In order to make it simple to get up and running with your Guitar Hero MIDI Controller with no programming required, we've created a drag-and-drop firmware you can use.

If you're just getting started with your QT Py, there is lots more info here in the main Learn Guide!


First, download the firmware file linked in the button below and save it to your computer hard drive somewhere you'll be able to find it, such as your Downloads folder.

This program will replace CircuitPython. To get back to your CircuitPython projects, reinstall it by following

Install the Firmware

Plug your QT Py into your computer with a good quality, data capable USB cable. Life is too short to go through the pain of accidentally using a power-only USB cable, so please round up any you own, cut them in half, travel to a distant land, bury them, and dance on their grave.

Bootloader Mode

Now, we'll put the QT Py into "bootloader" mode. In this mode it will appear as a USB drive on your computer and will be ready to receive a new .uf2 firmware file. Double-click the reset button on the top side of the board, next to the STEMMA QT connector port.

Once you have double-clicked the reset button, the indicator LED will turn green. You'll notice a new USB drive appear on your computer named QTPY_BOOT, this is the bootloader USB storage built right into the QT Py. It is now ready to receive the firmware file.

Drag and Drop

Now, drag the Guitar_Hero_MIDI_QTPy.UF2 file onto the QTPY_BOOT drive. The file will copy over in a few seconds and then the QT Py will automatically restart itself (you'll see the QTPY_BOOT drive disappear, don't worry, this is normal!). The status LED will turn off, indicating regular operation mode.

You've updated the firmware and you're ready to play!

If you ever need to manually switch out of bootloader mode, simply press the reset button one time.

Test MIDI Output

You can test to see that your QT Py is outputting MIDI signals properly by using a MIDI utility. These will report all activity coming from any MIDI controller plugged into your system. Here are some to try:


Here's how the controls are mapped:

Customize It

If you'd like to modify or customize your code, you can download the Arduino code linked below and use it along with the Arduino IDE. Then, you'll flash your QT Py with the updated firmware using the Arduino IDE Upload button.

// SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2021 John Park for Adafruit Industries
// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT

//Wii Guitar Hero MIDI Controller
// by John Park for Adafruit Industries
#include <WiiChuck.h>
#include <Adafruit_TinyUSB.h>
#include <MIDI.h>

Accessory guitar;
Adafruit_USBD_MIDI usb_midi;

int MIDI_OUT_CH = 1;  // pick your midi output channel here
bool DEBUG = 0;  // set to 1 to use serial monitor to check out controller values

int whammyBar;
int joyX;
int joyY;
int minusButton;  // drop an octave w each press
int plusButton;  // up and octave w each press
int strumDown;
int strumUp;
int fretButtons[5];

bool minusButtonOn = 0;
bool plusButtonOn = 0;
bool strumDownOn = 0;
bool strumUpOn = 0;
bool fretButtonOn[] = {0, 0, 0, 0, 0};

int octave = 12;  // note offset value, used to change octaves

int strumDownChord[] = {36, 40, 43, 45};  //all note values will be offset by octave value
int strumUpChord[] = {36, 41, 43, 45} ;
int fretNotes[] = {24, 26, 28, 29, 31};

int lastWhammy = 16;  // Use the resting state value of your whammy bar
int whammyPitchVal = 8192;  // resting position of pitchwheel

int lastJoyX = 223;  // resting value of joyX
int joyXCCNum = 71; // VCF or whatever you assign in synth software
int joyXCCVal = 0;
int lastJoyY = 224;  // resting value of joyY
int joyYCCNum = 72; // VCA
int joyYCCVal = 0;

void setup() {
  guitar.type = GuitarHeroController;

void loop() {
  guitar.readData();    // Read inputs and update maps
  fretButtons[0] = guitar.values[10];  // green
  fretButtons[1] = guitar.values[11];  // red
  fretButtons[2] = guitar.values[12];  // yellow
  fretButtons[3] = guitar.values[13];  //blue
  fretButtons[4] = guitar.values[14]; // orange
  minusButton = guitar.values[6];
  plusButton = guitar.values[16];
  strumDown = guitar.values[7];
  strumUp = guitar.values[7];
  whammyBar = guitar.values[0];
  joyX = guitar.values[20];
  joyY = guitar.values[21];

  for(int i=0;i<5;i++){
    if(fretButtons[i]==255 && fretButtonOn[i]==0){
      MIDI.sendNoteOn(fretNotes[i]+octave, 127, MIDI_OUT_CH);
      fretButtonOn[i] = 1;}
    if(fretButtons[i]==0 && fretButtonOn[i]==1){
      MIDI.sendNoteOff(fretNotes[i]+octave, 0, MIDI_OUT_CH);
      fretButtonOn[i] = 0;}

    whammyPitchVal=map(whammyBar, 15, 26, 8192, 16383); // remap to pitch value range, two semitones here
    MIDI.sendPitchBend(whammyPitchVal, MIDI_OUT_CH);
    joyXCCVal=map(joyX, 190, 255, 0, 127); // remap to bigger range
    MIDI.sendControlChange(joyXCCNum, joyXCCVal, MIDI_OUT_CH);
    joyYCCVal=map(joyY, 190, 255, 0, 127); // remap to bigger range
    MIDI.sendControlChange(joyYCCNum, joyYCCVal, MIDI_OUT_CH);

  if(minusButton==0 && minusButtonOn==0){
    octave = constrain((octave - 12), 0, 108);
    minusButtonOn = 1;}
  if(minusButton==128 && minusButtonOn==1){
    minusButtonOn = 0;}

  if(plusButton==255 && plusButtonOn==0){
    octave = constrain((octave + 12), 0, 108);
    plusButtonOn = 1;}
  if(plusButton==0 && plusButtonOn==1){
    plusButtonOn = 0;}

  if(strumDown==0 && strumDownOn==0){
    for(int c=0; c<4; c++){
      MIDI.sendNoteOn(strumDownChord[c]+octave, 127, MIDI_OUT_CH);}
    strumDownOn = 1;}
  if(strumDown==128 && strumDownOn==1){
    for(int c=0; c<4; c++){
      MIDI.sendNoteOff(strumDownChord[c]+octave, 0, MIDI_OUT_CH);}
    strumDownOn = 0;}

  if(strumUp==255 && strumUpOn==0){
    for(int c=0; c<4; c++){
      MIDI.sendNoteOn(strumUpChord[c]+octave, 127, MIDI_OUT_CH);}
    strumUpOn = 1;}
  if(strumUp==128 && strumUpOn==1){
    for(int c=0; c<4; c++){
      MIDI.sendNoteOff(strumUpChord[c]+octave, 0, MIDI_OUT_CH);}
    strumUpOn = 0;}


    for (int i = 0; i < WII_VALUES_ARRAY_SIZE+3; i++) {
          "Controller Val " + String(i) + " = "
              + String((uint8_t) guitar.values[i]));
    delay(50);  // keeps the terminal from flooding

This guide was first published on Jan 17, 2021. It was last updated on Jul 12, 2024.

This page (Code the Guitar Hero MIDI Controller) was last updated on Jul 12, 2024.

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