Tips and Cheats for Rock Band on Every Platform

Know when to switch to Expert in Rock Band for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii

Rock Band is a series of rhythm-based video games with controllers that resemble musical instruments. While every Rock Band game has cheat codes that unlock extra content, there are some general tips to follow for all entries in the franchise.

These cheats and tips apply broadly to the Rock Band games on multiple platforms including the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii.

A band performs in Rockband 4

Rock Band Cheat Codes

Each Rock Band game has unique cheat codes that provide various bonuses and unlockables. For example, to use the unlock all songs cheat in Rock Band 1, press the following buttons on the guitar control at the title screen: Red, Yellow, Blue, Red, Red, Blue, Blue, Red, Yellow, Blue.

Since the games have special controllers that are essentially the same for all consoles, most of the codes work across all platforms, so cheats for Rock Band 2 on PS3 also work in Rock Band 2 on Xbox 360. Consult guides for each individual game for lists of Rock Band cheat codes.

Visualize the On-Screen Guitar as a Highway

Think of the on-screen guitar neck as a highway in front of you. The number of lanes varies depending on the difficulty setting of the game. On Easy, you'll use the left three lanes (Green, Red, and Yellow). On Medium, you'll also use the Blue lane. Up to this point, there is no need to "switch lanes" since your fingers can reach any of the upcoming fret buttons without repositioning your hand. Once you move to Hard and Expert difficulties, you need to learn how to switch lanes.

Since Rock Band is a spin-off of the Guitar Hero series, many of these tips also apply to those games as well.

Hammer Those Notes (Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs)

The smaller notes on the board can be hammered on. All you do is slam your finger on the correct button; you don't need to strum these notes. Then, begin strumming again when the next regular note comes up. This method may feel a bit awkward at first, but it comes in handy on Hard and Expert difficulties.

A smaller note to the right of a regular note is hammered-on. A smaller note to the left of a regular note is a pull-off. Both are performed the same way.

Communicate and Use Overdrive as a Team

Unlike Guitar Hero, getting five stars on every song in Rock Band requires cooperation between players. Different instruments have different capabilities, so understanding everyone's role is crucial.

For example, while the drummer and vocalist cannot go into overdrive whenever they want, the guitarist and bassist can. Therefore, when the vocalist or drummer goes into overdrive, either the bassist or guitarist (or both) should go into overdrive as well. This maximizes everyone's multiplier allowing for a higher score and makes a five-star performance easier to achieve.

Use Overdrive to Save Band Mates

Before you use overdrive, check to see how your bandmates are doing. When you use overdrive, you make the fans more tolerant of errors, which helps you and/or your bandmates stay on stage longer if they are struggling. Should a bandmate fall, overdrive can be used to bring them back.

Look Up and Look Ahead

Instead of looking at each note individually, look at sets of upcoming notes and try to view them as different patterns. Also, don't look at the individual notes as they pass the target line. Instead, listen to the sounds of the notes as you play them, and continue to play the same patterns as they approach.

Position the Guitar Controller Correctly

A correctly positioned guitar can make the difference between a five-star performance and a four-star performance. The key to positioning the guitar is that it should be perpendicular from the ground, and it should be steadied by either the strap or your knee if seated.

Move Your Entire Hand

Don't stretch your pinky finger to reach the Orange button on Hard and Expert mode. Instead, move your hand according to the upcoming notes rather than reacting to them when they're ready to be played. Your strumming arm should steady the guitar slightly if needed.

Learn to Relax

Playing on the harder difficulties requires you to be prepared for whatever notes come next. Just like learning the real guitar or bass, the way to do this is to relax, take breaks, and make sure to keep breathing. If you get frustrated, you'll only make more mistakes.

Calibrate Your System

Calibration is done automatically with guitars designed for Rock Band 2 and later. If you have an earlier version of the guitar controller:

  1. Go to the Options menu.

  2. Select Calibrate System.

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to finish calibrating.