OpenChord.org’s goal is to make playing guitar-based video games a deeper and more fulfilling experience. The idea is simple: instead of playing these games and getting really good at pressing plastic buttons, why not build something that will at least make us better at pressing strings on a real guitar?
While there are a bunch of people out there taking off the strings and adding buttons to real guitars, we want something that lets people play games by actually playing notes on a regular guitar. So we decided to build our own solution. With our products, instead of pressing buttons on a guitar-shaped piece of plastic, you press real strings on the guitar, and strum with a real pick. Our technology also allows you to easily customize how the guitar responds to fingerings, allowing you to develop actual guitar skills while playing video games. Of course, learning how to play guitar is going to require more work than just playing Frets on Fire, but when practicing chord transitions and learning note positions, our guitars can make boring, repetitive practice actually fun.
In addition, we’re committed to the ideals of open source (that’s the Open part of OpenChord), and hope that people find our projects and modify them to fit their needs. We also want to reach as many people as we can and help people learn about building hardware. Therefore, our development process is entirely open-source. Everything about the project is free to read and use – the documentation, the schematics, the firmware, everything. You’re free to build your own, mess around with it, rewrite all the code if you want to - While we’re mostly concerned with making video games more fun, why stop there? Since the code is freely modifyable, there’s not much stopping anyone from modifying our stuff to play Super Mario Brothers with a guitar, or more practically, using the guitar to control stage lights. Or make a cheap MIDI guitar. Or anything, really! Check out our Building/Developing section for more details.