I’ve been trying to get better at Guitar Hero and I’m bothered by the fact that you dump so much time into learning a basically useless combination of finger twiddling tactics. At least with DDR you get some exercise, and other video games let you drive fast or kill things. Of course, I say this only because I completely fail at Guitar Hero and I’m jealous of everyone who was born with the appropriate twiddling genes that let you get past the easy level. Back to my point, though, wouldn’t it be great if those gaming hours could be spent actually learning to play an instrument?

Josh Breckman posted the above video to Youtube a while ago and has gained quite a bit of notoriety for his hack that turns the Wii Guitar Hero controller into a real instrument. You don’t play it like a legit guitar, of course, but by adjusting the tilt of the guitar and flexing the whammy bar, the 5 buttons can be used to toggle a variety of notes and effects.

Anyway, it turns out we get all 5 button states (obviously), up strokes and down strokes (separately), and 11 degrees of movement of the whammy bar.

I took this info and fed it into my handy synthesizer as I played and turned it into a sort of instrument. My keyboard has a pretty decent electric guitar sound, so it sounded sort of realistic. I used the wiimote’s orientation and the whammy bar to add different “note banks” to let me play more than 5 notes.

I assume this is using a custom GlovePIE script to funnel commands to the software that’s controlling the synth, but I don’t really know much more about it than that. Josh says he’ll be posting a tutorial soon. Until then, I’ll be stabbing buttons while colored dots fly at me in three dimensions.

Wii Guitar Hero Synth Hack


  • bachterman

    oh wow, that is a lot of honey!
    maybe you should bake some cakes with it. or sell it as novelty.

  • Elijah

    You could try making some Meade (Honey Wine) with it.

    Here’s a great resource for Meade making:
    http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/index.htm

    And a really cool no-equipment way to get started:
    http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/fast-cheap-mead-making.htm

    I’ve actually been interested in trying a batch myself (setting it up for St Patty’s day next year). If your interested in parting with (read: selling) about 6-10 lbs, then email me.

    I’d love to see how it turns out if you tried it, could come up with a hack to make it easier I suppose ;)

  • Martin

    Hackszine is seriously running offtopic. What in the world does bees have to do with hacking? I’d be pleased to see more hacking articles (jailbreaking and such) and fewer Makezine cross-posts. At one update a day, you should really have loads of material to choose from. So why choose honey?

  • Jason Striegel

    Martin – Thanks for the comment, but I’m afraid I disagree. There are lots of ways to making hacking a part of your life besides just owning the latest gadgets or writing clever code.

    I write crazy software all day. I work on robots some evenings. In the summer, I found an efficient way to make over 100 pounds of food in a 2ft x 2ft section of a city yard. There are other people who work on blimps, or bicycles, or send measuring equipment up in rockets, and I admire all those things from a hacker’s perspective.

    Things like DIY agriculture, physics, home efficiency, photography, astronomy, and other educational or scientific pursuits—especially when it enables thought and exploration outside of what is normally available to the average hacker—that’s all fair game too.

    I dig the stuff you’re talking about as well. If you have anything important that we should be posting, please contribute and send in a link.

  • Martin

    It’s not that I don’t like things and activities other than hacking; I too enjoy photography, astronomy and honey. :)
    That’s why I spend half my time at the computer reading Makezine and Instructables about that.
    It’s just that *Hacks*-zine, I think, should be about electronics and software; things related to hacking.
    So unless you can hack your bees, I don’t think they belong here. :)

  • Eric Smith
  • Jason Striegel

    @Eric

    That is awesome! Thanks for the link.