Pickup position and plucking point estimation on an electric guitar via autocorrelation

J Acoust Soc Am. 2017 Dec;142(6):3530. doi: 10.1121/1.5016815.


This paper proposes a technique that estimates the locations along the string of the plucking event and the magnetic pickup of an electric guitar based on the autocorrelation of the spectral peaks. To improve accuracy, a method is introduced to flatten the spectrum before applying the autocorrelation function to the spectral peaks. The minimum mean squared error between the autocorrelation of the observed data and the electric guitar model is found in order to estimate the model parameters. The accuracy of the algorithm is tested on various plucking positions on all open strings for each pickup configuration. The accuracy of the proposed method for various plucking dynamics and fret positions is also evaluated. The method yields accurate results: the average absolute errors of the pickup position and plucking point estimates for single pickups are 3.53 and 5.11 mm, respectively, and for mixed pickups are 8.47 and 9.95 mm, respectively. The model can reliably distinguish which pickup configuration is selected using the pickup position estimates. Moreover, the method is robust to changes in plucking dynamics and fret positions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't