Using the Wii Guitar Hero controller with Rock Band

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Posted on 2008-07-07

We’ve had an email from someone who wants to know if it’s possible to use a Guitar Hero guitar with Rock Band for the Wii. The bad news is that you can’t, which is a shame because we know you can with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

If cross-compatibility is critical then the most suitable 3rd party controller we’ve looked at is the $69.99 ezJam Wireless Guitar which works across the board with all titles. Although build quality isn’t up the same standard as the official controllers it isn’t let down by features - strum, tremolo and whammy bars are all covered along with a tilt sensor to take advantage of features found in later versions of Rock Band and Guitar Hero. If you are after something less ‘Nintendo white’ and a little more ‘rock’ with the same compatibility as the ezJam then the glam styled Rock Thunder might be more suitable with a quieter strumming action than the ezJam.

ezJam Wireless Guitar and Rock Thunder

There have been a number of third party Wii guitar controllers released so we thought we’d compare each instrument and draw up this Wii instrument compatibility matrix which lists each Wii instrument and which titles they are compatible with:-

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Guitar Hero Aerosmith Rock Band Rock Band 2 Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar Hero Metallica Guitar Hero Smash Hits
Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul
Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul
$59.99 Yes Yes - Yes Yes Yes Yes
Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar
Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar
$59.99 Yes Yes - Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rock Band Guitar
Rock Band Guitar
$59.99 - - Yes Yes - - -
Rock Band 2 Guitar
Rock Band 2 Guitar
$52.99 - - Yes Yes - - -
ezJam Wireless Guitar
ezJam Wireless Guitar
$69.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wii Shred Ax Guitar
Wii Shred Ax Guitar
$25.99 Yes - - - - - -
Frontman Wireless Guitar
$36.95 Yes - - Yes Yes - -
Rock Thunder Guitar
Rock Thunder Guitar
$50.00 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gene Simmons Axe Guitar
Gene Simmons Axe Guitar
$66.96 Yes - - Yes - - -
Wii Rock Icon Guitar
Wii Rock Icon Guitar
$39.99 Yes - - - - - -
Dazzle Wireless Guitar Hero Controller
Dazzle Wireless Guitar Hero Controller
$39.99 Yes - - - - - -
Intec Universal Wireless Guitar
Intec Universal Wireless Guitar
$69.99 Yes - Yes - - - -
Wii Guitar Evolution Wireless Guitar
Wii Guitar Evolution Wireless Guitar
$49.99 Yes - Yes Yes - - -
Xtreme Wireless Guitar Controller
Xtreme Wireless Guitar Controller
$47.99 Yes - - - - - -
Guitar Hero World Tour Drums
Guitar Hero World Tour Drums
$79.99 - - - Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rock Band Drums
Rock Band Drums
$99.99 - - Yes Yes - - -
Rock Band 2 Drums
Rock Band 2 Drums
$89.99 - - Yes Yes - - -

Runner up

If it wasn’t for lack of compatibility with the original Rock Band for the Wii we wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the $59.99 Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar as the axe of choice - these guitars are exceptionally well built compared to every other guitar controller we’ve played and guaranteed to work with all Guitar Hero titles along with Rock Band 2. If you have your heart set on playing tracks from the original Rock Band with there is a workaround. Using the $29.99 Rock Band 2 you can transfer the 55 songs from the original Rock Band disc over to a suitably sized Wii compatible SD card. You’ll then be able to use Rock Band 2 to play your mega library of tracks from the original Rock Band, Rock Band 2 plus any of the 800+ downloadable songs you may have acquired along the way. We’re hoping that Harmonix will implement a similar export key system for transferring tracks from Beatles Rock Band and Lego Rock Band.

Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar

Additional accessories

Whilst researching these guitar controllers we came across a must for any serious guitar collector wanting to keep their controllers tidy in the living room - there is a $13.99 Dual Guitar Holder which doubles as a mic stand and a Triple Tree Guitar Stand which holds up to 3 guitars for $29.99.

