When an axe isn’t enough

[Chris] wanted a guitar with a keyboard but didn’t want a keytar. Like any good hacker he took a cheap guitar and a small keyboard and introduced them to each other. He moved the control knobs to make room for the keyboard and added the control circuitry from the keyboard to the top of the guitar’s body. A 9v battery is used to power the keys and something called “Chris Collins’ transformer trick” is used to amplify its sound. If you know details on this transformer, leave a comment and we’ll update the post. Take a look at the video after the break to see [Chris] perform the Final Countdown on keys and guitar.

The guitar is a Chinese made Telecaster clone and we think he’s the first one to find a realistic use for keyboards that don’t use full-sized keys. [Chris] apologizes for the lack of build photos but we give him a pass; he lost his phone while crowd-surfing and that’s as good an excuse as any for losing some pictures. We can’t wait to see another performance with this gnarly axe once he’s had enough practice to pull everything together!


  1. JKirchartz says:

    methinks the transformer trick is using an impedance matching transformer like 1000ohm to 8ohm to bring the keyboards speaker/headphone levels down closer to the levels produced by the guitar.

  2. Magrathea says:


    Useless as a guitar, useless as a keyboard, so I don’t know what is to be gained saved for the sheer challenge of combining two instruments together.

  3. dnny says:

    Reminds me of the video -mixer and -edit guitars featured in Flight Of The Conchords

  4. Inventorjack says:

    That guy has 200% more coordination than me. I can’t play a guitar or a keyboard, and he’s doing both at once.

    And props to Chris on a good looking mod.

  5. Godi says:

    So now he can simultaneously play a guitar and the a keyboard, badly

  6. DiDaenskePyndt says:

    Hey dawg we heard you like instruments, so we put a keyboard in your guitar so you can play while you play.

  7. knetcomp says:

    Good hack, but could he at least tune the guitar properly before playing?

  8. Jason Y says:

    Looks like a smart idea to me. It would make playing 2 parts in a live setting easier.

  9. Taylor says:

    the guitar playing sounds like balls.

  10. Jeff Wallin says:

    “we think he’s the first one to find a realistic use for keyboards that don’t use full-sized keys.”

    Are you crazy? The microkorg has been used on more albums than i care to count, right now it is probably the most used live keyboard in the world…

  11. [chris] says:

    Hey thanks for all the nice comments (I take the claim of Dadaism to be the highest praise imaginable). I WILL practice, I WILL! I promise! It’s brand new to me! *for talent see Jay Wasco

    *Nic*(i.e. Nicolas) Collins’ Transformer trick is to wire up an output transformer backwards in order to increase the voltage (1000% he claims). He uses it to turn Piezos into speakers in Handmade Electronic Music, but it works well to boost other signals.

    Hey kids, be like me, live your dreams!!

  12. Louis II says:

    Enjoyable modification. I hope he does some thing awesome with it… like share… oh he already has.

  13. Adam Sampson says:

    I was about to say that it looked an awful lot like Jay Wasco’s Swiss Army Bass, but I see [chris] beat me to it himself — he’s obviously learned from the best here. :)

    Jay’s site has pictures, videos, and lots of music — he’s a really impressive musician, and clearly completely insane:


    His other instruments are also well worth checking out…

  14. draeath says:

    I think a more useful… er, use… for the keyboard is to use it to trigger/adjust effects. (useful when you are using one of those computer-based systems like Guitar Rig or Hardcore, instead of real “stompboxes”)

  15. Douglas says:

    Dude, I checked this guy site out and It made my day..Seriously Hilarious, make sure to check out the costume section.That guitar is hackin at its

  16. Tejedor says:

    Sacrilege!! Poor guitar!! I’ll cut my hands before even thinking of doing something like that to one of my basses.

  17. retepvosnul says:

    Terrible. The hack is sloppy, ugly and badly executed. They guy can’t even play properly on either instrument. The sound is atrocious and probably due to bodged up electronics. The body extension is the worst part added to a guitar ever, followed by the build in panels.

    One would expect that with a multidisciplinary hack the builder would, at least, have some skill in one of those disciplines. But neither hacking, playing guitar or keys seems to be his forte.

  18. toast says:

    @Retepvosnul. Certainly not everything needs to be production quality in terms of aesthetics or functionality. I can safely say most hacks aren’t. As for the players musical aptitude; I don’t think that was meant to be the focus. More so the implementation of a keyboard and a guitar in one functional instrument. The rest is in the eye of the beholder.

    I will agree though, that I too was not found of the layout. But I do see how it is practical and would be easy to setup.

  19. bhaalgorn says:


    when you can play 2 instruments at the same time better than [chris] then maybe you too will be on hackaday.

    its a proof of concept so lay off.

  20. Yuri Riyu says:

    heyy…c’mon guys. this is awesome! you look like just wanna know about hacking. look at his shirt..this is the concept.im sure the ideia is not about playing 1000 instruments at the same time! but to compact 2 in one.

    beers and cheers!

  21. PocketBrain says:

    Aaaaggghhhh!!!! The mains hum! It mocks me even here!

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