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Chiptune Guitar Synth Project Answered

So ive recently thought of doing some chiptune music. But when it comes to doing all the programming on a Gameboy with Little Sound DJ, or making some song on Rymtik Retrobits on my 3DS, i feel like i could do better with an actual chiptune instrument. Ive looked in a few nooks and crannies of the interwebs and i have acquired some knowledge of homemade synths, but nothing i dont think i could actually use.

I did find a neat link of a guy who made a Guitar Hero PS2 guitar controller thing, and the chord buttons were connected in series. The different chord buttons, when two or more are pressed, create different notes. There was also a whammy bar that made the chipnotes act like guitar notes with reverb. He also added an audio jack to connect it to a speaker or an amp.

The one part im trying to figure out is how to make this instrument more of a synth than a one sound chiptune device. It might be possible to replace the "strum bar" thing on the GH controller with some additional buttons that make different kinds of 8-bit sounds while the whammy bar is used by the palm. The sketch ive made should shed some light on what im talking about.

With all of that being said, is there anyone out there who could help me design a schematic or something that can help to make this thing better than what i could design by myself? I got the skills to build the instrument, but not the skills to design the electronics and circuits that go with it. Any help is greatly appreciated!


There are several approaches depending on what is the input for the chiptune device. Do you need MIDI so you can control a real synth or emulator on a computer or other audio software? Does the instrument just need to simulate keyboard presses to trigger the music? An arduino can be configured with a bunch of switches and output MIDI to your device. You could also take apart a regular USB keyboard and plant the switches wherever you like. Use software to remap the keys as your input. Good luck.

i know that with the chord buttons, they are connected in series with resistors in a range of 10-50 ohms (i think its ohms), explaining how you can mix the chords to get different ranges of sound. The arduino sounds like a good way to go, since i can barely remember how the programming for it works. I dont have much knowledge with actually using an arduino, but which one of the many different boards would you recommend to use?

Arduino UNO revision 3 is probably the easiest one to get and is pretty stable. There are other variants that add to the complexity like the newest models or bigger/smaller ones. It has enough inputs to get you started or else you can look up the tutorials for doing arrays of switches. Arduino.cc or adafruit.com has a bunch of projects or here on ibles to do stuff with arduino music since it can output tones or add a waveshield for sound clips.

interesting! Ill see what i can do with an UNO and hope for the best. Now if i only had a way to get some arcade cabinet buttons. Ive looked for quite a bit, and believe me its hard to find some on the cheap.

besides ebay, mouser.com, digikey.com, adafruit.com, sparkfun.com, jameco.com...