The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Rock Band Pro Guitar Review

So, I got my Squier Fendercaster Friday night (late). I’ve been playing off and on all weekend (off and on because I don’t have calluses, so my fingers hurt. I just did an 8 song set). Some thoughts —

  • I find the interface relatively intuitive. Then again, I’ve played a lot of rock band, and have barely touched a real guitar. Your root note is shown via fret number, and the rest of the notes are shown via ‘shape’ (So if the frets are 5-7-7 you’ll see a “5” then it will curve up ‘2 steps’ for the next two notes). The chord name will also be there,which may help others, or help you learn the chord). Compared to the keyboard, where I see the notes and wonder “What chord is that” and can’t hit the keys. It may be the my lack of training helps. Or it may be that it’s much easier to do with 2 notes, and that didn’t bother me in keyboards either.
  • On easy, you don’t have chords. I suspect I can beat all of the songs on easy after one time through (to get a vague idea of where my hands will have to be). [I tested that by picking a random song on Impossible … I didn’t fail, got 3 stars, but the program said it was unsatisfactory. I later discovered that’s a known bug]
  • I’m still going through the easy songs, mainly to get a feel for moving my hand around the fretboard and so I can tell which string I’m on without looking. I suspect most real guitar players spend a long time looking at their frets while learning, which is not a luxury you have when playing the game.
  • Medium adds chords. I’m working through I wanna be sedated, which is easy but fast; you have to move up and down 2 frets quickly, and I can’t do that yet. I suspect I can do several of the other “apprentice” songs, but they add the occasional real (3+ note) chord. Still, gotta start somewhere.
  • My fingers still hurt.
  • I’m already thinking about what sheet music I want once I become a guitar god.  (Or vaguely proficient).
  • It’s not a midlife crisis if you buy your first electric guitar and amp at 40 to play a video game. Just so we’re clear.
  • (I like that … to the bat-twitter!)
  • I suspect that what this will really do is let me power through the first hundred hours of “Man I Suck” relatively painlessly and provide some incentive to practice. Can’t argue with that.
  • The Younger TaoLing will start guitar lessons next month (schedule permitting). Despite all the money I’ve spent (Guitar, Controller, Amp, Cords, misc accessories), it will pale in comparison to a live teacher. If this gets him to practice, its worth it on a strict monetary basis, and any enjoyment I get out of it is a bonus.
  • He has tried it, but it’s huge. (A friend said the fret spacing was slightly bigger than his normal guitar).  I mean, he can barely reach the first fret unless his arm is totally straight. And it’s heavy, of course. So I don’t think this is for pre-teens. I’m told the Mad Catz guitars are much smaller (and cheaper, of course). So buy the Young’un one of those and a “My First Guitar” set.
  • When I was buying my amp, I saw an 8 year old girl wailing on a drum set with a complex syncopated rhythm. After she left, I stayed well away from the drums, lest a comparison be drawn.
  • I’m sure I’m picking up all sorts of bad habits, but I’m learning this for my own enjoyment, so why the hell not?
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Written by taogaming

April 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Reviews

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5 Responses

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  1. Don’t buy guitar sheet music. ultimate-guitar.com has everything you’ll ever need.

    Dennis

    April 11, 2011 at 7:35 am

    • That’s what I get for not checking the pending comments queue for a while.

      taogaming

      April 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  2. Great review, I’m looking forward to checking in with you in a couple months to see how long the calluses took to form, as that’s definitely one of my main concerns. Also, please keep track of how long it takes you to get to solid medium songs, in terms of hours played. Look forward also to hearing if the Taoling is more motivated now to play.

    Lou W

    April 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  3. I’ve had the Mustang (the one with the 102 buttons) for a few months and am hacking my way through medium (though very slowly, as it’s about equal parts frustration and fun; sort of like golf, maybe). I still struggle mightily with solos and anything that requires a lot of quick slides up and down the fretboard. You do get feedback on your hand position, but it’s still not automatic. And of course with the buttons there’s no sense of string size to help orient you in terms of EADGBE. I bet the real guitar helps with that, so I’m tempted. Curious to hear how far you take this.

    Jon W

    April 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

  4. […] for those who asked it took me under a week to beat 1/2 of the solid medium songs. (Just for kicks I tried I Love Rock […]


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