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Beatmaker Powered Keytar

edited January 21 in BeatMakers Showcase
Howdy! Just wanted to share my little science experiment. I started with a Rock Band 3 keyboard and then hardwired an M-Audio Uno and Apple camera connection cable inside the chassis. Mounted a 1/4" jack where the midi connector used to be on the keyboard and attached an ipod case with some double sided tape. Then I just snapped in an ipod touch running Beatmaker and I've got a self contained keytar I can load with customized samples. I play rhythm guitar in a cover band but on certain songs I use the keytar to play brass parts, auxiliary percussion or whatever else the song needs. For convenience while playing live I use Touch OSC to control the volume in Beatmaker. I only switch over to the Beatmaker screen to change patches. (Wish you could assign program change commands to patches in the sampler!!)

Haven't really seen anyone else do this but I highly recommend it! It's SOOO much fun to play. The keybed on the Rock Band 3 controller is really good! Actually reminds me of the action on the Novation SL MkII. Recently I added a few mods. Originally the controller was powered by 3 AA batteries. They lasted a long time but after I had them die on my in the middle of a show I decided to wire it to get it's power from the ipod. To save battery when I'm not using it, I added power switch to the top that shuts off both the controller and the m-audio midi interface. I also disconnected the ribbon controller on the handle since I never used it but found that I would accidentally hit it on occasion. And I rewired the overdrive button to be a sustain. Last but not least, by default the square and circle buttons function as octave changers but I didn't think that was a very convenient spot for them so I ran some jumper wires up to the handle and mounted my own buttons where I can reach them easily.

Here are a couple shots:


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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And here are some samples I loaded recently:

Hope someone finds this interesting. If you have any questions or ideas for further improvements I'd love to hear them!


  • Hey @tdreeder !

    Thanks for sharing ! This is awesome to see your custom keytar ! Oh, the possibilities !

    All the best,
  • Awesome! Love how you've repurposed the controller, and the mobility of the setup. Very cool. Reminds me of some work I did years ago, using the DJ Hero turntable as a scratch deck in my live setup.
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