Drums-GHWT.jpg Drums-GHM.jpg
The drums highway as depicted in GH:WT.
The drums highway in GH: M and later games. A bass note was just played, so the Fret Bar appears raised.

Drums are one of four instruments available to play. It, along with the Vocals, debuted in Guitar Hero World Tour. To play drums the player must have a drumset. These can be either Guitar Hero drums, or Rock Band drums.


Drums bear similarities to bass, and lead guitar. The highway consists of five-targets (four on Rock Band drums), and the notes must be matched with the corresponding target.


Star PowerEdit

Star Power is gained the same as the guitars, by hitting all the star power notes in a star power sequence. To activate star power on a Guitar Hero drum kit, both the orange and yellow cymbals have to be hit at the same time. For Rock Band drums, both the blue and yellow pads have to be hit at the same time.


The same in vocals, freeforms are present. These appear the same; as wavy sections of the song. To play in a freeform any notes can be played for points. Depending on the multiplier, that's how many points will be scored in a single hit. Such as a 4x multiplier would score 4 points. In GH5, Band Hero, and GH WOR, freeforms no longer grant extra points but can raise the rock meter. If star power is used while in a freeform the rock meter will ascend faster.

Drums RollsEdit

Drum rolls are a series of repeated notes played on a drum. The speed at which these are hit depends on the quantity of notes in the roll. Slower paced rolls can be hit with one hand. Faster rolls should be hit with both hands. Rolls can also occur on more than one drum.


Each drum pad represents one percussion piece. While the drums each pad represents change depending on the song, the pads generally represent the following:

Red: Snare Drum

Blue: Tom-Tom Drum

Green: Floor Tom Drum

Yellow: Hi-Hat Cymbal

Orange: Crash Cymbal

Bass Drum NotesEdit

One more note is introduced with drums. This is the bass drum note. Bass drum notes appear the same as open notes on bass guitar in GH: WT. In later games the bass drum note is gray. To play a bass drum note a foot pedal must be used when the note crosses the strike line. As with real drums other notes can be hit with the kick pedal. This is similar to playing a chord on guitar. Both the bass drum note, and drum note have to be played, although one can be hit without the other.

Accent NotesEdit

Another type of new note is the accent note also known as the velocity note. These appear as silver crowned notes. In order to hit them, the corresponding pad must be hit harder than normal; not necessarily as hard as physically possible, just harder than normal.

Drum SwellsEdit

There are also sustains that are called swells. These are similar to long notes on guitar. To hit and maintain the note(s), the corresponding drum(s) must be hit repeatedly. In Guitar Hero World Tour, if the drum swell is hit and then dropped the player will not lose their multiplier but they cannot continue to play that swell. In Guitar Hero 5 and later games if a swell is dropped it can be played again by re-hitting the corresponding drum(s). In Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, swells for kick drums were added. Hitting the kick drum swell is just like the normal swells; keep the swell going by repeatedly hitting the corresponding drum.

Ghost NotesEdit

Ghost notes are a type of note which appear on in Expert+ difficulties in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Ghost notes are notes which are too soft to be heard in a song. Ghost notes are transparent in color much like a slider note. Ghost notes are scored equally as a basic note.

Scoring SystemEdit

Note Type Base Points
Basic Note 50 points
Kick Note 75 points
Accent 25 points



An example of a double bass section.

Originating in GH Metallica, drums alone have an additional difficulty: Expert +. Expert+ has the same standard notes as regular Expert but includes double bass. Songs with Expert+ will have an icon of some sort with crossing drum sticks.

Game Expert+ Icon
GH: Metallica Skull with two crossed drumsticks.
GH: Smash Hits Skull with two crossbones.
GH: 5 Two black diamonds with gold inlay.
Band Hero Two gold diamonds.
GH: Van Halen Guitar pick with two drumsticks.
GH: Warriors of Rock Two copper or gold diamonds.
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