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Publication numberUS3743751 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 3, 1973
Filing dateJan 28, 1971
Priority dateJan 28, 1971
Publication numberUS 3743751 A, US 3743751A, US-A-3743751, US3743751 A, US3743751A
InventorsR Ibanez
Original AssigneeR Ibanez
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combined musical instrument and drum sound effects unit
US 3743751 A
Abstract
A drum sound effects unit is combined with a stringed musical instrument to produce drum accompaniment to add a definite, rigid beat and depth to the music being played. The musical instrument has a body and elongated neck portion with a plurality of strings extending along the same. The drum sound effects unit is an electronic device that produces sounds at a selected tempo independent of the instrument and to be followed by the playing of the instrument. The sound unit is compact and enclosed in the instrument thereby making said instrument self contained. The on-off switch is also carried by the instrument and is operative in response to a control lever of a tremulant unit, said lever extending over at least some of the strings in one position and spaced away from the strings in another position. A reversing switch is provided to select the desired on and off position. A self-contained stereo transmitter may be provided in the instrument for processing the sound signals to be reproduced in stereo. Additional controls for the drum sound effects unit are provided in spaced relationship for volume, style and tempo; the volume being variable by the inside of the forearm of the player.
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United States Patent [191' Ibanez [76] Inventor: Renato L. Ibanez, 1508 S. George Mason Drive, Arlington, Va. 22204 [22] Filed: Jan. 28, 1971 [21] Appl. No: 110,484

[52] US. Cl. 84/l.16 [51] Int. Cl. Gl0h 3/00, GlOh 5/00 [58] Field of Search ..84/l.01,1.13,1.16, 84/1.26, DIG. 12, 313

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,207,341 7/1940 Dickerson 84/l.16 2,528,663 11/1950 Mitchell 84/1.16 2,746,333 5/1956 Penewell.... 84/l.-16 2,972,923 2/1961 Fender 84/313 3,240,859 3/1966 Rowe 84/l.16 X 3,085,460 4/1963 Edwards 84/l.16 X 3,192,304 6/1965 Rizzutti 84/l.16 3,194,870 7/1965 Tondreau et al. 84/l.l6 3,217,079 11/1965 Murrell 84/l.16 3,249,677 5/1966 Burns et al 84/l.16

Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner-Stanley .l. Witkowski Attorney-Lowe & King DRUM SOUND EFFECTS UNlT STTZlNG PlCKUP CONTROL 3,743,751 July 3, 1973 5 7] ABSTRACT A drum sound effects unit is combined with a stringed musical instrument to produce drum accompaniment to add a definite, rigid beat and depth to the music being played. The musical instrument has a body and elongated neck portion with a plurality of strings extending along the same. The drum sound effects unit is an electronic device that produces sounds at a selected tempo independent of the instrument and to be followed by the playing of the instrument. The sound unit is compact and enclosed in the instrument thereby making said instrument self contained. The on-off switch is also carried by the instrument and is operative in response to a control lever of a tremulant unit, said lever extending over at least some of the strings in one position and spaced away from the strings in another position. A reversing switch is provided to select the desired on and off position. A self-contained stereo transmitter may be provided in the instrument for processing the sound signals to be reproduced in stereo. Additional controls for the drum sound effects unit are provided in spaced relationship for volume, style and tempo; the volume being variable by the inside of the forearm of the player.

10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 35156012 SW ITCH The present invention relates to musical instruments and, more particularly, to a novel arrangement for combining a drum sound effects unit with the instrument.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The guitar is by far the most popular instrument, both solo and in groups, for use by performers of todays pop" music. Although the guitar, and especially an electric guitar, is used solo successfully in many instances, it is usually preferred by the guitarist, as well as the audience, to have drum accompaniment. Drums add to the enjoyment of the music by maintaining a definite tempo or beat and by providing depth to the sound of the performance. This is particularly true in the present day popular, rock and roll and country music field in which a definite, rigid beat is a predominant characteristic of the music. As a consequence, most performers play in a group having a drummer, or performers who are primarily soloists employ a drummer for accompaniment on at least selected performances and/or selections of a performance.

Heretofore, it has been proposed to provide some coordination between electronic musical instruments in order for one musician to simulate group playing. For example, in the U. S. patent to Burns et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,196,729, there is shown and described a system for coordinating the playing of a vibraphone as a guitarists fingers are pressed against the fretted finger board. As each finger is depressed on the finger board of this prior art device, one note of the guitar is selected and simultaneously and dependent thereon a corresponding note on the vibraphone is played. Thus, while giving the sound of two players playing together, the tempo and background steady beat now popular are lacking and not satisfied by this prior art system.

OBJECTIVES OF THE INVENTION .followed by the playing of the instrument.

It' is still another object of the present invention to provide an instrument wherein the drum sound effects unit is compactly built into the instrument with full controls mounted on the instrument to allow full mobility of the performer.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an on-off control lever switching arrangement wherein the natural movements of the players hand are utilized to control the drum sounds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT According to the invention, a stringed musical instrument, which may be a guitar, electric guitar, ukelele or the like, has mounted in the body thereof a selfcontained drum sound effects unit. This sound unit is operated by on-off switch means mounted on the instrument so that the performer may control sounds to vbe produced as accompaniment to his playing. Of importance is the fact that the sound produced by the system of the present invention is at a'selected tempo independent of the instrument and so as to be, in fact, capable of being followed by the performer in the same manner as separate drum accompaniment played by another musician. The on-off switch means for controlling the drum sound effects unit is mounted on the face of the instrument for easy access to the performer for controlling the start and finish of each selection, as well as required by interludes in the selection itself.

Advantageously, this control switch means is or may be incorporated in a tremulant unit. Specifically, the control lever for engagement by the player's playing hand to produce vibrato of the string sounds has been adapted for controlling a microswitch in circuit with the sound unit. The control lever in one position extends over at least some of the strings and in another position spaced away from the strings whereby the control function may be made conveniently and without notice by the audience in response to natural strumming or picking movement of the players hand across the strings. Preferably, the control lever is placed in position over at least some of the strings when the same is in the on position so that the usual final movement of the musicians hand down across the strings to play the final note also switches off the drum sound accompaniment. However, and also in accordance with the invention, a reversing switch is provided in circuit with the on-off switch means so that the relationship may be reversed; that is, the switch means being in the on position when the lever is pivoted free of the strings. In the latter instance, the strings are free in the area of the bridge and the drums are turned off in response to an up-stroke of the players hand, such as is required in some selections. An override means, preferably in the form of a resilient or foam rubber pad, is mounted on the control lever to assure operation of the control microswitch without the requirement for precise positioning of the lever during playing.

In order to give maximum realism to the performance, it is contemplated that a stereo transmitter and receiver may be utilized for processing sound signals from the instrument and the drum sound effects unit. According to other features of the invention, a volume control, a selector switch for varying the beat and style of the drum sounds and a speed control for varying the tempo are provided; each such control being positioned at separate, spaced location on the face of the body of the instrument for more efficient and effective use by the performer. The volume control is positioned so as to allow control by the movement of the inside of the forearm.

Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein I have shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by me of carrying out my invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modification in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of the body ofa stringed musical instrument with a cutaway of the neck portion and showing the controls of the combined instrument and drum sound effects unit of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a detailed view of the tremulant unit with the cover plate removed for clarity showing the positioning of the on-off switch means and the reversing switch;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 33 of FIG. 2 showing the detailed structure of the tremulant unit and control lever; and

FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram in block form of the combined musical instrument and sound effects unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the accompanying drawings to describe the preferred embodiment of the invention as presently contemplated, reference numeral generally denotes an electric guitar, which guitar It) is made up of a body 11 and an elongated neck portion 12 (the forward or free end being cut away). The guitar It) has a plurality of strings 13 extending along the body 11 and the neck portion 12, and has a selected number of electric sound pickups 14, 15, 16 to permit the sound from the strings to be electronically amplified. When the guitar 10 is to be played, the musician strums the strings in the usual manner in the region of the pickups 14-16 whereupon the vibration of the strings constitutes the music of the selection being played. To the rear of the pickup units 14-16 is the usual bridge 17 for supporting the strings above the face of the body 11. Thebody 11 may be of any desired shape and having any desired ornamentation which is not shown in the drawings.

At the base of the body 11 is a tremulant unit, generally designated by the reference numeral 20. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the strings 13 first pass under a reversing bridge 21, and then are secured at their ends on a pivotal mounting block 22 secured to base member 23 on the body 11. An arm 24 is connected to the pivotal anchoring block 22 by a suitable screw connector'25. The free end of the arm 24 is bifurcated and receives the base of control lever 26 in a manner to allow pivotal action about the screw 27. The screw 27 is threadedly engaged with the lower bifurcation of the arm 24 and has an adjusting nut 28 positioned immediately below. A spring 29 is positioned below the nut 28 and held thereby in compression within a well 30 in the face of the bodyll of the instrument (see FIG. 3). The

compression spring 29 thus maintains a tendency for lower extent of the strings 13 is a cover plate 35 secured in any suitable manner, such as by a plurality of screws 36, to the body 11. It will be clear that the cover plate 35 is spaced above these parts and thus does not interfere with the operation of the tremulant unit 20, as will now be described.

