Title:
Stringed instrument chord player
United States Patent 3915051


Abstract:
A chord playing attachment for stringed musical instruments with combination attachment mounting and spacer brackets positioned generally at the four corners of the attachment and adjustably mounted for width adjustment to different instrument neck widths. The attachment mounts different height keys for ease of fingering and is fastened in place by two elastic bands that pass under the instrument neck from attachment mounting brackets on one side to those on the other side. The attachment may be moved from one fret position to another for different key positions along the neck of an instrument either by loosening the elastic bands or by lifting the attachment up with a little stretching of the bands and sliding the attachment from one position to another.



Inventors:
KINCAID GEORGE R
Application Number:
05/501229
Publication Date:
10/28/1975
Filing Date:
08/28/1974
Assignee:
KINCAID; GEORGE R.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
84/318, 84/455, 984/116
International Classes:
G10D3/08; (IPC1-7): G10D3/14; G10G7/02
Field of Search:
84/315-318,453-456
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3823247CAPOTASTO1974-07-09Bauerfeind
3818793GUITAR TUNER1974-06-25Round
3722346CAPO1973-03-27Valentino
3704646STRING DEPRESSOR AND METHOD OF USING SAME1972-12-05Davis et al.
3680427DEVICE FOR TUNING STRINGED INSTRUMENTS1972-08-01Valentino
3568560AUTO CHORD DEVICE1971-03-09Chang et al.
3446108CHORD PLAYING ATTACHMENT FOR STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS1969-05-27Mitchell, Jr.
3422717CHORD PLAYING ATTACHMENT FOR FRETTED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS1969-01-21Roussel
3230816Device for tuning stringed instruments1966-01-25Jira
3185012Capo tasto1965-05-25Dunlop
3154994Chord forming device for string instruments1964-11-03Blohm
2961913Tuning attachment for stringed instruments1960-11-29Popkin
2798398Chord playing attachment1957-07-09Hayes
2746337Chord-changing device1956-05-22Smit
2744433Guitar keyboard1956-05-08Rooms
2669151Chord player1954-02-16Maccaferri
1120091N/A1914-12-08Schmidt
1094038N/A1914-04-21Weaver et al.
0416057N/A1889-11-26



Primary Examiner:
Tomsky, Stephen J.
Assistant Examiner:
Witkowski, Stanley J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kintzinger, Warren H.
Claims:
I claim

1. In a chord playing attachment for a stringed musical instrument equipped with a neck having a fingerboard with spaced frets and playing strings overlying the fingerboard: an attachment base; mounting means supporting said attachment base in space-separated relation with a selected portion of said fingerboard and said playing strings; a plurality of string-engaging means, each including an upper finger key pad, and bottom string-engaging shoe affixed transverse the respective ends of a vertical stem extending through said attachment base; with said vertical stems being non-circular in cross section and slidably fitted in matching non-circular openings through said attachment base; a plurality of compressible spring loading means, each restrained between the bottom of an upper finger key pad and said attachment base; said mounting means including four brackets; adjustable fastening means connecting said four brackets to said attachment base for width spacing adjustment of said four brackets to fit different instrument neck widths; and plural elastic strap means each fastened to a bracket of one side resiliently stretched under the neck of said instrument to fastening with a bracket of the other side.

2. The chord playing attachment of claim 1, wherein the vertical stems of some of said plurality of string engaging means are shorter than others of the stems for ease in fingering those keys requiring further reach.

3. The chord playing attachment of claim 1, wherein said vertical stems and the non-circular openings in the attachment base are both rectangular in crosssection.

4. The chord playing attachment of claim 1, wherein said attachment base is provided with a top raised portion surrounding each non-circular opening for lengthened vertical stem support and guidance; and each of said top raised portions being retainers supporting one of said plurality of compressible spring loading means.

5. The chord playing attachment of claim 4, wherein said plurality of string compressible engaging means are coil return springs restrained between the bottoms of upper finger key pads and top of said attachment base.

6. The chord playing attachment of claim 1, wherein each of said four brackets is fastened to the bottom of said attachment base by a set screw extended through the attachment base; and with the set screw extended through a slot in the attachment base for lateral positioning of the bracket for width spacing adjustment of said four brackets to fit different neck widths.

7. The chord playing attachment of claim 1, wherein each of said four brackets is provided with an inwardly extended fingerboard engaging flange and an instrument neck side engaging extension.

8. The chord playing attachment of claim 7, wherein each of said elastic strap means is permanently fastened to one of said four brackets; and stud latch fastening means is mounted on a bracket on the other side of the instrument neck for removable fastening of the other end of the elastic strap means.

9. The chord playing attachment of claim 8, wherein the ends of said elastic strap means are fastening to said four brackets at locations adjacent to the upper edges of said fingerboard.

10. The chord playing attachment of claim 9, wherein each of said brackets is formed with a spacer member defining the spacing between said base attachment base and said instrument neck, each said spacer member being outwardly bowed at least at the instrument neck-engaging end thereof to facilitate a relief space for the adjacent outside one of said instrument strings.

11. The chord playing attachment of claim 9, wherein said stringed musical instrument comprises a guitar; said plurality of string engaging means comprising first, second, third, fourth, and fifth string engaging means carrying respective string engaging shoe means which, when depressed, effect string stop permutations respectively defining musical chords E - 7, A - 7, A, G, and D, a sixth string engaging means carrying a string engaging shoe means which, when depressed, effects stopping of the guitar fifth string at the fourth guitar fret to permit playing of base runs between keys D and A, a seventh string engaging means carrying a string engaging shoe means which, when depressed, effects stopping of the guitar fifth and sixth strings at the second guitar fret to permit playing of base runs between keys A - E7 - D, and an eighth string engaging means carrying a string engaging shoe means which, when depressed, effects stopping of the guitar third string at the fourth guitar fret to permit conventional self-tuning of said guitar.

12. The chord playing attachment of claim 11, further comprising a side cover member extending from the sides of said mounting base toward said instrument neck into space-separated relationship with said instrument strings.

Description:
This invention relates in general to stringed musical instruments and, in particular, to a chord playing attachment for use on the neck of fingerboard and fret equipped instruments including guitars and ukeleles to simplify the selection and play of muscial chords.

Musical chords are played on guitars and similar instruments by depressing a selected string or combination of strings to effectively shorten them through contact against desired frets with the fingers of one hand while the instrument is strummed with the other hand. This fingered "stopping" the strings is done to selected strings to selected frets in achieving desired combinations of notes for chords. For example, an A chord is obtained by stopping the d, g, and b strings between the first and second frets so as to make the strings contact the second fret. A high degree of finger dexterity must be developed to properly play such stringed instruments--so those with large diameter, or short, fingers, or those with physical impediments experience difficulty in playing this kind of instrument.

Chord playing attachments have been made to simplify finger manipulation for chord playing of stringed instruments. Some of these however have an excessively high profile, again making it difficult for some to reach chord keys. Some chord playing attachments are complicated and difficult to mount, often requiring semi-permanent mounting of the attachment, and others require mounting rails to carry the attachment. Another disadvantage with some of the attachments is that they must be removed for tuning the instrument. Mounting versatility, so that a chord playing attachment may be mounted on different instruments having different neck widths, is desired along with mounting movability along the tapered neck of an instrument so that chords may be played in different keys.

It is therefore a principal object of this invention to provide a chord playing attachment for stringed musical instruments capable of being firmly mounted yet easy to attach and remove with no tools required.

Another object is for chord playing attachments to be adaptable to mounting on the different neck widths of various instruments, and adaptable to different key positions along the tapered necks of instruments.

A further object is to provide such a chord playing attachment having a low profile to make operation easier for those with short fingers.

Still another object is to provide a chord playing attachment that permits instrument tuning when in the first lowest tone position without removal.

Features of this invention useful in accomplishing the above objects include, in a chord playing attachment for stringed musical instruments, combination attachment mounting and spacer brackets positioned at four corners of the attachment, with a width adjustment for different neck widths and provision for bracket rotation to conform to the instrument neck taper. Tabs of the mounting and spacer brackets rest on the upper and side surfaces of the neck, against which they are resiliently maintained by two elastic bands extending from connection with the mounting and spacer brackets on one side to stud latch connection with the brackets of the other side. The keys have square shafts extended through square guides in the attachment base, to string depressors and are equipped with individual spring returns. The attachment is provided with one tuning key in order that the instrument may be tuned in the first lowest tone position without removal of the attachment. Further, when used in conjunction with a capo, the attachment may be moved from one fret position to another along the neck of instruments, merely by loosening the two elastic bands and sliding the attachment from one position to another, followed by necessary mounting bracket width and taper adjustment. With the attachment thereby positioned at different frets along the fingerboard, different keys of music may be playable. The key-shafts for certain chords are shorter in height than those for others, to facilitate ease in fingering those keys requiring further reach.

A specific embodiment representing what is presently regarded as the best mode of carrying out the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top view of the attachment as mounted in first position on the neck of a guitar;

FIG. 2 is a cross section view along line 2 -- 2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partially cut away side elevation view of the attachment as mounted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a partial isometric illustration of the mounted attachment as viewed toward the instrument tuning head;

FIG. 5 is a side view of a further mounting bracket embodiment usable with the attachment;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of a particular string depressor member employed; and

FIG. 7 is a side view of a further string depressor member usable in the illustrated embodiment, that is stepped to accommodate varying thicknesses of strings that it engages.

Referring to the drawings:

The attachment depicted in the illustrated embodiment is shown in first-position mounted relationship on a guitar instrument. The particular chords which may be "fingered" by the attachment are thus particularly defined as they might permit selected chords to provide adequate guitar accompaniment for melodies in one or more musical keys. Although the invention is particularly illustrated as it might be embodied for guitar usage, and will herein be described in that environment, the mounting adaptability and other features to be described might equally well be advantageously embodied in a chord playing attachment for other stringed instruments of the general type which are strummed to produce musical chords.

FIGS. 1 - 3 are respective top and cross section and side elevation views of the attachment as mounted in operable position on a guitar instrument. The attachment generally comprises a base member 23 carried in substantially parallelspaced relationship with the fingerbord on top of the neck 10 of a guitar instrument. Guitar strings 12 are conventionally depicted as being carried in spaced, separated position over frets on the instrument fingerboard. First, second, third, and fourth frets, 11a - 11d are illustrated. Strings 12 are carried over the guitar nut 15 into anchored termination in tuning peg members 14 carried on the tuning head 13. The strings 12 are conventionally identified in FIG. 1.

A plurality of key structures, each operable to effect string depressions for an individually assigned chord, are carried by the attachment base 23 in normally non-engaged relationship with the strings 12. Each of the key structures includes a finger engageable key pad, a vertical stem or shaft, and a string engaging bottom shoe member which is particularly structured to effect a depressed-string permutation to "finger" an assigned chord. Each key structure comprises a compression spring means, confined between the key pad and the attachment base 23, which holds the structure in spaced, non-engageable relationship with respect to the instrument strings 12 in the absence of a depression force being applied. Means are employed to constrain the key structure shafts from rotation with respect to the mounting base 23 to assure a fixed orientation between the string engaging shoe member(s) and the string(s) with which it cooperates when depressed.

As herein embodied in the drawing, eight finger key pads, each operating an associated key structure, are illustrated. Finger key pad 28 is provided with a key structure to "finger" an E7 chord; finger key 30 pad, an A7 chord; finger key pad 38, an A chord; finger key pad 41, a D chord; and, finger key pad 40, a G chord. Remaining finger key pads provide for special purpose functions. Finger key pad 39, when depressed, permits bass runs to be played between keys A - E7 -D. Finger key pad 42, when depressed, permits bass runs to be played between keys D and A. Finger key pad 43 is provided to permit the instrument to be tuned with the attachment mounted in the illustrated first position by permitting selective depression of the g string between the third and fourth frets 11c and 11d.

FIG. 1 illustrates the finger key pads as viewed by the user. Key structures associated with each finger key pad are indicated in phantom outline in FIG. 1. Each finger key pad permits selective depression of an associated shaft to which is affixed a transversely extending bottom shoe member. Each shoe member is shaped for non-interference with any other shoe member and carries string engaging shoes which are effective in "fingering" the assigned chord. Thus the E7 finger key pad 28 is associated with a shoe member comprised of cross-arm 31 carrying string engager shoes 32 and 33 which are respectively engageable with the g string between nut 15 and first fret 11a, and with the a string between the first fret 11a, and the second fret 11b.

The A7 finger key pad 30 is illustrated as being effective, by means of a pair of string engaging shoes, in depressing the d and b strings between first fret 11a and second fret 11b. The A finger key pad 38, by means of a single shoe expanse, is effective in depressing the d, g, and b strings between the first fret 11a and second fret 11b. The G finger key pad 40, by means of a triple branched cross arm member carrying three string engaging shoes, is effective in depressing the a string between the first and second frets 11a and 11b and both e strings between second and third frets 11b and 11c. The D finger key pad 41 is effective, by means of three string engaging shoes associated therewith, to depress the g and e 1 strings between first and second frets 11a and 11b while depressing the b string between second and third frets 11b and 11c. Base run key 39, by means of an associated single shoe expanse, is effective in depressing both the e 6 and a strings between first and second frets 11a and 11b. Base run finger key pad 42, by means of a single string engaging shoe, is effective in depressing the a string between the third and fourth frets 11c and 11d. "Tune" finger key pad 43, by means of a single string engaging shoe, is effective in depressing the g string between the third and fourth frets 11c and 11d.

While each of the key structures comprises an individually configured string engaging shoe structure, the mounting means associated therewith are the same, as typified by that illustrated for the E7 chord key structure illustrated in FIGS. 1 - 3 and FIG. 6. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the E7 finger key pad 28 is affixed to a shaft 29 which is slidably received in a through opening in the mounting base 23. The shaft 29 and through-opening are non-circular such that the shaft 29 is constrained from rotation with respect to the mounting base 23. As depicted in FIG. 6, for example, the shaft 29 might be of a square cross section. The shaft is rigidly affixed to the associated string engaging shoe structure. A compression spring, such as spring 34 associated with finger key pad 28, is confined between the finger key pad 28 and the mounting base 23 such that the key structure is normally held in non-engaging relationship with the instrument strings 12 and may be depressed for string engagement upon application of slight finger pressure on the finger key and readily restored to non-engaging position upon release.

To facilitate structural rigidity, and to assure a non-rotatable mounting, (as best illustrated in FIG. 2), the mounting base 23 may be formed with a top raised portion 25 around each key shaft and through which the non-circular through-opening in the base 23 extends.

As best illustrated in FIG. 3, certain of the finger key shafts may be made shorter than others to facilitate ease of fingering. Thus, the shafts associated with finger key pads 30, 38, 41, and 43, might be shorter than those associated with keys 28, 39, 40, and 42, with those finger key pads requiring the furtherest reach by the operator being more naturally accessible to the fingers.

A further feature, illustrated in FIG. 7 with respect to the A key structure, embodies a tapered or stepped string engangment shoe 50 to accommodate engagement with the varied thickness of the respective d, g, and b strings with which it cooperates. Progressively stepped surfaces 50, 50b and 50c are provided for engagement with the progressively smaller strings d, g, and b.

The chord playing attachment of the present invention provides, in conjunction with mounting means to be described, an extremely versatile device. Provisions are made for a high degree of mounting adaptability, enabling the attachment to be readily mounted on instruments of differing neck widths and neck tapers, and for mounting, in conjunction with a capo, at different selected positions along the neck of a given instrument.

Referring to FIGS. 1 - 3, the mounting base 23 is attached to the fingerboard on the instrument neck 10 by means of four spacer-brackets 18, each being located substantially at a corner of the mounting base. Each bracket 18 is generally L-shaped, having an inwardly extending flange surface securable to the underside of the mounting base 23 and a transversely extending flange extending into engagement with the side of the fingerboard surface on the neck 10 of the instrument. Each of the brackets 18 is secured to the mounting base 23 by means of a set screw member 20 which extends through a laterally elongated slot opening 19 (FIG. 4) in the base 23 into threaded engagement with the bracket face. Thus, each of the brackets 18 may be adjustably positioned to provide for variable-width spacing with an oppositely mounted bracket to adapt to varying instrument neck widths. The mounting brackets 18 may be additionally angularly oriented such that the fingerboard engaging flages flanges conform to the taper of the fingerboard which they engage.

As best depicted in FIG. 4, the brackets 18 are formed with an inwardly extending fingerboard engaging flange 35. The brackets may then be positioned for engageable conformance of side tabs 36 and 37 with the tuning board sides, with the surface-engaging tabs 35 defining a fixed parallel-spaced relationship between the fingerboard surface and the attachment mounting base 23. With the square brackets 18 thus properly oriented, the assembly is held in position on the instrument neck by means of elastic strap means extending under the instrument neck 10 and fastened to side-opposed pairs of the mounting brackets 18. For this purpose, as best illustrated in FIGS. 1 - 3, an elastic strap 27 may be fixed (as by rivets 17) to a bracket 18 on one side of the instrument neck. The bracket on the opposite side may be provided with a stud latch fastening means 21 over which a selected one of plural grommets in the free end of strap 27 may be hooked. The stretched elastic strap thus serves to hold the surface engaging tabs 35 of the brackets 18 into compressed engagement with the instrument fingerboard surface, while at the same time urging the neck side engaging tabs 36 and 37 into confined relationship with the sides of the fingerboard.

FIG. 5 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the mounting brackets 18 wherein the side wall of the bracket is fromed with an outwardly extending bow 45 such that a vibrating adjacent string 12 will not strike the bracket.

As partially illustrated in the drawing, a skirt 16, comprising an integral extension of mounting base 23, or, alternatively, an attachment thereto, may extend from the mounting base 23 toward the instrument neck for the aesthetic purpose of hiding the key depressor assemblies from view.

The chord playing attachment herein disclosed is thus seen to provide a highly versatile chord playing aid which may be readily adapted for mounting on instrument necks having various widths and tapers. The mounting means permits use of the attachment with a capo by merely positioning in accordance with the new first position established by the capo. In the described embodiment, conventional tuning is permitted with the attachment in the illustrated first position, single key depression is provided to "finger" each of chords A, D, and E7 for playing in the key of A and to "finger" each of chords D, G, and A7 for playing in the key of D. A dual-purpose base-run key allows bass runs between keys A - E7 - D and a single-purpose base-run key allows base runs between keys D and A.

Whereas this invention is herein illustrated and described with respect to a particular embodiment thereof, it should be realized that various changes may be made without departing from essential contributions to the art made by the teachings hereof.