Guitar Hero controller built from toy guitar and keyboard


[Heinrich Laue] was kind of a latecomer to the fake guitar playing video game phenomenon. He played Frets on Fire — an open source clone of the game — on PC and eventually bought a copy of Guitar Hero World Tour. But playing on the keyboard was a drag. Instead of buying a controller he built his own hacked Guitar Hero controller from a scrapped keyboard and a toy guitar.

The plastic toy he started with was screwed together. This is a really nice since it’s almost impossible to open toys that have been welded together. There was plenty of room inside for all his components and even some space to run the wires.

He started the electronic portion of the build by tracing out the keyboard matrix to figure out which solder pads he could tap into. The strum bar uses a door hinge with buttons on either side of it. When you move it back and forth it hits the buttons, with the spring mechanism in each returning it back to center. The fret buttons are keys from the keyboard, but the switches uses were pulled from a few computer mice. But the real innovation comes into play when he added the Star Power tilt sensor and whammy bar. Follow the link above to find out how he did it.


  1. strider_mt2k says:

    That is pretty cool right there!
    I’m going to go dig out my circuit-bent dollar store digital guitar and do a solo in honor of this clever and resourceful hack!!

  2. kejtu says:

    I made something similar few years ago using psx analog game pad (forcing up arrow on dpad allays pressed caused game recognise it as original guitar).

  3. diyaspergerscure says:

    This is for the person who made this controller, Is your time worth nothing? every hour wasted building something that can be bought on amazon is time you will never get back. America is failing while the diy scene rises so maybe there is a connection between people wasting there time pretending to be engineers when they should be working to become a real one.

  4. jc says:

    Get a real electric guitar – it’s totally worth it. I used to play frets on fire too.

  5. Jasper says:

    I did the same thing a few years ago. But it turned out the keyboard I was using didn’t recognize multiple keystrokes.

  6. radnuts says:

    diyaspergerscure – Is that a joke? If so it’s one of the most hilarious comment I’ve ever read here. Congrats.

    • Bill Gander says:

      I was thinking the same thing. The guy is building a controller for a video game. Pick your poison on what “wasting time” is lol. Either way, he isn’t out there robbing people or anything.

  7. dsasda says:

    guitar hero is dead, there is rocksmith now

  8. vonskippy says:

    “[Heinrich Laue] was kind of a latecomer to the fake guitar playing video game phenomenon.”


    If only he would have held out a bit longer – he could have avoided the embarrassment of wasting time on a toy and instead spent that time learning an actual musical skill. If the last five decades of three chord bands could do it – so could he.

  9. Karel says:

    Haha, awesome! Might try to build one myself as well!

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