Like many fellow drummers I was eagerly awaiting the release of Rock Band because it had a drum set. Less than a week after my prayers were answered I was plunged into the depths of hell after my guitarist decided to give the drums a whirl. He left me with a broken Rock Band drum pedal. So I decided I would fix the fucker on my own. This modded drum pedal is waaaay smoother than the one that comes with Rock Band, which helps a ton when playing the double kicks on expert. Ok, so here’s how I did it:
My broken Rock Band drum pedal. Sad. :(
Here’s the underside of the broken plate.
You’ll need to remove 4 screws to get to the magnetic sensor, which you’ll need later.
I used pliers to dig out the trigger. Notice that the trigger is comprised of two disks. The thinner disk has the glue on the backside and is the piece that connects to the pedal. The thicker disk is held magnetically to the thinner disk. You do not need the thin disk as it’s only function is to hold the thick magnetic disk in place. Save the thick magnetic trigger for a later step.
The rear of the pedal is not connected to the spring, so you can just pull the spring out.
Here’s another view to show you that nothing holds the spring in place.
I thought I would investigate the sensor in the base of the drum pedal, but later discovered I didn’t need to open the base. I included these photos so you could see the inner workings of the base of the Rock Band drum pedal. To remove the sensor cover, there are two screws on the underside of the base. The forward screw tube (which I’m pointing at in the photo with my screwdriver) was too tight for the screwdriver in the photo. If you do need to access the sensor, make sure to use a skinny shafted screwdriver.
Ooooh, aaaah, the magic sensor of the bass drum pedal. Notice it’s off center positioning, that will be important to remember when aligning the magnetic trigger in later steps.
I could have left the broken rear piece of the pedal, but I didn’t want my shit to look ghetto. To remove this pin, tap a screwdriver with a hammer to get it started.
I found that twisting the pin back and forth as I pulled made it come out the easiest.
See, I’m twisting.
Now the base of my pedal is complete, so it’s on to modding my real drum pedal.
I used this Premier pedal.
This was an old beater I had that I didn’t mind carving up to hold the magnetic trigger.
I used my handy Leatherman to dig out some felt in the beater to countersink the magnetic trigger.
I decided to hold the trigger in place with some Gorilla Tape, which holds much better than the revered Duct Tape.
Here’s what the completed beater looks like. You can barely make out the round shape of the trigger, which helped me in the alignment process with the sensor.
A normal bass pedal is designed to strike a vertical surface. I could have mounted the base of the Rock Band drum pedal vertically, but decided it would be too much work to create a strong enough structure to withstand the awesome power of my right leg. So instead, I decided to adjust my pedal to bring the beater forward so it would hit the base of the Rock Band drum pedal lying down. I found it easiest to unscrew the bolt on the chain, pull the beater forward, and replace the screw in a higher link. That pulled my drum pedal forward. I also had to readjust the tension spring, which you can see on the left of the pic, to make it work for the new position of the beater.
To bring the two pieces together, I mounted the base of the Rock Band drum pedal to a strip of wood. I made sure the wood wasn’t too thick for my real drum pedal to attach to it. I must warn you. I spent over an hour playing with the alignment between the trigger in my real drum pedal and the sensor in the Rock Band drum pedal base.
All of the effort was well worth it. My new set up has a much smoother action and it is noticably easier to hit double kicks with this rig. If you end up doing this mod, drop me a comment with a link to a photo of your kit. Good luck, and rock on!