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Turn Wii Rock Band Instruments into Real Instruments with Junxion

Posted on Sunday 29 June 2008

Check out my velocity sensitive full MIDI drumset with the guitar hero set and the rockband set.

Today I figured out how to easily turn the rock band drum set for Wii into a MIDI drum controller:

I did this with Junxion, a program that allows you to transform USB and wireless game controller input into MIDI data. I’ve seen demos of other MIDI rock band instruments online, but with the Wii instruments already in USB form this has to be the easiest setup yet. This also seems to have the lowest latency. Junxion is not free but a demo can be downloaded here:


I’ve also used Junxion to turn other game controllers such as DDR dance pads into instruments. I’m using the old PowerPC version 1.4, but version 3 should work fine. Junxion 3 also now works with Wii remotes.

I just used the Studio Tight Kit preset in Ultrabeat in Logic for the drum sounds. Junxion automatically makes an input port which Logic recognizes and listens to.

My setup for this demo was this:

The steps are basically this:

  • Plug in the drum controller.
  • Launch Junxion.
  • Turn off the other devices (USB Optical Mouse, Apple Keyboard, and Apple IR default to enabled at startup)
  • Start hitting the pads and watch which sensor status is triggered. Your MIDI app should be sounding or at least receiving input. If not, select Junxion Port 1 as a MIDI input.
  • Drag the value of the sensor’s “Dat1” up or down to change it to the note value you want; for example I set the bass drum to 36 (C2) which triggers the bass drum in Ultrabeat.
  • I muted sensor 8 because it was always sounding on any hit.

That’s it! Details may have changed in the new versions. If you have the full version you can save your configuration.

The Rock Band guitar works with Junxion as well! Just plug the USB receiver into the computer, turn on the guitar and follow the same steps. Now I’m even happier that I bought Rock Band!

24 Comments for 'Turn Wii Rock Band Instruments into Real Instruments with Junxion'

    June 29, 2008 | 10:50 pm

    […] Full instructions at his blog: Turn Wii Rock Band Instruments into Real Instruments with Junxion […]

    September 9, 2008 | 5:54 am

    […] found it on this blog which has general instructions on how to use it. I would have emailed it but I could not find […]

    March 16, 2009 | 7:10 pm

    […] Wii Version of Rock Band. Sure, the lack of DLC is a huge factor, but if you’re looking to use the instruments with MIDI software, [Jordan Balagot] has found what may be the easiest way. Since the Wii instruments are connected […]

    April 9, 2009 | 6:05 pm

    […] This is particularly useful because you don’t need to build or buy a board that outputs MIDI signals. You can use your broken down 10 year old IBM keyboard and modify it into your own Monome or arcade-style controller. It’s also great for turning Rockband instruments into instant MIDI controllers. […]

    June 26, 2009 | 11:17 am

    I’ve written a little program that makes the Xbox 360 Rock Band 2 drumset really easy to use for MIDI, sadly only for Microsoft Windows based DAWs.


    It detects four velocity levels on the pads, and also works with the optional Mad Catz cymbals.

    July 3, 2009 | 10:13 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I tried to use my Wii Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit as a Bluetooth device connecting to my Mac with the Wiimote attached where it belongs in the kit, but I have trouble getting the Wiimote to get recognized by the Bluetooth System Preferences utility. I AM able to get the Wiimote to connect using Wiinstrument, and I was also able to get the Wiimote recognized by Remote Buddy. However, I can’t figure out how to get Junxion to recognize any signals from the Wiimote, whether I move the controller around, or try drumming on the kit. I don’t own the Guitar Hero game, so I am not even sure the drum kit pads sense, but I would at least expect Junxion to recognize the Wiimote if I wave it around, and that’s not happening. Can you post a more detailed step-by-step instruction set? When you say you “plug in” the drum kit to your Mac, do you mean that you plug the set into the Wiimote (which I did), and use Bluetooth to recognize the Wiimote as a remote device, or are you somehow using the Midi port on the kit (which I thought was only a Midi IN port) to communicate to your computer? I am pretty computer savvy and this is the first time I have been stumped trying to integrate something into my MIDI studio setup. Please help!!!

    July 4, 2009 | 1:11 am

    @Matt, thanks for posting a link to your software!
    @Tim, I’m working on getting the guitar hero wii drums working on OS X too. The Junxion team says “The drums are unfortunately not supported yet”. I’m having better luck with OSCulator but can only get some drums triggered, I can’t get it to support velocity sensitivity yet. But Osculator is available at:

    July 11, 2009 | 12:59 am

    Just an update, as Tim and I have discovered, we can get the velocity-sensitive Guitar Hero World Tour drums to work with OS X using OSCulator, but bluetooth is apparently too slow for the drums to work well.
    The USB rockband drums are a better solution (albeit not velocity sensitive).

