Using the Wii Guitar Hero controller with Rock Band

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 RockGuitar Hero AerosmithRock BandRock Band 2Guitar Hero World TourGuitar Hero MetallicaGuitar Hero Smash Hits
Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul
Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul
Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar
Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar
Rock Band Guitar
Rock Band Guitar
Rock Band 2 Guitar
Rock Band 2 Guitar
ezJam Wireless Guitar
ezJam Wireless Guitar
Wii Shred Ax Guitar
Wii Shred Ax Guitar
Frontman Wireless Guitar
Rock Thunder Guitar
Rock Thunder Guitar
Gene Simmons Axe Guitar
Gene Simmons Axe Guitar
Wii Rock Icon Guitar
Wii Rock Icon Guitar
Dazzle Wireless Guitar Hero Controller
Dazzle Wireless Guitar Hero Controller
Intec Universal Wireless Guitar
Intec Universal Wireless Guitar
Wii Guitar Evolution Wireless Guitar
Wii Guitar Evolution Wireless Guitar
Xtreme Wireless Guitar Controller
Xtreme Wireless Guitar Controller
Guitar Hero World Tour Drums
Guitar Hero World Tour Drums
Rock Band Drums
Rock Band Drums
Rock Band 2 Drums
Rock Band 2 Drums

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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48 Responses

  1. Amanda says:

    rock band should make something to hook up the guitar hero guitar im sick of buying more controllers

  2. Madison says:

    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. hera says:

    what if we already have a controler and we put it in? how do we hook it up?

  4. Monica says:

    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. grronrockband says:

    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. Melissa says:

    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. Habanero says:

    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. Blaze says:

    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. belinda says:

    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. paul says:

    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. Scintilla says:

    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. aids0109 says:

    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. frustrated says:

    has anyone gotten their Rockband Guitar to work on Guitar Hero game? THis really sucks.

  14. Kevin says:

    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. 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. NK says:

    you can use the same mic on both games but thats all

  17. Dave says:

    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. Darren says:

    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. Will says:

    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. Vic says:

    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. Hollie says:

    EZ Gear has a guitar for the Wii that will work on both Rock band and Guitar Hero.

  22. Sheri says:

    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. Johny says:

    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. Kilee says:

    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. Denis says:

    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. Richard says:

    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. Joshua says:

    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. Joshua says:

    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. Alkataz says:

    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. CHRISTY says:

    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. Matt says:

    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. UseYourHead says:

    How the Hell can you guys blame Nintendo? They did not make either of these games. Blame the companies that did

  33. dejay-rab says:

    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. 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. Jim says:

    “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. Jim says:

    “What I want to know is does the GH3 guitar work with ACDC Rock Band?” – yes. See also my post re: GHWT guitars.

  37. Ron says:

    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. Hi,

    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. naomi says:

    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. Kristen says:

    Thanks for the easy-to-read chart. I’ll be making smarter choices this Christmas thanks to you!

  41. Ruth says:

    GH guitar will work on RB Games released after RB2. Before that they had different drive engines.

  42. Steve says:

    Has anyone looked at the logitech guitar that claims to be usable for bothGH and RB, 2 ,Beatles etc. This thing looks like a real guitar and is made of rosewood with a slot in back for the wiimote. and has controls on front without touching the covered remote in back. It is expensive but I have games with a new Wii and no controllers. I think Logitech has the answer. Has anyone used it yet?

  43. Steve says:

    I bought Guitar Hero 5 today and had Beatles Rockband from Christmas. The GH guitar works great with BRB and RB2 and all the new stuff. I don’t know or really care about rb1 it was kinda crude anyway. All the music I like I can play and that is all that matters anyway.

  44. but i really do like the game.

  45. lol this game is the bome.i just joined the web site how cool is that.i had got the game when it was chrismas.and i been playing it ever since.also i’m almost done with the world tour.also i’m braking reackers. sooner i’m going to be a champ. i am going to kill this family. so good bye.

  46. lol says:

    peace out i’m a killer and i am full of games

  47. Abi says:

    Can you use the guitar or drums from PS2 Rock Band with the new Rock Band 3 piano bundle?

  48. I am curious if there is a guitar that is compatable with the band hero. Does the rock band controls work?