Archive for the ‘Rock Band’ Category

How to Configure a Roland TD-9 Drum Set for Rock Band 4 (including Open Hi-Hats)

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

I have a Roland TD-9kx2 kit, and have been using it to play Rock Band for about five years (before that I had a Yamaha DTXplorer). There are other guides that walk you through every step, but here is a quick guide for the MIDI notes, and more specifically how to play open hi-hat for the blue cymbal notes. If you don’t know, Rock Band typically charts open hi-hat notes onto the blue cymbal. If you configure your e-kit this way, you can play “properly” by lifting your foot and hitting the hi-hat to play these notes.

Hopefully this is somewhat useful for other e-kits, but I don’t know. The MIDI notes should at least be the same. On PS4 you need the “MIDI Pro Adapter,” and on Xbox One you also need the “Wired Legacy Adapter” (you plug your drums into the MPA, plug that into the WLA, and plug that into your Xbox). It actually works flawlessly, believe it or not.

I created two custom “kits” in the drum brain. You can call them whatever you want, but mine are “with hi-hat” (for when I want to play open hi-hat notes) and “double bass” (which you could call “hi-hat lock” instead, but I have a double bass pedal so it makes sense to me). I recommend this because if you’re going for high scores, you don’t want to accidentally lift your foot and miss some yellow hi-hat notes. Here is the kit screen:

On my brain, underneath that are three “F” keys that correspond to the three labels on the screen. Click F2 for “FUNC” to get to this screen:

Now click F3 for MIDI:

Above you can see what all my pads are set to. Please note that I have an extra green cymbal, which is why there are two Crash (C 49) there. You want to also set the rims/bows/bells to the same notes, so you can hit anywhere on the pads/cymbals. Click F2 for OTHER to configure the hi-hat:

Note: before you do this, you may need to set your pedal to “external” as explained here:

Under setup->midi->ctrl, I changed the Hi Hat Compatibility parameter from TD9/TD20 to External. This tells the Roland module that an external device will be controlling the module allowing the module to use the external device’s midi mapping.

You can see that when it’s open, it sends 51 for the blue cymbal, and closed sends 22 for yellow cymbal. Pedal is OFF, so when I actually step down on the pedal, it won’t trigger anything. X Stick is for the snare. You also have to configure sensitivity (or threshold, etc.) for all the pads and the pedal, and make sure that stepping on the pedal doesn’t cause enough vibration to trigger a hi-hat “hit.” These settings depend on your pad placement and how hard you play.

Other Tips:

  • Make sure the MIDI Pro Adapter “dial” is ALL THE WAY UP! This was a big problem I had when I first bought it. You want your drum brain to do all the work. Only use the MPA dial if your brain doesn’t have any settings.
  • There is nothing in the game to indicate what blue cymbal is a ride note, and what is an open hi-hat. In fact, I think some open hi-hats are still charted to yellow depending on what else is happening in the song. A good rule of thumb is: if there are multiple blue cymbals in a row, it’s probably the ride, but if there are a lot of yellow cymbals and ONE blue cymbal, it’s probably an open hi-hat.
  • Again, see this guide if you still need help — or even if you don’t. He has a deeper explanation of some things and more settings. Note that his MIDI numbers are different from mine — the MPA accepts multiple numbers for the same pad so as to be compatible with many cheaper e-kits (without a drum brain). You can look up the manual if you want to see them all.

“Tommy Gun Rock Band Drumming” DVD out now!

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
From Easy to Expert, Tommy Gun covers everything you need to know to be a pro Rock Band drummer!

From Easy to Expert, Tommy Gun covers everything you need to know to be a pro Rock Band drummer!

Click Image for Large Version – Huge iPad Version Here 

I kept cracking up at Ricky Gervais’s “Learn Guitar with David Brent” image, so I decided to do one for drumming. I looked at a bunch of dvd covers and tried a bunch of poses, but was ultimately inspired by this:


One thing I learned while working on this is that there’s a very fine line between a good parody of a bad cover, and a just-plain-bad photoshop job. So this ended up looking a lot nicer than I ever intended, although I kept the hardcore drumming font, and so on. The Rock Band logo just looked way too good on a really bad cover, so it was kind of jarring.

hmxhenry commented on this!:

Ha! Great way to start the day. Nice job!


Rock Band: Expert Pro Drums 100% flawless scores

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Here are some of the more notable 100%s I’ve gotten playing expert pro drums so far.  Most of them are FC’s (full combos, no overhits), especially if I’m high up on the leaderboard, but I don’t remember for sure.  I have tons more FCs, but I’m only posting the harder songs, or ones where I’m #1.

I play using my Yamaha DTXplorer (two cymbals and a hi-hat) with the MadCatz MIDI pro adapter. The only reason I’m not #1 on all the songs I FC’d is because some people “drum squeeze” to get more points, or because I didn’t use the optimal OD (overdrive) path. I don’t play songs multiple times in a row, so I never remember the path.

Some song notes:

This Ain’t a Scene: this was the second time I’ve played this song. It was really lucky, because the overdrive covered up a really long drumroll that I probably missed a few notes on, but it doesn’t count that. So I still ended up with 100%. A really poor overdrive path accounts for being so low on the leaderboard (I also may have overhit).

