Picture of The Cheapest Way to Play RockBand With REAL Drums
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I used to love RockBand before I learned to play drums, but after a while of playing drums I tried to play RockBand again and I was so much worse than before.  So I stopped playing RockBand for a long time until the other day when I decided to take apart my RockBand 1 drums just to see what was inside.

All you need is the RockBand 1 (I haven't tried with the RockBand 2 drums yet) drums, a screwdriver, and possibly the knowledge of how to make a simple splice.

Here is a video of me playing with them (for the first time)

Step 1: Dismantling the Drum Set

Picture of Dismantling the Drum Set
-First, you need to take off the rubber heads you would usually hit.  This is very easy, all you need to to is rip them off from the side (this won't hurt anything)
-Next you need to unscrew all the screws on the backside of the RockBand drums, and basically every screw you think will help take it apart
-After you have taken all the screws out, if the plastic pieces don't separate easily, there are also some screws under the foam inside of the middle 2 drum

You should be able to take the yellow and blue wires out, but the green and red should be stuck in between some plastic
deafgerm3 years ago
Hey... I wonder if it's possible to use TWO rockband drum sets and use all eight sensors (one on each drum head and cymbals). For example, can you snip off the four sensors from one set and pair 'em with the other four sensors according to the color codes so you can tape one green sensor to the snare, the other green to the ride cymbal; one red sensor to the high tomtom head and the other red to the hi-hat cymbal; one yellow sensor to the mid tomtom head and the other yellow sensor to the crash cymbal; and one blue sensor to the low tomtom and the other blue sensor to the splash cymbal??? The same goes for the bass kick pedal and the hi-hat pedal too as well??? Let me know if this is impossible or doable?
It's actually the exact same thing, except that you would have to play to the guitar tracks because there are no tracks for them. On the bright side the guitars are synced in time with the drums so it won't sound as terrible.
Cheezpaper4 years ago
Actually the left-most colour is the snare, second from the left is the hi-hat, third from the left is crash cymbal and the rightmost is the ride cymbal. It might actually sound like the game if you set it up that way.
scott! (author)  Cheezpaper4 years ago
yes, but like i said, the hi hat is to far away with the original wire, and the crash and the ride would cause too much vibration and trigger the color multiple times
Thanks for writing this article. I tried this with my rb 2 wireless set, and its pretty functional. The only problem is the vibration of the cymbals (which can probly be fixed with some tape or padding around the sensor) and the hi hats. I just need to splice the hi hat sensor to a switch that can split the signal from one wire leading to the yellow jack to another wire leading to the blue, activated by the opening and closing of the hats. The omega gm 1, which is a commercial version of your project, has a sensor like this, but I dunno if its something you can pick up at radioshack, or if its a custom switch. Have you looked into this at all?
scott! (author)  rbrooker13 years ago
I haven't looked into this (i'm not the best electrician, but I know some basics), I kinda just started this project one day to see if it could be done, and don't really use it anymore, but I'd love to hear your results!

I don't think in Rockband you're required to have hi hats open or closed at anytime, I would just use the blue wire on the cymbal closest to the hi hat. Maybe get one of those "practice muter" rubber pads that you put on cymbals to make them quite, and use that to stop the vibrations? That'd be my 'less electrical' answer, but please share whatever you do!
The thing is, I havnt played rb in a year, but I play my real set every day. So id like to use rb as a backing track and and a tab to my drumming, but muting the cymbals or using the ride as the open hi hat would make it unnatural. Ill let you know if I can find a solution for that, but thanks for showing me how to set it up
If you have real drums, and know how to play them, why on earth would you be messing with Rock Band? Not dissing video games, I'm sure it's fine for folks who don't know how to play, but it's definitely nothing like the real thing.
becouse not every drummer has friends available 24/7 that know how to play guitar/bass/sing
and those games are just pure fun, and this makes it look waaaay more awesome
if i would drum/play guitar i would still play games like this, simply becouse its alot more fun with other people that arent skilled musicians
Don't think you can make a statement like that until you've learned to play a real instrument.
well, i didnt make a statement, i gave my opinion about something you said
plus, i have tried learning keyboards and drums. being a musician just isnt for me
but playing rock band/guitar hero is awesome

