that you can use

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Close. I watched that guitar very closely twice this year. From about 8 feet away and have had the same thought. Looking at it up close, unless there is some kind of diffusion filter covering the surface, my initial though was LED. It's obviously screwed on from the front allowing easy access to the lights behind it. Might want to PM member PSW about the circuit board.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
this one?

UFO__6b.jpg

make some circuit, find one. use something like a 555 IC, i dont know, but there are a lots of circuits that you can use

I guess this one is the "ufo", and the other one I posted is the "flasher"

I have never seen this "ufo" one with the halogen bulbs in action.

That is a pretty cool picture there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Might want to PM member PSW about the circuit board.

hmmm...

Mechanical ideas involving electric motors are very bad...these will put out EMI that will get into the pickup signal chain...besides there are plenty of kits about that will do the trick electronically with timers and such.

Anything with appreciable voltage like that last guitar is going to require significant shielding as there will EMI off of the transformers and even wiring.

LED's can be ok...but if it is reacting to a signal say in a colour organ kind of thing...you are risking clock noise getting into the signal...not the best effect if playing through a loud marshal...tick, tick, tick!

Just putting LED's on separate from the signal is ok...but if you wanted a whole front of the guitar to light up, the power required would be significant and run down very fast with use...probably doesn't worry ACE as he can tax deduct the batteries I assume!

Moving lights are always problematic for the issue of noise...every change in the lights may cause switching noise...there may be ways around it...but experimentation and a lot of shielding may well be required to get it to work properly.

So...if you really are going to do it...search some of the other threads where it was gone into more detail...some of the fret marker LED type tutorials...look about for some timer or LED kind of kits from electronics shops which could prehaps be bent to your uses. Even though LED's are low voltage, the current (the thing that really drains a battery) can be significant...so worth keeping in the forefront of your mind.

If you play in a band and what a cheap kind of trick...a mirror front guitar with a low voltage lamp at your feet or on the mic stand can have a much greater effect...looks like a mirror ball. If the guitar is not too precious or you can play a standby guitar for the song that you want this effect (more than a spot of it is going to bee too much an loose it's novelty pretty quick)...actually by a cheap novelty mirror ball and remove all the little mirrors and glue them to your guitar in a mosaic...a carved top or non-flat seating of the mirrors will enhance the effect..

there you go...saved you a PM... :D

pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks pete.

yes I am really going to do it.

I have done led fret markers in 4 guitars now. first one looks rough. lol.

I have my eye on a LP maestro guitar thing sold at best buy. it is a flat top with only a bridge pickup. I have a few gift cards so it can easily be purchased in this great economy (sarcasm) we are having. If I get this it will be guitar #50 for me. I already had the perfect LP copy for this, but I made a new top (no pickup) and it is now an electric nylon.

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7cc39b3...3D550/ry%3D400/

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7cc39b3...3D550/ry%3D400/

I guess the true test is to get the led's going and get it on the guitar to see if any noise would come about.

I read up on a few posts. I guess high risk of the 555 chip doing the clock tick. dont want that.

I think I am going to try to get that led flasher toy to fire some relays, which will be hooked up to the major power source (undecided) and see if it will work that way. it will offer a few patterns.

I have thought about c batterys, 7.2v nicads. 9.6v remote control battery back. I will have a few choices in my electronic toy collection. I guess just what works best. maybe a power adpater will be ideal. lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think I am going to try to get that led flasher toy to fire some relays

Hmmm...I don't think anything electromechanical is a good idea...all those coils fire of EMI...a colck circuit will work and is better...perhaps some filter caps to ramp up the power so it is less of a dramatic on/off effect and some kind of metal shield around the circuits and wiring...but it might work out ok anyway.

With christmas crap about who knows there may be some LED array displays about that have flashing circuit or at least a lot of salvagable LED's cheap!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see your point about the coils now...

I am digging around on the net

http://www.quasarelectronics.com/light-effects.htm

I guess I have to figure out how to get a goofey kit to light more leds.

