Real(ish) Drums for Guitar Hero World Tour

I jumped through a lot of hoops to try to use my Roland V-Drums in place of the Rock Band drum controller, with unsatisfying results. Guitar Hero World Tour makes it awfully easy though – the controller has a MIDI IN port. If you plug it, it will play, but it can also be easily be improved upon. In a nutshell, I mapped other pads so they could also be used, and, more importantly, mapped both the rim and head of each pad so you don’t have to hit a particular part to trigger.

I assigned the pads as illustrated here:

The perhaps controversial and/or innovative idea was to reverse the crash cymbals from the more obvious left-right configuration. I did this because orange is used for crashes when the right hand is on the hi-hat, and yellow is when the right hand is riding the ride, and in real life, you’d use the crash closest to hand. I’m trying to get as close to playing the actual drum part as possible here.

Whether to assign the middle tom to blue or green is matter of preference, I suppose.

To program my drum module, a Roland TD-3, I chose a kit I didn’t mind scrambling the MIDI numbers on, then hit EDIT > CONTROL and arrowed to the note number setting. The settings are summarized here:

Pad Color Instrument MIDI Note MIDI Instrument
red snare 38 SNR:H02 SNR:R02
yellow hi-hat 46 HH:H03 HH:R03 CR2:H10 CR2:R10
blue hi tom 48 T1:H04
orange ride 49 RD:H11 RD:R11 CR1:H09 CR1:R09
green low tom 45 T2:H05 T3:H07
purple kick 36 KIK:H01

Note that you have to keep your foot off the hi-hat pedal. (Or unplug it.) (Or assign to note number 50 and always keep your foot on it.)


  1. David Said,

    February 1, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the tip. I am also trying to use a TD-3 set in GH world tour. What are the letters and numbers at the end of your mapping (such as SNR:H02 SNR:R02)? Also, have you noticed an latency issues or program freeze up issues?

  2. eric Said,

    February 1, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

    When I’m assigning MIDI numbers to the pads, those codes come up on the TD-3 display to identify which pad I’m assigning to (when struck). H and R seem to refer to “head” and “rim”, for multi-trigger pads.

    No latency or freezing or any other issues, other than the game being a little harder (but more awesome) with the real drum layout.

    Oh – one issue, actually. I had to raise the triggering threshold of the ride cymbal (from 3 to 6), since it was getting triggered when I hit nearby pads, causing me to lose points and fail songs.

  3. Spying on People With Guns » GHWT & Rock Band MIDI Filter for Drums Said,

    September 5, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

    [...] unsatisfied with my earlier, more obvious solution for using an electronic drum kit to play Guitar Hero World Tour (t…, I’ve put together a solution I like better – a microcontroller which filters the MIDI [...]

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