im kinda tired of all those peeps saying "you cant do it, so you cant say anything bout it"
no, i dont fight in the war in iraq, but i do have an opinion about it
no, i dont do drugs, but i do have an opinion about it
Exactly! I'm glad to see you understand the point I was trying to make. An awful lot of people just don't get it when I try to explain things like this to them.
Well gentlemen...with an explanation first that I absolutely do not want to offend
anyone with my breath let alone my comments!!!! No. 1, the songsmanship!
let''s not forget about the songsmanship! What musician could possibly define
him/herself without songsmanship? That's right...NONE! Now...as to this
matter, I find the "drummer" in this video without what I would describe a very
rhymetic touch! That is to say if a pianist performed before an audience with
such a barbaric uncivilized touch I daresay the audience would be rushing down
the isles to the intermission area! Hands on ears no doubt. THAT...coupled
with the fact that they hear no music to support and cradle the "knocks and
raps" rudely pummelling against the drum(s) heads! I shall end the impossible
description of the "talent" and cushion the review with the additional comment
concerning the drummist! I think him to be a nice person, his thoughful up-
bringing I am sure can be attributed to caring parents. Evidenced to this very
moment. A contributing citizen to all of society I have no doubt! BUT...a gain-
fullly employed professional musician? Shall we change the discussion to
the weather? I bid both of you "ado" and hopefully leave you with food for
thought! Next instruction please...
it it weird that i read your entire comment in a British accent?
scott! (author)  maddrummer853 years ago
It's okay, I did too ;P
scott! (author)  skunkbreath3 years ago
Well I've been playing drums for a few years, and this was my first time trying to play with the RockBand sensors, so I was just getting used to it, but I am by no means a professional drummer in the first place, haha.
im kinda lost here, you said something, i said something wich is quite different, then you say that i couldnt say that, and i explain why i can
then you say i understand what you're saying?
with the danger of repeating myself:
scott! (author)  Mr. Potato Head4 years ago
Because before I played drums I loved RockBand (might even say it got me into playing), but then when I stopped playing I had 2 useless drum controllers so I decided to take one apart for the fun of it and relaized that I could play drums with it so why not?

(also it can sort of, in somw shape or form, teach you songs/help you figure out the drums if a song is mixed weird, but that's not why I did it)
mogg4 years ago
If you stick the sensors onto the resonating heads underneath on the toms and snare, will it reach without splicing?
scott! (author)  mogg4 years ago
Possibly, but I tried it and it didn't work as well as on top
AaronAdamic4 years ago
Your idea is fantastic!!
what brand set do you have?
scott! (author)  Apple_4_life4 years ago
It's a CB set which is basically a beginner set you can get for cheap, but theres nothing wrong with it once you replace all the cymbals (i replaced them all with Zildjian ones), and the drum heads (replaced with Evans).
it sounds pretty decent, i think the audio from the camera change the sound though, i have a Pacific set that i have changed the cymbals on and am in the process of replacing the heads with Remos
scott! (author)  Apple_4_life4 years ago
oh yeah, the camera definitely changes the sound,and sounds cool!
OfficerKarl4 years ago
Is it at all possible to place the sensors on the cymbals to produce a more realistic effect? Maybe if you used a Guitar Hero drum kit (which includes two cymbals)? I don't know, it's just a thought I had when I was watching the video.
actuly if you used a sensor and put some tape on it to stop the vibration that might work and you could put a sensor in the bass
scott! (author)  OfficerKarl4 years ago
Possibly, but like I said, you would need to make the wires longer to reach! But the main problem is that your crash or ride, for example, will keep on vibrating causing it to be triggered many times. BUT, I have tested it briefly with the hi hat and it does work well on it.
Calorie4 years ago
Good Idea, and you must drive your parents absolutely nuts with that game.
Sora_1_24 years ago
Quite utterly genius!
scott! (author)  Sora_1_24 years ago
thank you! :D