Channel K

Rock Band Drum Kit Accessibility Mod

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Kinetic’s passion for accessibility and our love for video games have joined forces to allow more gamers to play one of today’s most popular interactive video games, Rock Band.

Rock Band is a video game that is available for multiple game systems. It combines drums, guitars, and microphone to allow multiple users to experience a glimpse of what it’s like to play in a rock band.

One of our clients with Lakeshore Foundation is an aspiring Rock Star who happens to be in a wheelchair. She was disappointed because the kickpedal feature on the drums cannot be disabled within the game. A team member heard of her wish and set to work on finding a more access-friendly solution.
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To our knowledge, this mod hasn’t been done before, so we would like to share the process with you. Materials only cost about $20 and can be found just about anywhere. Here’s how we did it:

What you need:

  • A set of cheap drumsticks (about $6 from your local music store)
  • A doorbell ($4 available at Lowes or any hardware store)
  • An audio Y-cable (3.5mm to 2 RCA – $5 from TargetRadioShack etc.)
  • A screwdriver, set of wire stripping pliers (or anything to strip the insulation from wire)
  • Electrical tape (optional)

What you do:

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  • Cut the two RCA connectors off the “Y” end of the cable and strip away about 1/2″ of the insulation to reveal the copper wiring (be sure to leave the 3.5mm input connected, you will plug this in the foot pedal input).
  • Loosen the two screws on the inside of the doorbell and wrap one copper wire around each screw. Tighten the screws.
  • The doorbell should come with two screws with which you will mount the doorbell to the bottom of one stick. You will want to play around with the positioning of the button before you screw it in. You don’t want a bunch of holes in your drumsticks!
  • If you prefer, you can conceal the wire that is coming from the doorbell to the sticks by securing it with electrical tape, while you’re at it you can wrap the entire stick (except for the tip) in electrical tape for added grip…plus, it just looks cool.

Now you’re ready to rock hard. Simply unplug the foot pedal and plug in your sticks!

See it in action:

Update!
We’re humbled and flattered by the overwhelming response to this post. Check out what folks are saying at EngadgetKotakuGizmodoJoystiqCrunchGearNintendo Wii FanboyGeekSugarSlashgearAbleGamersBoxxet, Play GadgetsThe Birmingham News, and more. We’ve gone global, too! Read our article in Japanese.

If you go platinum, don’t forget us.