Nintendo DrumAxe Controller

We can’t remember the last time a new cart or peripheral for the NES was released, but [Tony Amendolare] at ElektroKraft has just changed that. In conjunction with, [Amendolare] created Super Synth Drums, a NES-compatible cartridge that turns button presses on the NES gamepad into drum sounds synthesized by the NES’s sound chips. To complement his software, he created the Sonic DrumAxe, a controller that looks a bit like a potato gun and is played like a guitar.

The Sonic DrumAxe controller uses a PIC microcontroller to drive a serial to parallel shift register. It has six touch sensors on the neck and one large one on the thick end. Unfortunately it requires custom inputs on the NES console, so it can’t be used with an unmodified NES.

[Amendolare] wrote the Super Synth Drums in 6502 assembly language. He puts the software onto carts using a NES console that has been modified to read and write to cartdridges. The software can be controlled with either the DrumAxe or with standard controls. [Amendolare] also did most of his demoing on a clone Yobo Machine, and it worked perfectly.

If you’d like to get in on the 8-bit circuit bending action, ElectroKraft is selling Super Synth Drums for about $49. This does not include the Sonic DrumAxe, but [Amendolare] told us that he’ll be selling a full package- cart, DrumAxe, and modded NES- on eBay later today. We’ll give you the link as soon as we get it; keep in mind that part of the proceeds of all sales are going to a children’s hospital and a charity to feed the hungry.

UPDATE: [Tony] just sent us a link to his eBay auction for the DrumAxe set. Again, this includes the cart, the DrumAxe, and the modded NES.

[via GetLoFi]

5 thoughts on “Nintendo DrumAxe Controller

  1. i do not approve of this post

    i can’t tell from juan’s description or the site whether where to get the drumaxe. all the hack goodness appears to be in the software, but that is only available on the cartridge. is this an advertisement?

  2. OK, there’s a little commercial here, but it’s still a sweet hack. I especially like that it’s shaped like a spud gun. Very hackerish to use something unrelated (if it was a spud gun) and turn it into something else.

  3. Thank you very much for the post here. I am donating a percentage of sales to St. Jude Children’s Hospital (, and to Action Against Hunger (

    If anyone has any questions about the cartridge or the DrumAxe controller, how it was made, etc. Please feel free to e-mail me.

    I expected to have a tutorial ready, sorry about that. I will be getting some tutorial material together soon.

    Thanks again,
    Tony Amendolare

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