• Build your own controller – Five awesome custom designs and music made with them

    Ever looked at off-the-shelf controllers and went “This isn’t what I’m looking for…” ? Turns out, a lot of people have. Most of us end up either hoarding dozens of pieces of gear to try out in our constant quest for being one with the music we perform, or trying to adapt ourselves to the limitations or not-quite-there-for-us workflows of tools that manufacturers are selling (although I find that my personal off-the-shelf controller setup fits me like a glove).

    However, there are a bunch of dudes and dudettes out there who won’t settle for anything less than exactly what they envision for themselves, and the result of that determination most often leads to learning new and awesome things, innovation, some wonderful music and even the occasional gear-prohn-eye-candy.

    With that in mind, here are a bunch of custom controllers build by friends and favorites of Controllerism.com, some of them recent, others old news (but cool, nonetheless).


    Side Brain’s arcade beat station

    Controllerism.com favorite Side Brain is no stranger to modifying toys to make music, so, from his Dreamcast+Powerglove setup, building his own beat station controller was only the next logical step. There’s no video of this thing in action just yet, but keep an eye on his YouTube channel and one might just pop up soon enough.

    Nick Francis’s Choppertone

    It doesn’t get more retro than this. Besides the Choppertone being one of the most gorgeous custom controllers in existence, Nick’s used it to make my personal favorite mash-up of all time.

    Tomash Ghz’s Digital Warrior

    Thomash recently became a contributor to this website, and he has a lot of experience with building controllers. I’ve actually personally never seen him use anything but stuff he’s build himself. (aside from this, but even with the MIDI Fighter 3D, he couldn’t use it unless he wrote his custom script for it. Go Tomash!)

    Egadz’s Egadz Controller

    Egadz is awesome. Seriously. From his love of arcade buttons embedded in plaster, to his bleepity-bloop 8bit sound, to his beard of almost Conte-like proportions, the guy’s just fun to follow.

    Moldover’s MOJO

    How could we have made this list without including the MOJO? Check out Moldover’s Amen Break performance towards the middle of the video, and then feel a surge of motivation growing inside and start building your own MOJO, because the whole design is open source, by the way.  Grab the schematics, templates and instructions right here.