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Guitar Hero pedal controllers

Recently I was asked to build some single-handed Guitar Hero controllers to show at the Games for Health conference, and Red Octane was kind enough to donate some guitars for me to experiment with. Here are the results, I built two of them:

Colored blue and green to represent the PS3 and 360
Click here for a larger version

These replace the strum and whammy bar from a standard guitar, allowing you to use a single hand for the chords. What you do is use your foot and click your toes up or down to strum or navigate menus. To perform a whammy you lift up your heel – the spring loaded plate is shown in the up (full whammy) position in the photo, but normally your heel compresses it (no whammy). The pedal plugs into a modified Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul wireless controller. You can still strum the modified guitar but the whammy is only on the pedal.

For more photos and info check the rest of the story below. This project also finally gave me an excuse to throw together a “music video” demonstrating its use, check it out here.

I first started with a wooden prototype… it’s really quite simple but I guess it’s the though that counts.

Hopefully my high school shop teacher isn't dead, otherwise he'll be turning in his grave!

As you can see my woodworking skills are not very good, but all it had to do was sort of work to test the concept. At first I tried using a separate pedal for whammy, but it was hard getting my feet to do separate things. (Maybe it’s just me) An all-in-one solution seemed better…

When stumped I usually go hit the local bar and sketch out ideas. (I also do this when non-stumped as well) Scribbling on the back of a karaoke sign-up slip, I came to the idea of putting a pedal under the heel…

He's a great karaoke DJ - click for details.
The actual slip. (Much better writing surface than bar napkins)

Sperries - the official summer loafer of Ben Heckendorn. Buy yours today.

I then modified the wooden prototype with a flimsy heel pedal, as shown above with one of my Sperries. One of the trickiest parts of this projects was figuring out the correct range of rotation for the whammy potentiometer. This then has to fit the range of a spring, and yet be within the range of lifting ones heel.

You can never have enough consoles on one TV
A shot of me playing GH3. And yes, I do still have an Atari 2600 hooked up to my TV – why wouldn’t I?

Fun fact: I am not all that great at these games and can barely play on Hard. COD4, that's a different story ;)
Myself with the pedal and guitar. The pedal kind of resembles a big metal shoe, kind of like if Robocop went to Holland.


Click for larger version, suitable for use in press releases and/or print without having to email me asking for larger pics. Using the stickers included with the guitars really tied the look together, wouldn’t you agree?


Click here for larger version. Fun fact – I used an old Atari Jaguar controller cable with this pedal. Hopefully it doesn’t jinx anything…

 

79 Responses to “Guitar Hero pedal controllers”

  1. Kyosho Says:

    Very cool. Also, the video was very nice work with the splicing of your films in and stuff. Worked well.

  2. Ps3 » Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

    [...] VideoGamesBlogger – Bit by Bit, Only the Best Game News wrote an interesting post today on Guitar Hero pedal controllersHere’s a quick excerpt Recently I was asked to build some single-handed Guitar Hero controllers to show at the Games for Health conference, and Red Octane was kind enough to donate some guitars for me to experiment with. Here are the results, I built two of them: Click here for a larger version These replace the strum and whammy bar from a standard guitar, allowing you to use a single hand for the chords. What you do is use your foot and click your toes up or down to strum or navigate menus. To perform a whammy y [...]

  3. bjorno Says:

    The flame stickers really add a touch of class.

  4. Magda Says:

    Everytime I come to this site I find something awesome to make me smile and think I can still be a gamer :) Thanks Ben! I hope these get manufactured one day!

  5. MechChix Says:

    Very nice work! This plugs into the guitar itself? I love that all-metal build. It looks like it belongs on-stage at a concert. That attention to detail is great!

  6. Guitar Hero… with your feet? « XSp. Says:

    [...] Extra: Bonus picture and video! (more details about this project on the official page) [...]

  7. Guitar Hero… com os pés? « XSp. Says:

    [...] Extra: Foto bônus, e vídeo! (vejam mais detalhes sobre o projeto na página oficial) [...]

  8. b Says:

    This is awesome, will gamers with one hand be able to get these somehow?
    You should really go into business selling some of your creations, you would make a killing because there is plenty of money to be made in Guitar hero and Rock Band related products.
    As for this specific idea, there may not be a huge population of one-handed gamers, but plenty of people would love to have something like an effects pedal that sets off overdrive / star power.

  9. www.tibia4you.org Opisy broni, magii, pancerzy, przedmiotów i map, zasady gry, poradniki. » Blog Archive » (GB) Strum With Your Foot: Ben Heck’s Guitar Hero Pedal Controller Says:

    [...] Check out how it was built at Benheck.com [...]

  10. MMO Clerks » Ben Heck’s Guitar Hero Pedal [Guitar Hero] Says:

    [...] got to be the fact he wired them using the controller cables from an old Jaguar controller. Guitar Hero pedal controllers [Ben [...]

  11. CrunchGear » Archive » Guitar Hero pedal used for one-handed gameplay Says:

    [...] Here’s Ben Heckendorn’s latest invention. It’s a pedal for Guitar Hero (and presumably Rock Band) that controls the strumming and whammy bar functions, so people with only one good arm (and presumably chronic masturbators) can rock out like everyone else. Heckendorn built the pedal for the Games for Health conference. These replace the strum and whammy bar from a standard guitar, allowing you to use a single hand for the chords. What you do is use your foot and click your toes up or down to strum or navigate menus. To perform a whammy you lift up your heel…The pedal plugs into a modified Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul wireless controller. You can still strum the modified guitar but the whammy is only on the pedal. [...]

  12. Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero | XBox 360 News Says:

    [...] since the first 360 Laptop, and console modder extraordinaire, Ben Heckendorn, has been busy. His newest project is designed to allow users to use their Guitar Hero controllers with a single hand. The controller [...]

  13. myxbox360blog.info » Blog Archive » Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero Says:

    [...] since the first 360 Laptop, and console modder extraordinaire, Ben Heckendorn, has been busy. His newest project is designed to allow users to use their Guitar Hero controllers with a single hand. The controller [...]

  14. Electric Chaos » Blog Archive » Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero Says:

    [...] since the first 360 Laptop, and console modder extraordinaire, Ben Heckendorn, has been busy. His newest project is designed to allow users to use their Guitar Hero controllers with a single hand. The controller [...]

  15. Gizmodo, the gadget guide » Blog Archive » One-Handed Guitar Hero, So Pirates Can Rock Like Ninjas [Mods] Says:

    [...] To activate the whammy, the user lifts up on their heel to release the spring-loaded rear of the pedal. Yeah, it sounds a bit confusing, but Heckendorn makes it look pretty normal in this example video. Well, as normal as geeking out to Guitar Hero will ever look, at least. [Ben Heck] [...]

  16. Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero » XBox Game Players » Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero Says:

    [...] since the first 360 Laptop, and console modder extraordinaire, Ben Heckendorn, has been busy. His newest project is designed to allow users to use their Guitar Hero controllers with a single hand. The controller [...]

  17. One-Handed Guitar Hero, So Pirates Can Rock Like Ninjas [Mods] | DougsTech.com - Tech News, Reviews, and Guides Says:

    [...] To activate the whammy, the user lifts up on their heel to release the spring-loaded rear of the pedal. Yeah, it sounds a bit confusing, but Heckendorn makes it look pretty normal in this example video. Well, as normal as geeking out to Guitar Hero will ever look, at least. [Ben Heck] [...]

  18. Sweetraskels Blog» Blog Archive » One-Handed Guitar Hero, So Pirates Can Rock Like Ninjas [Mods] Says:

    [...] To activate the whammy, the user lifts up on their heel to release the spring-loaded rear of the pedal. Yeah, it sounds a bit confusing, but Heckendorn makes it look pretty normal in this example video. Well, as normal as geeking out to Guitar Hero will ever look, at least. [Ben Heck] [...]

  19. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers - Tech|noob Says:

    [...] cable used with one of the pedals — Ben just hopes that "doesn't jinx anything." Read | Permalink | Email [...]

  20. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers : arnsteinblogg 2.0 Says:

    [...] Jaguar controller cable used with one of the pedals — Ben just hopes that “doesn’t jinx anything.” Read | Permalink | Email [...]

  21. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers at Tech Review Direct Says:

    [...] Jaguar controller cable used with one of the pedals — Ben just hopes that “doesn’t jinx anything.” Read | Permalink | Email [...]

  22. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

    [...] Jaguar controller cable used with one of the pedals — Ben just hopes that “doesn’t jinx anything.” Read | Permalink | Email [...]

  23. My Feeds » Blog Archive » Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

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  24. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | PC and gadgets blog MyPCProblems.info Says:

    [...] Jaguar controller cable used with one of the pedals — Ben just hopes that “doesn’t jinx anything.” Read | Permalink | Email [...]

  25. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers : www.techtidbits.org Says:

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  26. B On The Move - Tech News - Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

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  27. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | CompleteFeed.com Says:

    [...] Jaguar controller cable used with one of the pedals — Ben just hopes that “doesn’t jinx anything.” Read | Permalink | Email [...]

  28. » Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers SIBLB: SURF INTERNET BEYOND LANGUAGE BORDERS Says:

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  29. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | Gizmo Hacker Says:

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  32. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers » Developages - Development and Technology Blog Says:

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  33. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | BlogNerds Says:

    [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

  34. MechChix Says:

    b:

    They’ve got something like that available. I saw them on e-Bay before. I can’t remember how expensive they are, though.

  35. Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

    [...] Andrew Yoon wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptRecently I was asked to build some single-handed Guitar Hero controllers to show at the Games for Health conference, and Red Octane was kind enough to donate some guitars for me to experiment with. Here are the results, I built two of … [...]

  36. gadjoo.com Says:

    The Official Site of Benjamin J Heckendorn…

    Recently I was asked to build some single-handed Guitar Hero controllers to show at the Games for Health conference, and Red Octane was kind enough to donate some guitars for me to experiment with. Here are the results, I built two of them:…

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  40. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | DougsTech.com - Tech News, Reviews, and Guides Says:

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  41. Your Gadget Guide » Blog Archive » Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

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  42. www.tagsto.com/trackback/ Says:

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    shops about guitar : Recently I was asked to build some single-handed Guitar Hero controllers to show at the Games for Health conference, and Red Octane was kind enough to donate some guitars for me to experiment with. Here are the results, I built tw…

  43. News » One-Handed Guitar Hero, So Pirates Can Rock Like Ninjas [Mods] Says:

    [...] To activate the whammy, the user lifts up on their heel to release the spring-loaded rear of the pedal. Yeah, it sounds a bit confusing, but Heckendorn makes it look pretty normal in this example video. Well, as normal as geeking out to Guitar Hero will ever look, at least. [Ben Heck] [...]

  44. Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero « Xboxpress’s Weblog Says:

    [...] since the first 360 laptop, and console modder extraordinaire, Ben Heckendorn, has been busy. His newest project is designed to allow users to use their Guitar Hero controllers with a single hand. The controller [...]

  45. Ben Heck’s Guitar Hero Foot Pedal for Strum and Whammy : Console Hero Says:

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  50. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | Hyper Tech Ninja: Freeware and Technology For All! Says:

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  51. Allicat Says:

    Where can we get one? One of the kids I work with has a left hemiplegia; and is a Wii fanatic. He plays Guitar Hero, but only with one hand, which plays havoc on his scores.

  52. Ben Heck kontra Guitar Hero | Polygamia Says:

    [...] Ben chyba znudził się wciskaniem konsol w laptopowe obudowy, bo wziął się za ulepszanie Guitar Hero 3. I nie chodzi tu o naklejenie na plastikową gitarę naklejek z czachą i płomieniami. Ben Heck stworzył pedał (chyba najlepiej pasujące słowo), który pozwala uderzać w wirtualne struny palcami u nogi! Obecna jest również wajcha whammy bar, za którą odpowiadają ruchy pięty. Nie dość, że akcesorium wygląda naprawdę fantastycznie, to dzięki takiej modyfikacji nawet ludzie z tylko jedną sprawną ręką będą mogli pobawić się grą od Activision. Więcej informacji znajdziecie na stronie projektu. [...]

  53. XAM » Blog Archive » Ben Heck kontra Guitar Hero Says:

    [...] Ben chyba znudził się wciskaniem konsol w laptopowe obudowy, bo wziął się za ulepszanie Guitar Hero 3. I nie chodzi tu o naklejenie na plastikową gitarę naklejek z czachą i płomieniami. Ben Heck stworzył pedał (chyba najlepiej pasujące słowo), który pozwala uderzać w wirtualne struny palcami u nogi! Obecna jest również wajcha whammy bar, za którą odpowiadają ruchy pięty. Nie dość, że akcesorium wygląda naprawdę fantastycznie, to dzięki takiej modyfikacji nawet ludzie z tylko jedną sprawną ręką będą mogli pobawić się grą od Activision. Więcej informacji znajdziecie na stronie projektu. [...]

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  55. Evil Jim Says:

    That was a great video. Looks like I gotta see your movies now so I know where some of those clips came from.

  56. Guitar Hero para mancos « No puedo creer que lo hayan inventado… Says:

    [...] Se puso manos a la obra y construyó un mod para el Guitar Hero, para todas las personas que por cualquier circunstancia tienen solo una mano y, evidentemente, no pueden jugar a este juego. Concretamente construyóun pedal para jugar con el pié. [...]

