Introduction: Guitar Hero:World Tour Drum Repair

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.


abain (author)2011-03-07

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

Leahloo (author)2010-01-28

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!

chilipepper69 (author)2010-01-02

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 

natashia (author)2009-12-22

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.

tmlittle (author)natashia2009-12-24

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

jwilco86 (author)2009-09-11

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

jwilco86 (author)jwilco862009-09-13

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

adrian106 (author)2009-07-20

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

RepairmanSki (author)adrian1062009-07-20

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

wally186 (author)2009-04-02

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?

ManlyJack (author)wally1862009-07-18

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

corygirl (author)2009-05-07

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? :(

Izzy462 (author)2009-04-30

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

Izzy462 (author)2009-04-28

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

jaredmccutch (author)2008-11-01

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

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

UR sooo kool

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!

hawke777 (author)2009-03-20

This was extremely helpful. My Rock Band 2 cymbals broke and I used some tips from here and also the following to fix it:

What's cool is that the end result was better than the original, since the drums stopped double registering as well as missing the occasional note. It's now pretty much dead-on with every note, even through fills.

Crmlcrw (author)2009-03-17

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.

deano1985 (author)2009-02-20

Hi there i was just wondering if anyone could help me my yellow cymbal has been turned 360 degrees and the wire has become detatched from the adaptor. i was just hoping someone could tell me how i can put the wire back into the apaptor? would be much appreciated

RKVirginia (author)deano19852009-03-02

I have the exact same problem as deano1985 and would really love a fix or where to find a replacement plug. My daughter spun the cymbal and pulled the wire loose. I can't reinsert without cutting the plug.

RepairmanSki (author)RKVirginia2009-03-03

If you have a Radio Shack or similar store around you, this is what you need:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><br/>

Jbar5 (author)RepairmanSki2009-03-16

Great! Just got the game and turned my back for one sec, my daughter pulled the wire from the 1/8 plug. This is a big help, thanks!

vivt01 (author)RepairmanSki2009-03-09

hi i was just wondering how would I attach the wire to this new plug u stated to buy at radioshack. sorry im not very familiar with electronics but i also have the same problem my nephew pulled both yellow and orange cymbal wire and I cannot put it back to the original plug :(

RepairmanSki (author)vivt012009-03-10

I believe the one I linked to is a solder connection, which I would recommend. They may have crimp-on style as well, but with all the vibration and such it probably wouldn't last long.

vivt01 (author)RepairmanSki2009-03-10

im sorry im still kind of confused so I have to sodder it to that one?

GH geen (author)2009-03-15

uhmm i have a question because my drum set for guitar hero broke and i dont know how to fix it. my orange and yellow cymbols seem to go off by themselves and hit random notes and now the orange one just doesn't work and idk what to do!!

aleettzz (author)2009-02-24

i need helppp!!!!!! with thisss guys i got these problem .My drums doesnt have the sensivility problem the right cymbal doesent work but i isnt the cymbal it is inside the drums kit or it can bee to the plug, because i change the cymbals and stils that side of the base of the cymbal that doesnt work

erikasays (author)2009-02-20

How do you repair contacts?

Jestersage (author)2008-10-28

I think the issue is about how hard you hit the drum. Basically, the idea is this: a) Rock Band drum: just hit it softly b) GHWT drum: hit them like real drums (really hard)

RepairmanSki (author)Jestersage2008-10-30

Not to be flagrantly dismissive, but that's not it at all. The performance of one or more of the heads degrade to an unusable state. Even if your assessment were accurate that would mean that part of the kit functions one way and part another way. Either way you look at it the functionality is not consistent across the kit. Further, having loose wires that literally disconnect when you touch them cannot be intended behavior. I feel I fully address both defective workmanship and manufacturing inconsistencies in the write up, at least to me, that is the issue, not impact velocity.

Jestersage (author)RepairmanSki2009-02-13

I think it's a combination of two things: a) make it require more forces b) Poor workmanship. In anycase, since the cymbal was broke due to someone horseplay around my drum, i decide to just take them apart. the yellow cymbla isn't too bad, but yeah... Anyway, I will check how well your modification improve.

sapphireiiii (author)2009-01-31

hi! loved the info, thank you SO much ... a quick question ... my daughter turned the cymbal on my son's drum kit all the way around and the thin black cord must have broke though it looks perfect. any idea what that little black cord (the one that connects the cymbal to the drum kit) is called or where i might be able to get a new one? hope you're all having a great weekend!!