I have maybe 75 white leds right now. I need to order more.

guess I have to figure out how many will look about right. then how much power that will take. and then what to do with the circuit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget - this whole thing is speed controlled by the knob directly above the strap peg at the bottom of the body. I am EXTREMELY interested in how this works out as I have some ideas for how to the background and diffusion cover (easily) but no inclination on making the lights sequence correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not really familiar with this guitar...but the ideal electronics would be based on a PIC or something similar that you could program different patterns and change them via a computer or swapping out pre-programmed chips...not my forte but interesting technology and getting way cheaper...

You are going to need to be careful how they are wired too...you wouldn't want a whole heap of the lights to go down because they are wired in series and one LED dies and you can't tell which one it is...

The idea of a circuit or vero board...probably stripboard might be easier to wire...front screwed to the guitar is a decent approach...I personally have some doubts about the practicality of the thing especially with the power, remote power or at least that option might be something to consider...I don't know, maybe I am just too old...never really were into Kiss myself...

Might be fun to do a bullseye design like Zakk in LEDs though with a sequence on the rings...maybe red and white LEDs or something...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't forget - this whole thing is speed controlled by the knob directly above the strap peg at the bottom of the body. I am EXTREMELY interested in how this works out as I have some ideas for how to the background and diffusion cover (easily) but no inclination on making the lights sequence correctly.

What are your thoughts on the look of the top and background?

I am still baffled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In case you hadn't seen this...

Who originally built your Gibson Les Paul "Light" guitar?

Ace Frehley: A guy named John Robeson, who lives in Massachusetts. He's a car salesman-he sells Jags! He's kind of like a rocket scientist and always seems like he's somewhere else, but the guy is brilliant. Inside the "Light" guitar is a circuit board that John custom designed. It works off 20 C-batteries and a shitload of bulbs. There's a computer built inside it that makes it chase in different directions and different patterns. When I realized that I preferred the one that went across the guitar from left to right, I sopped using the other patterns. Eventually, I ended up taping up the switches so I wouldn't hit them by accident. The new one I'm getting is supposedly a new and improved version; they're using halogen bulbs. Halogen bulbs weren't available at the time when John built the guitar.

The front appears to be a simple clear, acrylic sitting right on top of the circuit board and bulbs. I'm trying to find a higher resolution that what I've got at home to post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent! Thanks Ralphus. In that pic, you can clearly see the background is a basic holographic print, with the holes drilled for the leds and a clear flat acryllic top. I would also bet that the grey trim between cover and body is merely foam weatherstripping.

The holo print is something that's available at most craft stores - I think I've seen it as a wrapping paper and in the craft papers section. Almost any foil paper would work. The stripping and top are a quick trip to home depot and just use a laminate router to cut the perfect shape.

Now, just gotta figure out that circuit board :D

Come to think of it... I guess depending on if the "foil" is grounded, that may help prevent noise in the coils.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Excellent! Thanks Ralphus. In that pic, you can clearly see the background is a basic holographic print, with the holes drilled for the leds and a clear flat acryllic top. I would also bet that the grey trim between cover and body is merely foam weatherstripping.

The holo print is something that's available at most craft stores - I think I've seen it as a wrapping paper and in the craft papers section. Almost any foil paper would work. The stripping and top are a quick trip to home depot and just use a laminate router to cut the perfect shape.

Now, just gotta figure out that circuit board :D

Come to think of it... I guess depending on if the "foil" is grounded, that may help prevent noise in the coils.

I don't know if this will create more EMI problems, but..

I'm looking into building some small on-board effects that can be hidden inside the access cavity in the back of a Les Paul project. I'd rather not have to keep feeding this circuit with on-board batteries, so I'm thinking I can swap out the 1/4" mono output jack in the guitar for a stereo one. I'll wire the power feed for the effects to the unused channel on the jack.

I'd use a stereo sound cable from the guitar to a separate box where the signals would be split. From the separate box, I can, via a mono 1/4" jack, run a mono cable to the amp. The unused signal channel will be attached to an independent power source. I've got a few laptop power supplies that put out 16vdc. Through a 78XX voltage regulator, reduce it down to 9v or 12v, whatever the effect circuit will require. I figure I can use the main ground from the guitar output, but will probably put an inline diode just to be safe.