During the performance, the musician at various times may wish to produce a vibrato in the sound of the guitar. To do this, the playing hand is positioned over the strings 13 in the usual manner, and he strums or picks the strings in accordance with the requirements of the music. During or immediately after making the strings vibrate to produce the sound, the playing hand is applied to the free end of the lever 26 and moved rapidly back and forth toward and away from the face of the body 11 when the instrument is in the normal playing position. As will be clear from viewing FIG. 3, this inward and outward movement causes the block 22 to be pivoted and the spring 29 to be alternately compressed and released whereby the tension on the strings 13 is rapidly varied thus giving a vibrato or tremulous effect to the guitar sounds.

The pivotal mounting of the handle 26 is important to allow the guitarist to position the same in a place most convenient for operation as just described. As shown in FIG. 1, the lever 26 in one position is spaced away from the strings, which is the position usually taken when the tremulant unit 20 is not to be used. In the raised position, as shown by the dashed line outline in FIG. 2, the lever 26 is positioned so as to at least partially overlie some of the strings l3 and thereby bring the operating end into a more convenient position for engagement. When in this overlying position, the guitarist has greater access with his playing hand and can in fact pick the guitar using a pick held between the thumb and forefinger and at the same time provide a vibrato effect by operation of the lever 26 with the third finger and little finger. Any intermediate position between the two limits described may be employed by the musician depending upon his particular preference.

With reference now to FIG. 4, the control circuit for the combined instrument 10 and drum sound effects unit 40 can be seen. The drum sound effects unit 40 per se may be any one of a number of battery-powered electronic music devices that are made commercially available in the United States. By way of completing the disclosure of the preferred embodiment and as an example, the drum unit 40 may be one manufactured under the trade name Rockmate Doncamatic (model number KG-392) by Keio Gijutsu Kenkyijo, Ltd., of Tokyo, Japan. Other units could obviously be used in lieu of this particular one; the only requirement being that the unit produces drum sounds when turned on completely independent of any action by the player. Examples of such free-running drum sound effects unit are shown by U. S. Pats. Nos. 3,146,290 and 3,255,292. In other words, the playing of the drums is like a preset recording, and in fact, could be a recording, although it is preferred to have electronic music device to produce the sounds.

Thus, the drum sound effects unit 40 is in accordance with the invention a compact electronic device that may be easily housed in the body 11, as shown in FIG. 1. This concept of positioning the entire accompaniment device within the instrument itself provides very real advantages for the performer. The performer is completely free to move about during his performance and yet have full control of all aspects of the drum accompaniment from the unit 40. There are no separate units to clutter the stage upon which the musician is performing and this adds substantially to the performers ability to operate smoothly and to enhance the audiences enjoyment of the performance.

Each of the sound pickups 14-16 (only one shown in FIG. 4) includes leads 41 to a string pickup control 42 mounted inside the body 11. Three combined on-off and volume controls 43, 44, 45 are present on the face of the body 11 to provide control for respective ones of the pickups 14-16. Leads 46, 47 take the signals from the control 42, as well as from the drum sound effects unit 40, and feed the combined signal into a transmitter 48 for further processing, and as will be described in further detail later.

The first control of the drum sound effects unit 40 that has been uniquely incorporated into the instrument is the on-off microswitch 50 physically mounted on the underneath side of the cover plate 35. This on-off switch 50 is used during the performance by the musician to initiate and to terminate the drum sounds from the unit 40. The microswitch 50 is operated in response to the playing hand of the musician by raising and lowering the lever 26, when the instrument is in the normal playing position which can easily be accomplished utilizing natural movements used by the guitarist in strumming or picking the strings 13. Briefly,

these movements are merely the raising of the hand toward the strings 13 to bring the lever 26 from the full line to the dotted line position of FIG. 2, or just the opposite, that is, moving the hand downwardly so as to move the lever 26 from the dotted line position to the full line position. The first movement is most commonly accomplished by a simple upward movement of the hand as the performer brings his hand into position over the strings to start a selection, and the latter movement is merely a continuation of the usual downward strumming of all or some of the strings on the final note of the piece. As can be seen, this natural movement of the performer obviates any possibility of detracting from the performance by the musician.