Dual Guitar Holder and Triple Tree Guitar Stand

We’ve also found a specially designed storage box for holding Rock Band accessories - once your kit is tucked up inside your visitors won’t know you are a secret plastic rocker. Amazon have shaved around 20% off so if you are in the market for some new furniture and want somewhere to hide a pair of guitars, a set of drums and a mic then have something to put your feet up on after a heavy rocking session then this is a great space saving idea.

storage box for holding Rock Band accessories

For those of you wanting to play a Wii music game without the need for instruments then we recommend a look at Disneys multiplayer Ultimate Band which uses strumming and drumming actions on the Wiimote and Nunchuck to play - watch our review of Ultimate Band to see what you think.

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  1. On July 8, 2008 Amanda said: -
    rock band should make something to hook up the guitar hero guitar im sick of buying more controllers
  2. On July 12, 2008 Madison said: -
    Yea, i'm sick of blowing my money on controlers, if some1 has connections with nintendo, tell then they need to make hook up items, but, I bet they won't so they can get more money, those cheapfaces!
  3. On July 16, 2008 hera said: -
    what if we already have a controler and we put it in? how do we hook it up?
  4. On July 19, 2008 Monica said: -
    i really wish that SOMEONE i really dont care who, would come up with a Controller with the nice, Big built in fret Buttoms from the rock band guitar and add in the sweet smooth strum bar from the GH Gutiar, and have them work on BOTH games.. i HATE the rock band controllers strum bar.. its so hard, makes me miss notes that i would have hit if it was more like GH strum bar.. :( MEH!
  5. On July 22, 2008 grronrockband said: -
    this really sucks the only reason i bought rockband was to play with 2 guitars..? and now i have to buy another friggin controller wat a rip off.
  6. On July 24, 2008 Melissa said: -
    Wow that totally sucks!!! do you think there is a cord that you could buy to connect it?? like..where you would orginially put the control in the wii guitar, plug in like an adapter thats connected to a cord to connect with the rest of the instruments like the drum and microphone??
  7. On July 30, 2008 Habanero said: -
    Blame Activision.

    They are not adhering to the standard and as such, Activision's controller will not work. It probably does not help that Activision and Harmonix are in competition with each other...
  8. On August 3, 2008 Blaze said: -
    I 4 1 have had it with Nintendo !! Im SO p.o. about not being able to use my Hero guitar with Rock Band...its the last straw. I've been an avid Nintendo freak since the 1st system came out...and I vow to NEVER buy another system from Nintendo.
    First the graphx suck, u cant download songs & play online with other peeps like the other systems & now this?? Unacceptable to pay almost $200 for somethin & still have to buy more. Ive had enough & wrote em an email about it too. I hope the rest of the world does the same.
  9. On August 7, 2008 belinda said: -
    anybody that has money is not worried about saving us money......thats what this is all about making 2 different games that are virtually the same so ppl bought guitar hero bc it came out first...then someone else made rock band not too long after that so ppl are dumb enough to waste all that money buying both.... i know i did...of course you cant use that controller on rock band that would be too simple
  10. On September 18, 2008 paul said: -
    thank f*** i read this site first, i was just about to buy rockband to use the GH guitar which the block in the GAME store said would work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. On September 27, 2008 Scintilla said: -
    LOL, the guy at the store told me it would work with Rock Band. What a liar. Or he's just stupid. He looked like a nerd so i thought he knew what he was talking about. Anyways...

    I've heard of the RB guitars Breaking easily, but I've noticed some people mistake them for broken when they really need to TURN ON THE SWITCH IN THE BACK! (Read the instructions.)

    But basically, The wii Rock Band is the same for all systems...minus the character customization and song availability. Go a head and get the X box. The prices have dropped.
  12. On November 19, 2008 aids0109 said: -
    its a money spinner like the 360 wireless adaptor for live £60 guitar i think i can get it for a tenner there both money spinners
  13. On December 12, 2008 frustrated said: -
    has anyone gotten their Rockband Guitar to work on Guitar Hero game? THis really sucks.
  14. On December 20, 2008 Kevin said: -
    man....I got rockband about 2 weeks ago and of course you dont get two guitars so I asked for a second guitar for chirstmas....I got it today early and it was a guitar hero guitar which ticks me off because I dont even have guitar hero...the wii really sucks and they are thinking about making a wii 2? they cant even make good games. anyway this really sucks...
  15. On December 31, 2008 FuZzMyMoNkEy said: -
    I may as well take up real guitar playing with the collection of gotdam fake ass plastic guitars I have to have out in my living room just to play 2 seperate popular games! Im furrious!
  16. On January 11, 2009 NK said: -
    you can use the same mic on both games but thats all
  17. On January 13, 2009 Dave said: -
    Have any of you actually tried it? I use our GH guitar for RB2 all the time. The only problem is that it appears to have a slight lag that makes it hard to use for lead guitar - but not much of a problem for bass. If you adjust the timing, it adjusts it for all instruments, not individual. So, calm down, all. It works.
  18. On January 28, 2009 Darren said: -
    I just bought Rockband II wireless drums , I already had Guitar hero III Les Paul and it works with Rockband AC/DC live trackpack . This is on a Wii system. But I tried to use my Guitar hero guitar on my buddies Rockband I game , and it won't work? Any Ideas?
  19. On January 28, 2009 Will said: -
    Dave, Guitar Hero controllers work for Rock Band 2, but not for Rock Band 1. I've been playing RB2 since it came out, oblivious to the RB1 issue, imagine my suprise when I try to load it up today... poop.
  20. On February 3, 2009 Vic said: -
    For the Wii, Both the GH Les Paul and the World Tour guitar work with RB2. RB1, however is different. The drum controller from GHWT will work with with RB2. The RB stuff DOESN'T WORK with GH games The RB drum controller does not have speed and pressure sensitivity. Down loadable content (DLC)for RB 2 is lagging behind the other platforms but they are working on it. They promise some releases each week, starting this month.
    The DLC for GHWT is on par. GHII lack a lot for cooperative band play and the GH Aerosmith is a slight improvement. If you like jamming with friends and family of all ages, which is really what the Wii is all about, I found the best bet is a GHWT kit then picking up RB2 as a standalone software. If you feel like adding to the software, maybe GH Aerosmith or loading up on Wii points and getting the DLC stuff you like. RB1 songs are supposed to work with RB2 but due to RB 1's lack of online conectivity for Wii, buying RB1 for its content is just about useless.
  21. On February 24, 2009 Hollie said: -
    EZ Gear has a guitar for the Wii that will work on both Rock band and Guitar Hero.
  22. On March 6, 2009 Sheri said: -
    I have been drawn to the more kid-friendly content of RB/RB2 but I couldn't get past all the bad reviews on the RB controllers. (Plus I really do prefer GH gameplay myself.) I love Vic's solution of buying GHWT with controllers and then the RB2 game standalone... this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks!
  23. On March 8, 2009 Johny said: -
    Well I have a question... My GH gutar worked on christmas day on my rock band sistem for my Wii but i have no idea how i did it... So all of you ppls are wrong cuz it worked for me a couple times but now it wont work no more and it is making me mad!!!>:0...So I know it can work but I just dont remember how to make it work!=-(
  24. On March 24, 2009 Kilee said: -
    I found that both the Guitar Hero III Les Paul Guitar as well as the Guitar Hero: World Tour guitar controller work with Rock Band 2. Out of sheer boredom, I tried the GH:WT drums with RB2, and found that it works as well; when the orange cymbal was hit, the blue button on the screen was hit. I haven't yet tried the microphone, but i'm pretty sure that would work too, as on both RB2 and GH:WT it's just a USB port on the end of the mic. Hope this helps! =]
  25. On April 5, 2009 Denis said: -
    semour butts, you are a fool. you cannot claim not to be a fan, then claim the superiority of a sytem over another, then go on to insult anyone who owns that system. it doesnt work that way. you are a fanboy in denial.
  26. On April 5, 2009 Richard said: -
    We just bought Rock Band 2, set it up, turned it on, and our Guitar Hero III guitar synced right up and we played with the 2 guitars, drums, and mic for 3 days straight.
  27. On April 17, 2009 Joshua said: -
    I got Rock Band 1 today and I have not played it yet but some ppl say that GH guitar will play for RB (BR2) and some ppl say that it will not play so I do not know...
  28. On April 23, 2009 Joshua said: -
    I have played Rock Band and the Guitar Hero guitar will not play with Rock Band! The guy at the stor say that he had it and it will play! What a rip off!

