Sticky Fingers
April 2, 2009 11:20 PM   Subscribe

How can I fix sticky keys on a Guitar Hero controller?

One of the "fret" keys on the guitar's neck is sticky, which makes playing anything more than quarter notes a bit challenging. Sometimes pressing the key on one side is easier than the other side (except that the "other side" is the side I am more comfortable hitting when I'm rockin' my solos).

Please avoid "search Google" or linking to Google results, as the advice there is not very helpful ("don't play songs with that key", "buy more RAM", etc.). I'd obviously appreciate advice from people who have firsthand advice for maintaining one. Thanks!
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
Do you mean actually sticky, like from juice? If so, fold or trim a coffee filter or cigarette rolly paper into a little point. Dip it in rubbing alcohol & blot so it's not dripping wet. Carefully slip it in & around the sticky parts a few times. Repeat. A Q-tip can help, too.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:29 PM on April 2, 2009

Response by poster: I don't know what the cause is from. Actually, the controller is pretty new. I'd swap it but it was a xmas pressie.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 PM on April 2, 2009

Do you have an independent video game store nearby? My son has taken glitchy controllers to our local mom-and-pop gaming store and they can usually get them working smoothly again.
posted by amyms at 11:39 PM on April 2, 2009

This could be a connection issue between the neck of the fret and the body of the guitar, where the interface between the two uses pins for conductivity. If this in fact the issue, it could potentially be resolved by soldering the connections together as opposed to their current poorly-designed pressure-based connection.

On the other hand, this could very well also be a connection problem between the fret PCB and the rubber that lies between it and the part of the button you press. When you press the fret, a black pad on the the bottom part of the rubber underneath the button joins two contact points on the PCB, shorting them and registering to the system as a button press. It's possible that anything from lint to a poor quality PCB, and other things as well.

If you aren't experienced in solving these kinds of hardware issues, I'd recommend buying a new controller. At the same time, if the one you are using now is malfunctioning, you don't have much to lose by investigating these possibilities.

Good luck!
posted by dinx2582 at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2009

Oh, this information is based on my experience with the the PS2 and Xbox360 controllers (SG and Les Paul models, respectively). I've never touched a PS3 or a Wii guitar, so YMMV.
posted by dinx2582 at 7:31 AM on April 3, 2009

I had a very similar issue with my GH controller. I just took apart my GH2 Xbox 360 guitar and put it back together again. That really helped and I've had no more sticking issues. It wasn't that hard to take apart and put together again either, but I'm not sure how newer version of the guitar work, or versions for other systems so it might be more difficult for you.
posted by Green With You at 8:09 AM on April 3, 2009

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