Introduction: Redneck MIDI Sustain Pedal - DIY

Picture of Redneck MIDI Sustain Pedal  - DIY

The great secreat of sustain pedals for electronic keyboards is that they are just on-off switches. That is, when you press the pedal, two wires are connected. That's it. Now suppose you are in the mood for composing and playing, and you realize that your pedal is somehow missing. This instructable shows how to make a temporary (but working!) MIDI pedal out of things around you. No tools, experience or ability required !
You will need:
1. An empty CD box
2. 3-5 Paperclips
3. Some wires
4. 1/4" jack/adapter with cable
5. Duck tape
6. Plasticine cat to oversee you activities

Step 1: Attach Paper Clips to Make It Bouncy

Picture of Attach Paper Clips to Make It Bouncy

1. Take an empty CD box and remove the label.
2 .Put a bent paper clip inside, as shown.
3. Tape it to the box with duck tape.

Now if you try to close it, it will bounce back, like a pedal. The problem is that it will snap closed if you press hard enough. We resolve this problem in the next step.

Step 2: Make It a Pedal

Picture of Make It a Pedal

1.Take your favorite tool (scredriver, knife, ruler, fork) and remove those little bits on the cover that make it snap and lock closed. There are usually four of them.
2.Now press on the cover and see if it bounces back with enough force.
3.Add more paperclips on the inside to your satisfaction.

Note that you probably won't get enough force to sustain the weight of your foot, unless you have really hardcore paperclips.

Step 3: Attach the Wires

Picture of Attach the Wires

1. Now take some wire (any wire will do, I found some speaker wires) and strip them using your favourite tool (i.e., teeth).
2. Firmly attach a paperclip to each wire by twisting, wrapping around, tying a knot, etc. (just don't solder =)
3. Now duck tape the wires with paperclips to the CD box so that the paperclips touch when the box is closed, and don't touch when it's open.

Step 4: Attach the Jack

Picture of Attach the Jack

1. Look around for a 1/4" jack with wires, or an adaptor with a cable. I found an RCA to 1/4" adaptor, so I am sacrificing an RCA cable.
2. Strip the other end of the cable with 1/4" jack
3. Attach the wires from your new pedal by twisting.
4. Use duck tape to insulate and firmly attach the wires to each other.

Step 5: Plug in and Enjoy

Picture of Plug in and Enjoy

Try your new pedal and have fun !

Note: it is impossible for you to ever screw up anywhere in this instructable. If you "short" the wires, you will simply get a pedal which is always pressed, which might be useful or not depending on the style of your music. So you and your instrument are safe, unless you try to somehow plug the pedal into an electricity socket while holding the wires.


BurdUp (author)2016-06-09

Thanks for letting me know how to make a "jew pedal".

HadiT (author)2014-10-17

In video form:

mike.bendera (author)2014-08-18

Made my day! :D

dan3008 (author)2014-08-06

"Note: it is impossible for you to ever screw up anywhere in this instructable. If you "short" the wires, you will simply get a pedal which is always pressed, which might be useful or not depending on the style of your music. So you and your instrument are safe, unless you try to somehow plug the pedal into an electricity socket while holding the wires."
Instructions not clear, got nose stuck in instrument...
Joking aside, Nice ible :)

ruler_of_earth (author)2013-05-14

You, sir, are a genius. I made one, it works great, and it was so easy to make!

ikhan8 (author)2011-11-17

brilliant! I made one last night. Works great but I had to make a few changes - mine did the exact opposite i.e. the sustain was on when the paperclips aren't touching - so I just set it up so that when you press down, the connection breaks.
I used and old fashioned tin with a bullfrog clip and it feels very sturdy!

romwell (author)ikhan82011-11-20


If you have a Yamaha keyboard, note that it can accept both kinds of pedals (the ones which create the connection on push down as well as the ones that break it). When you turn the keyboard on, it looks at the state of the pedal and treats this as "pedal off".

elamont (author)2011-08-26

thanks for the tip! I cut up an old headphone 3.5 -> 2.5 cord i found lying around, and connected it through a 3.5->jack converter.
works awesomely! now i just need to find a good spring..... ( i dont think those paperclips will last long).....

