21112008811-largeSo we’ve played Guitar Hero World Tour a couple time now since I bought the game 6 days ago. A really awesome experience once everyone in the band knows their roles and plays properly.

Jo and I and Whiskey (pictured) tried out Rock Band last night and think it’s actually better than Guitar Hero World Tour. The music choice is better and the game play is a lot more exciting and rewarding, but hey, that is our opinion.

Anyway, this morning the bloody red drum refused to work from the start. Just like that it stopped working. I went online and surprise surprise, quite a few people all around the world are experiencing exactly the same problem. (Bugger!). I called GAME at Bluewater, the shop where I bought it from and they confirmed this as well. Apparently loads of people have called up with the same problem. Great I thought, so they can fix it… Alas, they don’t have any in stock. The shop representive gave me a number to call and said “Don’t worry, just call them up, explain the problem, and they will tell you where you can get a replacement”. I gave the number a ring and gave up after listening to the same repeated message “we are busy, please stay on the line“.

In that time I found a brilliant website called Good Input and they explained ‘How to fix the drums for Guitar Hero World Tour‘. Nothing ventured nothing gained I thought and decided to open my drum kit up. There are quite a bit of screws on the back, but fear not, it comes apart really easily. I found the exact problem as described on the web site. In a little under 15 minutes, we had the problem solved and the red drum is working better than ever.

Simple solution: Use an Allen Key or Hex Socket or small Phillips (crosshead) screwdriver or Torx driver bit to unscrew all the screws on the back of the drum kit. There are at least 16 screws. It’s best to remember the location of each screw because some are different lengths. Remove the cover gently watching out for the control panel, as it comes away from the kit. It’s attached by a bus cable, so be careful. Underneath the read drum, the wire that is meant to connect to the inner sensor is probably loose or just making a connection and no more, in fact for me it came off the second I touched it. I exposed abot 4mm of the wire from the sheath and used plastic tape to stick it directly onto the sensor. It’s as good as new now and there will be no need to send it back to the supplier only to wait weeks for a replacement.

Thanks to Pat and all the other people on Good Input.

[late edit] – Here is another site called Instructables detailing a fix for the drumkit problem.

Hex or Allen Key

Phillips Screw or Crosshead

Phillips Screw or Crosshead


Torx Screws

Torx Driver bits common in all screw driver sets.

One of our kind commentators mentioned that their drumkit had Torx screws securing the back cover.ย  A Torx screw has a 6-point star-shaped pattern and in that case you would need a torx driver bit to unscrew it. Below right are some examples.




Mike is an android man, researcher of all things good and bad, likes all wheeled sports, loves gadgets, enjoys all music, into home automation, likes samsung, voted brexit, enjoys talk radio, has a brompton bike, is a hard worker, a passionate self-educator, crazy about drones, a gambler, blogger for over 15 years, enjoys gardening, microsoft over apple, investor in stocks and cryptocurrency, a homeowner, a futurist, married for life, has family all over the world, a cat man do, loves beer, travel & life.

55 Responses

  1. blank Aces says:

    Thank you so much!! Exactly as described took 15 minutes. (once I’d gone down to the hardware store and got the right star or torx screw driver. And fixed now working no problems. Really owe you one. This was my 3rd drum kit. Was starting to loose my mind. Once again thanks!!! Aaron. Melb. Australia

  2. blank Mike says:

    Hi Aaron,

    No problem mate! Just remember next time you have a problem with something, to look on the internet for a solution before heading to the stores to return goods. That was my lesson learnt…


  3. blank Andrew says:

    I’m getting really annoyed with mine. Bought it today and the red pad just isn’t working properly. It’s like i have to hit it really hard and fast.. So i think i’m gonna see if i have the right screw driver and open it up and have a look at the wires at the back. Mike, say if the wire is slightly out, do i just “push it” back in?


  4. blank Mike says:

    Hi Andrew,

    You’ll find two things wrong. The cable is too short, or they have the cable lying over a rubber or soft cushion block. Not sure why they have done this? So because the cable is too short, there is too much tension, and that is why it’s not making good contact onto the sensor. That is why you have to hit the drums hard or quickly. Trust me, when I play now, there is no hard hitting at all. It’s working well.

    So you need to lessen the tension, and like I said in my post above, expose the wire a bit, and then stick in directly on the sensor (ignoring the glue or solder bit they used). Stick it else where on the sensor. Basically they have done a shoddy job with the soldering. You only need to expose the wire a little bit (and the wire is thin, so be careful doing it. I used my teeth, but you can use a knife or a pair of scissors). I was able to do about 4mm once I had removed the cushion and allowed more tension.

    I’ve actually done this for all the cables now, and it’s brilliant.
    It’s really simple, don’t be afraid (look at what I’ve said and the GOOD INPUT website say… You don’t have anything to worry about. It’s a real easy fix.

