MaKey MaKey Guitar/Keytar

This is project is setup a lot like the Banana Keyboard we made with the maKey maKey (blog post here), but with a few extra steps.

What is a MaKey MaKey?
A maKey maKey is a board that you can use to turn just about any object lying around into touchpads or keys. For more information, click here to go to the official website.

This project does not require any programming, but you will need the following:

– MaKey Makey
– 7 Alligator clips
– 6 washers
– Access to a computer with internet
– A USB cable (to plug in your MaKey MaKey to your computer)
– Tin foil (optional)
– Cardboard for your physical Guitar
– Masking tape

Making the Guitar
The first thing that we are going to do is make the guitar out of cardboard. It can be a straight piece like a piano, or it can be shaped like a real guitar. You can add whatever decorations you want to during this step. Personally, I chose a straight rectangle because its easy for my hand to come around the top to touch the keys (and it was quicker 🙂 ).

Whatever design you decide to do, you’ll want to use 6 pieces of masking tape, rolled into a ring with the sticky-side out, spaced out along the bottom — This is where your keys are going to go! On top of the tape, you’ll put your six washers. Make sure the washers are not touching. Note: I found it easier for the next steps if I have the washers at the edge of the cardboard.

Lastly, wrap a piece of tin foil around the neck of your instrument — We are going to use this for grounding.


Connecting the maKey maKey
With our guitar made, we are ready connect our maKey maKey to our computer using the USB cable. You should not have to install drivers, so if your computer asks you to do this just ignore it.

Next, click here to open the piano keyboard that was made for the maKey maKey. Try out the piano by using the arrow keys, space bar, and mouse clicks to make sounds. These are going to be the sounds when we hit our keys!

Connecting to Earth & Grounding
Use one of your alligator clips to connect anywhere on “Earth” on the maKey maKey. By holding the other end in your hand, you are grounding it. So we can play freely and not have to worry about holding onto this clip, we can attach this to the tin foil that we wrapped around the neck of our guitar. This way, all you will have to do is touch the tin foil!

Connecting to the Guitar
The moment has come! Let’s get this baby hooked up! On the maKey maKey, attached the rest of the alligator clips on the arrows, space, and click. Each other end you’ll want to clip onto each washer. You may need to rearrange your alligator clips for the scale to go in order. As long as your grounded, you should be able to just tap the washers and hear the keys!


Comments? Questions? Need help troubleshooting? Let me know by sending me a message or leave a comment below.


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