Guitar Hero: World Tour Drum Tuning Kit

guitar_hero_world_tourGH:WT hasn’t been the most gratifying experience for me, mostly because of sensitivity issues with the drum kit and lag calibration that is less than accurate (you can read the whole story here).

I received my ‘Drum Controller Standard Tuning Kit’ and cable yesterday, and fired it up.

Did it end my suffering? Fix my problems? Am I prepared to change my opinion?

Find out inside.

My original problem with the drum kit was one of sensitivity; the red pad would not register unless I hit it REALLY hard and the orange cymbal would register a hit in a gentle breeze. This meant I spent a lot of time either missing red notes, or getting red AND orange notes at the same time.

The drumming portion of the game was unplayable.

Less than a week after release Activision fessed up to the problem and released a piece of software that would allow you to adjust the sensitivity of each pad individually.


Seems like a reasonable fix, no?

I have some issues with the fix:

  1. It requires a MIDI to USB cable – I already own one, but most people don’t. Activision will provide you with one, free of charge, but it took over 2 weeks to be processed and shipped.
  2. It requires a WINDOWS PC – No Mac or Linux support? We don’t ALL belong to MS, you know.
  3. The drums must be hooked up to your console AND PC at the same time – How many of you keep them in the same room? I have a couple laptops I can shift around easily, but I’m willing to bet a lot of you don’t.

I tried the software fix on a laptop using Windows XP and my own MIDI/USB cable originally, but found that it didn’t really fix anything. It registered everything fine, but the sensitivity didn’t seem to adjust high enough for the red pad or low enough for the orange pad to make an appreciable difference.

I’m going to chalk that up to something wonky with the MIDI cable I was using… I have no other explanation, considering how this story ends.

When the Activision cable arrived, I immediately tried it again on the same machine. The laptop installed drivers for the interface, but the software (ACTIVISION’S software) didn’t recognize it.

MIDI editing software that I use for music composition recognized and was able to use the cable perfectly.

Moving to another machine (running Vista) everything seemed to go smoothly.

Yep… smoothly. It did exactly what it was designed for.

My drum kit now works perfectly, and other than a few design flaws (Who puts their cymbals that close to the other pads? Seriously, can we get them a little higher?) I like the kit. It feels good, has good response, and I haven’t broken anything on it yet.

This is how it should have been out of the box.

Have I changed my mind on which ‘band’ game I’d rather play? No, I haven’t… I still prefer Rock Band 2. Guitar Hero has a better song selection, but I PREFER the interface and gameplay choices available to me in Rock Band.

I wouldn’t say GH:WT is broken anymore, but I also wouldn’t say it floated MY boat.

This could easily lead to a rant, but I’ll just end this article with a quick thought.

With the preponderance of ‘zero-day’ patches (Fable 2, Resistance 2, SOCOM, and MANY more), hardware problems (GH:WT), missing features (SOCOM, LBP) and developers/publishers apparent attitude of ‘we’ll patch it in later’, have we fallen into a dangerous cycle of incomplete games and broken promises?

I think we have… and quite frankly, it angers me. And it should anger you too.

Matt Ellis is co-founder of Bag Of Mad Bastards, co-host of the podcast Drunken Monkey Tech, and is tired of paying for games that aren’t finished. His opinions are his own, but if you’d like to contact him he can be reached at:



  1. […] 3 Backwards Compatibility DemystifiedGame Review: Guitar Hero: World Tour vs. Rock Band 2Guitar Hero: World Tour Drum Tuning KitGame Review: Resistance 2 (PS3)Game Review: Call of Duty – World at WarGame Review: […]

  2. Hi, I have a question BoMBMatt. My friend wants to get Rock Band 2. But being selfish I do too. Can you please help me, because I don’t like having to get a patch? Can you think of a way for me to tell him Guitar Hero’s better?

  3. Not sure if I understand you; Rock Band 2 doesn’t need the patch, Guitar Hero MIGHT (the problem doesn’t effect everyone).

    I wouldn’t suggest you mislead your friend, so I can’t really help with the Guitar Hero is better thing. Although some people disagree with me, I tend to enjoy Rock Band 2 more than Guitar Hero… but really, they are both really good.

    As long as your Guitar Hero drumset isn’t defective or have the sensitivity issue that needs to be patched, you should probably base your decision on the songs included with each.

    You can find the song lists for each game at:

  4. I feel like I’ve done everything right installing the drum kit program, getting the usb cable from activision… I can test my drum set fine – and every drum/cymbal hits fine – except NOTHING I can do can make the red register. Taking my palm and pressing it as hard as I can has in past worked, but usually doesn’t. I turned my red drum up to 20 and it did nothing. Any ideas?

    PS: I left the warranty stapled to the inside of the GH:WT box, I think. 😦


  5. @joel

    Ouch… sounds like your drums are good and truly screwed.

    With as much trouble as has been reported, I’d call Activision’s support. I’m hearing that they are being VERY forgiving with RMA’s (meaning you’re not likely to need a receipt or warranty info).

  6. So, what can you do if you don’t have a laptop and your cpu is in another room. I have the Wii GHWT ? and now have the cable from activision.

  7. I see where your coming from my drums have the same problem. I ordered the MIDI cable last night and now waiting for it to arrive. But I have a bigger problem the guitar hero WT disk fails to load it takes a lot of restarting to fianlly work. One time it took me 80 resets then it fianlly worked. The game was BRAND NEW and i opened it on christmas day and restarting all the time on Christmas wasn’t very fun. I am very dissapointed with the guitar hero WT’s performance and expected better for the price and to make matters worse you cant even take it back to the shop to get your money back!!!!.

  8. WOW…..just had an encounter with Red Octane support. Had sensitivity problems as well, and requested a tuning kit. They asked me to do all the basic crap in troubleshooting and kept getting me to do something else with a new e-mail. I finally stopped the crap and just asked blatantly for a tuning kit, I knew what the problem was. The guy refused to send one, are they hurting for money? Anyone else getting hassled for their FREE tuning kit? This is unbelievable.

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