This blog documents the production of my Kaoss Pad 1 Guitar Modification. The posts appear newest to oldest, so it may be easier to go bottom to top if using it as a guide or reading the whole thing, or just go off the archive navigation below.

Cheers for stopping by, hope its in some way interesting, please feel free to comment!

Monday, 12 March 2007

We (I) begin...

There ain't much time span to this project, so far at least. The motivation was a considerable mixture of Matt Belamy's similar adaptation, and also some realistic motivation (made me half convinced it could possibly work for me) from Phil, although I must say he seems much more experienced in the field.

I hope somebody looks at this and instantly stops wondering, picks up the sharpest thing they see, cut a hole in their guitar, then theres some motivation to make it neater and stick a snazzy kaoss pad mod there to cover your destructive acts. I also hope it works for them, and for me. Time will tell.

The spark...
So me and my mate JP are sat pretty cabbaged in my dull room having sat there all day not all that with it, and i think boredom alone triggered it. As well as some heavy drooling over internet resources such as Phil's youtube features that is. It suddenly seemed remotely possible and like a good idea.

Start hacking...
So this was a slightly poor order to do things. But I thought i'd at least see what sorta wood I was dealing with. I did this willingly because my guitar is on its last legs, needs a complete rewire, has a grounding problem, dodgey neck, unfixed humbuckers with lost screws and springs and can be deemed no better than my first guitar that served me well and had fun from my side, but a piece of 6 year old 120 quid new shit to the majority of the western world.

What i'm trying to say is should you be staring across your room with an evil grin at your new Gibson LP or, anythin that doesnt stoop as low as my previous description, you may want to pause for breath and really think. Especially about the method of removing the wood you use, compared to mine that is!

With a screwdriver...
Parents were away, no toolboxes seemed to be on the property which wasn't good, but there was indeed a dodgey flatbladed screwdriver, a threaded crosspoint, a hammer, a rather useless and awkward inappropriate yet eventually sorta handy file, and as you'll see later, some PVA glue too (you'll see later).

I would of used a chisel, but none were anywhere. So the flatblade screwdriver had to do, and all in all it did a rather good job. Only because (i think) though, my guitar seemed to be made of really really soft wood. ply, i think, but it was even crapped, more like shavings compacted together, i forgot the name (mdf) but not really, argh. it was annoying. Then i realised it only has wood up the strip following the neck, hollow edges.

First however, i used a stanley knife (with a plastic handle) to mark vaguely (careful, this really scratched the fuck out of my guitar, i got over it quick, you may not) the boundaries straight off... the aim being that when the paint / plasticy stuff fractured off, it didnt take half the body's worth with it, just that square.

And then I hacked. Mostly just piled it in with a hammer half way and came back on myself to pull chunks, then just hacked in, twisted to get a bit under the surface and just, worked little chunks out to get it square. I didnt make it go through the back, saw no need for that.

My LED is going to have to be powered by battery cos I don't want to try to do anything complex getting power of the KP if its possible anyway, so I'm just going to put some temp mounts for a battery in the electronics access of the guitar.
The hole for the pad overlaps handily on my guitar with the electronics access on the back, meaning an ideal place for the battery clip to fit through for power.

The output for the KP Pad will be next to my jack output. Here, I marked another strip, estimating how large a serial connector would be, cut it with the blade, hacked off the paint neatly (sorta), then started to hack into that in the same way. I think I just alternated between which side I was caving the hole through and eventually got there, widened it a bit and left it at that.

I then finished by maximising the depth of the pad hole, leaving the upper walls as they were as it supported the pad well at a good level while i cant mount it properly. This could be damaging to the KP Pad im not sure. The deeper part was to allow space for the electronics (LEDs) I plan to add behind the screen.

PVA Glue.. thats stayed fluid for like. 7 years or something!
This idea came into my head just because it was worrying me how much dust and shavings would be floating about (especially when in motion) near the KP Touchpad with a freshly hacked softwood body there. Probably with good cause.
Although this still worries me, probably with good cause, I think I made it slightly better by applying a moderate layer of PVA glue across the reachable majority of the affected woodwork to contain any loose sawdust etc. It certainly looks a bit neater as well, almost like varnish. It a bit nastier to hack into on the surface after doing this thats why I did as much hacking as I think I'll have to before doing it (although I did do it 3 times before that!).

Makeshift pad cover / 'housing'
I say housing, but it doesn't house it too well. The pad actually rests where it happen to rest in the hole, usually a cm or so deep in the hole, it hasn't knocked about at all though, stays in place probably cos the woods so hacky and gives good friction to hold it still once its in place (but like i say, could be destroying the pad itself.

The housing I made was, argh. It was a video tape box. Black, sliced it down to get the flat front sheet of plastic, an then marked a basic square bigger than the hole, thats all i knew. From there I sliced it down a bit, however to screw on would need to clear the hole and span a cm or two onto the wooden guitar body so the screws fixed into somewhere. The guitar's adjustment knobs got in the way here, and I simply cut an arc out in the middle side for one, then another at the top for another, following that, it fit relatively neatly and evenly on the front.

I then hacked a medium sized hole (not full sized) in the middle of the cover, and kept putting it on top in position so I could visualize where the 'centre would be'.
I measured the edges of the void in the Kaoss Pad's front cover (its original pad cover) and made a paper square to scale, and just moved it about until it looked right, scraped a marker line then hacked through the cover to give the neatest square I could. This is generally cosmetic, although it would stop the pad being able to fall out the front, which happened the first time i tryed to mount it.
A better cover would support both sides (also helping to keep the layers together) and prevent dust getting in at all. I may just seal it off best I can with plastic or something underneath. God knows.

I just bore some holes with the scalpel, screwed direct into solid woodwork on the guitar and it all fit together nicely and in all honesty for the fact of how dossed and low or, none existant budget this is turning out to be, looks alright, and so I'm told also.

So thats the guitar preperation. Like I said, you may want to alter the order, work on the electronics first cos, in fairness you can do all of that before destroying a guitar. It just really didn't matter to me.

God that was a rant. I'll add images and measurements soon.

No comments: