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