Wii Rock Band controllers: guitar *and* drum kit. Can be used to repair existing controllers, or create new ones from scratch.
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Table of Contents


Microcontroller Firmware to emulate guitar and drum kit controllers from the Wii version of the Rock Band games.

Two small plastic guitars and a cheap toy drum pad

This is based on the foundational work done by Nicholas Angle on the Wii Guitar Controller (text article). Nicholas was also really nice about answering an email question I sent. Thanks, Nicholas!

Parts Needed

Skills Needed

This is a research project: it's assumed you already have a skillset that includes:

  • Disassembling consumer electronics
  • Using a multimeter to perform continuity checks
  • Building electronics projects using a microcontroller
  • Soldering
  • Running the Arduino IDE or using avrdude to flash a firmware

If you're not comfortable with the above list, your best option right now (Jan 2024) is to either buy a used kit, or wait for the Polybar project to finish their work producing a beginner-friendly kit with assembly manual.



I 3D printed the MiniCaster by Vlad the Inhaler. It comes with full build instructions.


I bought a Cheap children's drum toy from Amazon. There are dozens of copies of this thing, the one I got was on sale for $25.

I had to unscrew the cover and remove the logic board, battery, and speaker. The pads were connected with a sort of ribbon connector, which I desoldered and removed, then placed in my own perma-proto board.

I also hooked up a 3.5mm TRS jack for the two pedals, which I could have desoldered from the toy (I already had these).

I'm sorry I didn't photograph or record any of this, but it was pretty straightforward.


This will compile in the Arduino IDE, or on the commandline using make.

Command Line

Just run make on a Unix system. I set up paths for my Debian install of Arduino 1.8; you may need to adjust them if your setup has different paths.

There is a flash-% target that will upload the built firmware to a Pro Micro. The following targets exist:

make flash-guitar # Guitar firmware make flash-guitar-wammy # Guitar firmware with wammy bar make flash-drums # Drums firmware


Mockband has no library dependencies, and as far as I can tell, will work with the built-in Leonardo profile, even though you're uploading to a Pro Micro.

You need to make two edits to boards.txt. Instructions for this are all over the place.

Find your board, and edit the build lines. Don't edit anything that doesn't say build on the line! I can't help you if you do this.

In my examples, I'm editing the lines for the leonardo build. Yours might be different: it should match the board you're using.

Build flags

This disables serial communications on the board.

leonardo.build.extra_flags={build.usb_flags} -DCDC_DISABLED

Hat tip to Nicholas Angle for figuring this out so I didn't have to.


These set the USB identifiers. VID is the Vendor ID, and PID is the Product ID.

0x1bad means "Harmonix Music", at least, it does to the Linux kernel.

For guitar

PID 0x004 means "Guitar controller".

leonardo.build.usb_product="Mockband Guitar"

For drums

PID 0x3110 means "Rock Band 2 drums". This works better with all versions of Rock Band on my wii, even if you don't use the cymbal inputs.

leonardo.build.usb_product="Mockband Drums"


Both the guitar and drum kit I used provide simple momentary switches: nothing fancy like a piezo. If you're using fancier types of inputs, you'll need to modify the source code.


guitar wiring

silkscreen pin name description
TX0 strum up
RX1 strum down
2 tilt switch
3 green
4 red
5 yellow
6 blue
7 orange
8 no connection
9 wammy bar (see note)
10 plus
16 minus
14 orange solo
15 blue solo
18 yello solo
19 red solo
20 green solo
21 no connection

The solo buttons and wammy bar are optional. I don't use them.

If you hook up a wammy bar, be sure to uncomment the #define WAMMY in the code!

Drum Kit

drum wiring

silkscreen pin name description
TX0 no connection
RX1 no connection
2 2x kick / hat (see below)
3 green
4 red
5 yellow
6 blue
7 kick
8 no connection
9 no connection
10 plus
16 minus
14 no connection
15 blue cymbal
18 yellow cymbal
19 hi hat pedal (see below)
20 green cymbal
21 no connection


If you only have one pedal, wire it to pin 7.

If you have two pedals, wire them to 7 and 2.

If you have three pedals, wire them to 7, 2, and 19.

Wii Rock Band 3 only looks at the 2x kick pin: it provides a checkbox to reassign this to the high hat. Clone Hero will use both the 2x kick and the hi hat. Maybe there is some other game that uses this too.

Related Projects

Mockband is a research project. You can use it to build a fully working controller, but the main goal of this project is to inform other developers.

If you're looking for a user-friendly way to get a Rock Band drum controller, consider the following alternatives:

  • Buying a used Harmonix (official Rock Band) drum kit
  • Mad Catz Rock Band 3 MIDI PRO-Adapter and a MIDI e-drum kit
  • Santroller wired to a used Harmonix drum kit

Bugs / Not Yet Implemented

I'm tracking things I need to do in the forgejo issues.

There's a rumor that one day forgejo/gitea will join the fediverse. Until that happens, just email me, and I'll open an issue.


You may use this under the terms of the MIT License.

Need help?

Email me, I'm friendly :)