Young: Pretty surprised I was able to get this. It’s not that hard, I’m just really inconsistent with disco-beats.

Ring of Fire: the actual #1 on the leaderboard, no tie!

Half Crazy: I love this song!

Rock Band 3 achievement progress: pro drum trainer!

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Finally! I waited months for the MIDI adapter so I could use my Yamaha DTXplorer drumset, and then it took me a couple more months to figure out how to calibrate it properly for the game (guide coming soon!). I was able to complete most of the pro drum trainer without much trouble, but a few beats were really hard to do until I fixed my drums.

Green Day: Rock Band achievement progress

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Today I tried for the “get 400,000 points in a single song” achievement in GD:RB. I tried to do it on drums previously, but even on the longest songs (“Jesus of Suburbia”), I couldn’t get more than around 340k. I read online that guitar was maybe the easiest to get it with, so I tried that, even though I’m WAY better at drums than guitar. First try:

177 points away! If I had hit literally ONE more note I would have gotten it! I even FC’d the solo, although I used OD too late, and ended the song with 1/4 full. That would have done it too. So after that I just had to try again, and figured it should be easy since I was ready for a few parts that I messed up during the sightread:


The Beatles: Rock Band achievement progress!

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Aside from playing lots of Rock Band 3 (love the new keyboard, still waiting for the drum MIDI adapter and the Squier guitar), I’ve been trying to get more of the achievements in Green Day RB and Beatles RB. After playing through one of the album challenges in GD:RB, I played Beatles to see if I could get any of the achievements I was missing. When the game came out I gold-starred all but two of the songs, each needed for separate achievements. And then there was the good old “I GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!” (100% Helter Skelter) achievement. I really haven’t played it since then (except with friends when they wanted to sing), and figured I may have gotten better since then and could beat those last few songs.

I started with “I Feel Fine” and missed an Overdrive phrase. I played it again and missed one note, while OD was active I think, no gold star. Tried a different OD path, but broke combo three times. Gave up and tried the other song, “I Wanna Be Your Man.” It’s super fast and tiring on your right hand, but I did really well and GS’d it on my first try! Yes! Feeling good, I went back to I Feel Fine. I knew I could do it, and after a couple tries:

Sweeeeet! I was about to turn off the game, but figured I should play Helter Skelter just for the hell of it. I remembered that there are two weirdly timed drumrolls at the end, and that’s where most people mess up. Since I hadn’t played that song in a year, there was no way I would hit those, but it was good practice anyway. I started the song and was doing fine…got to the end, first weird drumroll…broke combo. Second drumroll…nailed it! Wait, did I miss a note or overhit on that first one?

Yes! 100% on my first try! Uh oh, was the achievement for FC’ing it, or just 100%? *achievement popping noise*

So happy. I still have a few achievements to get: two are for guitar, which I probably won’t get. Two are for vocal harmonies, which is really a crime I haven’t gotten those, since that’s what this game is all about! It’s entirely my fault for not playing it more…and not having the ability to sing. It would be awesome to 1k this game. We’ll see.

Rock Band Expert Drum videos now for download

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Rock BandI put up high quality divx versions of all the drum videos. You can find them all here:



Rock Band Expert Drum videos!

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Rock BandI finally put up some drum videos. There are eight of them; the first three have a separate camera for the bass pedal, the rest are zoomed out to show both hands and feet. The three with the separate bass camera are Chiron, Indestructible (gold stars), and Inside the Fire — I did those specifically for people who bitch “why does HMX put out songs that are impossible to play with one pedal?”

Because there are so many different things happening, the compression is terrible, so clicking “watch in high quality” is definitely recommended. My drums drop tons of notes, but oh well.

YouTube playlist for my drum videos

I will put up downloadable divx versions later.

Hayley Williams almost a capella (Paramore)

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Why this was done: So you can hear Hayley’s voice almost isolated.

How this was done: The video you’re seeing is not what the audio came from. The audio was captured by turning off all sounds (crowd, instruments, etc.), and playing with No Fail mode turned on, with a full band (but not playing). Some tracks can still be heard, as well as some booing, but it’s fairly quiet.

The video was done a second time, vocal only (no fail) just so you don’t have to stare at the full band charts. You can see my Hayley character singing (it’s hard to get an actual likeness with the RB creator).

That’s What You Get:


More Rock Band videos to come!

Video: Tommy Gun’s Rock Band 2 and 3 Manual Calibration Guide (papercraft)

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Rock BandI spent a bunch of time messing around with the RB2 manual calibration settings (I don’t have the new Strat), and decided to make a short video explaining them clearly and simply (I hope). I used this method to calibrate my system, and it works really well. So if you’re confused about exactly what the settings do, and which way you need to move them in order to sync up the game, this should explain all of that. I use the drums as an example, but obviously this also works with the guitar.

Let me know if I made any mistakes, and I can add some annotations to the video.

** Download the high-res divx version on the downloads page **

Edit: I originally made this video for RB2, but it also works for Rock Band 3, The Beatles: Rock Band, and Green Day: Rock Band!

Edit 2: a French tutorial has been posted by Stéphane