March 20, 2008

Adding Weights to your Guitar Hero Guitar Controller

Have you ever noticed that real guitars are heavy? Very heavy? Now compare that to our fake plastic guitars, which feel almost weightless in comparison.

We can fix that by adding weights to our guitars. Don’t underestimate the psychological impact of “heft” when someone picks up your guitar controller. A heavier fake plastic guitar somehow feels substantial and powerful! It also drapes better with the strap. I know it may sound strange, but it’s true! This is one of my favorite guitar mods; it enhances the illusion of fake plastic rockin’ all out of proportion to its simplicity.

I encourage you to try it yourself. It’s not expensive at all. Here’s what you’ll need:

An inexpensive glue gun and glue sticks. If you don’t have one already, it’s a handy thing to have. You can easily buy one for under $10 with glue sticks, maybe even under $5.

a glue gun and glue sticks

My goal was to add something large and metal for weight. I looked around a bit and found big fender washers at my local hardware store. The 2 inch diameter ones, with the smallest possible 1/4″ hole in the middle, offer the best weight for their size. I also bought a set of smaller 1 1/2″ diameter fender washers, too. These run about $3 to $5 and come in packs of 20 or 40.

fender washers, 2 inch and 1.5 inch diameter

You’ll need to disassemble your guitar to get to the guts. I wrote a guide on disassembling your guitar controller which contains the step-by-step with lots of pictures. Once you get the guitar open, look for open spots to place the fender washers. I recommend the following positions, which I’ve marked with red circles and the specific sizes of washer I’ve found to work there.

front guitar shell, good locations for weight washers

rear guitar shell, good locations for weight washers

Try to distribute the washers evenly between the two “shells” of the guitar, and also evenly between the front and back of the guitar itself. Be careful not to block the wireless receiver with metal; that’s the bit at the top near the neck.

To apply the washers, just lay down a little hot glue with the glue gun, then firmly press the fender washer firmly into the glue. Repeat for each washer until you have a “stack” of about five or six in one spot. Don’t go too high.

affixing fender washers to guitar shell with hot glue gun

Lay down whatever amount of hot glue you think is appropriate to hold them in place; I put little reinforcing pillars of glue on each side just in case. This works on all guitars, and in fact I’ve done it to every fake plastic guitar I own, including the Kramer Striker, the Xplorer, and the original Gibson SG models. Here’s a shot of how it worked with the SG, which has more internal room due to the fact that it’s not wireless– no batteries, receiver, etcetera.

Gibson SG Guitar controller with fender washers added for weight

After I was done, I ended up using 10 of the 2″ fender washers and 10 of the 1.5″ fender washers on the wireless Les Paul controller, for a total added weight of about 16 ounces. Now when people pick up my guitars, they feel heavy and powerful– just a little bit more like real guitars!

Sacrilege! putting fender washers in a Gibson controller! What’s the deal – hardware store didn’t have any Gibson washers?

March 20, 2008 at 3:24 am

Heh. I didn’t even think of that. :)

Jeff Atwood
March 20, 2008 at 4:35 am

This is the coolest cheap trick I have seen in awhile!

March 20, 2008 at 5:39 am

Oh the punny comments.. :)

Jeff Atwood
August 6, 2008 at 2:03 pm

I found some bolts which were the perfect width for my Xplorer controller at Ace. They’re quite heavy, and two of them bring it to almost the exact same weight as a real guitar.

Tyler Menezes
June 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I’ve had success with craft putty of the sort you can find in the toy aisle of your local drug store. No burning hot glue required.

September 8, 2009 at 8:26 pm

how hilarious is this!?!?!? I love it. …though I’m not telling my husband or he’ll totally make me do it. lol Maegan
October 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Haha. Still playing my fake guitar after all these years. Rock on

April 19, 2015 at 1:46 pm

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