The drum pedal that ships with Rock Band is not built to last and doesn't have a good action if you've played drums before. The Rock Band 2 pedal is built with more metal than the first version, but key areas are still thin plastic. In this project we take a quality (real) drum pedal and convert it for Rock Band (Xbox) use. After only about an hour of work (or less if you're fast), we'll end up with a solid, adjustable pedal, and the best part is it can still function on a real set of drums.
Here's what we'll need:
- (Real) Bass drum pedal
- an audio cord with a mono 1/8" plug
- a reed switch/relay
- small magnet(s)
There are quite a few projects like this around the web, but I wanted to capture what worked well for me.
Step 1: Buying a decent pedal
If you don't already have a drum set, cheap quality pedals aren't hard to come by - just hit up eBay or your local pawn shop. EBay seems to sell dozens each day and if you're patient you can get a good pedal for not a lot of dough.
I stalked the auctions for a couple weeks and got this barely used Mapex pedal for about $35 (it retails for over twice that).
I definitely recommend a pedal that has floor spurs (if you play Rock Band on carpet), since this pedal won't connect to your plastic set like the original.
Step 2: Planning the trigger
Some similar projects trigger a sensor with the beater itself - either with an embedded magnet or piezoelectric sensor. But this requires you to built a pad for your beater to hit (or convert a bass practice pad). This has a couple disadvantages. For one, to use the pedal with a real kit, you have to disassemble this pad, and add it again to play the video game. Also, if you're building the pad, you need to make something sturdy enough to take a lot of abuse without losing its alignment.
I decided it was much simpler all around to mount the trigger under the pedal (similar to the Rock Band design).