My DIY EDrums: Variable Hihat Control Box for real hi-hat stands.

gl.tter  - last modified: 19/09/2005

This is my take on a variable hihat control box for e-drum brains, fur use with a real hi-hat stand.  I was inspired by Michael Beatnik's design (thanks Mike!).

It's cheap to make and very simple to build, but highly effectice:


I'm based in the UK, so these parts are from Maplin:

  • Small Narrow box (plastic) FT31  0.99
  • 100k linear slide potentiometer JM86T  0.49

I also used:

  • Bison Epoxy Metal for mounting (any kind of very strong glue would do)
  • an old mono jack cable.
  • a wide rubber band (or spring).
  • a cable tie
  • ~30cm sink plug chain from DIY stores or Wilko's (though any chain or strong wire would do) + attachments / hooks for each end.

On my Roland TD-8, the 100k slide gives approx 2.1cm effective open/close movement, which works great in practice.  I don't know if this value also works for other Roland modules, but it probably does on the recent generation.


Drill two holes in the side of the box - one for the jack cable (near the bottom of the box), and one for the chain (near the top).

Feed the jack cable and chain through, then solder the cable to the slider pins as shown (either end, it's symmetrical).  If you have a meter, check that the resistance varies as the slider moves.

Attach the cable tie to the jack cable to protect it from being pulled out of the box.

Now attach the slider to the bottom of the box, as close to the holes as possible.  I used Bison's 'Epoxy Metal' (very strong glue) - it works great but takes hours to set (my poor fingers), so I suggest something equally strong but faster.  Screw mounting in some way would be even better so you can exchange the slider when it wears out (I didn't have suitable parts and was too impatient : ).

When the glue has set, feed the rubber band around the two screw posts on the other side (bit fiddly, push the posts slightly forward if necessary), then attach it to the slider:

And attach the chain::

There we have it, a variable hihat control box:

We just need to attach it to the hihat stand.  I rested the box on the leg part for strength, then just taped it with gaffa (duct) tape.  Make sure the chain can travel freely to the pedal:

Finally attach the chain to the pedal with eg. another hook, so that it's pulled all the way down when the pedal is down - then loosen it by 1mm or so, to be sure the pedal never pulls too hard on the slider.

Now fire up your brain (ouch), and adjust your piezo'ed hats so that the closed sound just loosens as you loosen the hat with the pedal.

Wanna see it in action(2.37MB).  Yep, I still need to sort the rotation issue : ).

Enjoy. (leave your comments / results in this thread (update: link fixed, it got lost over the years).

- gl.tter -

gl.tter (AT) r-i-l (DOT) net

 (c) gl.tter 2005 - All Rights Reserved.