Modify the Rock Band controller

I removed the controller from a Rock Band drum kit to be used with my DIY mesh head drum kit.


I pulled off the pads and cut all the sensor wires and removed all screws from the back of the Rock Band Drum controller .


You will need to remove foam in the areas shown by arrows to find the screws that separate the yellow and blue from rest of the controller.


Removed all screws from the center controller section that are located under the foam.



I used Hacksaw blade to cut out the controller.



I soldered the drum controller wires to 1/4 Jacks , 1/8″ jack for the bass pedal. I used double sided tape to secure the controller to the top of Project box. I drilled a 7/8″ hole in project box for the 7/8″ oak dowel that will mount on the rack with a rack clamp.


I added two jacks for each color so I can add cymbals later. You can also just use 4 1/4″ jacks and plug in some 1/4″ Y adapters.There are links in the tutorial to where you can find most of the parts I used in this project. Here are some of the parts and tools I used on all the different projects. Parts List   Tools


Update: The best option at this time would be the Rock Band 3 midi pro adapter to play Rock Band and Guitar hero World tour, or the GHWT controller to play the 5 lanes in the Guitar hero world tour game. Ok, I followed all the Rock Band drum tutorials and my drums are still missing notes. Now what?

You may be one of the unlucky owners of a under or over sensitive controller.

Recently I have found out there is a big difference between the different drum controllers. They are not all created equal.

I have connected my drums to 4 different Xbox drum controllers and 1 PS2 controller. Using the same drums on the different controllers, the results were from very sensitive, where I had to add a trimmer pot to turn down the sensitivity a little, to very little sensitivity where you have to just hit a little harder and if you didn’t hit with the same force you miss notes. One Xbox controller was right in the middle and that one was perfect. My PS2 triggers perfectly with out any modifications.

So It’s hard to say how the sensitivity is going to be in the end. It all depends on what controller you have, but that’s easily fixed by adding trimmer pot to the over sensitive controllers.

If you serious about getting your DIY drums working With Rock Band there is a solution.

The J5 interface or if you have a drum module that has assignable midi notes there is the GHWT Controller or If you don’t have a midi drum module there is the GHWT controller with drum input jacks. You can then use the Guitar Hero World Tour Drum Tuning Kit to adjust the sensitivity of the drums.I recently purchased the J5. I went the DIY route and purchased just the card and put it together my self. You get detailed instructions on how to assemble the components.

I have a low sensitivity Xbox controller that I couldn’t get to work well with any of my DIY drums. So I connected the Xbox controller up to the J5 and the drums worked flawlessly without making any adjustments on the card. I can hit the drums very light and still not miss any notes, no cross talk issues. They just plain work.

Then I connected some DIY drums that I use with my Roland TD-6 module. Their using Radio Shack piezos that I couldn’t really get to trigger properly connected straight to any Rock Band controller. I turn the adjustment on the J5 to 3/4 and again worked flawlessly.

The Roland pd85, pd8, cy8 and the kd8 kick trigger also work perfectly with the J5 interface.

So all you DIY Rock Band drum builders out there. The J5 Interface is a must have. I think anything with a piezo sensor in it will work perfectly with the j5.


if you have a drum module that has assignable midi notes there is the Rock Band 3 midi pro adapter I think is the best option I have tried so far.