cyphresshill420 (author)2011-07-15

Made this and it's the only sustain pedal I've ever needed. I used a spare drum kick pedal instead of a cd case. Told my old radioshack boss about it. He said plastic ones they sell always break and get refunded. He really liked using a metal drum pedal. Thanks Mr. Redneck

skantimahanthi (author)2011-07-10

Going to try right now ) ......Lets see how it work ....Thanks man !!

munchmucnh (author)2011-07-02

I'm a bit confused what kind of wires do i need?

blufalcon94 (author)2011-05-21

Thanks so much for this instructable! Works great! The CD case feel weak and like its going to crack any second but its probably just the case that I'm using

rkhimura (author)2010-11-13

it doesn't works on mine piano, am i doing sometihng wrong, i have a CASIO PX-100

all4jesus005 (author)2010-08-05

why it never work on my keyboard?

Quest for Questions (author)2010-05-02

 Your awesome 

schnellboot (author)2009-02-19

u can change some parts for the very poor person (no I'm not poor): paperclips : alu foil cd case : cardboard and for the ultimate poor persons here u can glue the two contacts on a piece of wood that fits into the female port to use that instead of the mono jack

romwell (author)schnellboot2009-07-01

That makes construction harder, though =) And cardboard will probably break.

schnellboot (author)romwell2009-10-14

 yeah u r right

Agroking (author)schnellboot2010-01-20

 I got mine for free...

karadza3a (author)schnellboot2009-10-13

I think if you have money for keyboards, that you won't have any problems with finding paperclips and cd case... :)

journalyst (author)2009-08-22

Okay, I don't know why it worked out for the rest of you, because this didn't work for me. I tried several different types of wire and plugs and none of them worked. I guess that's why they call it a redneck pedal...'cause it never works.

erljue (author)2009-08-12

hey man! nice D-I-Y!! jst would like to ask if it's okay to use other tapes other than Duck tape? thanx

Brad09C (author)2008-12-23

Hey this worked out great! thanks for the help your awesome.

romwell (author)Brad09C2009-07-01


mycal (author)2009-06-29

Wow! I didn't believed that it can work, but I was wrong! Thanks man!

romwell (author)mycal2009-07-01


TyMan210 (author)2009-05-30

I don't really think a redneck would know what a sustain pedal is.

romwell (author)TyMan2102009-07-01

It's more about the way of doing things than bout where you live and what you do =)

-eV- (author)2008-11-30

Wow this is fantastic. I just made one and damn, the difference between having and not having a sustain pedal is like night an day! Thanks a lot!

romwell (author)-eV-2008-12-01

Hooray! I'm glad this project was useful =)

markthomas (author)2008-11-30

hey man ur method is one of the easiest for DIY sustain pedal.... don't even need to leave the!!

romwell (author)markthomas2008-11-30

Well, me being to lazy to leave the house was on e of the reasons why the pedal turned out that way =)

Skellington (author)2008-06-23

This is an awesome idea, thanks! Now, I just need to find some paperclips.. If I can't, I'll try a similar concept with staples (and find something else for a hinge that won't close of course). ;D

Skellington (author)Skellington2008-06-23

While searching my house for a CD case not in use, I found an old stapler that was not working. It had a spring and everything, so I used that and now have a stapler sustain pedal.

romwell (author)Skellington2008-06-23

That's even more awesome and has a better spring ! You should post an instructable =)<br/>

Skellington (author)romwell2008-06-24

Hehe, maybe. Once I stop being so lazy and find another broken mic/headphone, I'll do just that. :]

drummonkey92 (author)2008-04-26

nice, great idea for the switch...but why "just don't solder" for attaching paperclip to wire? is there an actual reason or is it just that a redneck wouldn't have a solderin iron? lol

romwell (author)drummonkey922008-04-26

It increases the cost, time and the complexity of the project by an epsilon =)

codester (author)2008-04-24

Wow!!! Great idea! I'm definitely going to make this (my midi pedal wont work on my other midi piano) Great job!!

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