Introduction: Guitar Hero Controller Mods

Picture of Guitar Hero Controller Mods

Add a "killswitch" and a jack for future projects onto your Guitar Hero controller.

I've been playing guitar hero for quite a while so I decided to do some creative things to one of my guitars. I plan on doing more modifications to this controller so stay tuned for updates.

One note: I'm sorry about the low resolution/blurry pictures. I was using my phone to take them.

'Edit: I need to upload the final couple of steps. Check back for a finished instructable soon

Step 1: Parts/Materials/Tools

Parts and Materials:
- Guitar Hero controller (duh!)

The Jack/foot-pedal
- Some kind of female plug (will go into detail about this later)
- A big momentary pushbutton
- A project box (plastic preferably)

- A small momentary pushbutton

- Solder
- About a foot of wire

- Small phillips screwdrivers
- Soldering tool
- Wire-stripper

Step 2: Mod 1: the Jack (Intro)

Picture of Mod 1: the Jack (Intro)

Because the killswitch will render the select button useless, I needed to make an alternate select or star power button. I thought about just adding a button on the front of the guitar but I like the smoothness of the face so I decided to add a jack and make a star power foot pedal.

Step 3: The Jack (Getting Your Parts)

Picture of The Jack (Getting Your Parts)

The jack I used was scavenged from an old A/V receiver. I just cracked open the box and unsoldered it.

Step 4: The Jack (How to Put It In)

Picture of The Jack (How to Put It In)

Now that you have your jack, find a spot on the guitar where you want to mount it. I chose a place just a little above the strap knob.

In essence, this is just adding another select button.

1. Drill your hole in the place where you're mounting the jack. Take note to make sure that there's enough room on the inside of your hole for your jack. (picture 1)

2. If there are supports in the way of your jack, use a knife to cut them away. (pictures 2&3)

3. Find the select button board (yellowish) and follow the wire to the main (green) board. (picture 2)

4. Solder one wire from your jack to the leftmost of the three contacts on the main board. (picture 4)

5. The other wire from your jack will be soldered to the middle contact on the select/start button board.

6. It is a good idea to tape or hot glue these soldered points because you may rock too hard and cause the joints to break.

Step 5: The Foot-pedal

I didn't have my camera on me so there are no pictures of this being built.

Take your project box and drill a hole big enough to mount your large button. Attach said button to project box. The pedal is really simple but it makes setting off star power a lot easier.

One note: it's a very good idea to angle the bottom of the project box because it makes the button lean towards you.

Step 6: The Killswitch

On a real guitar, a killswitch cuts power to the pickups producing an automatic and momentary silence. On the guitar hero controller, it acts as an alternate strum button.

The connections I use change the function of the select button to that of the killswitch. If you wish to make a killswitch without disabling the select button, just use any momentary pushbutton in lieu of the select button. Alternatively, you can follow my earlier tutorial on adding a jack to the guitar hero controller.

Another good killswitch how-to is located here.


SWV1787 (author)2008-01-23

I would think about using a jack like this to make a foot pedal to the select button so you don't always have to tilt the controller to deploy star power because select deploys star power too.

seabee890 (author)SWV17872012-09-10

that is an amazing idea. or even relocating the button down where you can naturally press it. thank for the idea.

Vertigo666 (author)SWV17872008-02-12

It's been made now.

Azor (author)Vertigo6662008-12-26

could u post a link to that plz

bobabot1 (author)SWV17872008-01-23

That's actually what the jack was originally intended for. I still need to finish writing up that last part but it'll all be clear soon.

evildoctorbluetooth (author)2009-07-26

i noticed that with the uk world tour guitar, the battery drains all the time, this gave me the idea of adding a on of switch that cuts of the battery, so far so good. next stop, rumble pack!!!

mikecass (author)2009-04-07

this is really awesome.. I just did this with my sg controller...i used a s/pdif like a charm!

Azor (author)2008-12-24

One thing that has been puzzleing me..... with the audio jack, do you have to do anything to it to use it as a power cable? Or do u just strip it and solder the wires on? Plz email at

bobabot1 (author)Azor2008-12-25

I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean when you say "power cable." Do you think you could elaborate?

Azor (author)bobabot12008-12-26

Call me a n00b, but what I think is that the audio jack type cable is only for audio. but If you strip the wires, can you use that as part of a circuit?

Trace II (author)Azor2009-02-21


bobabot1 (author)Azor2008-12-26

No. You can pretty much use any jack for anything, provided that it can physicall handle it (don't try putting high voltage/current on a tiny wire connector, etc). Just strip the wires and solder them on.

Azor (author)bobabot12008-12-26


MadMechanicMike (author)2008-03-10

i dont know why but this instructable gave me an idea, replace the strum bar with a reed switch and make a magnetic pick. there are some problems with my idea though. first off the switch is either going to be too sensitive or not sensitive enough. it would be really hard to get it just right. also, you would have to put strum up/down buttons on there to control the menu movements. hmm. maybe ill look into this further. thanks for the inspiration.

bobabot1 (author)MadMechanicMike2008-03-10

That is a great idea! You might think about using a potentiometer or some other variable resistor along with some capacitors to have some sort of control over the sensitivity as well as doing some signal adjustments. I think I might have to go pick up some reed switches...

MadMechanicMike (author)bobabot12008-03-12

you could add a status led inline with the reed switch so you can calibrate without trial and error on gh.

damasta (author)MadMechanicMike2008-03-24

you can also add real strings (metal ones) and connect the middle one to the ground of the strum bar and the pick (use a metal one) to the live part of it

MadMechanicMike (author)damasta2008-03-24

that too is a good idea, although id keep it down to 1 string.

damasta (author)MadMechanicMike2008-03-24

I like things lifelike, but one string is cheaper and much easier (wiring one string instead of all five is so you don't accidently strum 5 times when you want it one time, you didn't ask but I thought I should say it in case others will use my idea)

Azor (author)damasta2008-12-24

If you do that I would use a High E guitar string cuz its easier to strum fast with.

MadMechanicMike (author)damasta2008-03-27


ccncdc (author)2008-07-13

does this work for all systems, or just wii/ps3/xbox?

Brother_D (author)ccncdc2008-11-11

Dude, the one he used for the instructable was the ps2 guitar...

guitar hero beast (author)2008-10-28

kool great idea

IPlayGuitar (author)2008-05-27

Yea, i liked the white on red to i think it looks better

Bite Half (author)2008-01-17

thanks... great Instructable. My friends giving me his white pick guard tomorrow, can't wait to put it on. Peace. \w/ \w/

GorillazMiko (author)Bite Half2008-01-27

Yeah, that friend is ME. I have no use for your black one. But I'll think of something.

GH3_freak (author)2008-01-07

I have an idea that I don't know if anyone else has done. Would it be possible to move the select and start buttons for more covinience? If so, can you put up an instructible on how to do it?

weaselman50 (author)GH3_freak2008-01-09

Theres no need for an instructable. 1.)Ask around to find out which ribbon wires connecting to the start and select area that are positive 2.)Open guitar 3.) switch said positive wires around on either side(circuit board or button board) 4.)Switch them.

bobabot1 (author)weaselman502008-01-09

Yeah, I don't know if there'd be quite enough material for a full instructable. Basically, you could look at the connections I used in my jack mod and instead of putting a jack, you could solder in a button.

GH3_freak (author)bobabot12008-01-10

ty bobabot1 and weaselman50, but weaselman50, canu explain that in a way that a 14 year old can understand? plus, i will need to know how to put LED lights in the top part of the neck.

weaselman50 (author)GH3_freak2008-01-10

Haha I'm 14. At first I mis-interpreted ur post. I first thought u wanted to make the start button select and vise-versa. Really all u need to do to MOVE them is to literally take them out and move them to a drilled out hole. How u do that is up to u because I dont have a GH controller.

Einsteins Circuitry (author)2008-01-10

Nice... I have a Wii so it's a little' bit different, but I'm still going to try at least one of the mods. Looking forward to the update.


My brother actually got a Wii for christmas so I may upload some hacks for that as well. Depends on if I want to crack open a beautiful new guitar... Oh what the heck, it's for a good cause. :) The internal circuitry should be extremely similar, though. You should be able to do the mods with ease.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-01

Wow dude, awesome job. I added it to my Guitar Hero Mods group, I might try out the output input mod. And KevinSaw already did the Killswitch mod, but still, cool. You should have added pictures for that part, but somebody will probably see it in the related part. Nice job! (added to favorites)

bobabot1 (author)GorillazMiko2008-01-01

Thank you very very much! I actually started work on this project back in June but I didn't have the patience to sit down and write-up how I did it. I will add more pictures very soon. They are still on my phone at the moment. Thanks for the comment!

GorillazMiko (author)bobabot12008-01-01

No problem, can't wait to see the picture. Well, I can wait, but it's not like I'll blow up. Because I can wait. Yeah. Wait. Not weight. Wait.

You can join my Guitar Hero Mods group if you want.

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