Okay, found out a lot of interesting stuff yesterday.
Basically the guitar I have is completely different inside than what Ben has. It has leaf switches mounted vertically directly across from each other on either side of the strum bar. There’s no metal, or spacers, or contacts involved, just plastic sliding against plastic.
The sticker on this box was dated Oct-17-2007. Interestingly I also have another copy of the game (preordered through Amazon) dated Oct-15-2007. I decided to open this box up as well to see if it’s components worked any better. This “older” copy of the game has the guitar Ben is talking about.
This “older” guitar’s strummer is a LOT less flimsy feeling than the “newer” guitar I got, which feels almost like it’s loose. It seems fine for now, except that the effects switch is broken and only switches between Chorus and None.
They obviously changed design midway through production. The new design isn’t much better than old, however, because after a couple days use the UPSTRUM is now only working intermittently. I’m not sure how this is even possible given the mechanism for the switches being used, other than that my guitar has a faulty switch. There’s nothing inside to bend or get out of alignment. The guts of this model of guitar looks very janky inside as well - there’s masking tape being used all over the place to hold wires down.
MAY BE IMPORTANT
Additionally, the drum kit from each box is also different. The “newer” kit (Oct-17) has less pronounced ridges along the rim of each pad - the lip is only a few millimeters raised. The “older” kit has rims that are maybe a centimeter above the pad.
This is important, because the newer kit has a major design flaw with the red pad - if you single-stroke roll past a certain speed it will stop registering altogether. This literally makes the following songs impossible to get through on Expert:
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper
Train Kept a 'Rollin
Run to the Hills
The (Oct-15) dated drums with the higher rims do not seem to have this problem. I objectively tested this by going into Practice mode on the Drum Roll section of Train Kept a 'Rollin, and I can consistently score at least 85% on that section, and well above 90% on several tries with the older kit. With the newer (Oct-17) drums, using the EXACT same technique, I was getting low 50’s with 60% tops, which means failure if playing the song in-game.
If you guys have this drum set with slighly upraised lips, I would highly recommend you test this yourself. Others at the Scorehero forum have been reporting this as a problem - the only thing that reportedly may help is wrapping the pad in tape in order to make it more responsive, but this is really only masking what has got to be a design flaw. I think this hasn’t been reported much yet because a lot of people are not playing drums on Expert and it’s only the newer kits (2G drums?) that have this error. The reviewers with advance copies of the game didn’t have this particular revision of the controller, and like I said it looks like the older model doesn’t have this flaw.
I’ve heard EA’s RMA is at this point cross-shipping new parts if you give them a credit card number with no questions asked. I think most of you can figure out if your guitar has a problem pretty easily, but I’d recommend you get your drums tested. You’re going to be very pissed off in another few months when you can’t play Don’t Fear the Reaper on Expert drums because of defective hardware.