BTW, using power supplies from laptops or printers is great because the output voltage is very consistent regardless of load and the signal is usually filtered and very clean. I find these and other goodies at online electronic surplus sites like: http://www.sciplus.com and http://www.goldmine-elec.com .

My idea is that the independent power supply and the splitter box can be housed together and velcro'd to the side of the practice amp. The AC power for the independent power supply can be slaved off the amps AC supply, thus only one AC plug. I suppose I could find and slave of the DC supply in the amp, but the voltage will probably be too high to easily regulate with a single IC and will also most likely pick up noise from the amp itself.

Anyhow, that long winded dissertation is an idea for providing clean, noise free power to an onboard circuit, without using batteries. Maybe I've just described doing something that has already been tried and in use, or tossed aside as unusable, but it's worth a shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The front appears to be a simple clear, acrylic sitting right on top of the circuit board and bulbs. I'm trying to find a higher resolution that what I've got at home to post.

Here is a link to a good shot of it, the best one I've seen so far:

http://flickr.com/photos/jazminmillion/2308983555/sizes/o/

Wow, That thing actually looks cooler the closer you get.

excellent picture!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be very interested if you are successful with the power supply thing...be very careful and add precautions especially if using it with effects that will be powering the signal chain and so being grounded to the strings...if electricity passes, if will potentially ground through this and right through your heart....

The sustainer is a device for which outboard power would be advantageous...so there has been some discussion there. It is possible to send power up a stereo lead and there is a product that is designed for this application (though strangely enough is just an outboard battery without wall wart option...hmmm)...called X-BAT

I actually kind of made one...but then abandoned it half way through for some reason. These things kind of only work with low power generally and where there are not sudden surges in power as anything tends to be picked up as switching noise when it is running along side the signal and sharing the same earth.

Even though you may be (read...will need to be) using heavily regulated DC power, any change in the load will cause an effective AC current at that point as the load is attenuated (ie...switched on and off).

As discussed earlier...lights will have a high demand, effects also...combining the powersupply with the signal prevents isolation of the system so if effects are included on the same power, or the lights are activated by sound...or just as proposed, flashing from some kind of circuit...you will be getting fluctuations in the power as the demand shifts all of which will result in noise from ticking to all out "pops and bangs" in the signal!

So...I will be interested but don't assume that this solution will work...afterall, Ace there could easily afford to have that kind of setup running from the pedal board or something instead of hollowing out an entire les paul and installing what looks like approaching a car battery for the halogen version.

With EMI...we are talking a different kind of shielding requirements than you would find in a guitar. The foil and such conductive shielding in guitars is designed to stop RFI (radio frequency interference) not EMI (electromagnetic interference) and so to shield from this you would perhaps need a magnetic isloation in the form of a steel cabinet as found in computers and such...a bit of conductive foil will not do anything to stop it and may even promote eddy currents.

Still...experimentation is the key...I can't promise a solution...but clearly if it were very simple you would see more of it...several threads have been here with few going anywhere in the end. Still, if an easy solution to powering the guitar were available it may be useful for something like the sustainer so I will be keeping an eye on your progress :D

pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheap option for a fret lights or flashing fret light markers. IKEA make a battery operated set of XMas lights I ripped off a fretboard and placed the lights into fret markers. the battery compartment is small enough to store in Control cavity. This works like a charm and cost me about 3 bux (AUS). Im currently working on a flame concept in a fretboard that will light up the flames red by modifying the same XMAS light package....Mind you if your not at all comfortable with messing with fretboards etc etc . Get a pro to do it..

if you have a junk guitar lying around have a practise...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good tip...sounds interesting and if separate from the signal should work ok without noise...

welcome to PG... :D :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ordered up 200 white 5mm leds.

I have 1/4 thick acrylic for the top.

Looked at peg board for even spacing of leds... not sure how I feel about it. I should probably just get it to start mocking it up.

Broke my led light flasher toy trying to make it do things I new it could not. it only threw out .5v to the leds. it would not run 2 leds per segment. I tried a 9v and the leds popped of course. oh well. kind of puts the relay idea out the window all together.

Holographic film/paper whatever. saw some pics on the net that might work? could not find it for sale.

hologram_250x251.jpg

Need to find the crafts store.

