Learn Guitar From Video Games | Playing Guitar Hero vs. Real Guitar
Page Update 3/7/2016
If you are looking for a game to help to teach you actual guitar or bass try some of the newer games today like RockSmithor Bandfuse. These games actually let you plug in your guitar with an cable adapter that feeds to the gaming console. Some forms of the game provide the adapters and other necessary connections. Of course check the specific version of the game for details, but the basics are they show you the proper fingering of the notes or chords for specified songs while a popular song plays within the game. These games typically license popular guitar based music to use for the game to attract buyers. That way you are learning a song from an artist that you may know or have experienced their music already. It also may turn you on to some new guitar based music that you may not have heard before as well.
Younger guitarists and beginners with ambition will probably have the best experience with these guitar learning games. Advanced guitarists may find the game a little slow if your trying to learn a song. That being said advanced players may pick up some techniques or notes that they may have missed when learning the songs themselves without the game. If you or your child is interested in playing the guitar, these games are a great start and may actually take the place of expensive guitar lessons from a professional. While you won't typically get the schooled music instruction like reading sheet music with these games, you or your child may learn some cool songs to continue their music interests and education. These guitar learning games may help with reading guitar tablature as well.
I get asked this question a lot since I play guitar, which is why I decided to place this page on this site. While this game is No substitute for learning or playing the guitar, it does simulate some guitar basics. The process of holding a note while hitting the strum button is a lot like the action you would take in playing a real guitar. Also, The use of the whammy bar and hand eye coordination is similar as well. Holding chords is another feature that is similar. In reality playing a real guitar is a lot more complicated and takes sometimes years just to master the basics of holding your hand to form chords and soloing etc. You would move your hand along the fret board a lot more on a real guitar and there are many techniques to master. This is not to take away the fun aspect of guitar hero. I do feel its an extremely fun game. It's great for hand eye coordination and is similar to a real guitar in some respects.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band are very unique games for the PS2, PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360. It features a Guitar shaped controller that is either wired or wireless depending on the controller. The wireless guitar controllers are a bit more expensive. The controllers actually come with stickers to decorate the guitar. Guitar Hero I (1) and Guitar Hero II (2) Feature many mainstream artists songs from mostly the Rock Genre. The basis of the game is that there is a scrolling fret board in the middle of the screen that will show different colored blurbs that correspond to the 5 colored buttons on the controller. As the note comes to the line on the screen you must hit the correct colored button on the guitar controller while hitting the strum button in the center of the body of the guitar. The strum button simulates picking the strings although there are no strings on your controller. While you are perfecting your guitar techniques you will be able to see characters such as Axel Steel performing the song. You can tell the game makers paid attention to detail, because the guitarist actually looks like he is playing the correct notes most times. There are 4 levels including Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. The higher you get in each level the better venues you will perform. For example, as you move through the easy level and master a certain number of songs, you may move from playing a dive bar up to a stadium packed with fans. As you move up in level they add more buttons for you to use while playing he game. For Example, in easy mode you may only have to master 3 buttons on the controller, but when you move to medium you will use 4 buttons.
To master playing chords on Guitar Hero you must hit 2 buttons at the same time when you see 2 of the colored blurbs together on the game screen. So if you see the green and red blurbs coming together on the screen fret board you would press the green and red button on the controller while hitting the strum button with your other hand.
Sometimes you will see a note with a long line attached. This means you must hold the note on the guitar controller for as long as the line appears. When you hold notes this gives you the opportunity to use the Whammy Bar on the Controller. The Guitar Hero Whammy Bar allows you to change the pitch of the note your holding much like a real tremelo bar (whammy bar) on a guitar. Using the Whammy in later levels can also help increase star power which we'll explain below.
The meter on the bottom left of your screen calculates score. 50 points / note in easy mode and 100 points / note in the rest of the levels. As you get 10 notes in a row correct your score multiplier goes up.
There is a Star Power meter to the right of the screen. As you play certain notes during the game that have stars on them, this increases your star power in blue. As the blue meter gets past the half way point you are now star power ready. The more you let the meter increase the more time the star power kicks in for your game. A good idea is to wait until your multiplier on the scoring meter is at 4x, then when you engage star power your multiplier will show 8x for the length of the star power. To engage Star Power simply lift the headstock of the guitar controller vertically in the air while you are playing. The headstock of the guitar is the top of the guitar near the colored buttons. Another way to engage star power is to hit the select button on the controller.