IPad Control For Guitar Pedals

[gutbag] is a guitarist. And guitarists are notorious knob-twiddlers: they love their effects pedals. But when your music involves changing settings more than a few times in the middle of a song, it can get distracting. If only there were little robot hands that could turn the knobs (metaphorically, sorry) during the performance…

Tearing into his EHX Pitch Fork pedal, [gutbag] discovered that all of the external knob controls were being read by ADCs on the chip that did all of the processing. He replaced all of the controls with a DAC and some analog switches, coded up some MIDI logic in an ATmega328, and built himself a custom MIDI-controlled guitar pedal. Pretty slick, and he can now control it live with his iPad, or sequence the knobs with the rest of their MIDI system.


This wasn’t [gutbag]’s first foray into pedal automation, however. He’d previously automated a slew of his pedals that were already built to take control-voltage signals. What we like about this hack is the direct substitution of DAC for potentiometers. It’s just hackier. (Oh, and we’re envious of [gutbag]’s lab setup.)

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered [gutbag]’s band, Zaardvark, either. Way back in 2013, we featured an organ-pedal-to-MIDI hack of theirs. Keep on rockin’.

4 thoughts on “IPad Control For Guitar Pedals

  1. A friend of mine does this, except he skips all the effect pedals. he just uses VST’s in reaper with touchOSC. Yes he uses reaper as a live audio processing setup. The entire band runs live through reaper and they all can control any EFX they need from tablets or phones. he also uses midi footboard as that is a lot easier to trigger something than the tablet.

    1. Reaper (I’m a registered user) is a wonderful piece of software written by top notch programmers and musicians, however it lacks a bit in how to arrange connections between effects easily in an understandable way. Its matrix allows any possible connection, but for everyday use I find the graphical approach of other apps much more immediate.

      Reaper matrix:

      Carla (a Linux host):

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