The control lever 26 is adapted for operation in both directions in response to this natural movement of the players hand without requiring precise positioning. In other words, as the hand is moved with the natural movement the lever is merely stroked or slapped into position rather than having to be grasped and held by the player's fingers. In accordance with the invention, the lever 26 is not directly connected to the switch 50 so that first, upon downward movement the lever 26 moves away from the operating plunger thereby allowing operation and overrun in the downward direction without difficulty. Secondly, on the upstroke to depress the plunger of the switch 50, the base of the lever 26 is provided with a resilient or sponge pad 55 to form an override means. Thus, on upward movement of the lever 26 to the dotted line position, the operating plunger will be operated and then the sponge pad 55 will allow an override in the upward direction. In this manner, the switch 50 is assured of being operated by the player by merely giving a firm upward stroke to the control lever 26. This arrangement, in addition to eliminating a need for precise positioning, prevents possible damage to the operating plunger of the switch 50 as the lever is stroked into position.

As pointed out above, the lever 26 is usually preferred to be raised upon starting the performance and lowered at the finish of a performance. However, leads 60, 61 for delivering the on-off switching signal to the unit 40 may be provided with a reversing switch 62 in order to reverse this relationship if desired. In other words, the switch 50 is, or may be, a three-pole switch with the lead 60 going to the common terminal and two leads 63, 64 going to the lead 61. When the performer is thus desirous of having the relationship of the lever changed, the control knob 65 of the reversing switch 62 (see FIG. 1) is merely moved to the dotted line position. In this position, the unit 40 is or may be on when the lever 26 is free of the strings and off when in the opposite position or over the strings. As stated before, this change is made in accordance with the preference of the musician; however, one instance in which this positioning may be required is when the music selection calls for strumming or picking of the strings 13 in the region immediately adjacent the bridge 17. Thus, in this instance it can be seen to be desirable to have the lever 26 in the lowered position when on for drum accompaniment so that the playing of the guitar 10 is unimpeded.

The second important control of the drum sound effects unit 40 is the volume control connected by leads 71 and provided with a control knob 72. The control 70 allows the performer to adjust the volume of the drums to the desired level to suit the particular piece being played. In some cases this adjustment is to be made during the playing of the piece, such as when fading out at the end. In accordance with this prerequisite, the control knob 72 is positioned on the face of the body 11 so as to be substantially in line with the position of the inside of the performers forearm during playing. As the place in the piece where the volume is to be controlled is reached, the player, without being visibly noticed by the audience, can move his arm relative to the instrument while maintaining frictional engagement with one side of the control knob 72. As this is done the knob will be moved in the desired direction and the volume of the drum unit 40 is controlled.

A third control is provided in the form of a selector switch 75 connected through the leads 76 to the drum unit 40. The knob 77 on the face of the instrument controls this switch which is usually a multipositioned switch. In each selected position, the drum unit 40 plays a different style of music. For example, the unit 40 may have built into its electronics several drum performances suitable for popular, rock and roll or country music as desired. Before playing each selection, the performer merely selects the drum performance that suits the piece that is to be played whereby perfect style of accompaniment for each piece is gained.

The third control adds a further degree of selection of the drum accompaniment in that the speed or beat of any of the selections selected by the switch 75 may be varied. Thus, speed control 80, connected by leads 81 to the unit 40, allows the performer to select exactly the right beat that he desires for accompaniment. The speed control knob 82 is located in a convenient position immediately adjacent the control lever 26 for ease of access. Also, in order to allow the performer to obtain exactly the same beat for each piece, once the best beat has been determined in practice, the control knob 82 may be provided with indicia, preferably labeled in beats per minute and represented by the notches on the control knob 82 shown in FIG. 1.

The three knobs 72, 77 and 82 are spaced apart on the face of the instrument for a purpose. This is, so that the performer during a performance will be less likely to inadvertently turn the wrong control. This is particularly important with respect to the knob 72 since it is sometimes operated by the forearm, as pointed out above, and since the controls are many times located and turned by feel, that is, without looking at the control, to prevent distraction of the audience.

A feature of the present invention to add ultimate realism to the performance, is the provision of stereo capabilities in the transmitter 48. Such a transmitter per se is conventional and, in short, processes the signals from the leads 46, 47 and transmits the same on a selected f.m. wavelength with side carrier frequency from antenna 90. A stereo receiver-amplifier 91 receives the signal by way of antenna 92 and by conventional processing of signal plays the music over separated speakers 93, 94. The drum sounds may be played on one speaker and the guitar sounds on the other speaker in order to add the realism similar to that experienced with two musicians performing.

It is contemplated that additional attachments, such as a microphone for the performer to sing into and to permit amplification through the same transmitter 48 and receiver 91 may be provided. In this instance, the voice sound can also be processed for stereo and normally played into the speaker from which the guitar sound is emanating.

