Building Midi Pedals
How to make MIDI pedals with an inexpensive Casio Keyboard. Not something I’d recommend, but it can be done. I’m purposely not going to get into all the specific details. This is just a diary of my project, not an instruction manual. My pedal project was dictated by price, size, and playability. A better way would be to use one of the available midi controller cards or a MIDIbox that can be attached to your pedals. FYI, you can buy MIDI pedals at your local keyboard dealer, but where’s the fun in that?
I choose an inexpensive new keyboard, about $69. This model, the CTK-491, does not have velocity, so the switching is simple. There's many other models and brands that would work just fine, they just need to have a MIDI out port and can send on MIDI Channel 3.
Thirteen pedals just weren’t enough, and 32 just won’t fit in my vehicle. So I compromised with a 25 note pedalboard from an old Thomas organ. These pedals are longer than regular spinet organ pedals and you can manage basic toe heal playing, yet they are portable enough to be carried in a car. Few organs have pedals like this. Other models would be the Thomas 297, 287, 2001, 606 (Trianon)
Ahh, this is the fun part. Taking apart a brand new keyboard. This will void your warranty and make your family think you’ve lost your mind. Locating the main keyer board is easy on this model, it’s directly under the keys. There are a whole bunch of screws to remove, once the keyers are exposed I could connect them to the pedal switches to complete the circuit. This keyboard uses simple carbon switches, they are located on the keyer circuit board. I scraped away the carbon to solder the wires to keyer boards.
Starting with the base metal assembly a wood frame was built from oak to support it. I connected the rest of the wires between the pedal switches and the Casio's keyer. As for the Casio, I didn't need anything but the keyer circuit boards and the main board. So I removed everything else. I cut away the rest of the keyboard's case, except for the control panel using tin snips, it was a literal Hack Job. This makes it small enough to fit into the new frame.
The pedals have a cover that can be removed to access the control panel of the Casio. There is room on top for the volume pedal and possibly some toe studs in the future. At some point I'll apply a coat of black paint so the pedals will match the rest of the gear. The pedals are easy to move and are small enough to fit in the back of my SUV along with the keyboards.
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