Instructables

Make a Guitar Hero Kit for your PC

This article will cover creating a kit for your computer that will allow you to practice your guitar hero skills with open source software and about 30 dollars in parts.
 
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Step 1: Obtain the nessisary parts for the guitar

First, you need three parts to make a USB guitar for your PC.

1: A Guitar. Any kid's toy guitar will do, though one with fret buttons will make things easier and nicer looking. Otherwise you will need to add buttons for fretting. Mine came from Wal-Mart for 10 dollars.

2: A keypad. I got a cheap USB numberpad while i was getting the guitar for about 12.99. I prefer USB, and the smaller number of keys makes deciphering the buttons easier. We will be using the controller board in this to connect to the compuer.

3: Switches and other parts. The amount of switches you will need may vary depending on your choice of guitar and if you want to navigate the game menus without a keyboard. The game itself supports 5 fret keys, one (or two) strum key(s), escape, and 4 directional buttons. a leaf switch will work well for the strum key. I also used some prototyping circuit board and a spool of very thin wire to keep things straight, you may be able to do without these depending on your skill level. These can be sourced from sites like digi-key or your local rat-shack.

Step 2: Dissassemble and remove unneeded parts

Now that we have the major parts of the guitar, we need to remove the bits we don't need.

First i unscrew and take the back off of the guitar, remove the logic board, speaker, and dial. I left the long "fret board" in place since i will modify it to work with the keypad.

Next is to disassemble the keypad. Mine only had two screws outside and two inside holding it together. What we want here is the circuit board which is the brains of the keypad. you want to keep the plastic sheets with traces on them (also known as the key matrix), as they can be useful in figuring out the keys.
junits153 years ago
get FoFiX its an FOF mod and its TONS better than standard FOF
Program6 years ago
if you plug a guitar hero controller in to a computer without any modifications it shows up as a joystick under the name of 34.67 (or something like that). all you have to do is program your favorite game to work with a controller and you are in business.
Program Program6 years ago
sorry- it only works for XBOX 360 version of the guitar hero controler
toogers Program4 years ago
corl45 was saying, the wii remote connects to bluetooth, on the computer, and using a proram called glovepie to set it up as a controller. he wasnt asking anything.
carpespasm (author)  Program6 years ago
You can also use a PS2 GH controller and a playstation to USB adapter as well.
The PS2/PS3 Rock Band controller works too.
dos it work on mac computers, or just pc's? jw
carpespasm (author)  jonross6 years ago
I'm not sure if either the adapter or Frets on Fire would work on OSX.
i have frets on fire on my mac...
corl45 Program5 years ago
you can use a Wii guitar with bluetooth and GlovePie, if ur up for programming
tylertam6 years ago
no offense, but this is silly, unless of course you want a cool looking guitar. but I got this to work using my normal guitar hero controller without even tampering with the electronics. All i did was get a ps2 controller to USB for 12 bucks at Radioshack, then you download Joy2Keys for free which makes it so you can correspond buttons on your controller to keys on your keyboard... that easy.
you dont need joy2key for fretsonfire, its now mature enough to be used as is (providing you use the menu to map the desired keys to the functions u want in-game) but fofix is better really, custom theme mods, complete forum for support etc.
 
guitar hero controllers are far more expensive or else i would get one instead.
carpespasm (author)  tylertam6 years ago
There are easier ways to do it for sure, and this isn't the best way if you already have a GH controller for sure, but I was just looking for a cheap means of practicing the game and seeing if i liked it enough to invest 70 dollars in it. for about 25 bucks of parts and some of my time i'd say it was worth it to me. If you prefer the way you have it more power to ya. Besides, i get to explain to people that I made my own GH controller, that's a pretty fun thing to see people's faces from.
you kinda lost me here. so the basic idea is to hook the fret buttons up to the number pad right? If i was making my own fret buttons, could i use piezo's as triggers for the frets and make a button to go over it, or would that not work? 
carrotman424 years ago
now get FoFix to make it even cooler
http://www.fretsonfire.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=32
schnellboot5 years ago
good job
awaite5 years ago
dose any know how to use a wireless guitar hero 3 controller on pc or if the controller uses bluetooth or infa red
what console is it?
Xbox 360. I found out about this wireless receiver thing for the PC, u can connect any wireless X box 360 controls. But I don't really have the time to go out and buy 1
i don't have a 360, but isn't the plug for the 360 a usb?
carpespasm (author)  matstermind5 years ago
This is what you're probably looking for:
http://www.joystiq.com/2007/04/06/360s-guitar-hero-ii-guitar-works-in-windows-frets-on-fire/

Should work without much of any fuss.
awaite5 years ago
Xbox 360. I found out about this wireless receiver thing for the PC, u can connect any wireless X box 360 controls. But I don't really have the time to go out and buy 1
n0ukf5 years ago
You might want to edit your step 8. the link to the download site is broken now.
Nesagwa7 years ago
I have a question about importing the songs for the GH2 disk to the Frets of Fire program using the built in converter on a Mac. I installed oggenc and everything, but it asks where the disk is mounted. Im not really sure what to put here as everything Ive tried has failed.
carpespasm (author)  Nesagwa7 years ago
Sorry, I don't know a terrible much about macs, I did all my stuff in windows.
wait so i got a bunch of files converted to .ogg format... now how do i go about putting them into FoF.. cause i downloaded it today and i'm already bored with the built-in ones
Nesagwa Nesagwa7 years ago
Sigh, nevermind, i figured out where it mounts it. Now I just need to figure out how to get Vorbis Tools on here.
wowee22225 years ago
you can also use a computor game pad (much easier
carpespasm (author)  wowee22225 years ago
The reason I didn't was because I didn't know if FoF was a mature enough project to support gamepad inputs.
joy2key / xpadder anyone?
chinkstar5 years ago
Does anyone know how to rewire a ps2 guitar (PSLGH) to work with Frets on fire for pc? I have a USB lead which i'm currently not using and i have a PS2 guitar but here in the UK it's v/ Difficult to buy a convertor and i was wondering if anyone has found out how to rewire these?
carpespasm (author)  chinkstar5 years ago
A conversion like the controller I made is probably the only somewhat easy way to make a conversion without using a usb-psx adapter. The signals for what the guitar sends and USB would expect to see are entirely different.

You might be able to order one of these adapters: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_/026-9337824-7064432?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=playstation+usb+adapter&x=0&y=0
ok thanks. if you do find a way to rewire these and make a driver then please let me know, and thanks for the link. much appreciated
30015155625 years ago
Plug in the Les Paul wireless receiver for PS3/Xbox 360 It should show up as PS3/Xbox 360 Les Paul wireless Controller
link is dead
just google it i'm dling it right now and it looks cool
sonic_dan6 years ago
just made a new guitar hero instructable :)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Guitar-Hero-Fret-Buttons-Mod/
Sickness! this is awesome, there are other GH-for-computer-clones out there, but I think this is the most descriptive
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