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Rock Band 3 Pro Drums Double Pedal Usage Explained
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Rock Band 3 Pro Drums Double Pedal Usage Explained

As many of you probably already know, I’m more of a guitar/bass guy in Rock Band. On songs that I know the lyrics to and are in my VERY limited vocal range, I’ll belt out a tune every once in a while. But my usual last choice instrument is drums. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I dislike drums, I’m just saying it’s my least favorite. It’s like saying Michelangelo was my least favorite Ninja Turtle, because they clearly all ruled.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to get my Rock Band drumming acumen up lately, and I feel like I’m just now getting around to finally understanding the issue around “double bass” in Rock Band. To those that still may not understand it, and as a roundabout way for the community to confirm my understanding, when DLC is released, in complex songs where the drummer uses two bass pedals, Harmonix will typically author the drum charts only to include a single bass pedal. For the die-hards out there, they see this as undercharting of the song… and I definitely see their point of view.

First, the good news. Thanks to some good questions and solid understanding by @toymachinesh and @cena5401, we can now report some clarity on this issue. Cena has a very good explanation video below that talks about much of the issue. He explains that the “mystery port” on the Rock Band 2 drumset will be enabled in Rock Band 3 so you can connect a second pedal. He also explains that via the overshell options menu for drummers in Rock Band 3, you’ll also be able to assign whether the second pedal acts as a second bass pedal or a hi-hat pedal. Cena also mentions that the functionality exists in Rock Band 3 so you can tell the game if, for example, you only have two cymbals attached and need to remove the third cymbal from the Pro Drums lane.

And then there’s the bad news. Toymachine is able to get info out of Dan Teasdale at E3 that the current authoring methodology of only charting single bass pedal will remain for the foreseeable future (see below… about 3:20 in). Here’s where I try and spin it in saying that since Dan left Harmonix last week, the foreseeable future may have only been a few weeks out from E3. I know, I’m reaching on that, but a boy can dream, right?

UPDATE: Toymachine also pointed me “Laid to Rest” by Lamb of God, which shows up as Expert+ in Guitar Hero (with double bass), and Expert in Rock Band (without double bass). Here’s an image of an example of the charting between the two. I’ve also included links to the videos for you to compare the two for yourself.

OK, all you expert drummers, let me know your thoughts on this below in the comments!

45 Responses to “Rock Band 3 Pro Drums Double Pedal Usage Explained”

  • Schlagwerk says:

    As a(n actual) drummer, I love quick open hi-hat hits, so this is fantastic news!

  • Randy says:

    They already allow you to play with double bass now, just buy a Rock Band splitter (mine is from gamestop) and it includes a pedal and splitter. I’ve been using it for a year, so much for Pro Drums, whats the point of having two bass pedals if they only chart one anyways?

    • Tom says:

      Using the splitter has a limit on how fast the double bass can go. Some charts in Guitar Hero are unplayable using the splitter.

  • decyphersmc says:

    It would have been nice to include a ‘Pro +’ mode but I presume harmonix felt that such a mode would only contain double bass charting, which doesn’t happen to often, so more often than note it would be the exact same as pro?

    It does still however seem like a strange omission, that would have made the fan-base happy (but maybe not if they didn’t retro-chart everything with double-bass, which I presume folks would complain about).

    I know I asked RockBandAide about this on twitter, but I would like to know if Red Cymbal notes are out in pro-mode. I find them to be super annoying playing on an actual e-kit (Roland TD-9K).

    And finally a crazy suggestion that will never happen because it basically only applies to me (and maybe a few others) would be the option to flip the Blue and Green lane. Not to notes, but the position of the lanes, as I have my crash on the left closer to the first tom, and the blue cymbals on the right.

    • Matt says:

      Man, I thought I was the only one crazy enough to do that. I would love that option.

      However, I think now that the cymbals will be charted differently than the toms, it will be easier to know that green cymbal is on the left, and green tom is on the right.

  • Brian says:

    Finally! I just hope RB3’s foot pedal is easy to push down as the current GH pedals. That RB2 pedal with steelplate isn’t easy to push down fast enough for an expert+ song in Guitar Hero. (Trust me, I’ve tried!)

  • conner_jr_71 says:

    HOLD ON ONE SECOND……. You mean to tell me that Michelangelo is your LEAST favorite Ninja Turtle?!?!?!?!


    Seriously though, I am very surprised with the omission of double bass in the pro mode, however this is definitely not something that would make even the hardcore drummer enjoy the game any less. For me, personally, the drums are the 4th (soon to be 5th) instrument of choice in the game, so it has no bearing, what-so-ever on my opinion of the game.

  • iamtheddrman says:

    This is a huge oversight on HMX’s part if it is actually true (and it certainly seems like it is). For those of us who have basically mastered Expert with cymbals already, Pro mode offers nothing new except explicit cymbal charting. Double bass would have presented a whole new challenge for many of us, so I think HMX missed the mark. Pro Guitar is going to be incredibly difficult but teach guitar to a motivated player. Pro Drums aren’t anywhere near the leap, by contrast. While lack of double bass doesn’t DETRACT from existing gameplay, it does seem like a letdown since it was such a hugely requested feature.

    That said, I’m VERY glad that they are charting cymbals and I’m interested to see how the hi-hat charting looks when the pedal is enabled.

    • Whizzer says:

      All true, but drumming already was a hell of a lot closer to real drumming then guitar and bass were to real guitar and bass. Double bass is just a small thing, it would be closer to the real thing to add 4 more pads and 3 more cymbals.

  • citric_bullets says:

    I think the inclusion of the hi-hat pedal adds way more to the realism of Pro Drums than double bass would. There’s just a wider range of genres and songs that use the hi-hat pedal.

    I recently drummed at a show for the first time ever. I pieced together a drum set with parts borrowed, but I didn’t have a clutch for the first week of practice (we only had a little under two weeks before the gig, so this was a large portion of our practicing). For those unfamiliar with drum kits, the clutch is the mechanism that attaches the top hi-hat to the stand so it will actually move around. Not having that really pointed out just how important it is to have one.

    Basically what I’m getting at is that working with the hi-hat pedal is a pretty universally necessary skill for drumming, and while double bass is definitely “kewl” it’s definitely a metal niche.

  • Tom says:

    Cena is mentally ill. That video says part one but he literally explains nothing in it that cannot be explained in two sentences. Do not listen to him. Do not use him as a source. He is nobody.

    • RockBandAide says:

      That’s not very nice, sir.

      He was at E3… I think he knows what he’s talking about.

      • Tom's RIght says:

        Nope, Tom’s Right. Cena’s videos are consistently content-free. He’s been a genius at building an image as an expert, but he isn’t.

  • comp says:

    Sorry to say but, to me, double bass has always been a bad idea. People act as if it’s of utter, dire importance, but… it really isn’t.

    • Matvande says:

      The same could be said for upstrumming to play the same note quickly on a guitar. It sounds a little different, and only makes you able to play faster. Totally uneeded.

      • comp says:

        Actually, it could be more accurately be equated to upstrumming on a plastic guitar because the chart says to. In that case, I entirely agree.

        • non_zero says:

          I’m not sure what you’re saying. Double bass wouldn’t need to indicate left foot or right foot, just like guitar doesn’t need to indicate up or down. If the notes are there you’ll figure out how to play them.

  • Tom says:

    Please refer to his post on RockBand.com that is filled with absolute misinformation and straight-up lies about what other well-known and respected forum members have been saying. Then, watch the video, and that is all that needs to be said.

  • Chucklestyle says:

    Nice picture of Terry Bozzio’s drumkit you’ve got there.

  • non_zero says:

    It’s a very stubborn policy. If Rock Band puts so much emphasis on authenticity then they’re inexplicably shunning a major aspect of many genres of music. People who don’t want to learn double bass should be able to play those songs the way they were written, those that don’t can stick with the one-pedal charts.

    I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument against including double-bass, Teasdale talked in his video about keeping it fun and accessible for everyone but there’s absolutely no reason you can’t please both groups of people.

    Also the fact that the hi-hat pedal option is only superficial is a missed opportunity. The way they did Pro mode for drums was a great idea but it seems like they only did what was easiest to do and not what would have been the most authentic experience.

    So yeah, I feel like they pretty much half-assed pro mode for drums. Several more obvious things that could have been done to make it better but they spent all their time on Pro guitar and keys I guess.

  • Scott says:

    The hi-hat or double base pedal functionality may be intended mostly for free-play and fills, but later on in that same interview Daniel Sussman says “We chart our songs to be as accurate as they [can be]. When you’re playing songs that have double-kick, we put as many of those in as our system can afford. But there will never be a case where you need to have the double-kick. You may have an advantage…” So clearly the double pedal must work during the rest of the game or there wouldn’t be any kind of advantage. I don’t see why if you choose it to be a hi-hat pedal instead it wouldn’t work the same way, meaning not charted but functional.

    • non_zero says:

      How could the hi-hat pedal be functional outside of fills when nothing on the screen corresponds to the hi-hat pedal? Sure blue notes sometimes means hi-hat+pedal but it also sometimes means ride and they don’t have a way of distinguishing that in their system, it’s either cymbal or not cymbal.

      • Scott says:

        Having the pedal always change the yellow cymbal into a blue cymbal, wouldn’t be any less authentic than the current system of playing open hi-hat hits on a different cymbal. rockbandkickbox.com, which seems to be down at the moment, even sells/sold an add-on to do just that.

  • H3kzgh0N says:

    Since the RB2 drum kit (and obviously the RB3 kit) will have the second port “mystery” port activated in Rock Band 3, you would think Harmonix could fully chart double kick in songs that contain it and then mark specific double bass notes that would be omitted during gameplay if the system only detects one drum pedal connected to the kit. For example, alternating bass notes would be shown in double kick sections with one pedal detected similar to the way it shows in the picture above with Lamb of God in RB2 and then full double bass notes shown when two pedals detected similar to GH above. Almost analogous to the cymbal option mentioned in the article with only have certain cymbals attached.

    • RockBandAide says:

      Now THIS is a great idea! You should work for Harmonix!

      • H3kzgh0N says:

        Thanks! I wish I can. I have plenty of other ideas that would make RB3 better! Maybe you can pass this suggestion on to Harmonix. This wouldn’t seem too difficult to do since they have already been authoring the cymbal notes in current DLC so why not the same for double bass?

  • Dylan says:

    IMO, this will be, in my mind, the one big flaw with RB3, witch is very sad. It would have been the pirfect rhythm game, if only they hadn’t done somthing this insanely stupid.

    They have full band, constant DLC, community DLC (RBN), Pro modes, keyboard, and all glitches fixed….

    BUT NO X+!!!!!!

    • RockBandAide says:

      Alright, calm down, Dylan. Excuse the crudeness, but cutting your d**k off with a butter knife is “insanely stupid,” this is really not THAT big of a deal.

      It’s an easy thing to fix, and one that could still be “corrected” in the months leading up to release. I mean, it could be corrected on the next DLC pack, in theory.

      Think of it from the other point of view. If Expert Pro Drums has bass notes that require you to buy a second foot pedal, a greater percentage of Rock Band players would be freaking out that they have to buy a second pedal just to play Pro drums. Remember, I’m biased, but I have to believe Harmonix has a legitimate reason for doing it this way.

      I think we should all take a step, breathe, and realize that the impact of such a decision is VERY infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things.

      • non_zero says:

        Could all be solved with an extra difficulty level like GH does.

        • RockBandAide says:

          “OMG Guitar Hero did that, way to innovate Harmonix BAWWWWWWWWWWWW!”

          In all seriousness, is that all Expert+ is on GH, just double bass? Or does it add in other additional drum hits, as well.

          I think if Harmonix does it, they should just do it “correctly” on Expert, instead. In my opinion, Expert+ is like adding an “11 to the volume knob.” Why don’t you just make “10 louder” or make Expert harder? “Ours goes to Expert+.”

        • non_zero says:

          It’s not as elegant as keeping the 4 skill level scheme, but it does completely solve the problems you described.

      • Dylan says:

        Most people who play on pro would have no problem grabbing a second pedal. Hell, most expert drummers ALREADY have a second pedal, whether it be a mod, a madcatz pedal, or a GH pedal.

        • RockBandAide says:

          Probably, but it’s just another “plastic instrument” that people who don’t play on Expert Pro Drums would see as having to buy (i.e. the more casual players… the 99.9% of Rock Band players that don’t visit this site/the forums/Scorehero).

  • Dylan Pritchard (dpritch) says:

    I say, to hell with Expert Plus. If you want it, go rent/buy Guitar Hero. I’m perfectly fine with my, quote on quote, ‘undercharted’ drum charts. 🙂

    Lol @ the post above this. ^-^

  • Trent says:

    Not having double bass charted ruins the whole idea for pro drums. you are not hitting every note so whats the point of playing it on pro mode? Ya i like the idea that they make you hit the cymbals but they should have added double bass charts. Double bass in Rock Band 3 was one of the major reasons i was so excited for it to come out. My excitment has gone from a 10 to a 3. Thanks harmonix.

  • zigs says:

    That’s a photo of the new Ion kit, right?

  • thejoz says:

    The problem with this argument is that some on the pro-Harmonix side seem to be saying “Well gee, guys, it’s not like all these songs, like, require you to use double bass, so what’s the point?”

    The point is that there are plenty of songs, especially a lot of the heavier ones that actually do have double bass notes essentially charted. Some of us are not uber awesome drummers, so we don’t have the capacity to single-hit most of those notes.

    Also, there are plenty of songs where having a second bass pedal would make songs much easier and thus – and here’s the crux of my point – more FUN to play, because we’d be able to play them.

    The number of Expert tracks I feel like I could play if only I had a double bass pedal that worked properly has grown quite a bit.

    Harmonix gives a cop-out answer as to why this apparently hasn’t happened yet. They would rather outsource this activity to other peripheral makers or intrepid DIY’ers rather than just get off their rears and make it official.

    It really seems to speak a whole lot of volume about what they think about some of their customers that this appears to still be an unresolved problem. It appears they just don’t seem to care at all, and that’s a terrible attitude to have.