    Let us know how you get on.


  5. blank Amanda says:

    Thanks for this! My boyfriend’s red pad stopped working. I tried this method for him. I hope I don’t have to do it again for any of the other pads, but it’s great to know that I can if I have to and that it works!

  6. blank Mike says:

    Nice girlfriend he has if you do all the work… ๐Ÿ™‚ What is wrong with him fixing it? LoL

  7. blank lynne nicolson says:

    i bought wii guitar hero with drums etc for my kids for xmas and we cannot get teh drums to work at all!!! what are we doing wrong! we can get the buttons at the top of the kit to work but the drum pads are not registering????? any ideas????


  8. blank Mike says:

    I can’t really help you Lynne, as I don’t have Wii Guitar Hero World Tour. I am not sure if they work differently to XBOX 360.



  9. blank Aaron Maseri says:

    hey dude any idea what kind of screwdriver do i need to use to open it?

  10. blank Mike says:

    A small phillips screwdriver or one of those mini screwdrivers (flat or phillips) or even a smallish hex socket (allen key). About 3mm will do.

    I used a small phillips. It worked just fine.

  11. blank Justin says:

    Hey, and ideas on how to get a cymbal to register?

  12. blank Mike says:


    Here is a video on how to fix the cymbal.

  13. blank David says:

    Thanks a heap for your help, my red pad broke within 2 days of use after xmas. In 10 mins its back working again, very happy! But i still can’t believe such a simple and stupid issue could get through the Red Octane staff. Its a bit sad.

    Thanks again
    David K Melbourne, Aus

  14. blank Mike says:

    It kind of begs the question, “How much crash testing went into this device?”

    I thought each drum kit is meant to be tested for thousands of hours. I doubt any of us have played even 200 hours before the problem arose.

    Glad to have helped.


  15. blank matty says:

    Hey I am on me second kit and will give this a go as i am getting so annoyed with it! I am using real sticks which are heavier but i am sure this dont make any difference! should be strong enough to take a bit of a beating??

    Wish me luck !

  16. blank unknown says:

    i am so mad i got this for xmas and just today my red drum pad stopped working i called gamestop and they said i couldnt exchange it for a new one or get a refund anyone i dont want to mess anything up so any ideas on what i could do to get a refund????

  17. blank Mike says:

    I have no idea how you go about getting a refund, especially since you have used it already. I am guessing the shop where you bought the game from must offer some sort of returns policy or not.

    Alternatively, why not open it up as suggested in the above post, and fix the problem. It is a simple fix and you have nothing to fear and you’ll be banging away in no time at all (on the drum that is ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  18. blank wil says:

    nice one mate. my world was coming to an end when me red drum packed up. spot on with the fault. only thing i did different was to solder the wire back on.is a better connection lets just hope the vibrations dont break the solder. thanks again.

  19. blank Mike says:

    You mean you were seeing red…. Ha ha Ha.
    Good point on the soldering. if mine breaks again (touch wood it won’t because I stuck it really fast), but if does break loose, I will solder mine next time. Do let me know if yours breaks again.

  20. blank Guitar Hero says:

    Thank you so much. It was really easy to fix this very frustrating problem.

  21. blank Rockin Rhia says:

    Thanks All! ๐Ÿ™‚ Last night we were rocking out on World Tour and I began to notice it seemed I was “off beat” on the red drum. My husband & I continued to play, but still something seemed wrong. On the next song I saw that no “light” came off the red “note” on the music highway. Alas we went to the “practice” & saw for sure the red drum was not playing, or would play every once in a while.

    Sure enough we followed these instructions, and the red wire was completely loose from where it should have been attached. We fixed it & it began to work again, but then stopped. We attached the wire with plastic tape but feel maybe we did not secure it quite enough. So today we are going to go through and do it again. We know that is what the issue is now. So you saved us the headache of trying to get the whole thing replaced. We bought ours at Game Stop, and I believe they are very strict about not wanting to exchange, but have you contact Activision instead. Again thanks so much. I am bookmarking this for future reference!!

    Just a drummin blonde!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Rhia

  22. blank Matt J says:

    Thanks so much! Good ol’ internet and you’re time and effort saving me 3 weeks of not being able to drum out on my favorite game. I also added a couple of old rags under the drum pads to help deaden the slap noise further.

  23. blank Mike says:

    I have found so many answers online, just happy to help for a change.

  24. blank nichevo says:

    Thank you for the guide. It motivated me to fix the drum myself rather than go through a painful warranty process. I just want to mention that my own drum kit was secured with TORX screws. Most internet guides on this topic mention Phillips-head screws, so I just assumed that was all I needed.

