Guitar Hero World Tour Cymbal Fix





Introduction: Guitar Hero World Tour Cymbal Fix

I had heard many reports of the drum sets that came with world tour being defective. One guy I know can't get long streaks because the drum set just wasn't of high enough quality. When I set up my drum set it worked great! I was relieved. It seemed the build quality had improved. Not so fast.... Within a few days of some serious rocking out the yellow cymbal failed altogether. I was livid. I knew the stores wouldn't take it back, and it would be weeks to get it shipped and fixed, at a cost. So I did what I do best... I voided the warranty.

I figured the cymbal was a pretty simple piezoelectric device, and anything wrong with it was an easy fix for a geek and his soldering iron. So I set to work. My cymbal was totally non-functional, and broken is a certain way, your mileage may vary.

Step 1: Acquire Testing Ability.

Credit goes to this other instructable on drum set repair for the idea of using the mii freestyle as a test bed. You should start this up and leave it running. Whenever you need to test the cymbal, just plug it in, and see if it works. Very productive!

Step 2: Open Up the Cymbal and Inspect.

There are likely several ways the cymbal can be "broken". This is why the inspection step is necessary. Mine was broken is a specific way. Likely a common way though.

Remove the four screws holding the back of the cymbal on. It's just four small Philips screw, nothing special. Go slow, the screws are going into plastic, and you'll need good threads later to put it back together.

I opened up both my cymbals and compared them. The yellow cymbal clearly had very poor workmanship when compared to the orange cymbal. However, there were no obvious flaws. The solder joints to the piezoelectric looked sound, the circuit board is dead simple, no components at all. Just connects the piezoelectric element to a mini-audio ( mono ) plug.

If you find anything blatantly broken, wire pulled out, plug on board loose... fix that and give the cymbal a test run. If not, move onto the next step.

Step 3: Ensure Functional Piezoelectric Element.

The most complex, but thankfully the toughest part of the cymbal is the piezoelectric. Lets make sure this most important part is functional.

You will find white silicon covering the connections to the piezoelectric element. This must be removed. My finger nail worked fine. I'm sure a small tool would work fine too, just take care not to damage anything.

Get two lengths of wire, thin stranded wire will be fine. I have bags of the stuff. Strip a half inch on both ends of both wires. Solder an end of each wire to the solder pads where the other wires are connected to on the piezoelectric. ( You likely won't be able to solder else where on the piezoelectric, it won't stick. ) I needed pretty high temps on my iron to do this. I will refer to "your" red wire as the wire you soldered to the pad that has the original red wire, and "your" black wire as the other wire.

Now you should have two wires connected to each terminal of the piezoelectric. Using some tape, connect your black wire to the base of the cymbal plug on the drum kit. Then connect your red wire to the tip. Again, just use tape, and put some pressure on it.

Make sure mii freestyle is running as in step 1. Now while everything is connected tap on the piezoelectric with your finger. If you register hits. If not, play around with the taped connection a bit ( It can be finicky. ) This should work... The piezoelectric elements are pretty much indestructible. If you can't get it to work, test for shorts with a multi-meter... Once you have this working, proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Attach Wires to Internal Mini Plug.

Now we know the wires we connected talk correctly from the piezoelectric to the drum set. Now we'll connect those wires to the internal mini-plug at the closest solder pads possible. This eliminates several possible points of failure along the transmission of the signal. In my case, this fixed the cymbal. I'm guessing it will fix many other cymbals that are non-functional as well.

Attached the wires as shown in the image to the solder points on the circuit board. ( For the orange cymbal it will be a mirror image. ) One of the points of failure may be the solder joint from the circuit board to the mini-plug. Because of this, make sure to melt the solder point completely as you attach the wires. This will re-flow the solder and make a good connection.

Now test out your handy work by plugging the cymbal in and tapping on things. If it registers.. Congratulations! you have fixed your cymbal.

Step 5: Reassemble

Now you should be able to put the cover back on. Be careful not to bend your new wires around too much or you might break something. Feel free to use tape to keep things in place. Carefully and slowly screw the four screws back into the symbol back. Remember, these screws are just going into plastic. So as soon as you feel a bit of resistance, the screw is all the way in. You aren't working on a car here.

If you have any questions. Feel free to message me.



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    It Works it works it works. My yellow cymbal did not register any hits, was dead, did not work at all. I tried this fix and it works like a dream. I was shocked how well it responded. Thanks so much!

     Hej SpinozaQ,

    Thanks a lot for this guide - It worked perfect for me!


    Same issue here and this instructable was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction (gotta love the Internet), though my fix was rather more simple since I used a continuity meter to test for continuity between the piezo and the female socket. 

    There is a very, very small amount of copper connecting the black ground plate to the female socket's pin. mine had a hairline crack which is probably a stress crack that widened and opened the cuircuit  very shortly after we started playing the cymbal.  I would consider this an engineering defect, the PCB was etched with too narrow a connection here at a high stress point.  In any case I just scratched off some of the green resist from the PCB and used a bit of copper braid wire to create a "stitch" between the pin and the board (on the side opposite the hairline crack).  Even a solder bridge (extra solder bridging the gap) would work for some time.

    My yellow cymbal wasn't working. If I switched them the orange one didn't work when plugged in to where the yellow one was. So I took it all apart to look for bad solder joints, broken wires, etc. Instead it ended up being the 90 jack where the yellow cymbal gets plugged in. Strange... it's a molded plug but it was bad. I replaced it with a 1/8" mono plug from Radio Shack and it works great again!

    both my cymbals don't work. I inspected wires/piezo/jack and everything is fine. Is there somewhere else that could be causing the problem?

    i think i have the same problem as aleettzz. my left cymbal does not any connection to the drum kit at all. even if i switch the yellow n orange cymbals, the cymbal on the left does not register any hits while the one on the right works fine. so there isnt a problem with the individual cymbals but possibly the wiring or some processing chip inside. any suggestions how to solve this? im not really good with my hands so the easier the solution will be much appreciated.

    You are correct. Your problem is most likely inside the drum kit itself. This instructable does not cover the insides of the drum kit. If you are not "good with your hands" you're probably not going to be able to fix it yourself.

    I found this awhile back and I really didn't think soldering new wires would ever work. However, I got really fed up about two days ago with how my cymbals were not registering hits (brute force needed on one, the other would never be consistent to how I was drumming). After soldering BOTH cymbals, they work absolutely perfect, I had to turn the sensitivity down on both. The cymbal I had to use brute force on and maxed on sensitivity (20), was turned into a cymbal where I could now lightly tap it and have it set on the lowest setting (1).

    I named my cymbals too! Ultra Rigged 3000 A & B

    Ha. I haven't read these comments in a while. I'm so happy other people found the instructable helpful. I'm not sure why this fix is so good. There are some theories though... ( I should get a decent oscilloscope and verify them. ) One theory is just using better wires and connecting them "closer" to the output, rather then allowing them to go through the circuit board helps a bit. The other is that if both sets of wires work once everything is re-soldered you'd actually get two signals going to the output. I'm not sure how the drum kit is designed, but if the plugs are capacitively coupled like most audio equipment, that could boost the signal it "sees" quite a bit.