Any number of additional controls can be added to the instrument as desired by the individual performer. A push-button control 95 (FIG. 1) may be provided to completely disable the drum unit 40 after a performance to prevent a drain on the battery power. Further, a second pushbutton control 96 may be provided to allow the performer a separate control for solo drum performance if this is desired during any piece. This allows the guitarist maximum flexibility and avoids confusion of moving of the control lever 26 at the point when the solo is to be played.

From the foregoing, it can be seen that a novel combined musical instrument It) and drum sound effects unit 40 has been provided wherein a guitarist is able to perform with accompaniment having a definite, rhythmic tempo or beat required by the pop" music of today and to give the greater depth that audiences enjoy. The entire combination is self contained in the instrument including the necessary control switches. Complete control as to on-off, volume, beat and style, and speed are provided for the drum sound effects unit 40 to give the performer a full range of capability. The on-off switch means 62 is advantageously operated by the control lever 26 in such a manner as to completely hide its operation from the audience and with the greatest ease and convenience possible to the performer. The additional controls 70, 75, 80 and 42 are spaced around the face of the'body 11 to insure that the right control is turned by the performer. The stereo processing of the signals in the transmitter 48 and the receiver 9] adds further realism to the performance.

in this disclosure, there is shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, but, as aforementioned, it is to be understood that the invention is capable of use in various other combinations and environments and is capable of changes or modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed herein.

! claim:

1. A stringed musical instrument comprising a body and elongated neck portion, a plurality of strings extending along the body and neck portion for producing musical sounds when played, and in combination a free-running drum sound effects unit interconnected with said instrument, said unit operating to produce sounds at a selected tempo independent of the instrument and to be followed by playing of the instrument, and on-off switch means mounted on said instrument separate from said strings so as to be operable independently, said switch means being positioned adjacent said strings to allow ease of operation during playing of said instrument and interconnected to and for directly controlling said drum sound effects unit.

2. The stringed musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 1 wherein said instrument further comprises a control lever for engagement by the players playing hand, pivot mounting means on said instrument for said lever for extending the same in one position over at least some of the strings and in another position spaced away least some of the strings and in another position spaced away from said strings, and wherein said switch means is interconnected with said lever so as to be operative in response to pivoting of said lever whereby said sound effects unit may be controlled in response to the natural movement of the players hand across the strings during playing.

3. The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 2 wherein said lever is interconnected with said switch means so as to be operable to actuate said switch means to the on position to operate said drum sound effects unit when the same is placed in position physically overlying at least some of said strings.

4. The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 3 wherein is further provided a second switch connected in circuit with said switch means for reversing the operation of the same so that said switch means may be placed in the operating position when said lever is pivoted free of said strings.

5. the musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 1 wherein said drum sound effects unit is mounted on and totally within said body of the musical instrument to allow unrestricted movement of the player.

6. The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 1 wherein is further provided a sound pickup for said strings mounted on said body adjacent said strings, a stereo transmitter mounted on said instrument for processing sound signals from said instrument and said unit, and means separate from said instrument for receiving, separating and reproducing the string and drum sounds separately to give stereo effect.

7. The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 1 wherein said drum sound effects unit on said instrument includes a volume control, a selector switch for varying the beat and style of the drum sounds, and a speed control for varying the tempo.

8. The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 7 wherein said volume control, selector switch and speed control are positioned at spaced locations on the face of said body for ease of use.

9, The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 8 wherein said volume control is positioned along the upper portion of said body for engagement with the inside of the forearm of the player during playing whereby the volume may be varied by movement of said forearm.

10. The musical instrument and drum sound effects unit combination of claim 1 wherein said switch means comprises a microswitch mounted on said instrument, a control circuit carried by said instrument including said micro-switch for operating said drum sound effects unit, a pivotal lever mounted on said instrument interconnected with and for actuating said microswitch and

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Referenced by
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US3901118 *Jun 21, 1974Aug 26, 1975Raymond Lee Organization IncCordless electrical guitar and amplifier system
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US7015391 *Mar 7, 2003Mar 21, 2006Shingo TomodaAnalog electronic drum set, parts for drum stick, analog electronic drum set and foot-pedal unit
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WO2013093211A1 *Dec 22, 2011Jun 27, 2013Jeune Nozier DellyCordless electrical guitar having a microphone socket for singing and an integrated transmitter
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/741, 984/351, 84/742
International ClassificationG10H1/40, G10H3/18
Cooperative ClassificationG10H1/40, G10H2240/211, G10H3/18, G10H2210/361
European ClassificationG10H3/18, G10H1/40