Recently I was asked to build some single-handed Guitar Hero controllers to show at the Games for Health conference, and Red Octane was kind enough to donate some guitars for me to experiment with. Here are the results, I built two of them:
These replace the strum and whammy bar from a standard guitar, allowing you to use a single hand for the chords. What you do is use your foot and click your toes up or down to strum or navigate menus. To perform a whammy you lift up your heel – the spring loaded plate is shown in the up (full whammy) position in the photo, but normally your heel compresses it (no whammy). The pedal plugs into a modified Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul wireless controller. You can still strum the modified guitar but the whammy is only on the pedal.
For more photos and info check the rest of the story below. This project also finally gave me an excuse to throw together a “music video” demonstrating its use, check it out here.
I first started with a wooden prototype… it’s really quite simple but I guess it’s the though that counts.
As you can see my woodworking skills are not very good, but all it had to do was sort of work to test the concept. At first I tried using a separate pedal for whammy, but it was hard getting my feet to do separate things. (Maybe it’s just me) An all-in-one solution seemed better…
When stumped I usually go hit the local bar and sketch out ideas. (I also do this when non-stumped as well) Scribbling on the back of a karaoke sign-up slip, I came to the idea of putting a pedal under the heel…
I then modified the wooden prototype with a flimsy heel pedal, as shown above with one of my Sperries. One of the trickiest parts of this projects was figuring out the correct range of rotation for the whammy potentiometer. This then has to fit the range of a spring, and yet be within the range of lifting ones heel.
A shot of me playing GH3. And yes, I do still have an Atari 2600 hooked up to my TV – why wouldn’t I?
Myself with the pedal and guitar. The pedal kind of resembles a big metal shoe, kind of like if Robocop went to Holland.
Click for larger version, suitable for use in press releases and/or print without having to email me asking for larger pics. Using the stickers included with the guitars really tied the look together, wouldn’t you agree?
Click here for larger version. Fun fact – I used an old Atari Jaguar controller cable with this pedal. Hopefully it doesn’t jinx anything…