Guitar Hero strum bar as guitar kill switch


[Ray] had a Guitar Hero controller for PlayStation 2 sitting around. Because he moved on to playing the game on Xbox 360, he decided to cannibalize the older controller for its parts. He removed the strum bar and fit it inside of a mid-1980’s Peavy Patriot electric guitar. Once wired up, it works as a kill switch; it stops all sound from making it to the amp whenever the strum bar switch is actuated. Don’t miss hearing this effect in the video after the break and keep sending in those Guitar Hero mods.

[Thanks Sebastian]


  1. McSquid says:

    damn work computer for having a broken sound card. i LOOKS sweet. gotta wait til i get home to hear it though

  2. fenwick says:

    Dang, and it actually looks practical, too.

  3. Jeff says:

    great hack, take something laying around and make good use of it. :)

  4. knetcomp says:

    Wow 3 comments in a row with no complaints? This must be a really great hack. ;)

    I really like the idea. I have a digitech guitar processor which does the same thing, but you have to use a pedal. Maybe this works better.

  5. Rockarolla says:

    Actually it reminds me to the effect that Rage uses in some solos, like here:

  6. Andrew says:

    What? No Arduino? BOOO!

    Sorry, couldn’t continue the string of praise for too long. Looks and sounds like a sweet hack though.

  7. Bryan Thielbar says:

    Sweet, I have always have just used my pickup selector switch for that, but that is kinda useful…

  8. CB says:

    Tom Morello also uses this effect extensively. He sets one of his pickups to zero and uses a pickup selector to switch back and forth between signal and no signal. Pretty cool hack.

    Tom Morello (using this technique while “scratching” the strings on his guitar to get a DJ-record-scratching sound effect)

  9. CB says:

    Not sure why the video is embedded… Pretty sure I used the link. The “scratch” solo is around 2:33 if you’re interested.

  10. James says:

    Not only is this an actually useful and cool hack, but there’s some decent music embedded in one of the replies and nobody is complaining.

    Best Hack-a-Day post ever


  11. wifigod says:

    Now he can play Buckethead’s – Jordan for REAL. :-)

  12. stinkymonkey says:

    I think this is super sweet! it seems so natural opposed to a button toggle/tap er not.. you would still use an up or down motion for it so I think it would be a Comfort to use…

  13. Lolfret says:

    Buckethead has a button on that les paul. id like to see the fret buttons as killswithches on it also, that would be faster to use. GREAT HACK hope i didnt break the nice comment chain.

  14. Ian says:

    When I read the headline, I automatically thought of a very cruel prank and rig the switch to turn off the controller when they started to play.. =)

  15. James says:

    Reminds me of North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson playing R. L. Burnside’s Snake Drive (he uses the pickup switch method, muting one of the pickups):

  16. 36Chambers says:

    Great Mod!

    Definitely better than a button, and a lot of people are familiar with this control already from the game, so thats good.

    However, I think a fader, like the type skratch DJ’s (turntablists) use. They don’t really fade, they kutt the sound on/off completely over a small travel distance; something like, .5MM

    Vestax (Professional DJ Mixers)actually made a “guitar style” midi controller turntable thing that had a built in fader on the neck, I don’t know if it ever made it to production tho.

    Here is a pic of it

  17. ASCII says:
  18. PocketBrain says:

    I would beef up the middle “on” range of the thing; it was more off than on, but I can see where he was going with it. He can achieve a very fast manual switching rate, probably faster than attainable with just a pickup switch (it’s dead both in up and down positions, live in the middle).

  19. PocketBrain says:

    Tom Morello also uses the fast-kill technique (at a very fast pace) in Audioslave’s Shadow on the Sun.

    It makes me think he’s using a similar device with two dead zones, so it can be switched very quickly, one sound pulse per transition (up/down or down/up) instead of two transitions per pulse.

  20. Music is definitely my passion. this year eventually will organize my band and I’ll come to play again.

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