Over Spring Break I became somewhat obsessed with Guitar Hero. But being that I’m a frugal guy (well, rather I have no money at the moment), I couldn’t afford a real guitar. So I decided to build my own for the PC version!
Initially, I toyed around with just a normal keyboard. But there were a number of problems: the ideal place for the frets is the F1-5 keys, however there’s a nasty gap between F4 and F5 that makes hitting orange notes difficult. Additionally, there aren’t optimal buttons to strum on. So, I decided I wanted to build a custom solution. I taped one of my old keyboard and my Speedpad to a board, attached a bit of string for the shoulder strap, and my first iteration was done. While crude and extremely ugly, it worked. The speedpad worked marvelously for frets. However, I wasn’t able to strum very well on fast songs, as I have to press buttons rather than move the strum bar (still haven’t fixed this).
I decided I wanted to make my solution a little less makeshift. I wanted it to look nice as well. So, I drew up a quick plan: I’d take apart the keyboard, create a body, then make the whole thing look nice. I decided on a Flying V type design, but the proportions are quite off due to the size of the keyboard. Here’s some WIP shots of attaching the styrofoam body to the wooden frame:
After gluing everything together, I was quite happy with the design. But it was still rather ugly, and it needed some sort of finish. Since I had ample amounts of Aluminim tape, I decided to coat the guitar in the tape to create a chrome-esque finish. Here’s some shots of the final result:
Ta-da! It plays quite well, though its still hampered by the lack of the ability to strum up and down. It makes quick notes hard, but if I use two fingers (ie pointer and middle) it works out fine. The closer (and more responsive) frets make it easier to play on than most other guitars. It’s pretty sweet!
Here’s a final shot with my guitar along with my whole setup.
Bush poster is a joke, see here.