Guitar Hero Controller Gets A New Musical Life

Guitar Hero was a big deal, right up until it wasn’t. The best efforts of the video game industry couldn’t resurrect the once-off rush of enthusiasm for rhythm gaming, and thrift stores around the globe are now littered with little plastic instruments. [Analog Sketchbook] decided to give one of these guitars for the Wii a new life, repurposing it as a synth controller.

The build is a straightforward one, thanks to the prevalence of modern maker solutions to electronic problems. Hooking up to the guitar is a solved problem, with an Adafruit Nunchucky breakout board allowing the Guitar Hero controller to be connected via jumper wires to the Raspberry Pi’s IO pins.

Communication is via I2C, and is easy to work with in Pure Data, running on the Pi. [Analog Sketchbook] created a patch that runs a synthesizer, controlled by the buttons and controls on the guitar itself. With this setup, you could create any number of different routines to allow the guitar to be played differently. We’d love to see a chiptune-esque arpeggio patch, or something that plays fat FM synth tones a la the Genesis, but that’s just our opinion. The sky really is the limit here, with plenty of grunt on the Pi for various forms of synthesis.

It’s a fun build that gives new life to an otherwise forgotten gaming accessory. We’ve seen them repurposed before too, as far back as 2010. Video after the break.

3 thoughts on “Guitar Hero Controller Gets A New Musical Life

  1. Wonder if he could have used a Pi Zero W and got it to fit in the controller port where the Wii remote would have gone. I know it says 3B+ / 4 preferred but why? Does he need that much processing to make synth music?

  2. It’d be hilarious to go to a concert, see the guitarist pulls out one of these hacked plastic guitars, and start playing tunes on it. (c:

    BTW, I remember getting the nunchuck I2C to work with RPi almost back when it first came out and it wasn’t that trivial (for me). I didn’t know about Pure Data, I don’t know if was around then. I need to dust my code off and try this out.

    Anyhow, off to charity shops I go. Most of what I’ve seen are the PS version, though.

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