  57. SargaS Says:

    WoW amazing!!! I really need one of this! I´ve lost my right arm on an traffic crash and I love to play guitar hero.
    Where can I buy one of this?? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez

  58. a mil kilometros » Blog Archive » Juega a Guitar Hero con una sola mano Says:

    [...] May 16 Juega a Guitar Hero con una sola mano By adminAdd commentsVarios, Videojuegos Fuente | BenHeck This entry was posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 12:42 pm and is filed under Varios, [...]

  59. Enlaces del 20/05/2008 | El Chigüire Literario Says:

    [...] hack creado para una conferencia, para jugar Guitar Hero con una sola mano. Un pedal que incluye control para subir y bajar, y poder hacer otros efectos propios del juego. [...]

  60. guitar Says:

    Cool man. I even never think about this before. How long you make this one?

  61. Hostpundit - Hosting and Gadgets » Blog Archive » Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers Says:

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  62. Ben Heck maintains his reputation with Guitar Hero pedal controllers | Sourfizz Says:

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  63. M Says:

    Very cool. My daughter was born with only one arm and she is frustrated by games like GH that her brother and friends can play. Guess I have a new project to replicate your work. Thanks for the inspiration!

  64. 17 Insanely Modded Game Console Controllers [Pics] » The Hottest Gadgets Says:

    [...] Guitar Hero Pedal Controllers by Ben Heck So the uber modder, Ben Heck, decided it would be cool to play some Guitar Hero with his feet sometimes. Then he made these. Mission accomplished. [...]

  65. Mike Says:

    I lost my left arm in a farming accident and get to watch my wife and kids play GH all the time, they love it! I would love to be able to play rather than sit frustrated on the sidelines! Are these going to be available anywhere?

  66. All Amazing Articles » 17 Insanely Modded Game Console Controllers Says:

    [...] Guitar Hero Pedal Controllers by Ben Heck So the uber modder, Ben Heck, decided it would be cool to play some Guitar Hero with his feet sometimes. Then he made these. Mission accomplished. [...]

  67. Microsoft Xbox360 » Blog Archive » Strum with your feet! Ben Heck goes Guitar Hero Says:

    [...] since the first 360 Laptop, and console modder extraordinaire, Ben Heckendorn, has been busy. His newest project is designed to allow users to use their Guitar Hero controllers with a single hand. The controller [...]

  68. Isabelle Says:

    Does someone know when Wheelman for Xbox360 will be released?

  69. free games Says:

    Haha ^^ nice, is there a section to follow the RSS feed

  70. Balzaque Says:

    Nice! hehe

    just to ppl with throuble playing GH.. after wourld tour with some practice u can play using the new guitar since u can use the slider to strum with the same hand that ur playing… thats how i play.. but i think it would be hard if u only have the right hand

  71. Heavy Metal Guitar Hero Says:

    Very cool!

  72. todd Says:

    I am a one-handed gamer for now hopefully I’ll regain movement in my left hand eventually. This is awesome I was thinking of something similar to this while I was at rehab after my accident last year. Where can I get it or detailed instructions with a materials list to build one for myself? Rock on!!!

  73. » Pedales Guitar Hero III LivingPS3: Todo el online de PS3 para tí Says:

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  74. Daniel Says:

    If you think this is cool, check out these trick out guitars
    http://yovia.com/blogs/artguitar/2009/11/24/cool-art-guitars/

  75. Kwanzoo - Social Inbound Marketing » Video Games: A short talk with Ben Heck. Says:

    [...] modder Ben Heck made waves again last week with his showing of a one-handed Guitar Hero controller. Ben was kind enough to take some time while making a pan of Hamburger Helper to talk about what [...]

  76. 17 Insanely Modded Game Console Controllers | GhostStorm Gaming News Says:

    [...] Guitar Hero Pedal Controllers by Ben Heck So the uber modder, Ben Heck, decided it would be cool to play some Guitar Hero with his feet sometimes. Then he made these. Mission accomplished. [...]

  77. Insanely Modded Game Console Controllers! « Coregamer – Games news, reviews and discussion- your difinitive news source. Says:

    [...] Guitar Hero Pedal Controllers by Ben Heck [...]

  78. HijiNKS ENSUE – A Geek Webcomic – 5 Days A Week - » BenHeck: Mod Scientist Says:

    [...] completed several projects to help enable disabled gamers including a one handed controller and a one arm Guitar Hero solution using a foot pedal to [...]

  79. GUITAR HERO PEDAL | Musical Instruments Says:

    [...] guitar hero pedal benheck.com [...]

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