    (But I still like Rock Band!)
  29. On May 7, 2009 Alkataz said: -
    I have all 3 systems and I like them all for different reasons. The Wii is a fun, family based system and not really intended for use by hardcore gamers. They never pitched it as a such a system. Nintendo has always kind of been geared toward younger kids and teens. That is why they keep the price of their systems and accerssories down compared to the Microsoft and Sony. If you are a hardcore gamer then the Wii is not for you and you are the a$$ not Nintendo for buying it and expecting it to do more than advertised. Nintendo doesn't say they have the best graphics or that they have the best multiplayer titles out there. They say play together and have fun with your family. I have a 5 year old and her and I get hours of enjoyment out of the system and I prefer its active play to the regular sit still and play buttons stuff anyway. So for me the Wii works. When I feel like killing a bunch of stuff after she's in bed and screaming at people I can't see while I splatter them all over the wall I turn on my 360. When I want some great looking graphics and to play some franchise titles I can't get on another system or to watch a Blu-Ray movie and chat with a smaller group of people I turn my PS3.

    As for GH the guitar will work on RB2, but not RB1. I prefer the Rockband 2 drums over the World Tour drums. But I think both the guitars have their flaws, but the GH one is a little better that the RB, but I expect this to be the case I mean that's what GH is know for it would be kind of pathetic if they couldn't at least beat RB at that.
  30. On May 11, 2009 CHRISTY said: -
    I have been using my GHWT guitar with RB2 for Wii. I also bought an extra guitar that I use for both . (They work fine until you add the drums) Was using GHWT drums with RB2 also. Decided to purchase the RB2 drums. They work fine with just 1 guitar but when you add the extra guitar or microphone, the calabration is completely off on the drums, if you calibrate the drums then the guitar calibrations are off. Do you think its because the guitars have to be used with the Wii controllers and the drums don't? Should I just go buy the RB2 guitars? Does anyone think that will help? Thanks
  31. On May 31, 2009 Matt said: -
    Actually, the mic will work for every each plat. that has a usb entry ( ps2, ps3, wii, xbox360 ) im not sure about Xbox.

    Can someone please comfirm that i can use my ghIII Les Paul in a RBII?I've only got RBI, i'm unsafe = (
  32. On June 6, 2009 UseYourHead said: -
    How the Hell can you guys blame Nintendo? They did not make either of these games. Blame the companies that did
  33. On June 10, 2009 dejay-rab said: -
    I think its all a money making thing from the companys that made these games,
    I got rock band song pack1, tryed to use GH wt does not work, the rock band drums Dont work on ghwt,
    so you can end up with 4 guitars 2 drum kits
    nintendo wii, needs to get update to fix this or will lose loads of buyers
  34. On July 29, 2009 College Fantasy Coach said: -
    Thanks for the update. I was thinking about buying the Rock Band Country pack. I have Guitar Hero Legends and Aerosmith, got the Aerosmith guitar, and then bought the Guitar Hero Les Paul for the Wii. Guess there's no need to get Rock Band Country.
  35. On October 16, 2009 Jim said: -
    "If I have GHWT, can I use the guitar to play RB AC/DC? I really want to play along with AC/DC!" - yes, but you need to disconnect to be able to return to the wii menu.
    Likewise The Beatles: Rock Band game.
    All you need to do is stay away from Rock Band 1, if you have GH guitars.
  36. On October 16, 2009 Jim said: -
    "What I want to know is does the GH3 guitar work with ACDC Rock Band?" - yes. See also my post re: GHWT guitars.
  37. On October 31, 2009 Ron said: -
    I purchased Rock Band Beatles for the wii and it came with the wireless guitar. I bought Rock Band 5 last night and at first the guitar would NOT work. Today I made sure the wireless transmitter was flashing blue when I turned on the GH5 game and low and behold I WAS able to use this controller with the game. The drums that came with RB Beatles works just fine on GH 5 as well.
    I hope this helps anyone who had the initial problems I had. Troubleshooting works miracles!
  38. On November 5, 2009 jannesschilderszoon said: -

    I just joined this site, because i have a burning question!

    Last month I bought a Wii!!! Yeah!

    I want to play backup wii games. How do I need to Wii Ombouwen?

    Thank you in advance for your replies and help!!

  39. On November 7, 2009 naomi said: -
    can u use the guitar hero 5 guitar and play the AC/DC rock band game ???
    i dont want to waste money buying the game and it doesnt work... plz help!
  40. On December 8, 2009 Kristen said: -
    Thanks for the easy-to-read chart. I'll be making smarter choices this Christmas thanks to you!

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