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.
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.
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.
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.
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.