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Term of Thesis Completion

Summer 2020

Type of Thesis

Research Thesis

Document Type

Exemplar Thesis Examples for Content

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering




Tapping is a popular playing technique commonly used with electric guitars, in which the player combines a pluck with a pick in the right hand, with a finger hammering a string down on the fretboard with the left hand. The goal of this project is to explore the much-discussed sustain qualities of varying electric guitar strings while using the tapping technique; thus a repeatable pluck and tap are essential. Human players tend to vary the parameters involved in these excitation mechanisms; therefore, an automated testing fixture was designed and constructed to pluck and tap the string in a consistent fashion. An electric guitar is securely fastened to a table-top fixture using quick-release toggle clamps and tailor-made 3D printed nesting blocks shaped to fit the contour of the guitar body. Additionally, an Arduino microcontroller is used to operate 2 DC motors and specially designed 3D printed tooling to move the pick across a single string and fret the string. Data collected from the guitar pickup output signal then supplies the decay rate of the tapped guitar string, which quantifies the sustain. Preliminary results yield the repeatability and authenticity of this testing fixture, and discussion of sustain characteristics is presented.


Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering