I've been thinking about this drum machine for years and I made one around 2011. It was one of my very early robotic projects and ended up getting disassembled during a purging of stuff before moving to a different state.
Since the demise of the first one, I've always wanted to recreate it and actually start performing with it. Within the first week of being in Galveston, I found a great suitcase and busted up guitar at a thrift shop. After printing out replacement parts for the guitar and finally deciding to use solenoids to actuate the mallets (I really liked the 4-bar mechanisms on the first one), I got the mechanism up and running.
My main goal is to have an interesting and functional robotic instrument for street and other uncommon performances. I'm also interested in experimenting with various methods of interfacing with the machine. How does the human performer and the robotic performer interact with each other? To start, the interface is simple. I created an 8 switch system to control the sequence of each solenoid. The control electronics are mounted on my wrist and it can also control the speed that it cycles through the sequence.