    July 19, 2009 | 10:10 pm

    Bummer, right? The velocity sensitivity on GHWT drums would be great if only bluetooth transmitted the data faster.

    July 20, 2009 | 12:08 am

    Hey Tim, Camille says they’ll work on an updated version Tuesday…Might not be bluetooth after all, since rolls work well on the Wii game…

    August 3, 2009 | 11:27 pm

    Thanks for your posting about the wii rock band drums, that’s exactly the thing I’ve been trying to add to a live set up I’m creating. Are there any latency problems mapping the drumset to JunXion to Logic? I want to use the drumset to trigger events in the new version of Mainstage [basically make it a transport so I can record and playback loops on the fly in Mainstage]

    Good stuff all around.

    August 3, 2009 | 11:32 pm

    Hi Erik,
    Thanks for writing. Currently Junxion is the best solution for triggering rock band drums, though they are not velocity sensitive. There are no latency issues though. I’m working with Camille over at Osculator trying to get the guitar hero world tour drums working, which are velocity sensitive, but so far there is still a lot of work to be done. http://www.osculator.net/bp/topic/15
    Good luck!

    October 15, 2009 | 8:50 pm

    What about GHWT for ps2? Aren’t they USB ?

    November 6, 2009 | 7:48 am

    […] still using JunXion to receive MIDI from the Rock Band Drums. Check out my other tutorial for setting JunXion […]

    November 9, 2009 | 8:23 am

    Hi , is there a way to connect the rock band 2 drum set or even the guitar to a PC ?? and use some sort of a program for windows ?

    December 13, 2009 | 3:54 pm

    I’m using a Ps3 Guitar hero dum, and works perfect except one thing..junxion sends to logic 2 note on..instead of a note on and a note off…Do you think its a junxion configuration problem?? thanx..sory for my english

    December 13, 2009 | 6:18 pm

    @aenima that’s a bug with the GH set, it sends two note ons instead of note on and note off. If you use OSCulator instead of JunXion, the programmer has fixed that bug, though I don’t know if it will work with the PS3 controllers.

    December 13, 2009 | 7:40 pm

    thanx for the answer jordan, thats my problem, i tried OSCulatos, but it doesn´t apear to work with the PS3 kit…thanx any way

    December 15, 2009 | 6:47 pm

    Jordan, It isn’t a bug..its a configuration issue, you have to configure 2 actions for every buttom..one switch on and one switch off, with 0 velocity….and it works perfect with PS3 dums

    Evil Cyborg
    December 22, 2009 | 8:04 am

    Hey, would this work for the 360 version? I have a midi to usb plug.

    I was also wondering if this program you mentioned above is for mac only? I only have PC!


    December 29, 2009 | 3:23 pm

    Awesome. I have two questions though. I have all xbox instruments and the drum kit is wireless but comes with a MIDI to USB cord, only the MIDI has two ends on it one grey and one purple, and one does nothing and the other causes junxion 4 to crash when i refresh the device list. I have a couple of wired guitars but they won’t turn on when plugged into the USB, although they work fine when i plug into the xbox. some are rock band and some are guitar hero. do i need the older fully wired guitar hero equipment? this is on a mac running 10.5.8. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    April 8, 2010 | 11:13 am

    Hi, just wondering if anyone has experience with the Rock Band Guitar and Junxion?
    My problem: I haven’t figured out yet how to program the higher 5 note-buttons on the guitar so that they can be used seperately from the lower 5 note-buttons. For the record: the higher note-buttons appear as the same buttons in Junxion, only ‘Button #7’ lights up simultaneously. (I’m using Junxion v4.1)

    December 14, 2011 | 1:59 pm

    Hi Jordan, I’m hoping you might be able to help me. Any idea how one might use Junxion and MAX/MSP? I can’t figure out how to link the two together. Thanks a lot man!

    January 11, 2014 | 7:42 pm

    Hello Jordan,
    I’ve been using the junxion demo for a couple months now using two ps2 rock band drums on my macbook for recording in garageband. I had recorded drums on a lot of tracks I have came up with. Well tonight I decided to fire up the drum sets and lay some beats down on a track. So i plug both sets in, fire up junxion, select which set to start patching but I noticed that when i hit a pad for my snare or closed hi hat, it isn’t registering now. I’ve quit out of garageband, junxion and rebooted both apps, nothing again. Restarted my computer, nothing. Shutdown my computer and left if off for a couple of minutes then rebooted, still nothing. have any solutions or know of a better software? I’m on OSX 10.8

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