Title:
CHORD PLAYING ATTACHMENT FOR STRING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
United States Patent 3776088


Abstract:
A chord playing attachment for fastening onto the neck of a string musical instrument, which attachment utilizes a plurality of weighted pressure feet actuated by buttons and disposed in proper relationship to one another in biased condition away from the strings of the musical instruments when in their static position. When the buttons are actuated by manually depressing them they mechanically provide a plurality of different chords in such a manner that all of the feet of a given button strike the strings of the instrument simultaneously.



Inventors:
JONES C
Application Number:
05/290628
Publication Date:
12/04/1973
Filing Date:
09/20/1972
Assignee:
JONES C,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
984/116
International Classes:
G10D3/08; (IPC1-7): G10D/
Field of Search:
84/317,315,316
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2669151Chord player1954-02-16Maccaferri
2450210String depressor for stringed musical instruments1948-09-28Sprague
2132281Guitar playing simplifier1938-10-04Adamson



Primary Examiner:
Wilkinson, Richard B.
Assistant Examiner:
Salce, Pat
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A chord playing attachment for string instruments employing a fretted neck comprising:

2. The chord playing attachment set forth in claim 1 wherein:

3. The chord playing attachment set forth in claim 1 wherein:

4. The chord playing attachment set forth in claim 3 wherein:

5. The chord playing attachment set forth in claim 3 wherein:

6. The chord playing attachment set forth in claim 3 wherein:

7. The chord playing attachment set forth in claim 3 wherein:

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to chord playing attachments for fretted musical instruments such as guitars, banjos, ukuleles, mandolins and the like, and more particularly to an improved chord playing attachment to facilitate the playing of the chords by the blind, children and the handicapped by the simultaneous application of pressure to two or more strings of the instrument through mechanical means actuated by a weighted finger piece.

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is directed to a chord playing attachment for musical instruments of the string variety which simplifies the playing of chords of said musical instruments for the young or handicapped and at the same time produces proper tonal quality from said chord by assuring proper simultaneous contact of a plurality of pressure feet of each of a plurality of finger-actuated buttons with strings of the musical instrument.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Various attachments have been used employing finger pieces for actuating pressure feet against the strings of a musical instrument to play a chord.

One prior art embodiment utilizes a housing attached to the fretted neck of a musical instrument and employs a plurality of pivotally mounted fulcrum arms, each having a plurality of pressure feet mounted thereon at varying distances from its pivot point.

When the arms are depressed by manually operating a lever or pushing a button, a fulcrum arm moves about its pivot point, thereby bringing the weighted pressure feet into contact with the strings of the musical instrument and theoretically depressing the strings against the fretted neck of the instrument. Although operable in theory, in actual practice difficulty is encountered in bringing all of the pressure feet on any one pivotally mounted fulcrum lever to bear evenly and consistently against a plurality of strings of the instrument, threby creating a fuzzy tone lacking the quality necessary for good music.

In other prior art structures employing a plurality of manually operated buttons each associated with a plurality of pressure feet of varying shapes and lengths for manually depressing various strings of the musical instrument, the attachment failed in practice due to the high construction tolerance of the parts, resulting in misalignment. When an operator would depress a button, thereby attempting to apply equal pressure to all of the pressure feet connected thereto to the strings of the musical instrument, the button and associated pressure feet would rock or cock in the housing, resulting in unequal pressure being made to bear against the strings of the instrument. Only in extreme cases would even pressure be applied to more than one of a number of strings necessary to play a selected chord.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention claimed, a new and improved chord playing attachment for string musical instruments is provided which results in the production of high quality, melodious chords.

It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a new and improved chord playing attachment for string musical instruments.

Another object of this invention is to provide an improved chord playing attachment which will simplify the playing of chords of a string musical instrument and at the same time assure high quality chord renditions

A further object of the present invention is to provide a chord playing attachment which may be manufactured within the economic margins dictated by the particular field of application of the invention, and at the same time provide a melodious chord played by the student or the handicapped.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a chord playing attachment for string musical instruments which requires only a nominal amount of finger pressure to actuate the device.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a chord playing attachment for string musical instruments which may be readily mounted and dismounted from the fretted neck of the instrument without impairing its normal use.

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds and the features of novelty which characterize this invention will be pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The present invention may be more readily described by reference to the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a chord playing attachment mounted to the neck of a string musical instrument;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along the line 3--3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 4--4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a partial plan sectional view taken along the line 5--5 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 4 which depicts the mode of operation of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring more particularly to the drawing by characters of reference, FIG. 1 discloses a chord playing attachment 10 comprising a housing 12 having disposed therein a plurality of manually operable buttons 14, which housing is mounted on the neck of a string musical instrument 16 by an attachment means 18. Attachment means 18 is a resilient member such as an elastic band or any other quick-release clamp-like structure which may be used to loop around the neck of the instrument to maintain housing 12 in an operable position on the fretted neck of the musical instrument 16.

It will be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 that housing 12 is provided with openings 20 at each of its ends bridging strings 22 of the intrument, permitting the strings when strummed or picked to resonate without bearing against housing 12.

As best seen in FIG. 2, housing 12 is provided with a pair of downwardly extending ears 24 and 26 which straddle the edges of the fretted neck of the instrument and provide proper lateral alignment of attachment 10 on the neck of the instrument. Housing 12 is further provided with a pair of mounting lugs 28 and 30, which in conjunction with the elastic attachment means 18 looped over these lugs 28 and 30 hold the housing snugly against the fretted neck of the instrument.

As seen best in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings, buttons 14 of the chord playing attachment 10 are mounted in housing 12 so as to extend one through each of a plurality of openings 32 therein. These buttons are retained in positions perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of housing 12 by their enlarged hemispherical head portions 34. The hemispherical head portions 34 of buttons 14 are of a substantially greater diameter than their shafts, thereby creating a shelf 36 which in the static position of the attachment is brought to bear on the underneath surface 38 of housing 12. This strutural configuration limits outward travel of button 14 relative to housing 12.

Further, it will be seen in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings that buttons 14 and their associated hemispherical heads 34 are in close adjacent contact with their associated pressure feet assemblies 40. Each foot assembly comprises an upper bearing or pressure plate 42 and one or more pressure feet 44 downwardly extending therefrom. The base of each pressure foot 44 is provided with resilient material 46 bonded thereto. It is best seen in FIG. 3 that the pressure feet, as indicated by solid lines, and the associated pressure plates 42, shown in broken lines, to which they are attached, may comprise as little as one pressure foot or a plurality thereof, which are interconnected by pressure plate 42 and spacedly disposed along the strings A of the musical instrument. Each time a button 14 is depressed, one or more pressure feet 44 are brought to bear against the strings of the musical instrument. It will be further seen in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings that pressure feet 44 pass downwardly through a retaining plate 48. Retaining plate 48 is bonded or fixed in any suitable manner against shoulders 50 and 52 of housing 12. The retaining plate is provided with a plurality of rectangular or square openings 51 through which the pressure feet of similar cross-sectional configurations pass. This feature negates the possibility of rotation or misalignment of the pressure feet and maintains proper positioning of the feet relative to the strings of the musical instrument.

It will be seen in FIG. 4 of the drawings that the pressure feet 44 are biased away from strings 22 of the musical instrument and against the hemispherical head 34 of manually operated buttons 14 by resilient means 54 disposed between retaining plate 48 and the lower surface of the pressure plate 42 to which the pressure feet are mounted. As seen in FIG. 5 of the drawing, the resilient means comprises a plurality of small upstanding columns of resilient material in a waffle pattern. The resilient means 54 may consist of any number of elasticmerics, such as foam rubber, polyurethane, pure latex or a plurality of small coil springs disposed between the pressure plate 42 and the retaining plate 48 of the chord playing attachment to provide a biasing effect for biasing the pressure feet 44 away from the strings of the musical instrument. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the reason for the resilient means 54 being comprised of a plurality of small resilient members is to provide an even biasing effect along the base or underside surface of pressure plate 42 to circumvent the possibility of misalignment or cocking of said pressure plate during operation when the buttons 14 and their associated hemispherical head 34 are depressed and brought to bear against the upper surface of said pressure plate 42. This action causes the associated pressure feet 44 of the pressure plate 42 to bear against the strings 22 of the musical instrument, thereby creating a chord when the strings are strummed.

As further seen in FIG. 5 of the drawing, the resilient means 54, formed to provide a plurality of resilient columns 56, is provided with openings 58 created by the omission of a sufficient number of resilient columns 56. These openings are of a similar configuration to the cross-sectional configuration of the shafts of the pressure feet 44, thus allowing the shafts of pressure feet 44 to extend downwardly through the resilient material 54 and the retaining plate 48 of the chord playing attachment 10.

As seen in broken lines in FIG. 6 of the drawings, a finger of an operator is depressing a button 14 of the chord playing attachment 10, bringing its hemispherical head 34 to bear on the upper surface of pressure plate 42. This action causes the pressure feet 44 to engage with certain strings 22 of the musical instrument, thus creating a chord to be played when the strings are strummed. When pressure plate 42 of any chord assembly is depressed, it compresses only the resilient columns 56 disposed between the particular pressure plates 42 and the retaining plate 48, thereby assuring even distribution of the effect of the biasing means 54 along the bottom surface of the pressure plate 42. This action together with the weight of the pressure plate 42 assures that misalignment of any of the feet on that particular pressure plate with the strings of the fretted neck of the instrument does not occur.

In FIG. 6, finger B of the operator is shown depressing button 14. Button 14 is shown in an angular position created by a misalignment condition. This misalignment may be caused by the natural angle at which the finger of the operator depresses the button during normal playing action. Although the misalignment could be corrected by a closer tolerance fit of button 14 with opening 32 in housing 12, the economics of production of items of this nature prohibits such close tolerances. Therefore it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the separation of button 14 and its associated hemispherical head 34 from pressure feet 44 and their associated pressure plate 42 eliminates the possibility of transferring any misalignment created by the angle of the operator's finger with button 14 during operation of the chord attachment. The disclosed structure assures proper alignment of pressure feet 44 against the strings 22 of the musical instrument regardless of the tolerances of the parts of the chord attachment. Further, it will be understood that the hemispherical head 34, due to its shape, may be brought to bear against the upper surface of pressure plate 42 at a variety of angles without appreciably altering the center of pressure of button 14 on pressure plate 42, and in turn the angle of engagement of pressure plate 42 with the fretted neck of the musical instrument.

Referring again to FIG. 3 of the drawings, it will be seen in broken lines that buttons 14 and their associated heads 34 are centrally located either over their associated pressure foot or the plurality of pressure feet which they actuate in a position which will centralize the pressure of the button on the upper surface of pressure plate 42, further ensuring proper and coincidal engagement of the plurality of pressure feet 44 against the strings 22 of the musical instrument. Further, by weighting the feet with a pressure plate of sufficient body all feet associated with a given pressure plate 9 will strike the strings at the same time when button 14 associated therewith is depressed.

Once the chord playing attachment 10 has been mounted to the neck of the musical instrument by the mounting means 18, the operator may select a chord to be played by selecting any one of the plurality of buttons 14. These buttons are generally marked with the letter of the chord in a visible fashion or in the case of a blind operator, with a raised braille letter. When the operator depresses a selected button 14 and the button 14 and its assocated head 34 are brought to bear on the pressure plate 42, the pressure foot or feet 44 are pressed downwardly and into engagement with strings 22 of the musical instrument. The strings 22 are carried downwardly by pressure feet 44 and are brought to bear against the fretted neck of the musical instrument. The chord selected may then be played in any one of the conventional manners applied to string musical instruments, such as by strumming or using a bow or a pick. The separation of the actuating means comprised of buttons 14 and their associated heads 34 from pressure feet 44 and their associated pressure plate 42 prevents misalignment, which heretofore occurred between pressure feet 44 and their actuating buttons 14.

Although but one embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention or from the scope of the appended claims.