June 17, 2009

Fixing The Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar Strum

Although the Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar is my current fake plastic axe of choice, there have been some issues with it. Besides the analog touchpad, which can be effectively ignored (and even disabled completely within the Guitar Hero: World Tour game options), the main problem people had with the GHWTar is that the strumbar tends to malfunction. That is, you’ll see double-strumming (over-strumming) or failing to register up or down strums.

Well, it finally happened to me — my own GHWTar began double strumming intermittently! Fortunately, there is a fix, as long documented on the ScoreHero forums by superGOAT.

Some guitar batches have faulty strum switches, so let’s replace these stock switches …

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… with Radio Shack SPDT submini level switch model #275-016. They are $2.99 each.

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You’ll need these items to perform the fix:

  1. Two (2) #275-016 Radio Shack replacement switches
  2. T-10 Torx screwdriver
  3. Small philips screwdriver
  4. Soldering iron
  5. Pliers

Unscrew the body of the guitar, crack open the body shell, and locate the strumboard. It’s held in by 4 screws, so unscrew those and pull it off. Then desolder the existing switches from the three contact points on the strumboard — six in all — and resolder the new switches in.

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The new switches are exactly the same size and shape as the old ones, so it is a perfect drop-in replacement.

I just performed this surgery on my two GHWTars, and it’s pretty easy. The hardest part, honestly, is desoldering the existing switches. I recommend using a pair of pliers to grab the switch on the narrow ends from the bottom. The pliers will hold the strum plate in place while you solder from the top with your other hand. Wiggle the strumboard up and away as you heat up the solder. Yes, it does help to have a “third hand” here; I braced the pliers against my stomach instead.

I did not need to use any new solder. Simply loosening the solder and wiggle-pulling the switches out left more than enough solder in place to secure the new switches.

If you need more detail, Josh Straub has an awesome walkthrough of the strum replacement procedure from start to finish. In fact, Josh has some really excellent walkthroughs of a bunch of useful fake plastic instrument mods, and I highly recommend checking them all out. Please note these are all specific to the Guitar Hero: World Tour Guitar, though:

  1. Loose whammy repair guide
  2. Broken whammy repair guide
  3. Strum bar tightening guide

And for the Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit

  1. Drum sensitivity repair guide (but you should request your free, official MIDI tuning kit from Red Octane, first!)
  2. Fix collapsing drum kit stand legs

Although I don’t play Guitar Hero: World Tour much for reasons I’ve described before, I still dabble every now and then, and I like to use the real 6-input GH:WT drums for GH:WT drum charts because of the weird 5-input Rock Band drum mapping. That collapsing drum legs fix is exactly what I was looking for. My GH:WT drumkit lists to the left like a drunken sailor after every song.. looks like I’ll be headed to the hardware store tomorrow to pick up a cotter pin!

Some de-soldering tips from my friend Dana:

Just read your FPR post and I thought I’d share some geek soldering advice.

1) Desoldering is a lot easier with a solder sucker. They are like $10-20 at Radio Shack (or Fry’s?) and I find the plastic ones more durable than the metal ones. The soldering iron + sucker combos kind of suck so I’ve always gone with the manual solution. They also sell solder wick but I don’t find it works very well.

2) Instead of a third hand, you can grab a part gently with a small pair of vice grips, turn the piece upside down and support the edges with some wood blocks and the weight will pull it out as it frees up. A good base with some alligator clips rules, though. Sometimes you can also wedge a pocket screwdriver under a big part like a relay or switch and push it out. An advantage of the screwdriver wedge is that the screwdriver acts as a heat sink.

3) You always want to remove all the old solder and use new solder. The old solder can oxidize from the heat and provide a lousy connection. Look at how oxidized Josh’s new connections are compared to the original. It’s hard to see with the flux, but solder should be shiny and pretty and his is really dull.

4) If you are doing a big de/soldering job near surface mount components, you want to be really careful about controlling the board temperature. I’ve seen quite a few of them get pushed out of place when the board gets hot enough to soften their solder.

Anyway, I used to do a lot of electronics repair work so I thought I’d share.

Jeff Atwood
June 18, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I just did this fix this last weekend! Happened to the same site as you referred, the powertunesplus site. I have to say, once I got the radio shack switches installed, that GH:WT guitar finally worked like it should! Amazing difference, and totally worth doing!

j.kent.r
June 22, 2009 at 7:34 am

wel i got the same problem here in the netherlands.
tomorow i will get the switch from a store in town(if the have them)
and thake the dawm thing apart!(and try to fix it)
i will report if it helpt.

Simon
October 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm

it works great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i djust replaced the switch and ik works houw it shout!

Simon
October 7, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Does this happen to all GH:WT controllers at some point or another? I know that it’s specifically mentioned that “batches” get this problem, but is it more or less like breaking your RB1 foot pedal?
I’m buying a GH:WT controller soon because the wire on my GH2 controller wore out and no longer works (by the way, the cardboard inserts for the fret buttons worked beautifully).

Please leave me an email at lennonisdaman333@gmail.com
Thanks!

Max K
October 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm

This post is 10 years old, but I ended up using it to repair a Guitar Hero strum bar that was failing on both up and down. I wanted to share just in case anyone else found this page and needed help.

The main problem in 2019 is there are no more Radio Shack stores, but http://www.radioshack.com still exists. However, if you search for the replacement switch part # 2750016, you will that it is sold out online: https://www.radioshack.com/products/spdt-switch-without-roller. It seems this switch is also used to fix some door switch issues in VW’s as well.

However, the same part *with* the roller is still available https://www.radioshack.com/products/spdt-switch-w-roller-lever (part # 2750017). I took a chance, ordered 2, thinking I would be able to cut off the roller with some wire cutters, and it worked! I have a working GH guitar again.

dufftime
July 18, 2019 at 2:54 pm

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