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I own the Guitar Hero instruments. Can I buy a Rock Band game and use the instruments from Guitar Hero to play the game? And vice versa?

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@Michael I think the other way around as this is more general and answers that, but not vice versa –  tzenes Aug 9 '10 at 20:54
    
very useful question for my gift giving this season. Thank you! –  lathomas64 Dec 30 '10 at 19:09

5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted

It depends on the instruments.

Here is a really nice compatibility chart that I found when I had the same question.

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There is also this one: joystiq.com/Instrument-Compatibility-Matrix –  JustinP8 Aug 9 '10 at 19:51
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warning: this compatibility chart is wrong. I've personally played the PS2 version of Rock Band with the Guitar Hero III Kramer Striker PS2 guitar which that chart says doesn't work. Beware. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 6 '10 at 10:17

As JustinP8 pointed out, you can also check here:

http://www.joystiq.com/Instrument-Compatibility-Matrix/

But there's no need to read that, as long as we're talking about a game released in the last 2 years or so, all the plastic instruments are broadly cross-compatible and work in either game — microphone, drums, guitar. Pick Rock Band instruments, pick Guitar Hero instruments, everything "just works" in any rhythm band game.

However.

You do need to be careful on drums, because the 3 pad / 2 cymbal arrangement of the Guitar Hero drums makes 4 pad Rock Band songs all but unplayable.

http://www.fakeplasticrock.com/2008/11/guitar-hero-and-rock-band-drum-compatibility/

Remember that GH supports a 4-lane drum pad mode, but RB does not support a 5 lane mode, nor will RB3 "pro mode" 4 pad / 3 cymbal drums support GH's oddball 3 pad / 2 cymbal arrangement.

So if you plan to play drums in both games, I strongly recommend you get a Rock Band drumset only.

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unless you're using a Wii, in which case you will need to refer to the compability charts! –  alexanderpas Aug 10 '10 at 11:00
    
@alexanderpas near as I can tell, that above screnshotted chart is wrong -- I've personally played Rock Band 2 for Wii using a Guitar Hero Les Paul. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 11 '10 at 0:15
    
Which, incidently is the only game that works with all the instruments, as proven by the Compability Matrix in your very own post ;) –  alexanderpas Aug 11 '10 at 0:26
    
Sorry, but having used the GH4 drums on Rock Bands games, they have been all but "unplayable". Yes, it's slightly wierd that some cymbal sounds end up on the green pad, but it is still very fun to play on them. –  Mavrik Sep 7 '10 at 19:06

An additional way to do this is with very cheap adapters:

I have GH 1 for the PS2, GH 2 and 3 for PS3, and RB 1 and 2 for PS3 and I find the worst guitar of the lot is the Les Paul (it just seems to suffer interference) so while I use the Rock Band Stratocaster for Lead, I use a GH1 guitar for bass - through an Ant Commando PS2-PS3 adapter. Only cost me £15.

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If you want a larger compatibility chart, check out this PDF from the Guitar Hero website. It's got a lot more games.

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For the record, you might be surprised to know that PS2 games started being cross-compatible with PS3 and 360 instruments starting with GH: Aerosmith. I have personally tested a 360 Rock Band drum kit with the full-band GH games on the PS2, and they work fine, it goes into 4-lane mode and everything.

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