Introduction: Overdrive Pedal for Rockband Stratocaster (PS3, Xbox)

Picture of Overdrive Pedal for Rockband Stratocaster (PS3, Xbox)

The built in overdrive sensor for this Stratocaster sucks!

This dirt cheap mod (~$15) will fix you up with a cool pedal that you can count on. You can quit fumbling for the select button and cursing when overdrive kicks in randomly. If you have a PS3 version, you might even get away without leaving evidence that invalidates the warranty.

This will definitely void your warranty if you are not comfortable with soldering. Get to know your instrument and be sure you want to goof with your warranty before you do this! Read up on Scorehero about the various Rockband controller iterations, you'll want to be familiar with this stuff before you risk your warranty.

Step 1: What to Buy

Picture of What to Buy

You'll need a screwdriver to open the back of the guitar. I highly recommend a powered one since you're dealing with over 20 screws total.

You'll need a pair of wire clippers, a hobby knife, or just a pair of sharp scissors will do for the little wire cutting we need. I also used a hot glue gun to set the wires in place. Solder is ideal though, so get your soldering iron out if you have one.

You'll also need a quick trip to radio shack for a 1/8" phone jack shown here. They carry these in the back of the store in the pullout trays full of little electronic parts. You'll find these in audio connectors. $3 will get you two.

Note: Most music gear comes with a 1/4" plug, but we'll need a 1/8" jack to fit into the space between the frame and the PS3 button. If you're going to drill a new hole into your guitar, feel free to use a 1/4" phone jack.

Step 2: Disassemble!

Picture of Disassemble!

Remove all of the screws securing the backing of the guitar (this includes the 4 at the base of the neck). Keep track of which screws came from where. There are many different lengths.

Be careful when removing the backing of wireless models. The battery pack is attached to the backing and you'll break that wire if you pull it apart in a hurry. As you can see in the picture, there's plenty of room to open it up gently though.

Certain models will also require that you remove the pick guard from the front of the guitar and tackle some screws there. Check here if you've still got something holding it together to see if you've missed anything.

With the backing open as shown below; find the offending crappy tilt sensor. On my model here, it's right in middle to the right of the strum bar assembly. The wire connecting it all is going under the large circuit board on the top and into the top rightmost port. Click through to see the path of the wire if you're having trouble spotting it.

For this step, you can completely remove the cruddy tilt sensor. Just peel away any hotglue and unscrew the two screws holding it in. Cut the wires close to the sensor - we're going to use this long wire to connect our phone jack.

Note: there are some variations on the tilt sensor as well. Check the scorehero link for more info on those.

Step 3: Remove the Existing Button

Picture of Remove the Existing Button

Unscrew the board over the PS3 button and move it aside as shown. The little white button where our wire wants to be is just held in by a little hot glue. Pick that glue apart with anything sharp (like a tiny screwdriver). Slide the board out and set it aside. I just left mine in there (as far as I can tell, this button is redundant with the PS3 button).

Remove the little white button and bag it up with the crappy tilt sensor. If you ever decide to RMA this guitar and want to try your luck with the warranty, you can re-assemble it with a little soldering on the old sensor and some hot glue for this button assembly.

Step 4: Wire and Insert the Jack

Picture of Wire and Insert the Jack

Strip the ends of the old sensor wire and attach them to the 1/8" jack. Solder is best, but this connection is not very sensitive and will work with hot glue (maybe even tape in a fix?). I wrapped the ends through the loops twice and hot glued, seems to work fine.

It doesn't matter which wire you assign to which terminal; this is just an open/closed circuit - either will work. Just put one wire on the top terminal, and one wire on the bottom. If yours has a middle terminal (like mine in the picture) just ignore it - not used for this kind of connection.

Get that connection good and solidified then remove the ring-screw & washer from the end of the jack and poke the jack through the hole where the white button used to be. Re-attach the ring-screw and tighten it - no glue necessary - completely reversible! Notice here that the 1/8" jack just barely fits in the hole without blocking the use of the PS3 button. A 1/4" jack will not work here!

XBox users: your power cord will be in the way here. You will need to fine a new hole for this jack, and drilling one is definitely going to kill your warranty!

With the jack in place, re-attach the board over the PS3 button and close her up. You're done with the hard part!

Step 5: Pedal Recommendations

Picture of Pedal Recommendations

You can complete this circuit with any basic switch. My recommendation is a momentary (only on while you hold it down) pedal of some kind. I found keyboard sustain pedals to be the cheapest by far (some guitar store wanted $230 for a similar item meant for rich guitarists I guess). This sustain pedal with a 6' cord cost me $10 at the local music store.

For sustain pedals, different brands may start either Open or Closed. You want one that starts open, and closes when you stomp it. Tell the guy behind the counter this; he'll know what you mean.

Also shown is the adapter to get the inevitable 1/4" connector you'll end up with on your pedal down to the 1/8" plug we setup. $3 at radioshack.

For your second guitar, I might recommend even tinkering with your pedal a bit. It would be cool to have both guitars plugged into the same pedal - one overdrive for both guitars! Use the same method we did for the guitar - open it up and wire in your own 1/8" plug.

Step 6: Done!

Picture of Done!

Plug it in and rock out. Never get screwed up by the stupid overdrive sensor again.

And admit it, it was kind of fun building this anyways. :)



dragon0360 (author)2009-01-09

I don't know about the PS3, but on the xbox isn't that little white button for syncing to the console? wouldn't removing it produce a problem if you ever had to sync th guitar again?

You're absolutely right.

If i'm not mistaken, just resetting the guitar.. on/off does the job. I have used different guitars with different receivers with different playstations. Never have onced pushed the white button.

cborreli (author)2009-07-20

Great instruction, I did make one change. I removed the 1/4" plug on the pedal and replaced it with a 1/8" plug from Radioshack stock number 274-288. This eliminates the added converter plug and makes the pedal look more "stock". The pedal has 2 wires: one red and the copper stranded, just clip the connector off, strip the red wire and twist the stranded tight and attach them to the connector. Thanks again for getting me started on the mods, now on to the drum set.....

qazer90 (author)2009-02-16

yeah thanks man, my little sensor has 3 wires, and one came loose I was like wtf, why 3 wires, so yeah and it was allot pissing me off when I was moving it to the tune to the song and it would go off in the middle of an empty section. so dude, thanks for the neat mod.

Rick Z (author)2008-11-09

I have the peak all wood guitar controller and this mod worked perfectly on it too and makes things really realistic I am wondering if you could do this mod on the 5 position rotary switch for rockband 2 and add a 2nd pedal to be able to change the effects then build a pedal board has anyone tried it yet just curious

yeaitskimmel (author)2008-10-16

for the pedal you can use the bass pedal for the drumset

djpoizon (author)2008-10-13

i think this is a great hack/mod for the game's controller, but maybe someone could mod a real guitar with the gh/rb to make it a hell of alot better ?? :-)

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-26

Though I hate how Rockband kind of copied everything Guitar Hero, it's still awesome, and so is this Instructable. Really nice job, it looks awesome in the end. I see you have a Guitar Hero controller in the back...

The way I see it, Rockband is the official successor to the Guitar Hero games because Rocband is made by Harmonix, which created the first two Guitar Hero games. I have to admit, Guitar Hero III was lame. Great songs, but just the overall feel of the game was just so corporate and gimmicky. And that whole story was just stupid. As for the mod, sweet, I'll have to check it out!

PureBreed (author)GorillazMiko2008-07-17

actually, GH is coming out with another addition to the GH series, which is to include other instuments such as drums and a keyboard. (they say they are going to have drums and keyboard, but they may use others) so, in other words, Guitar hero is copying Rock Band.

Flumpkins (author)PureBreed2008-08-23

No, there is no keyboard. I have probably watched the trailer about 15 times.

GorillazMiko (author)PureBreed2008-07-17

They're the same company, actually.

PureBreed (author)GorillazMiko2008-07-24

So, if thats true then ur saying they ripped themselves off? or stole their one idea? dude, seriously.

dude661 (author)GorillazMiko2008-07-19

Harmonix developed Guitar Hero 1 & 2, but when Activision bought Redoctane they changed the developer. Harmonix then went on to make Rockband

GorillazMiko (author)dude6612008-07-19

Yeah something like that. I think RockBand is a huge rip-off of Guitar Hero.

dude661 (author)GorillazMiko2008-07-19

But rock band has much more emphasis on team play and cooperation, like laughing at the singer.

armorwaxer (author)dude6612008-07-20

i agree im in a real band and i sing hey wait a minute!

Hey i hope you know that Rockband is made by Harmonix the same people who made guitar hero. They sold guitar hero to activision! so there fore rockband didnt coppie Guitar hero. Guitar hero Sold out and they made a new game with more instruments and better tracks. so i dont see how you can hate rockband even tho you find it awesome and you dont even know that its made by the same people. Just to letting know you made yourself sound stupid that you think rockband "Copied" anything.

not completely. if you didn't know they were pretty much owned and made 'n stuff by the same people, you would think it was "copied". and you can like a something but hate just one aspect of it.

Bartboy (author)2008-08-07

Cheaper method: Get a switch pedal, so its a instant switch, connect to select button (thats the manuel button to do it,) and voila!

bfiggins (author)2008-07-16

I performed your mod, and it works great! To others interested in this, make sure you get those exact plugs that he shows in Step 1. You can put those right on, screw them in, and they look like they were factory-installed. I did improve on your work in two ways: 1) You can solder a connection on to the back side of the 'Select, Start, D-Pad' board next to the PS button. Solder one wire to 'G' (Ground) one wire to 'B' (Back) then follow these instructions to connect the other ends of these wires to the plug. This has the benefit of not disabling tilt Overdrive, just giving you another option for using it. It doesn't disable Select either. 2) You can take the button that's under the white button, and run it to the top of the guitar. The one that you just leave lying inside the guitar, right? For the PS3, there's a small black block there that's just lying loose - I think it covers up the hole where the XBox's power cable comes out, or something like that. Anyway, remove that black block, find the hole it was blocking, and hot-glue the button right in front of that hole. That way, if you end up needing that button (it helps establish a wireless connection) you can get a pen or something and poke it.

dadda scott (author)2008-06-24

An unexpected, but cool side effect; The circuit is actually made when you release the pedal. That is why it seems as if there is a delay. So if you are like me and jump the gun a bit at times, just stay on the pedal until you want overdrive to engage, then release.

dadda scott (author)2008-06-22

This was an awesome mod!! So easy. Instructions were spot on. I used a roland dp-2 pedal I got at best buy for $15. Perfect!! Don't have to hold it down, just stomp it. Very cool!!!

disco88 (author)2008-03-28

hey man, followed your crystal clear, helpful instructions and it works great. Thanks alot for a dirt cheap mod to a major rock band problem. For now I am just using the drum kick pedal switch to activate overdrive, but eventually I will get around to a pedal :P Great work and thanks again

Ward_Nox (author)2008-02-26

Iv'e seen foot pedles for the game Guitar at best buy just fyi

mourningzero (author)Ward_Nox2008-02-26

Poked around and found this guy on their site. Maybe something like it will be out for rockband someday.

Wireless pedals for whammy and starpower, good stuff.

mourningzero (author)2008-02-26

Better pictures are coming in April when the stand alone guitar is released. I forgot the macro button on my digital for this whole process.

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