That 1 Guy

I dunno about everyone else, but I was truly inspired by That 1 Guy and his pipe to the point where I got my own idea for making an instrument.  I took this idea to the electronics store in my downtown area thinking that someone there would be able to help.  Needless to say they weren't much help at all.  the guy told me flat out that I'd need someone with a degree in electronic engineering to help me get my idea going. >_< that got me really frustrated.

 

my idea is to take an N64 controller (and maybe others after that) and rewire it into something to the effect of a switchboard.  I was told that having the system itself would help (which made sense, it would have something to send the sounds too).  I also want the ability to change out different sounds with the buttons.  I never actually got close enough to the Magic Pipe to see whether That 1 Guy was using a box of some sort, but I'm willing to use one of those if it would help.

 

any ideas/help? please? xD

Tags: N64, That1Guy, switchboard

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Sounds like a rad idea!!! There are probably lots of different ways to do what you are talking about. I don't know enough about the N64 controllers circuit wiring to give specific technical advice, but I do know that it's not as complicated as the guy at the electronic store said.

Sorry, but when I hear about people in electronic stores giving discouraging advice it really winds me up, so please excuse my long winded rant/answer here.

I also don't know what the heck i'm talking about, so keep that in mind too.

What i'd do first is rip apart the N64 controller and see how it's wired. It's always a lot simpler than it looks on the outside. One idea could also be to rip apart some midi hardware and a midi program change pedal and frankenstein it all together. I've seen folks doing some awesome frankenstein-ing and circuit bending to old speak n spells, atari's, and other computer toys.

that's the "rip it all apart" method. Below is perhaps a better way...

So before you rip it all apart, you might want to look into cc-to-midi converters. Now that i'm thinking more about it, it may be so simple that you hardly have to do much more than plug the N64 controller through a converter and into a computer. It all depends on how deep your willing to go. I can't say for sure what is really possible. All the info you could ever want is on-line! There's a huge subculture of folks on youtube hacking into hardware, modifying, and explaining along the way. Super easy to research this, it's just going to take some dedication and patience….

Because I don't have patience, I usually do the wrong way first only to realize that I worked way harder than I needed to. But that's how we learn right? I'd suggest the simple way first...

Above all, Don't be discouraged! When I built the magic pipe I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing, (like I said, I still don't) nor did I have any background in electronics, electronic music, or instrument building. I'm not saying that it's easy, but it's fun! When I first set out to try and start building, my biggest mistake early on was letting my self get discouraged by the "experts" in the field. I went to a plumbing specialty wholesaler and got laughed out of the store. The folks at the electronics store were even worse, they had no idea what I was talking about and just sort of stared right through me as I babbled about my crazy idea. Don't get me started about the jerks at the music stores. Although there was a kid that worked at the guitar center who pointed me in the direction of the right sampler (thanks man), the one that I still use today, but not before I figured out how to articulate what I was looking for. Eventually when I finished the first prototype, all from the plumbing department at the home depot with no advice or help, I soon discovered that I made a lots of mistakes and that my choice of materials was bad. Later I found a stainless steel specialty dealer that had much better metal that made way more sense for my approach. But it took me building the first prototype to figure out that I was far from done. I've been making improvements ever since, one at a time of course…

This is how we learn and make discoveries. One step at a time and eventually your idea will take shape. You have to be willing to keep failing until you succeed.

Looking back I now realize that it wasn't such a bad thing to be misunderstood by the plumbers, electricians, and musicians. This is in fact a good sign. Meaning that your idea is truly original and it won't make sense to anyone but you. This is why the guy at the electronic store said that insane thing about needing a degree in electronics etc. He doesn't understand what you are trying to do and didn't even know where to start. Even people that are close to you and support what you are doing can't be expected to understand what goes on in your head. It's your vision and once you finish your idea, and it's working, you will be able to show it to them and they will understand.

The most important thing you can do, when working on a project like this is to visualize, as clearly as you can, what you want this instrument to do functionally. When you can see this in your minds eye, you will be able to research and discover the answers. FUNCTION WILL DICTATE THE FORM. You must be willing to destroy some things along the way, abandon some concepts in favor of better ones, and you may have to spend some money (but maybe not). When you know where you eventually want to go, there are many paths that will lead you there.

Best of luck and remember to stay away from the "experts". I blame them for the fact that we have not developed our telepathy and levitation skills yet…

love

that1guy
"The proof is in the prototype". If you build it, they will listen.

