Introduction: Replace (or Repair) Your Rock Band Bass Drum Pedal With a Real Pedal

Picture of Replace (or Repair) Your Rock Band Bass Drum Pedal With a Real Pedal

So I broke my Rockband bass drum pedal in the middle of the night. Replacement parts are at least 5 days away if I order something online, plus people want money for things like that. Fortunately, I have duct tape and knives, so I should be able to fix anything, right?

Here's my attempt at a replacement Rock Band bass drum pedal. Note, it helps if you have an actual bass pedal, as those are otherwise hard to make from tape and poster-board. Not impossible, mind you...just difficult.

My goal here was a speedy repair. Total time from snapped pedal to playing again on this frankensteinian contraption was under 10 minutes. Actually took me longer to post the Instructable.

The new pedal is much more responsive, less fatiguing, and surprisingly more sturdy. Of course, I started with a really nice chain-driven bit from my closet of neglected hobbies...if you don't have a bass pedal, this suddenly becomes a significantly more expensive operation.

I'd prefer a more durable material than the poster board, but at 1AM, you work with what you've got.

Step 1: Tear Apart the Old Bits...

Picture of Tear Apart the Old Bits...

First, find your motivation.

In my case, the pedal snapped on my LAST SONG of the solo tour under the "Hard" difficulty. Song is Run to the Hills, by the way. And it is truly a pain.

That's besides the point.

So the bass drum pedal snaps. That's where we were.

I checked Amazon for replacements, and the options weren't great...None of them could be delivered within an hour. So I grabbed a box cutter, a screw driver, a needle-nose pliers, a piece of project board (that stuff with the foam in the middle) that I'd previously covered in neon pink poster board when using it as a background for my "iPod ad" halloween costume, and the bass drum pedal off of my acoustic drum set.

Something was still missing.

Duct tape. How could one possibly complete ANY repair project without it?

Found that (the clear variety), and went to work.

There was no visible mechanical switch on the bass pedal, but when you push down on it, at some point, you hear the faint "click" of a magnetic switch.

Forgive my photography, I didn't realize I was going to instructabilize my work until after I'd already completed it, so most of my shots are "after" views.

Here's the bass pedal after taking out any screws I could find. Note on the bottom, you have to tear out the little foam curves to get to the screws. That's where I used the needlenose pliers...There are four screws total, holding in the top plastic plate, under which the magnetic switch lives.

On the pedal itself (snapped off in my photo), there's an orange plastic bit, held on by another four screws. Take those off to get a neodymium magnet suitable for your next step.

Step 2: Rig Up Your Bass Drum Pedal...

Picture of Rig Up Your Bass Drum Pedal...

This part was pretty direct....take the magnet from under the orange plastic (or any other neodymium magnet you happen to have laying around), and put the magnet on the side of the bass pedal that will hit the poster board, then wrap the whole thing in about three to five layers of duct tape.

The duct tape will help reduce the sound (only a little) of the magnet slapping into poster board. It'll probably also hold your magnet together when you inevitably shatter it from repeatedly bashing it into the project board...

Note -- Mine hasn't broken yet, but neodymiums tend to be a touch on the fragile side. Using some additonal padding (cotton, foam, neoprene, a leather pad...whatever) between the magnet and the project board probably wouldn't be a bad idea.

Step 3: Mangle the Poster Board and Liberally Apply Duct Tape.

Picture of Mangle the Poster Board and Liberally Apply Duct Tape.

I did some cutting and folding to make the project board fit properly with my pedal....There's two layers at the bottom, hinged (using duct tape) at 90 degrees with the larger piece of project board along the top.

Clip the bass drum petal to the bottom bit.

For the upright part, I used two layers of project board, so I could slide the mag-switch in between the layers. I brutally hacked away the corners of the project board so the legs of the drum stand could stick out. You'll note, I wasn't going for neatness and straight lines. Duct tape anywhere you feel you might need reinforcements. Then duct tape the whole mess to the frame of the Rock Band drums, for support.

Step 4: Rock On!

Picture of Rock On!

That's it. Very quick. You should be able to start playing again.

My accuracy is better with this abomination. Says something about the engineering quality of the default pedal, I suppose. If you're having trouble, make sure the switch is aligned with the magnet. You can also find square mallets at a well-stocked drum store, could always get one of those, and extra magnets, to give yourself a better strike zone.

Padding between the mallet and the project board wouldn't hurt, but don't use anything too thick or magnetically-shielding, or your switch won't trigger.

Also wouldn't be a bad thing to use better materials...I'd have attached this to plywood, if I had any scrap laying around. In that case, you'd certainly want some softer materials wrapped around your magnet, or you'll eventually crack it smacking into the contact zone.

The foam board seems fine, but I recommend at least a double layer so it doesn't snap in the middle of your first song. Of course, if it does snap....duct tape can totally fix that.

You could also put a rubber pad above or below the magnet, as long as the pad is a little thicker than the magnet, so the pad will hit the striking surface, and the magnet will just be close to the surface, tiny bit of air-gap to reduce direct physical impact to the magnet itself.

I've included one last view from the back, since I'd already uploaded it.

Now...Go play your drums.

Comments

MrSander (author)2010-12-09

Same thing happened to me, TWICE :D. So my first reppair was addingsome corded tubes on the back (after some skilled plastic shaving) and two ziplocks as tensors with a metal plate (scrap aero-steel from my uni´s workshop) and worked over 1 1/2 years. Then the tip broke so i used a shelf stand, sawed it and more ziplocks xD. works well i may post it in case u dont have a real drumkit :D

Java999 (author)2009-10-11

Dude I had the same problem last night and tried something wicked similar out of desperation! Looks like the way you're doing it is working though =P I decided to use something a little different after playing around with this for a while.

trackzero (author)2008-08-25

A quick update...While fiddling with the placement of the sensor in the foam board, I broke the wire off of the switch. Since I was going to have to re-solder it anyway, I tried something I'd been wanting to experiment with...Took a magnetic sensor like the ones used in home security systems (see image) and just directly attached the wires from the bass pedal cable to the security sensor. Worked like a charm.

Flumpkins (author)2008-08-22

5/5 and fave! Really awesome! What difficulty do you play on?

Flumpkins (author)Flumpkins2008-08-22

Sorry, I didn't actually read it. Just a heads up in case you move onto expert, Run to the Hills on Expert is a pain the the nuts. It hurts your arms like crazy. And If you bought any songs, Blinded By Fear is the hardest song yet. I had just beat it today on expert. Which now means I can play ANY song on expert! So... do I deserve a cookie?

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