Guitar Hero:World Tour Drum Repair





Introduction: Guitar Hero:World Tour Drum Repair

Some problems have been noted with the GH:World Tour drums. This instructable aims to repair those issues while soundly voiding your warranty. If your red drum head is non-functional, or maybe your orange cymbal, or really any problem that the Activision support page doesn't address, this is the place to be.

Activision wants you (as of this writing) to prepay shipping and insure the drums whereupon they will be tested and then replaced. If you want to wait 4-6 weeks (estimated) to get them back.

I'm not sure whether to thank them for the inspiration or vilify them for the awesome customer service and manufacturing but that is neither here nor there. On with the show!

UPDATE! (11/04/08): I have determined that the multi-hit problem was due to a flaw in the plan. The supports under the drum heads should not have been attached to the main chassis but rather to the drum heads themselves. Towards that end there will be a GH:WT Drum Repair Redux soon.

Step 1: Baseline Your Kit

I used the Mii freestyle session to test my kit. Not sure if the other console systems have a similar feature or not. Regardless, you need to know what you are starting with.

I considered the performance of my yellow cymbal to be ideal: easily registered both hard and soft hits in the center and readily picked up hits to the far edges as light hits. It was also very easy to get a roll-type action with minimal force.

All other pickups were far from ideal. Congratulations to the yellow cymbal assemblers wherever you may be, job well done.

I decided that I wanted all areas of the pad to register hits if possible, or at least light ones on the edges. I didn't want a false-positive type of hit to register, however, a gentle accidental contact should be ignored.

Decide what you want performance-wise, test to find out how far from that you are, and let's dive in.

Step 2: Repair Solder Joints

Not going to picture or explain this one much, plenty of other tutorials explain soldering.

Take the drums apart, scrape the sealant off the solder joints, and start over. If yours are like mine the red drum is all but non-functional. I touched the wire and it just fell out. I believe this is partially due to wire-routing. There was quite a bit on tension on the wire set for the red drum head.

If you pull gently on the wires while watching the sealant carefully you can tell which wires definitely need repaired. Any movement indicates the need for repair. I did them all, 6 contacts is no big deal.

Step 3: Cymbal Fix

The solder joints on this were probably good but since I had the iron out and hot I did this too.

The main problem here is the piezo element was not fully seated in the intended location. It appeared to have some sort of adhesive that was locking it in the place, albeit the "wrong" place. I decided rather than risk removing it and having to rework the mounting location or the element itself I would simply press it into place.

Because it had so play in the mounting the strike vibrations weren't fully transmitting to the element. I removed the cover, stacked a bit of foamcore (or cardboard, whatever you have) so that the cove just barely didn't seat.

After screwing down the cover, the foamcore added enough pressure to the element that it contacted perfectly and registered nearly exactly as well as the yellow cymbal.

(If I can edit this later I will get pictures. First Instructable so...)

Step 4: Drums Better...but Not Great

I tested the newly minted solder joints and noted a vast improvement but still not quite what I was expecting. Upon closer inspection I noted that the piezo elements were again not fully seated.

Unfortunately there was nothing (in relative proximity) to press against like with the cymbal. Fabrication was in order. I used some flat, thin, kinda springy steel and fabricated 3 spring plates.

I mounted another bit of foamcoare to the apex of the spring, added a spot of tape to prevent shorts across the spring, and mounted the assembly below the piezo element.

Step 5: Drums Are Awesome...too Awesome

So that worked. Really well. Really, really well.

When I first finished the assemblies in the previous step I placed the piezos in the drum head(s) under pressure. It was light contact but it was there and it was immediate.

Under testing things were crazy. A cymbal strike would initiate contact on all drum heads, as would contact on any other drum head. A good job gone bad.

It turns out I needed to have a bit of open space between the bumper and the piezo. A bit of adjustment on the springy bit and a slightly thinner chunk of foamcore and we're fully rocking now.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

While these fixes are pretty easy, it would seem some sort of process improvement or quality control is in order on the part of Actvision and/or their suppliers.