Mike is the best! Might just be the only guy who'd give a brother some positive encouragement. To take the time to write so much, shows he's truly passionate about what he does. Mike Trek! "..to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no guy has gone before."

smooches,
» Phy³

That 1 Guy said:
Sounds like a rad idea!!! There are probably lots of different ways to do what you are talking about. I don't know enough about the N64 controllers circuit wiring to give specific technical advice, but I do know that it's not as complicated as the guy at the electronic store said.

Sorry, but when I hear about people in electronic stores giving discouraging advice it really winds me up, so please excuse my long winded rant/answer here.

I also don't know what the heck i'm talking about, so keep that in mind too.

What i'd do first is rip apart the N64 controller and see how it's wired. It's always a lot simpler than it looks on the outside. One idea could also be to rip apart some midi hardware and a midi program change pedal and frankenstein it all together. I've seen folks doing some awesome frankenstein-ing and circuit bending to old speak n spells, atari's, and other computer toys.

that's the "rip it all apart" method. Below is perhaps a better way...

So before you rip it all apart, you might want to look into cc-to-midi converters. Now that i'm thinking more about it, it may be so simple that you hardly have to do much more than plug the N64 controller through a converter and into a computer. It all depends on how deep your willing to go. I can't say for sure what is really possible. All the info you could ever want is on-line! There's a huge subculture of folks on youtube hacking into hardware, modifying, and explaining along the way. Super easy to research this, it's just going to take some dedication and patience….

Because I don't have patience, I usually do the wrong way first only to realize that I worked way harder than I needed to. But that's how we learn right? I'd suggest the simple way first...

Above all, Don't be discouraged! When I built the magic pipe I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing, (like I said, I still don't) nor did I have any background in electronics, electronic music, or instrument building. I'm not saying that it's easy, but it's fun! When I first set out to try and start building, my biggest mistake early on was letting my self get discouraged by the "experts" in the field. I went to a plumbing specialty wholesaler and got laughed out of the store. The folks at the electronics store were even worse, they had no idea what I was talking about and just sort of stared right through me as I babbled about my crazy idea. Don't get me started about the jerks at the music stores. Although there was a kid that worked at the guitar center who pointed me in the direction of the right sampler (thanks man), the one that I still use today, but not before I figured out how to articulate what I was looking for. Eventually when I finished the first prototype, all from the plumbing department at the home depot with no advice or help, I soon discovered that I made a lots of mistakes and that my choice of materials was bad. Later I found a stainless steel specialty dealer that had much better metal that made way more sense for my approach. But it took me building the first prototype to figure out that I was far from done. I've been making improvements ever since, one at a time of course…

This is how we learn and make discoveries. One step at a time and eventually your idea will take shape. You have to be willing to keep failing until you succeed.

Looking back I now realize that it wasn't such a bad thing to be misunderstood by the plumbers, electricians, and musicians. This is in fact a good sign. Meaning that your idea is truly original and it won't make sense to anyone but you. This is why the guy at the electronic store said that insane thing about needing a degree in electronics etc. He doesn't understand what you are trying to do and didn't even know where to start. Even people that are close to you and support what you are doing can't be expected to understand what goes on in your head. It's your vision and once you finish your idea, and it's working, you will be able to show it to them and they will understand.

The most important thing you can do, when working on a project like this is to visualize, as clearly as you can, what you want this instrument to do functionally. When you can see this in your minds eye, you will be able to research and discover the answers. FUNCTION WILL DICTATE THE FORM. You must be willing to destroy some things along the way, abandon some concepts in favor of better ones, and you may have to spend some money (but maybe not). When you know where you eventually want to go, there are many paths that will lead you there.

Best of luck and remember to stay away from the "experts". I blame them for the fact that we have not developed our telepathy and levitation skills yet…

love

that1guy
Here's a great way to get started: http://brokenpants.com/?page_id=94

I made a magic saw using this, still tweaking my talk box and effects pedal for an array of sounds that work for me.
Project Success = Ability to Envision it
http://theartistfarm.com/ideas/?paged=3

