rock band ////

I got back into music games about a year ago, but this time focusing drums. While I have most of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles that have been released for the PS3, I mainly focus on Rock Band 3 on PS3 and Rock Band 4 on PS4. These days I play a cheap Roland V-Drums kit, the TD-1.

I have worked on a few hardware and software projects to improve the experience, and you can read about them here.

midi drums and rock band in 2018

Around the time of Rock Band 3 and Guitar Hero: World Tour, music games started to experiment with allowing players to use real instruments as peripherals, particularly MIDI capable drums. For the Guitar Hero series, the drum controller shipped with a MIDI input port, that would let you "puppet" the game controller with your kit. The Rock Band series took a similar but slightly different approach, releasing a self contained accessory to do the same thing: the Madcatz MIDI Pro-Adapter.

While the Playstation 3 Pro-Adapter is forward compatible to the Playstation 4, Xbox 360 players have had a lot of difficulty moving to the Xbox One. The necessary adapter was only made in very limited quantities.

using wiimote based guitars with the playstation

A number of Guitar Hero and Rock Band games were released for the Nintendo Wii. While some of these guitars (Rock Band 2) used a USB dongle to connect to the console, others plugged into the Wiimote using its expansion port, appearing as something like a Nintendo Classic Controller. The Wiimote uses bluetooth, and the protocol is well understood. If you have access to a Raspberry Pi with onboard bluetooth and USB gadget mode support (such as the Pi Zero W), you can use it as a guitar dongle for the Playstation 3 and 4.

miscellaneous small guitar mods

I am not a fan of "tilt-to-deploy" overdrive, and manual activation using the button can be a pain. Many Guitar Hero guitars had a modular jack at the bottom right of their casing for a pedal peripheral that never arrived. If you have a spare cable of the appropriate type, you can wire your overdrive button to the modular jack, and build a foot switch to trigger overdrive. I did this to one of my Guitar Hero 3 guitars, wiring the other end of the cable to a 3.5mm mono socket that I could plug a Rock Band kick pedal into. Tips:

    1. use continuity mode on your multimeter to work out which of the four solder points match the wires in your cable (and therefore which ones you need to wire the select button to);
    2. you'll already have GND on the modular jack board, so you don't need to bring that with you from the board that manages the select button; and
    3. when soldering, you may be able to flip the board upside down and remount it to (one) of its original mounting - this will help hold it in place while you work.

keyboard and rock band in 2018

Rock Band 3 also supported basic and "pro" modes for keyboard play, either with an ordinary MIDI keyboard and the MIDI Pro-Adapter, or with a branded wireless keytar that came with a USB receiver. The keytar is actually a fairly sophisticated MIDI instrument in its own right.