How to... build a Kaoss Pad into a guitar

Inspired by this post about the guy from Muse's Kaoss Pad guitar, Phil broke out the soldering iron and router and made one himself from a KP2 and an Epiphone Les Paul, with a DB9 serial connector linking the touchpad with the electronics. His full instructions are here, and a demo video of the finished guitar is here. Good work, Phil!

that is so damn cool!!
Fascinating stuff. Does anyone know if this works with the KP2? I'm getting a Jazzmaster soon and i just might do this with/to my old Epiphone Les Paul.
Anyone know of a part number to get a new touch plate for the kaoss pad?

A room-mate cracked mine, and it doesn't even boot anymore.
innaresting. Now all he has to do is learn how to play the damn guitar.
should do the same with my Casio DG 20... sounds are so bad anyway that i need to beef them up all the time... a very inspirational post. thanks
Hehe, I knew that sour playing would draw some comments ;)
Lyle Workman from Beck's band did this some time ago too
Yeah, I gave out props in the YouTube video to Hugh Manson and MJ Guitars.
Phil, thanks for the photos. Now I just have to find out exactly what a Kaoss Pad does.

Cool mod dood.
very cool looking, and that's what the ladies like. I think the electric guitar is pretty tired. It's nice to see a new take on putting the stompbox right into the body of the guitar.

It would have been nice to hear some decent playing though. Also, why not have the controls of the pad showing? The extra knobs and sample pads would make that fiddle into something half decent.
DJ McManus
Congrats to Phil and he's no doubt had fun with this beast.
Hhhhhmmmm... a great big hole cut through the body of the guitar behind the bridge could have disasterous consequences on the tone of the instrument. Whilst the Epiphone Junior is a plywood-bodied instrument so it's not like he's wrecking a decent guitar, I can't help thinking that that what little tone it had is being sacrificed.

Space in the guitar body probably doesn't permit but wouldn't above the strings on the bass side be a better site for the Kaoss pad? That way you could use your thumb on the pad whilst your fingers attacked the strings. It would probably need a custom built guitar though - or a slimmer pad!

My other thoughts are that it's all a bit gimmicky and I wonder how useful a musical tool this could actually be? I would rather have seen the guy in the demo video performing a complete piece by way of demonstration, although from his fretboard fumblings I suspect that he's not a very competent guitarist.

Gimmicks won't make you a better player.
I felt very reassured by his playing - it's very similar to mine.
Gimmicks won't make you a better player, but they can let you have more fun playing.
Maybe he could pimp it out with some kind of tremolo arm with one of those plastic pens used to control PDA's one one end? Ofcourse that would pretty much limit movement on the pad to up-down.
maybe he should have also implemented a tuner ? XD
maybe all you negative nancies should kill yourselves.
"maybe all you negative nancies should kill yourselves"

that's the name of my new album!
I don't think cutting the hole would affect the tone much, considering the tone of an electric guitar is largely dependant on the pickups and pickup placement. Another way to think about it is to compare the amount the body is vibrating to the amount the string is vibrating. If the pickup is generating a single from just the vibration of the string, then the very little amount the body vibrates would affect the tone.

It basically comes down to physics. I think the belief that electric guitar shape is a large factor in tone is a common held misconception among guitarists.
New demo for all you tardy readers, this one demos one of the delay effects in more detail,
"I don't think cutting the hole would affect the tone much, considering the tone of an electric guitar is largely dependant on the pickups and pickup placement."

Wow, that's just like SOOOO wrong it's not even funny.

The pick-up samples the vibrating string, and the vibration of the string is influenced by the weight of the wood, type, density, etc... Furthermore, the pickups are sitting in the wood, and their tone is similarily affected by the amount of vibration transferred through and in what frequencies.

A High density piece, or heavier of wood is going to sound brighter. So, what happens if you take a 6 oz. chunk of wood out of your guitar? How does that affect the sympathetic vibration of wood and string along the vibrational plane?

It probably gave him alot less sustain, but he might dig that too. The beauty of strings on wood is you never really know what's going to happen when you put the two together. Some great Rock n' Roll was recorded on badly built guitars with almost no sustain at all. Link Wray got his sound by punching holes in his speakers with a pencil.

Agreed that better placement would be to the side of the bridge... If not on the floor.

I am, however, thinking this + e-bow = OMFG! The question is how to best work out placement of the two. However, a sustainiac or something like it could free up the right hand for a pad, with the left free for frets.

Otherwse, you could rip the Controls out of a Tele and put it down there. Many guitarists use the controls while picking, you could get bits o' chaos with your pinky while plucking along. In fact, I have this old Strat copy....
I do have a Sustaniac Stealth Plus in the mail currently for this guitar. I believe this is what MJ Guitars put in the one they built for Lyle Workman, also the Hugh Manson guitar has a Fernandes Sustainer.
Ok, right after I typed the post, I did realize I didn't consider sustain. With that, you're correct.

However, I think that the wood doesn't play as big a part as most guitarist would like to think. Yes, it plays a part, but it might be such an indistinguishable part that only the most self-absorbed guitarist would claim there's a difference, except for on the sustain. Right now, I'm considering more of the harmonic content of the sound.

A similar debate is to whether or not there is a "Special touch" that certain piano players have that makes the piano sound more beautiful.

But also, you brought up the important issue that tone is in the ear of the beholder. Certainly a blues guitarist's tone wouldn't sit well in a death metal song.
Anyone ever see the cover of Van Halen's Women and Children First? Eddie's holding an Eddie-striped Explorer with a chunk cut out to make it look like the Dean Dimebag always played. But he hated playing it by then, because he thought cutting out that piece took the heart out of the tone. (Or words to that effect.)

I wouldn't do this to my #1 guitar, but if I could scrape everything together, I'd say that this is a valid thing to do to a #2 or #3 guitar. And replacing the standard controls with this thing seems doable, especially if you have a volume pedal.
Found another demo, kinda sweet!:
Korg just came out with a new Kaoss Pad that's a lot smaller...

I'd consider using that one on a guitar before I'd consider adding a full-size one-in fact, Musician's Friend even suggested mounting one to a guitar...
Is it possible to build the KP3 in a Guitar instead of the KP2 with the same instruction?
If any one wants a proper demo of how this works, look up Supermassive Black Hole and New Born Live at Wembley 2006 (part of HAARP) by Muse. Bellamy shows you how to do it!
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