    I leave this comment because I would have saved a lot of time knowing that TORX was a possibility. Even just knowing the term “TORX” helps when internet searching and screwdriver borrowing.

    Hopefully this comment will help others perplexed by the strange screws holding their kit together.

  25. blank Mike says:

    Many thanks for your comment. I have updated my original post with the mention of TORX screws, and the tool to use in order to unscrew them from the drum kit.

  26. blank Pete says:

    Gahhh, it worked !
    Awsome !
    Thanks heaps ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. blank Rebs says:

    Hi Mike,

    I was planning to buy GHWT on PS3. If any of the drum pads were to stop working, do you know if the PS3 and Xbox 360 drum controllers have the same wiring? Because if the problem is as simple with PS3 Drum controllers, then I will have no worries in buying GHWT

    Thanks in advanced

  28. blank Mike says:

    Hi Rebs,

    Not sure to be honest. I will do a bit of research on this and get back to you. I have been assuming all along that is the a global problem with PS3 and XBOX drum kits, but perhaps not!

    Will let you know.


  29. blank DexX says:

    Rebs, I have seen inside both a Wii set and an XBox 360 set, and they’re all wired the same except for the console-specific controls. This is a universal fix.

    I find it amazing that it’s always the red drum that fails. Is it just because it’s used the most? I doubt it, since my red drum was temperamental out of the box, while the others were fine.

    Thanks for the info!

  30. blank Dave says:

    Thank You!!! I can’t begin to say how frustrated I was with my drums. On my second set(played the warranty game with the first) but this time was a bit more brave. This fix works perfectly!!

    Thanks again,

  31. blank Mike says:

    Hi Dave,

    Happy to be of service! – I am glad it worked out for you!


  32. blank Toby says:

    Worked fricking brilliant!

    I thought my set just needed calibrating when the red started dropping out.
    I tried the cable, which didn’t work, so I went to town on the 16 fricking tiny torx screws to get this baby open.

    I gave the red wire on the red pad a wee tug and it just popped out of it’s little rubber solder drop.

    Taping that on fixed it right up.

    Do they just have one dude in the factory who consistently fucks up or something?

  33. blank Mike says:

    I am guessing they have issued each of the guys on the production line one box of red cable, and told them them “You will make it last ten thousand drum kits…. or else you are fired”.

    This can be the only explanation.

  34. blank Carol says:

    Hi Mike,

    In relation to Rebs post on the 29th January, you will find that as Dexx advised, it is common to all GHWT. I brought the set for my son for Xmas and the red drum stopped working within days of purchasing it. My sons mates have brought a set for other types of gaming systems and the problem is common across the board.

    As to how a company like that can allow this quality stuff up happen to a game as popular as this one is beyond me.

    I was so happy to read your fix because I brought my sons from an ebay store because they were out of stock everywhere I went and they arent even replying to my emails. I wasn’t sure if I should try this fix because I knew once I open the drum set I will probably void my warranty but if they are going to stuff me around anyway it aint gonna hurt to try. I will give it a go and see what comes of it. Wish me luck and I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks, Carol

  35. blank Mike says:

    Good luck, but honestly no luck is involved if you follow the instructions. I just want to point out, the fix is not mine but “Good Inputs”, whom I give full credit. Their site is what I followed and then made my blog based on my experience.

  36. blank Carol says:

    Ok then Mike…. I tried “Good Inputs” fix that was clearly explained on your site and … YIPPEE!! IT WORKED!! I also left a thank you note at http://www.goodinput.com for their fix. I just want to note that when I googled the problem your site was one of the first which is why I landed here first.

    I have to mention that when I finally got all the screws off I was shocked to see how badly all the components had been finished and how tight the cabling was to all drums. The wire to the red drum was not even connected, it had come right off. My son and I were amazed at what we saw to a point where all we could do was laugh. Anyway, I exposed more of the wire, scraped away the glue and taped down the wire to the pad. We only screwed a couple of screws on and tried it and it worked brilliantly. I put all the screws back on and the whole time I was doing that I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I would be doing this. I just know that it will need attention again and if or should I say when that time arrives I will solder it.

    Anyway, thanks again. Your site did help me out big time.


  37. blank Mike says:

    Well, thank you for you comments Carol, and I didn’t realize my site was coming up first… how weird!!! The internet works in strange ways. I thought exactly the same when I saw the poor workmanship inside, and figured it wouldn’t be long before I had to repeat the process on the blue and green drums, but so far so go. No trouble what so ever and I have really abused my drums (ha ha ha).

  38. blank Si says:

    Hi Mike.

    I tried to go through warranty to get my pad repaired, but the branch of Game said theyt were not dealing with warranty issues and I had to get in touch with Activision, who in turn told me to go to Game! By the time I had sorted out who was responsible, I was then told by Activision that the warranty had run out. Having then decided to surf for a solution, I came across your page and decided to open the drums up. I can’t believe how much this was an accident waiting to happen – one of the wires to the red pad was so taut, I could have played a tune on it (unlike the red drum itself!).

    I have taped the wire onto the sensor and, like magic, the drums have started working

    Thanks for the help, which is more than I can say for the Activision helpdesk.

  39. blank Mike says:

    Hi Si,

    Your story brought all the memories I had when I open up my drums. They are really a bunch of sly “creatures” who wired this drum kit up, but I am glad you saw the light and fixed it yourself.



  40. blank PItz says:

    HI Mike,
    Nice to see your great walk through of the process and your experiences with it. Thanks heaps As 10 days after my 90 day warranty expired I played this morning and viola no red pad. Your guide and others comments helped get me motivated to try and 10 – 15 minutes later it is better than ever. Great work.

  41. blank Mike says:

    Awesome!!!! another happy customer!!!

  42. blank darren says:

    i gotta ? for you..i see that peeps have soldered the RED wire (i have too) but my main ? is has ne one actually soldered BOTH wires?

    also i have issues with my cymbals too, but i might try the solder the red wire on there too, but i am unsure of the black

    would help me greatly

  43. blank mister d says:

    my story sounds the same as everyone else, so suffice it to say your fix worked! couldn’t close this page without a big thanks…

  44. blank Jerry says:


    First of all: Thank you for making this guide! It really pushed me into trying to fix my blue drum pad after warranty had expired. I’ve opened up my drums as i speak and i’m having some trouble with the 2 connector wires. This was clearly the problem because when they do connect the drums work fine. But they lose contact very quickly. Even before screwing it back together. I’ve used tape and the same kind of stuff they used to keep them connected. What should I do?

  45. blank Mike says:

    Well it sounds like the problem is the cables are two short. I removed the soft padding that the cables were resting on prior to reaching the sensor. This gave me a few extra millimeters to play with and allowed me to stick the wires down.

    If this is not an option for you, I guess soldering them to the sensor is the next best thing or getting a similar longer wire and replacing the entire wire. Again soldering the new one in it’s place.

  46. blank Jerry says:

    Thanks for the reply ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve removed the soft padding as you said and stripped a little bit off of the protection for the wires for a better connection. Works like a charm now. I still find it hard to believe that RedOctane did such a bad job on this. I always thought they were really good at making hardware, the reason Harmonix once teamed up with them.

    Thanks a lot for the guide, you just saved me a lot of money. This was my last resort before buying a new set of drums. Turned out to be quite easy and I’ve replaced all the wires and my drums now work better than when they came out of the box ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. blank CEV says:

    Worked great!

    I used electrical tape… does anyone know if an epoxy glue would do nicely?

  48. blank Mike says:

    TBH….I don’t think it going to matter what you use. Bear in mind the original makers solidered the wire onto the sensor and then used some silicon glue to cover it.

    The fact is it’s not that it was not glue down properly or stuck to the sensor correctly, the real problem in 99% of the cases is that the cable is too short and whenever you smash the drum it pulls away or snaps. If you can lessen the tension you will find it will work perfectly with electrical tape. (it has for me).


  49. blank YR says:

    Thanks alot , i thought my drum set was a goner !
    – YR singapore

  50. blank Mike says:

    Glad to have helped…. Thanks for your comment!

  51. blank Carrie says:

    Thank you so much!!!! You saved my red drum and helped me win the argument of what was wrong with it!!! Today you are my hero.

  52. blank Mike says:

    Hi Carrie,

    Glad to be of service and glad this post is still helping people 1 year on. I expect a lot more visitors this Xmas when people have bought their drumkits… Was hoping Activision had sorted out the drumkits. How long have you had yours for?


  53. blank Craig says:

    Excellant. My red wire on the red drum was loose. Thanks for taking the time to help us all out. Great effort.

  54. blank Tom says:

    My daughter removed the pad from the red drum and then the wire connection broke. I fixed the wire by adding an additional length, but how do you get the red pad back on to the black retainer?

  55. blank Mike says:


    So, if I understand correctly, the drum kit was standing there and your daughter lifted up the RED PAD and the connection or wire broke (doh)… well it would. You are not meant to lift the red pad up from the retainer.
    Once unscrewed, you remove the black cover off the back and you see the back end of the red pad.

    So to answer your question – No idea – your daughter has most likely damaged the red pad now in which case it’s stuffed. ๐Ÿ™

    NOTE: The Red drum fix is clearly defined in the post and at no time ANYWHERE does it mention lifting up the red pad from the retainer…. It is always best to read the manual or in this case post before trying anything.


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