MIDI Pedal Project Looks As Good As It Sounds


[Lee O’Donnell] is showing off his version of a MIDI organ pedal hack. We’ve been seeing a few of these lately. The organ pedals are a great stating point as they’re easy to patch into electronically, and are designed to take a beating from your feet and come out the other side no worse for wear. The build goes beyond one of our favorite MIDI pedal conversions in both features and finish.

An Arduino Nano pulls this project together. It scans the pedals constantly and converts the key presses into MIDI signals. But the design includes this fabulous looking front-end which [Lee] first prototyped in cardboard before cutting and bending his own Aluminum tread plate. A two-row character display provides a menu system, but the buttons themselves act as feedback based on the behavior of the light inside each of them. One example of this is shown early in the demo video after the break. The blue button toggles between polyphonic and monophonic mode with the light fading in and out for the latter.

17 thoughts on “MIDI Pedal Project Looks As Good As It Sounds


    There Hackaday, enough lame criticism for this entire thread. Now be nice.

      1. You’re probably right John, however, I’ve noticed that comments have been getting more and more negative lately. This could be me, I actually hope it is. I just don’t want http://hackaday.com/2011/07/27/hackaday-comment-policy-were-cleaning-up/ to happen all over again.

        I’ve been a HaD-reader for quite some time now, and in general i like the things discussed in the articles here. Some of them appeal more to me than the others, which is probably true for most readers here. But if YOU think a project is stupid or badly executed that doesn’t mean EVERYONE thinks the project sucks.
        (Please keep in mind this is not directed to you, John)

        The people here are all entitled to their own opinion, and if they like to share that opinion they should do so. If they’d like to share some criticism with the rest of us, they should do so too, just in a constructive manner so we can learn from each other and that new people can feel at home here. Isn’t that what the whole hacking community is about?

        There are enough butthurt cellar-dwellers in the world, we don’t need them here.

        1. Hacker culture, and nerd culture in general, attracts a lot of people who are very concerned with letting as many people as possible know how unconcerned they are with following social norms. Communities of nerds end up with a sub-population obsessed with rebelling against what they perceive to be their particular counter/sub culture’s collective norm. Heavy metal forums are the exact same way.

          Combine this with the very common tendency of engineery types to treat preferences like mathematical truths (“I am logical, I like ______, therefore anyone who doesn’t is illogical”) and you get a website full of negative nancy sperglords who complain about everything, and another group that complains about the complainers.

          And then there’s me, casting smug, self-assured scorn on people who complain about people who complain. The internet makes you stupid.

  2. Lol, nice one Tom! ;-)

    Seriously though, I’m not after people to consider this any kind of great project or anything. I just needed some bass pedals, and thanks to Mike sharing my build info the code and other info around velocity sensitivity, PWM, etc might be useful to someone out there, if not – then enjoy the treadplate! :D

    1. Great build – I’m impressed with how it all came together visually and functionally. I’ve been itching to try this myself ever since seeing Geddy Lee playing bass with his feet. Now I just need to find a set of pedals to cannibalize.

  3. You suggest the pedal can take a pounding, but as an organ pedal are we talking twice-a-week-granny-church-choir-style pounding or raging-post-adolescent-booze-fueled-punk-metal-rockstar-thrashfest-style pounding? Wouldn’t those floorboard-highbeam type switches they use for pedals be a little more durable?

  4. Hey Guys,
    In reference to playing pedals and durability, I’ve played Hammond B3 pedals for decades and they held up well. After selling the B3 (weighty!) I took an old Hammond M or L pedal board I had saved (my first Hammond), and made a simple analog system, one octave. That also worked great, durability wise, for years! So the contacts used in those old analog pedals are durable, as I was playing 4-5 nights a week on stage, every week.
    I now have a Roland PK-09 drawbar synth that I want to use a midi bass pedal system with, and can plug into it’s Midi IN connection, to deliver bass midi data. I (just today) found the Basyn midi kit online, and ordered it! Can’t wait to try it out when it arrives! Also, there are a LOT of old bass pedals like mine out there for sale in the $30 range + shipping.
    Good luck!

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