Dedicated pedal switches for your computer can be really expensive. Keyboards on the other hand, despite having way more buttons, are dirt cheap! What if you could use a keyboard to build a pedal board? This hack is so simple, it’s almost ingenious.
[Shrodingers_Cat] took one of his spare keyboards, a rather nice Logitech G510 gaming keyboard, and pulled all the keys out except for four. You can do this with a flat head screwdriver quite easily — it’s also rather satisfying sending keys flying with each flick of the blade.
He then cut up some spare DVD cases he had, and turned them into pedal covers. They’re actually just nested inside the keyboard — he added some electrical tape to make sure they stayed in place and put it under his desk for the first test — it works great!
Of course you could always make something like this with an Arduino and some scrap wood instead…
There are a lot of tinkerers out there who got their start in electronics with musical hacks. Surprisingly though, we don’t see many submissions to our tip line covering boost circuits for electric basses, rewiring guitar electronics, or even more complex effect pedals. [Deadbird], though, is bucking that trend with an EQ display stomp box that fits neatly on his pedal board.
[Deadbird]’s build isn’t a graphic equalizer that can change the volume of different frequency bands; instead, he used the MSGEQ7 chip to listen in on the signal his guitar is producing and display that on a 128×64 graphic backlit display.
The entire project was prototyped on a breadboard with an Arduino. After he got all the components working – a momentary switch to turn the pedal on and off, 1/4″ jacks for the input and output, and a power supply – [Deadbird] took an Arduino prototyping shield and made everything more permanent. Now he’s got an attractive pedal on his board that shows the signal coming from his guitar in seven neat bands.
When we first saw the live cover of Skrillex Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites by the band Pinn Panelle, we had to know how a band is able to play live dubstep on real instruments. We emailed the band and they spilled the beans on how to process the hell out of an instrument in a live environment.
First up is the bassist, [Nathan Navarro]. He wears a Source Audio Hot Hand on his right thumb. This little box is a two-axis accelerometer that communicates with his pedal board using RF frequencies. With the Hot Hand, he has control over two parameters on Hot Hand Pedals. The envelope effect is awesome, but it’s worth noting that [Nathan] is sponsored by Source Audio. We’re thinking it would be relatively easy to cram a Wii MotionPlus and microcontroller into a wristband. Tied to a computer and MIDI interface, the homebrew solution would do the same thing.
[Derek Song] is the guitarist and he’s used multieffects for most of his musical life He has a small Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad mounted to the front of his guitar that controls just about everything on his pedal board. The Bluetooth controller sends commands to [Derek]’s computer that outputs MIDI CC messages to his pedal board.
In a studio, Pinn Panelle’s cover would be impressive. The fact that it’s being played live opens up a number of doors as to what a band can do in real-time. If you’ve got a pedal board or electronic music build, send it into the tip line. Also, check out the videos after the break for a better demo of [Derek]’s Bluetooth setup.
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