This is my entry into the Musical Instruments challenge.

Future Man , the percussionist for the jazz band Bela Fleck and the Flecktones , has a MIDI-based percussion controller, called the Synth-Axe Drumitar, that is worn like a guitar but uses finger-tap sensors for percussion.  His version is completely one-of-a-kind, but there is also a commercial instrument, the Zendrum , that is similar in concept.  I'd always thought the concept was fun, but since I didn't have the $1500 or so to buy a Zendrum, I thought I'd try to make my own version of the MIDI-drum-in-a-guitar package.  The Electric Funkatron is the result.

This instrument has twelve velocity-sensitive percussion pads.  When played, an Arduino MEGA converts the taps into MIDI note data which is sent to an external MIDI tone generator (I use a mid-90s Alesis QS7 keyboard synthesizer -- any synth that maps drum sounds to individual notes will work).

I built the instrument into a gutted Guitar Hero controller.  The neck buttons are electrically-connected; currently the red button is used to cycle through all 16 MIDI channels and the orange button sends an "all notes off" command in case things get stuck.  The others are not used, but could be by reprogramming the Arduino.

As a bonus, the whammy bar on the Guitar Hero controller is used to trigger a "turntable scratching" sound.

I originally built this from July to December 2010.  This instructable is reconstructed from memory and my build notes .

Update 1/16/2012: Video added below

Step 1: Step 1: Parts and Tools

Materials :

This is one of those projects that begs for you to give it your own personal touch, so these materials aren't hard-and-fast required they just happen to be the way I did it:

Arduino MEGA (chosen because it has 16 analog inputs, as opposed to 6 on the UNO)
12 Piezo Tranducers (Radio Shack # 273-073)
7-segment LED (for displaying current MIDI channel)
XBox360 Guitar Hero controller (PS3 version should work -- most of the guts are ripped out anyway).  I found one at a Goodwill for about $15.
Sheet of Plexiglass, large enough to cover the guitar body
Foam mouse pad
small stick-on foam feet
9V battery holder
5-pin DIN jack
sliding switch
wire, resistors, zener diodes
silicon adhesive

Tools :

Soldering Iron
Utility Knife
Wire strippers
Various sizes of screwdriver
Drill press
Oscillating spindle sander
<p>hi! is it possible to send that midi trought the usb???</p><p>thanks!</p>
Yes, it is. In fact I wrote an instructable a few years ago that shows you how (for Windows, at least): http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-MIDI-Tone-Generator-On-the-Cheap/
I added an Instructable for a low-cost MIDI tone generator that can be used by the Electric Funkatron or any other MIDI controller. See: http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-MIDI-Tone-Generator-On-the-Cheap/

About This Instructable


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Bio: By day, mild-mannered CS prof. By night, husband, father, basement tinkerer, video game player.
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