It could be fixed readily at the manufacturing level, I think, but that begs the question of units already produced. The bumper-type units I fabbed could be easily made via injection molding with a bit of a slit clip at either end to avoid fasteners and drilling. Attach a sturdy rubber bumper to the apex and you're in business. Or pull the piezos themselves and remount.

There is the issue of crap soldering and wire management that would still need to be addressed. I submit that using tape instead of the sharp bends would be step one, better assembly of the elements and harnesses being step two.

Hope this helps some folks, If I can I will edit and add more pictures a little bit later. Happy warranty voiding! We makers don't need you anyway.



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    Hey. Recently found that the red pad on my guitar hero drums is not functioning properly. I took off the pad and found that the wire had dettached itself. I cannot fix this. I was wondering if you had any suggestions

    Awesome fix!  My drums work better than ever now. Thank you!  I'm almost embarrassed to say that I used some pieces of bamboo skewers and rolled up masking tape instead of the metal "springs".  I was able to push the skewers into each side of the foam and used the masking tape on top of the sensor and under the skewer.  I had to adjust the amount of masking tape for each sensor so they didn''t register when I hit the cymbols.  Works great!

    Hi!Im having problems with the drums connection to the ps3.While playing a song if i hit the orange cymbal a few times the connection goes .This is happening constantly, and very rarely can get through a full song without losing connection to the ps3.Your help would be much appreciated 

    Hi,i am also having some trouble with the connection to the yellow pad.
    We have got a new yellow pad today but it still wont work so its not the pad that is broken.
    The black plastic coating has come off the wire slightly but the wires inside dont seem to be broken.
    Any ideas what may be going wrong with it.
    Any help would be appreiciated.

    1 reply

     Did you ever figure out this issue?  I'm having the same problem.

    do the repairs of the main pads that i've read here apply to all of the main pads. seems that most are having problems with the red pad. my problem is with the blue pad. i'm over warranty, so i'm going to check out the problem since the kit can't be used i can't mess it up too bad

    1 reply

    mission accomplished, and it works great. The ideas here worked great. the second that i split my drum console apart i saw the broken wire, not five minutes later i was resoldered, re-assembled and playing the drums. i also used the suggestion of the new cord for the drum pedal after my cat had chewed on the it at radio shack

    would super glue work to hold the wires in place??

    1 reply

    I don't know really, my understanding of superglue is that it can be brittle if it is applied thickly. Certainly no expert though.

    I have a problem with my red snare pad. I took it a part and sure enough the red wire was totally off of the solder, I then have twice tried to solder the wire back on with no luck, after a few good beatings to the red pad the solder comes off. Any idea's on what I should use to solder it on? or would a bead of slicon work?

    1 reply

    solder is always a good choice when soldering anything, silicon makes a great insulator so that's no good

    I try but it doesn't work, I try with different materials but it doesn't work too, just works if I hit hard directly the golden circle, what can I do? :(

    I did the repair and it works great. I did not use the metal band with foam.

    I am getting ready to try this repair. I will let you know how it goes.

    my red pad didnt work so i took off the pad and the black wire fell off....does taking off the pad void your warranty

    3 replies

    same happend 2 me ya i think it does fall of right wen u take it off

    I am certainly no expert, but as long as whatever you did was reversible without damaging anything I would hope you would still be covered. Then again, taking it apart sets you well on the path, you could finish the job and fix it yourself!

    PAD problem. Hi. Hope someone can help me. I was trying to quickly fix my drums for my kids and took some quickly read advice from another site and removed the pad covers from teh FRONT of the drums and now as you might guess can not get them back on. I would like ot solve this problem before tinkering with anythign else since it may not be worth my time and effort to try. Under one of the pads the wires were completely detached so I am guessing I have to fix that first. Thanks for any advice anyone can give to get these back on.