It should be 2 conductor audio cable. You could replace it with any two conductor wire really, and a mono 1/8" audio plug from Radio Shack or whatever similar store in your area.

danieldrag (author)2009-01-14

yea i fixed mine, all i did is opened up the little hatch on the bottom of the cymbols and taped down the 2 glued wires, now mine are fine and my cymbals don't have any sort of problem.

jfragment (author)2008-12-31

It helped me very much. Thanks. I had the red drum round censor lose it's adhesion to the pad. I tried scotch tape but that comes off after about a song of testing. My next test is super glue. Wish me luck!

SpinozaQ (author)jfragment2009-01-02

I would try a high quality epoxy to re-attach any piezoelectric elements. It will provide a little bit of flex and won't crack like other glues. Super glue may work... but I think it would crack over time from flexing.

danieldrag (author)2008-12-31

hey, i'm having problems with one of my cymbals. When i attach this cymbal to the yellow connection it multi-hits with red aswell (about 80% of the time i hit yellow it senses at red also). When i switch over this cymbal to the orange the multi hit problem is fixed but i now can't hit double notes involving red and orange? pretty confusing hey. I think there is a bit of a sensitivity problem with this certain cymbal aswell

pacman1176 (author)2008-12-23

Hey, this is a great fix idea, but activision has just tremendously improved their warranty process. You can now either send your drums (or any other instrument) in your original box with a pre-paid (by activision) shipping label, or request that they send you a new instrument immediately, provided that you give them a credit card number to hold onto funds until you send them the broken component back. Google Guitar Hero Warranty, then click the first link, and hit the Guitar Hero Support link, or visit here:

the_burrito_master (author)2008-12-19

sadly I fell subject to there cheap drum set and it broke on the 2nd day!!! the orange cymbal died it wasn't the cymbal it's self it was the stupid paper thin wire connection to the cymbal that broke it could have been a solder joint. it has taken so dang long for them to get this piece of poop fixed and shipped back. it's already been I would say 5 weeks.

Hultsy (author)2008-11-24

I followed what you did and taped my wires down outside the s bends and such, but my red pad still doesn't work. Any suggestions? On another forum i read that a guy pulled the wire off of the sensor and taped it down again with electrical tape. Any idea if this would actually work? Id rather not pull it off if im not sure if its going to get any better.

RepairmanSki (author)Hultsy2008-11-24

The main problem is not the S bends but rather poor electrical connection. Step 2 is where you need to be. The guy that "pulled the wire off" and put it back was doing what I mention in that step except without the solder.

Hultsy (author)RepairmanSki2008-12-07

ok so i tried just taping it on there and it worked for awhile, but then it kept coming loose. any suggestions on how to keep the wire on there short of soldering? im afraid ill burn the sensor

nosaints (author)2008-11-25

Hey Repairman, my drum set won't sync to the xbox. Everytime I try it shows it to be the microphone. Not once have I been able to use the drums. Have you heard of this problem before?

RepairmanSki (author)nosaints2008-11-25

No I haven't, that seems to be a more serious, not readily fixable sort of issue. It would appear that what ever firmware lives in the drums is not appearing correctly and is identified by the system as a regular controller, hence the microphone. It sounds to me like this is an RMA or store exchange problem. At the least, it is outside my circle of knowledge.

nosaints (author)RepairmanSki2008-11-27

Thanks for the reply, I'm really ticked off that I have a drum set I haven't used and I'm not able to return it to Gamestop. I have to ship it at my expense. Horrible customer service.

tac135 (author)2008-11-12

I might try this, my blue pad doesnt work at all, and i dont really want to wait 4-6 weeks to get this workin again, i havent even used them that much yet, because i mainly play guitar. My rock band drum set works fine after almost a year, so i blame it on faulty craftmenship

kermitorc (author)2008-11-08

ok... So i noticed that the left cymbal was extra sensitive yesterday, and THEN noticed that it rattled aLOT more than the right one. i took a look underneath, and the whole thing snapped right off!! im hoping that its still covered, but im highly doubtful at this point... Another point - earlier on (like when i first bought the game), the cord that connects to the cymbal broke, but i replaced the end of it and it worked fine again. So basically my drum kit is in the crappiest condition possible... ANY SUGGESTIONS?

RepairmanSki (author)kermitorc2008-11-11

I believe that when I looked at the warranty submission page that you could submit for just a single cymbal so you would still be okay I'd imagine.

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