Introduction: Other Uses for Rock Band Instruments

Picture of Other Uses for Rock Band Instruments

So ever thought, man I want to be like these guys. I want to play my Rock Band drums like real drums. I want to sing to more of my favourite songs! Well, now you can. Today, you will find out about some freeware programs that you may not have known about. Just configure your Rock Band instruments for your PC and you're set.

*Please comment if you know of any programs that I may have missed.

Step 1: Microphone

Picture of Microphone

UltraStar is a clone of SingStar, a music video game. Ultrastar lets one or several players score points by singing along to a song or music video and match the pitch of the original song well. Ultrastar displays lyrics as well as the correct notes similar to a piano roll. On top of the correct notes Ultrastar displays the pitch recorded from the players. Ultrastar allows several people to play simultaneously by connecting several microphones possibly to several sound cards. To add a song to Ultrastar, a file with notes and lyrics is required, together with an audio file. Optionally a cover image, a backdrop image and a video may be added to each song. - Wikipedia

Download here.

Step 2: Guitar

Guitar synthesizer!

Download [ here].

In this package, you get JoyToKey and Electronic Piano. Electronic Piano is just a keyboard sound maker. Instruments on your keyboard (like GarageBand's Keyboard synth). Now, what JoyToKey does is it takes joystick buttons (Rock Band guitar fret buttons) and turns them into keyboard shortcuts. For example, the green fret becomes the letter Q. When you go to Wordpad and hold the green fret, you see Qs. So open up Electronic Piano and JoyToKey simultaneously and you'll get a Rock Band guitar synth. I've included a file that's already configured the Rock Band guitar for JoyToKey, but if it doesn't work, you'll have to configure the buttons yourselves.

Step 3: Drums

Picture of Drums

"Drum Machine 1.34" download

Drum Machine is a Windows freeware application developed by Andrew Rudson that lets users play a virtual drumset on their computer using a drum controller from the Rock Band video games.

The program allows the user to set a different sound for each virtual drum, and a collection of default samples are included. Users can add additional samples in .WAV format and can also record their drum performances.

As of version 1.33 Beta, the program supports controllers from the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and Playstation 2 versions of Rock Band with dual drum set support. The in-game virtual drums can be heard by keyboard buttons representing different drum pads. This program is mostly incompatible with Windows Vista. - Wikipedia


MariaS82 (author)2015-11-08

Hi! I have the Rock Band drums for ps2, i connect them via USB to my laptot but it doesn't recognize them. Any help?

ingostan (author)2015-03-04

Doesnt work for me windows 7 64 - It sees the kit but cant find any drivers :-(

wulfzden (author)2014-12-27

I've actually used the rock band mic to get live music recordings when my digital recorder crapped out... Sound quality was suprizing considering i only paid $3 for it at a good will..

Cr4zy_Dud3_0n_F1r3 (author)2010-10-24

Awesome!!! I'm trying to build an electronic drum kit and this is exactly what I need for sounds!!!

Kindhamster (author)2010-06-28

does anyone know if this works with the cymbal kit for RB 2?

just13 (author)2010-03-30

i'd like to try it but the link doesn't work

tubajoey1 (author)2010-03-22

I got this program about a week before seeing this, and it works fairly ok. 
My only complaint is that the time between hitting a head and hearing the sound is too large. Its just not instant. It makes playing along with a song, or even recording, entirely too difficult. 

daniel05 (author)2010-02-07


nickelbackfan (author)2009-11-25

can u put ur own music on it

bounty1012 (author)2009-04-15

Joy2key doesnt work for me.

Sam the Wizer (author)bounty10122009-07-08

Are you using Linux?

bounty1012 (author)Sam the Wizer2009-07-08

No, but I recently got my guitar to work with my computer so I dont need this anymore...

2cool4u_0 (author)2009-07-06

dose it work wit ps2 drums & how do you connect your ps2 drums to the computer plz answers

SanjayMaru1994 (author)2cool4u_02009-07-06 plug it in via USB. And're......done.

cacktuss (author)2008-12-21

i downloaded it and it doesn't work

snarfnugget (author)cacktuss2009-06-16

Worked great for me too!! This is awesome. I love that you can change the .wav sound for each drum pad. Thanx for the link.

ranger_steve (author)cacktuss2009-06-15

worked for me?!?!?!?

rogueleadr (author)cacktuss2009-06-09

chek ur direct x

Sam the Wizer (author)2009-06-12

Good tips. I just bought some Rock Band drums last night and got them running through Hydrogen in Linux using Joy2Key. Super easy and tons of fun. I would like to be able to use the D-pad on the drums to change samples, but that may take a bit of programming. Anyone know of an 'ible or script where such a thing has already been done? Thanks

frannyloo (author)2009-06-06

so i copy/pasted to website you had but it brought me to the website and from there i only found the JoyToKey and i downloaded that but i didn't find any electronic piano. am i s'pose to get this from another place? also i got frets on fire and that wouldn't work. Do these work on a Mac?

Fenwick (author)2009-01-12

Are there any programs similar to Drum Machine that won't produce a delay when I use my drum controller? I tried Drum Machine, but found the delay to be too much to be able to keep a rhythm going, unless I turned off the volume. I'm using Vista with a PS3 Rock Band 1 drums.

lokisox (author)Fenwick2009-03-23

its a chance but try DRUM X USA distributer was Guidecraft U.S.A telephone toll free 1-887-443-7869 igot the number off the side of the box its an old thing but still works and iff you get realy board then you can use the softwere with out the drums just use your mouse over the screen hope this helps

TMSheik (author)2009-01-02

yeah i have frets on fire but i wanted a guitar synthetizer, not a game =)

REA (author)TMSheik2009-03-20

what version of FoF do you have? most people dont know that theres a 3.1 that can look exactly like GH or RB.

John Smith (author)2009-01-31

after i installed the directx thing for the drums, i was able to use them with my computer(the PS3 rockband drums). There is a slight delay which makes it hard to use but its just milliseconds on my computer...very very slight. cool

lolcat360 (author)2008-12-30

Can you use the instruments in FL Studio?

TMSheik (author)2008-12-30

I really want to use it, i could never download something from the link you posted :( maybe you can post a new one?

jaycraw (author)2008-12-27

i got frets on fire instead

jaycraw (author)2008-12-27

i just downloaded frets on fire and figured out the gh xplorer works but the rock band 1 stratocaster does aswell

stoopynoonoo (author)2008-12-02

I just got Drum Machine...and Rock Band 2 along with the drum set...The drum set is wireless...Could you help me with connecting it to my PC? Thanks

Oh I figured out what happened. I just need to get the wireless gaming receiver made for xbox 360 controllers (wireless) thanks for the help though!

Once the wireless adapter is plugged into your PC via USB, go to Control Panel > Game Controllers. Then hit Properties. Configure the drum set. Then open up Drum Machine. Try this and reply back.

Brother_D (author)2008-10-29

Cool! I've been looking for a program like Drum Machine!

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