Posts Tagged ‘performance’

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.