Gorgeous Hot Rod MIDI Controller – The Choppertone

Choppertone DIY MIDI Controller

Nick Francis made this gorgeous, hot-rod MIDI controller for Ableton Live, dubbed The Choppertone.

Francis explains what he was looking for in a MIDI controller:

After using Ableton Live for almost 5 years with standard controllers (Axion 25, Launchpad), I really wanted something that could be used in an intimate live performance situation like coffee houses, living rooms, small theaters. Instead of the standard plastic or aluminum, it had to be wood with soft round edges.

I also wanted the face of the instrument with its buttons and pots and sliders to face the audience, rather than be sitting on a desktop, out of view.  Something you could play on your lap and (with a strap) standing up. Kind of a cross between an elegantly smooth-carved jewelry box, and a guitar body. Most of all, I wanted this instrument to feel warm and beautiful.

Francis based his MIDI controller on the Livid Builder kit, and added arcade-style knobs inspired by DJ Tech Tools’ MIDI Fighter and put them all in a handcrafted wood case.

Here’s a video overview of The Choppertone, and a demo of Francis using the device for jazz DJing:


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