DIY hi hat controller for electronic drums

EDrum HiHatAbout 8 months back or so, I decided that I needed to learn how to play the drums. I’ve played the guitar for over 23 years, but needed something new, however, living in a condo I opted for a good, used electronic drum kit. As a fan of hard rock and heavy metal, one of the first things I bought was a double kick pedal to learn to play double bass. The one thing that was lacking however was the hi-hat cymbal’s controller could not be set into a fully closed position without my foot being on it – therefore, playing the hi-hat and double bass drum at the same time became not the best sounding or easiest thing to do.

A while ago, I got the bright idea to do some research around the internet and see if there might be any sort of electronic drop clutch that I could add onto the hi hat. After finding out how simple the hi hat controller foot pedal was (it’s essentially just a fancy potentiometer) – I realized what I had to do… make my own.

The first thing I figured out was what the minimum and maximum resistance was. When the pedal was fully open, it measured about 60k ohms. Closed, no resistance at all. So, I thought to myself – that’s easy, a 100k pot would do about the same thing. After a bit of working around, I decided to build a pass-through box that would allow me to have one of three modes: (1) play the hi hat normally with the foot controller, (2) place the hi hat into a fully closed (no resistance) position, and (3) set the hi hat into a dialed-in position with a potentiometer. I then came up wtih a schematic for doing such as thing:HiHat Controller Schematic

Pretty easy, and all passive. A trip to the local electronic store to get some parts, and off I went. As a side note, a few months back as well I decided that I needed to get a 3d printer – of course, just for occasions such as this. What would be the point of making this if I could not mount it on the drum kit and be in a convenient and useful place? The following is what ended up happening:

IMG_7213 IMG_7215IMG_7210 IMG_7206

Not the best printed case, but it certainly works. Here’s what it looks like closer attached to the hi hat near the drum module:


And how does it sound? Works like a charm:

One Reply to “DIY hi hat controller for electronic drums”

  1. Hey, this looks just what I need! I was looking for an edrum hihat drop clutch and I guess there is no commercial potential for those as nobody is selling those. The basic principle is very simple and it should be a simple DIY project for anybody with some skills with electronics. Which I don’t have 🙁 Could you build me one? I would of course pay the components, work and whatever it will cost to get that to me (to Finland).

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