A Live footswitch for under ten bucks

I need a footswitch for Live so I can record and trigger clips while playing with both hands.  So I made one!  I wish I could claim credit for this ingeniously crappy foot controller, but I definitely heard the idea somewhere else earlier.  I can’t remember who or where, so whoever you are, props.

Here’s the basic, stolen idea: take a keyboard.  Rip out most of the keys.  Put something big on the remaining keys so you can mash them with your foot.  Map those keys in Ableton.

Here are my supplies:

  • An old keyboard.  The computer kind, not the MIDI kind.  I have tons of these kicking around; you can also find them easily at thrift stores.
  • A pack of those rubber discs that go under furniture to keep from scratching your floor.
  • Rubber cement.  The latter two cost a combined $7.10 at the hardware store.

Building a foot controller for Live

First I pulled all the keys off the bottom rows except for Z, V, M, and /.

After looking at the keyboard, then looking at my giant feet, I realized it would be impossible to hit just one of the middle buttons with shoes on.  So I gave up on a four-switch model and decided to go with three: Z, B, and period.

I forgot how huge my feet are

Next I used rubber cement to attach the keys to the rubber feet.  After a false start I found it necessary to use a giant blob of cement on the keys, enough to fill the whole indentation where your finger goes.

Mounting the footswitches

After letting it dry, I put the keys back on the keyboard.  I flipped them upside-down so the new footswitches would tilt down toward my feet, making them much easier to reach.

The finished footswitch

Finally, I plugged the keyboard into a spare USB port and mapped my footswitches to clip slots.  That’s it!  I have a super crappy but functional footswitch.  It cost less than ten bucks and took less than an hour of effort.

One Response to “A Live footswitch for under ten bucks”

  1. n3wjack Says:

    LOL. Doesn’t get any more lofi than this I guess, controller-wise. 🙂

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