March 31, 2008

Equipping Your First Fake Plastic Rock Band

So you just bought a copy of Rock Band Special Edition, and you’re looking forward to some serious fake plastic rock with your three closest friends. Almost everything you need is included in the box: the game, a guitar, the drums, and a microphone. You will want to pick up a second guitar, of course.

Rock Band Special Edition box

But that’s not quite enough, if you plan to do some serious fake plastic rocking. You’ll want a few choice accessories to make your Fake Plastic Rock Band experience everything it should be.

Drum Throne ($30-$100)

It can be difficult to adjust typical household chairs to the right height for drumming. You’ll have a much better drumming experience if you pick up a real drum throne.

drum throne

There are quite a few inexpensive drum thrones on Amazon. One tip: I highly recommend getting a drum throne with a spiral screw height adjustment. Look for the big threads under the seat itself, as shown in the picture above. These are far easier to adjust than the lock style. If you’re serious about drumming, it’s worth making an investment in a nice drum throne.

Drum Sticks ($10-$20)

The included Rock Band drum sticks, are, to put it charitably — crap. You want real drum sticks! They’re inexpensive and of far higher quality than what’s included in the box. I recommend Zildjan anti-vibration drumsticks with nylon tips.

Zildjan Anti-vibe nylon tip drumsticks

Nylon tips are often recommended for electronic drums, and the anti-vibration design keeps your hands from getting fatigued during those long jam sessions against the relatively unforgiving surface of the Rock Band drumset.

Fingerless Gloves ($5-$20)

Playing the drums long enough can actually cause blisters. So why not fake plastic rock out in style with some inexpensive fingerless leather gloves?

fingerless leather gloves

I don’t recommend these for guitarists or vocalists, but hey, who am I to judge your personal style? Although fingerless leather gloves with metal studs would be even cooler, now that I think about it.

Microphone Stand ($20-$30)

Holding the mic is fine for American Idol competitors — but true fake plastic rockers use a real microphone stand as a part of their performance!

boom microphone stand

Anybody can play drums or guitar — but can you sing vocals at the same time, too? That’s the true test of any fake plastic rocker’s mettle. A standard vertical mic stand works fine, but if you get a microphone stand with an extendible boom, even the drummer can get in on the vocal action. Don’t forget a mic clip for the stand! Feather boas, bandannas, and scarves to wrap around the microphone stand are not included, but totally awesome if you’re inclined.

Guitar Stand ($10-$20)

For a properly organized gig space, you want to hang your guitars on the wall, or use a real guitar stand.


Cowbell and Tambourine ($10-$20 each)

Sure, you could just tap on the microphone to simulate the actual cowbell or tambourine parts in the songs. But why does the vocalist always get off so easy? Try adding real cowbells and real tambourines to the mix so the vocalist can really rock out!

cowbell tambourine

USB extension cables ($5 each)

In a perfect world, everything would be wireless. We don’t live in that perfect world yet. Pick up some USB extension cords so you have room to rock. I recommend 5 feet minimum, and 10 feet ideally. You can also pick up some nifty lighted LED extension cables for stage effects!

LED extension cables

Guitar Hero III ($100)

This may be a little controversial, but I think the Rock Band Fender Stratocaster guitar controller is quite poor compared to the Guitar Hero III Gibson Les Paul Wireless axe. The good news is, on the Xbox 360 at least, you can use the Les Paul in Rock Band, too! That’s as good an excuse as any to pick up a copy of Guitar Hero III bundled with the guitar. I believe Rock Band is the better game overall, but I love all forms of fake plastic rock.

Guitar Hero III

You don’t have to buy all these things, of course, but I do recommend looking into a few of them if you’re as serious about fake plastic rock as I am. If you’re hesitant, I encourage you to make a trip down to your local music store to try some of the equipment out first.

I agree that Rock Band is a better even though the GH 3 guitar is superior. I wonder if it’s possible to mod the Rock Band guitar so that it “clicks” instead of “squishes”?

May 22, 2008 at 9:23 am

I am using your guide to set myself up with drum xtras and thank you btw. I may have just missed it, but I would like to know more about the 2nd bass drum pedal for rock band 2 for the PS3. Do they have one and if so which one should I use?

Also any specific drum thrones you’d recommend?

April 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Info on the 2nd pedal is here:

Any drum throne is good, but MAKE SURE you get one with that easy, spiral adjustment! The ones with locknut adjustment are a total b*tch when you have drummers of different heights switching in and out..

Jeff Atwood
September 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm

well, fake Plastic Rock Band ? I got the wrong meaning after reading the title but the post cleared it out..nice writing..and i am agreed with Jeff, ” Any drum throne is good, but MAKE SURE you get one with that easy, spiral adjustment! ”

Regards, Jennifer Lee
Pharmacy Tech

Jennifer Lee
October 27, 2010 at 1:34 pm

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