I have one LP neck left over, it is needs to be rebuilt totally (truss rod and fretboard). I have been wondering if I should use it and build the body myself, since buying a cheap LP copy and routing it to death seems like a big risk for something I am not too sure how it will end up. this way I could build it up in layers correctly. I will have to think about that a bit more.

I also had some stupid ides for the fret board as well. more leds.

what is more important is the leds flashing. I am talking via email with a hobby store that has a 5 led light sequencer that has upgrades that I dont understand, but say things like drive more lights and bi sequencing. so I presented the idea to him and I am waiting to see what he thinks.

also saw something on ebay that controlls leds for $40.00 I could make the guitar "night rider" basically. just need somewhere between $350-$1200 for the light bar, and a car battery. :D

which brings me to the ace video I posted in the first post. Not that this is very important because mine will end up however it ends up. 2/3/4/5/6 sections flashing or just broken. lol.

but did anyone count the light sequences on his guitar?

I count 5 sections flashing, but feel like I might be missing one

it looks like they flash over each other a hair?

it looks like the second to last light sequence is kind of broken, it almost seems like it stays off a split second before flashing the last section. I find that one interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Making a body is not that difficult - might want to prototype it out of something easy/cheap like pine to at least figure out how it will work. Then you can always transfer that to a "real" body. I've cut a few LP bodies (flat top like this one) and really no different than anything else. Find a Micheal's or A.A. Moore Art Supply. Both are nationwide chains here in the states and both should have the holographic paper.

Seems to me though that for cheap/easy light patterns, you could figure out the timing,etc. by chaining some short lengths of Christmas lights. They often sell simple devices that sequence... can't believe I didn't think of that earlier...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought about the LED christmas lights when I looked at them, but 200 individual leds were only $17.00, and I wont have to deal with any cutting on the christmas lights. And I was too lazy to figure out if those christamas LED's have anything going on inside of them to run off AC power. Maybe it would of been a better purchase, I havent seen then since the day after christmas so... I guess I will do it the hard way.

I figure I will mount the leds in the board, then I can wire them fairly quick by wrapping the wire around each lead, then I can go back and solder it in one shot, then trim back the left over.

I was contacted this morning by the hobby electronics guy and he says he thinks he can set me up, I just have to define exactly what I want the pattern to do, and the timming.

Yahoo'd a michaels an off ramp over from my work, so I will be going there after work.

I just moved into the san diego area, so it is like an adventure trying to find everything.

I guess I have about 2 weeks to practice making a guitar since all the parts wont be together untill then. I am getting pretty excited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up the peg board.

got 2 pieces so I can over lap and drill the holes staggered. so it will look right.

I went hunting for hologram paper, or anything alike. this is going to be hard.

Micheals= strange tissue paper. bought it anyways it is pretty lame

Joanns = strange blue cards, picked that up too. takes 4 to cover the guitar. but it is blue.

scrapbook store = none

went to a few shops like riteaid looking for even wrapping paper, none.

Went back online. looks like the only option will end up being contacting these people and see if I can get it from china or india.

I will comb over ebay again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally found one piece of silver holographic card/sticker. it is the only one they had, and not enough to do the hole face of the guitar. I will be looking for more of that in a bit.

I picked up the guitar to route to death since it has the correct bridge tailpeace combo for this.

8389978_sb.jpg

It does not sound too bad. the frets need to be polished though.

Ordered 2 types of led flashing sequencers.

Just waiting for parts to show up now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bet you guys figured I said forget it. well now I am so far in, there is no choice but for it to work. lol

I did some work on it this weekend. I didn't get nearly as far as I had hoped. First time using a router, so it is pretty sloppy, but I think it will end up covered once painted. waiting on some wood filler to dry as I type.

Got the plate cover cut. once it is all set up, I can get the holigram on it, cut the led holes and move on to the electronics. Still need to route for batteries and circuit boards. will do once I have it running.

guitar before cutting

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9dc03b3...3D550/ry%3D400/

Tore into it with a router.

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9dc03b3...3D550/ry%3D400/

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9dc03b3...3D550/ry%3D400/

Cover plate.

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9dc03b3...3D550/ry%3D400/

I'll get some more up when I can get them together and you can see some definition in the picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...