When it comes to DIY’ing variable hi-hat controllers, the main component used is typically a standard slide pot. Though they are cheap, they tend to only last so long before needing replaced (results may very). That’s because they are not designed for the heavy cycle demands of a hi-hat controller.
Above are pictures of a FSR (Force Sensing Resistor) and a SoftPot (flexible membrane potentiometer) sensor. I believe either one of these could be used cost effectively for a variable hi-Hat controller. Each one of the devices above are available form Trossen Robotics. The 0.5″ FSR with Interlink Kit is only $14.25. The 50mm SoftPot Touch Sensor is only $12.95. I believe that these two device would be the best choice for making a DIY variable hi-hat controller. There really isn’t that much more to add to these devices to make an effective controller other than a box to attach to the hi-hat stand , 1/4″ TRS jack, and some kind of flexible link for the FSR or a small spring loaded arm for contact with the Softpot.
(Here’s a pic of the complete Interlink Kit)
Here are a couple of concept pictures I put together to show how a DIY’er might go about using these devices. Keep in mind that a trimmer pot may need to be added to the soft pot concept in order to dial in the proper response. When using the FSR be sure to use the voltage divider, as this will help to dial in the proper response as well.
I have had these idea’s for some time and haven’t gotten around to trying it. I figured that it is best to get the idea up here before it is forgotten.
HINT: On a side note, it might be possible to use Trossen’s FSR’s to make a drum trigger as well! (but we will save that for another time….)
Not convinced yet! Well check out these videos from Trossen Robotics: