Rock Band may give you the most authentic rock-and-roll experience of any game yet, but in some ways it’s a little too authentic, as you’ll see discover when your back starts aching from trying to play drums from your office chair. Here are a few handy purchases to make to elevate your rock experience. (If paying $170 for a copy of the game hasn’t already depleted your discretionary funds.)
While I’m linking to just two online music stores, Zzounds and Musician’s Friend, all of these items can be picked up at most large online music retailers, as well as your local music shop or Guitar Center.
A Proper Drum Throne
A stool placed in front of your drum kit will help a lot. Properly called a “drum throne,” they’re just padded seats with fold-up legs. This model, the Pacific Drums DT700, is about $30. It was the cheapest seat I could find that didn’t get terrible reviews, but it’s entirely possible to find one even less expensive at your local store.
A proper throne not only forces proper posture, helping your back, but will allow you to reach those outside drum pads without knocking your elbows up against the arms of a chair. (Plus the swivel on the bottom helps you move, too.)
Drum Throne Catalog Page [MusiciansFriend.com]
Better Drum Sticks
Playing the drums in Rock Band makes a lot of noise. That’s because the pads have to be taut to provide the proper bounce to your stick—otherwise they wouldn’t play like real drums.
You can mitigate this somewhat by replacing the stock drum sticks with a pair designed specifically for electronic drum kits, like these “Trigger Sticks” from Zildjian. They won’t soak up much sound, really, but they’ll be more comfortable for extended play. And you might even learn to play more softly, which will help mitigate that thwock thwock of the drum kit. There are also nylon-tipped drumsticks that may help, too.
Most sticks cost around $10 a pair.
A Cooler Guitar Strap
While the bundled guitar strap works just fine, adding a wider strap will be more comfortable. Plus, since the Rock Band guitar is even closer to full-size than previous models, it seems a little less goofy to use a proper strap.
Yes, the one I’ve put up here is cornball, but that’s half the fun of a guitar strap, right? This nylon one from Perry’s is around $10, plus shipping—possibly even cheaper in a real guitar store.
A Mic Stand
Adding a microphone stand will allow your singer to do some serious rock moves, invaluable to the morale of your troupe. (Pro tip: Silk scarves liven up even the dullest mic stand.) It will also make it easier for you to play guitar and sing at the same time, like a proper star.
This model 7700 from OnStage isn’t the traditional stand mic with the heavy circle base, but its boom (that’s the part that bends) allows a critical feature: the ability to position the microphone over the drum kit for Phil Collins-style lead vocals. The 7700 is about $30. Don’t forget to pick up a microphone holder if your mic stand doesn’t include one.
7700 Catalog Page [Zzounds.com]
Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon
I know at least one rocker who put himself in the grave with this stuff. He’s lonely down there. He might enjoy a visit from you.
For best results, start drinking half-way through your set to replace the fluids you’ve lost through excessive rock. Goes especially well with antibiotics.
Update: Russ writes:
I ended up getting some drumsticks with rubber tips. Here’s the problem, though. Those fatter sticks no longer fit in the holders made into the drum set.
After trying 5 different ones (that all were made for skinnier posts to attach to), I finally found a REAL drumset stick holder that will properly clip onto the thicker leg of the rockband drum set.
I thought you might want to update or mention it in your post as anyone getting new sticks will have this same problem. Here’s the one that WILL work to hold the real size sticks with the drum set for rock band: Pro Mark Stick Depot Drumstick Holder $15.95 (MC.SD100)
I bought it at ActiveMusician.com.