That 1 Guy said:
Above all, Don't be discouraged! When I built the magic pipe I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing, (like I said, I still don't) nor did I have any background in electronics, electronic music, or instrument building. I'm not saying that it's easy, but it's fun! When I first set out to try and start building, my biggest mistake early on was letting my self get discouraged by the "experts" in the field. I went to a plumbing specialty wholesaler and got laughed out of the store. The folks at the electronics store were even worse, they had no idea what I was talking about and just sort of stared right through me as I babbled about my crazy idea. Don't get me started about the jerks at the music stores. Although there was a kid that worked at the guitar center who pointed me in the direction of the right sampler (thanks man), the one that I still use today, but not before I figured out how to articulate what I was looking for. Eventually when I finished the first prototype, all from the plumbing department at the home depot with no advice or help, I soon discovered that I made a lots of mistakes and that my choice of materials was bad. Later I found a stainless steel specialty dealer that had much better metal that made way more sense for my approach. But it took me building the first prototype to figure out that I was far from done. I've been making improvements ever since, one at a time of course…

This is how we learn and make discoveries. One step at a time and eventually your idea will take shape. You have to be willing to keep failing until you succeed.

Best of luck and remember to stay away from the "experts". I blame them for the fact that we have not developed our telepathy and levitation skills yet…

that1guy
ok i didnt read all the posts but the original. there is this band i seen open for mc chris called "i fight dragons" they werent really my type of music but each band member had a different game controller, nes, snes, sega, guitar hero guitar, ddr dance mat,the girl even had the power glove, i may be forgetting one or 2 but you get the point, all of them used the contorlers, along with their regular instruments as well instruments. they even did this whole thing to prove they were actually using them and each button made a different noise and were not simply props. im not trying to burst your bubble saying that this concept has already been done or anything, but it has, more just trying to pass on info that you may find usefull or hell you might just enjoy the music, i dunno. but its pretty much what your talking about so i figured id pass the word along.
Upon review of my idea, I did come upon the fact that there are other bands that do this sort of thing (another example a friend told me about: Onomanoguchi (sp?)) . Which was a little disappointing in itself, but that's definitely not going to stop me from trying (anyone ever heard the saying 'if you had the idea someone else has too'?) :) I'm just going to have to modify a few of my ideas a bit. And I do have a TON of ideas ^_^

while I'm here, I've seen Powergloves before but I've never been sure of how they're supposed to work. Anyone care to point me in a direction?
www.partsexpress.com is a good place to look for parts, sorry for late post btw.
Welcome to the world of Arduino.

[IMG]http://arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/ArduinoNG.jpg[/IMG]

Arduino is an open-source hardware platform. Basically, a way to do electronic stuff without a ton of knowledge (basic programming abilities are a plus, but not required to get started).

I personally have an original nintendo controller already working on mine.

[IMG]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y206/Kwechi/100_0087.jpg[/IMG]

Now about getting this thing to output MIDI to accomplish what you want? So far that's proven tough for me, but I'm not very familiar with interfacing MIDI stuffs.
Sadly, I don't have any advice to give that hasn't already been given, except to maybe get an N64-to-usb converter, and then see if some kind of music program (Reason, Ableton Live, etc.) recognizes it as a midi controller. I'm not really sure how that stuff works, but it's worth a shot if you have/can get the software. But if I might add to the conversation, I saw Mike for the first time at the Middle East in Boston last night (I wanted to trade hats with him, but he only had that1hat for the whole tour) and I was also inspired to build some kind of wacky musical contraption. Reading his response really helped a lot, so I just wanted to thank you for bringing up the topic. Also, if I might hi-jack your thread for a second (although this might also help with ideas), this guy called Diego Stocco also makes weird instruments from scratch. He doesn't really do anything with game controllers, but his instruments are in the same vein as The Magic Pipe. Just thought that might be interesting.

Also, this is my electronics site of choice:

http://www.goldmine-elec.com/

Me and my friend had the same thought after the first time we saw him. So when we got home from the 4 hour drive back from Arkansas we built our own instrument its called a Micro Bass Stand its basically a microphone stand with Two Bass strings on it were still not finished and we had the same problem when we went to Guitar center they basically said you guys are on your own cause we have no clue how to build something like that. Anyway thank you soooooooooooo much Mike the show in Lawrence was amazing better than Fayyetville and that show was amazing. SOOOOOOOOO much love man. Can't wait to see you again!  Oh and about the N64 controller look into circuit bending and that should help you out a lot the guy Jon Gamache that opened for That 1 Guy played a kids toy that he had circuit bent and it was awesome good luck! 

Ok, I had quite a bit of text written in here but my wonderful gaming mouse has a button programmed to click back on my browser which caused me to lose everything I had typed. I have some ideas that might prove useful but because I don't want to retype everything I just lost I will just say if you are interested in some resources, tips and ideas to help get your project off the ground, feel free to email me at fuhgawz500-at-hotmail-dot-com. Happy inventing!

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