This is the easiest way to get a working Guitar Hero cymbal – buy one!!!
My yellow cymbal was faulty and I tried to fix it, but couldn’t. I’m not sure why – maybe I killed the sensor in the process. So I did some searching and found an eBay stsore, Thumbmonkey, that sold various game bits and pieces – and they sold individual Guitar Hero cymbals too!
They’re based in the US so it took some time to get to Australia (ordered on the 16th Sep, arrived today 7th Oct). Looking at the cymbal, it’s in great condition, the yellow ring a little bit dirty. Does it work? I’ll have to go home and see. For me, the cymbal cost US$11.99 + US$17.64 shipping to Australia = US$29.63. At today’s exchange rate, that’s $33.39 AUD. Cheaper than buying a whole new drumkit (if that’s possible).
So, if you’re really stuck, cymbal doesn’t work, you’re out of warranty, and the methods that people have posted on the web don’t work, then just buy one…
I noticed the other day that hits weren’t registering very well. When playing, Miss 8 said, “Dad, I have to hit it REALLLLLY hard to get it to work!”
So I experimented and found that if I hit the cymbal in a particular direction (along the edge), then it would register as a hit more reliably. Maybe 40% of the time. But if I hit it straight on, then it didn’t register at all.
So, I plugged in the MIDI cable to my M-Audio Firewire 410, brought up the Drum Tuning kit and changed the sensitivity – but to no success.
I then unscrewed the cymbal, and did the sticky tape, and then the piece of cardboard trick. No success.
I tried tapping on the piezo electric sensor itself. No success.
I resoldered the wires. No success.
I replaced the wires with new ones from Dick Smith and soldered them straight onto the jack connector thingy on the PCB board. No success.
If I swap the good cymbal (the orange one) to the left hand side, it works – so I know it’s not the actual drum frame or jack at all.
So, I’m now really thinking that the actual piezo sensor is stuffed. That’s the round thing that the wires are soldered onto. From my research, it seems that it’s just some sensor that transmits a signal when it detects vibration (due to something inside it squashing up minutely with each vibration). If I could buy a new one of those, then I think I could fix the cymbal. But where do you get one? I might try Jaycar in Perth, but I doubt you can buy single ones of the internet. You probably have to buy in bulk.
I decided to turn to eBay. Surprisingly, there are eBay sellers that sell single working cymbals for the Guitar Hero drumkit! Problem solved!
I’m now just waiting for mine to turn up from the US which should take about 10 working days.
In the mean time, I’ve just swapped the orange with the yellow, and am playing Rockband instead, since it doesn’t need the 5th drum!
A few weeks ago, the girls were playing Guitar Hero but the drummer kept on failing the band. We eventually discovered that the red snare drum was not working very well. Well, if you hit it REALLY hard, it registered. I started looking around for the receipt, but I couldn’t find it! This is the second thing that has gone wrong with the instruments – I have already had a faulty strum switch on the guitar.
I did a bit of Googling and found that many people have the same problem with the red snare drum. I guess it’s one of the drums that’s hit the most, so it’s one of the first to go. Without the receipt, I thought I was stuffed.
However, I found that Activision has released a Drum Tuning Kit that can be used to tune the sensitivity of the drums, through its MIDI input. To connect your PC to the drums, you need a MIDI connection and Activision will supply a USB to MIDI cable if you have the receipt. Great… no receipt. But I do have other MIDI PC equipment, so I tried using my M-Audio FireWire 410 audio interface and it worked!
Well, the software worked but no matter what setting I used, the red drum was still not working reliably. A soft or medium hit just would not register.
After a bit more googling, I found a discussions on fixing the drums yourself. Apparently, it’s usually the case of a bad wire connection to the sensor of the red drum. So, on the weekend, one of my projects was to fix the red drum.
Note that if you want to do this, you will most definitely void your warranty. These steps may or may not work for you and I take no responsibility for your success/failure!
First, turn the drums over. We’ll be taking the bottom (back) off the drum kit off. Get a screwdriver with a star head and unscrew everything in sight!
Be aware that some of the screws are slightly different from the others. I found that screws in A and B locations in the diagram below were different.
Be careful when unscrewing the screws that hold the control box to the drum kit. The drum control box will come apart.
Once all the screws have been removed, carefully lift off the cover (which is the back). You will see the guts of the drum kit.
The red snare drum is the one on the left. You can see a pair of wires running from the sensor to a small circuit board. The problem most people seem to have is that these wires don’t have good contact with the sensor.
Very very gently, I pulled the red wire to see how strongly it was held down. And unbelievably, the wire just pulled right off with hardly any effort! No wonder I was having a problem with the red drum.
So I cleaned off all the glue from the wire and the sensor. I stripped the red wire back about 5mm, got out the soldering iron and solder and joined it back to the sensor. Be careful not to make the red wire contact the centre part of the sensor.
I also took the opportunity to pull a bit of the red wire so that there’s more slack near the red drum kit area. It seemed a little “tight” there.
After I soldered it, I gently tapped on the sensor on the back and made sure it registered in Guitar Hero. (Tip: enter the Music Studio in Guitar Hero World Tour and lay down a new drum track – it’s the easy way to check whether the drums are working.) It worked like a charm! I didn’t need to fix the black wire at all.
Then it’s just a case of putting the back cover on again and screwing all the screws in.
No need to post the drums away and wait 2-6 weeks to get it back from Activision!
Here’s a few other links with step by step guides:
I finally bit the bullet, drove out to JB Hifi and bought Guitar Hero World Tour. $288 seems like a lot of money for one game. It’s nearly the price of a Wii… nearly… but someone at work tipped the scales when she described ho
Anyways, brought it home, the kids were excited, wifey was excited, I was excited!
Our 7yo helped me unpack it and put it together. One of the first bits of paper I saw inside the box was this:
I thought, “Hah! They must be experiencing lots of problems with peripherals!”
We were all ready to play! But the first thing the kids wanted to do was plaster the supplied stickers all over the gear. Then we all took rounds of playing the drums, guitar and singing – it felt like quite an achievement when we did get through a whole song! It does require some persistence from the kids to try hard to get us all through a song. Luckily my old GH3 Les Paul guitar works with the game too so we had a complete 4 player band.
When it came around for me to try the new GH WT guitar – uh oh.. the strumming action only worked going down and not up! The kids hadn’t noticed this before me because they always strum down whereas I strum alternately. And then it started doing another weird thing – if I strummed up, then it would continually go up. This was only noticed in the menu screens.
A few googles later, it seems many other people have similar problems with the strum switch. I’ll first try to call JB Hifi tomorrow, otherwise, it might be a couple of weeks before we can rock out all 4 people at once 😦