I picked up my first guitar when I was in elementary school, and I asked my father -- an amateur guitarist who strummed along along to David Bowie vinyl records for fun -- to teach me a basic chord. It wasn’t 15 minutes before my whining began: my fingers were too small, the strings were too tough... the human hand doesn’t stretch like that, I complained.
A few years later, I picked up the six-string again on my own. What followed was years of me finding my own way, listening to music carefully and figuring out what I was doing on my own. With an experienced teacher at your side, learning an instrument can be a frustrating, even dull process. You can imagine what it's like going in blind, learning the language of the instrument on your own.
The controller also features a full set of buttons, along with a D-pad for menu navigation. However, when using the instrument with an Xbox 360, those buttons are just for show -- you’ll need to use the MIDI adapter to navigate all menus. (This has something to with Microsoft’s wild and crazy Xbox 360 controller standards; Harmonix’s and Fender’s hands were tied on this one, I’d imagine.) While it’s possible to use your toes if you have foot dexterity and want to play standing up, I found it more comfortable to the MIDI controller on my lap within arm's reach. This is particularly helpful when you’re using the guitar to play through the extensive tutorials, as that requires frequent navigation.
The game simply is not kidding around -- it requires perfect fret placement on every note and exact strumming for every rhythm. Learning on your own or even with an instructor at your side, you’d find that you’d be able to hit “imperfectly placed” notes that would still ring and sound just fine. Rock Band 3 and the Squier don’t want to hear any of that noise; they want to make you a perfect guitar-playing machine.
There are a lot of avenues for learning to play guitar, but there are few that are as enjoyable as this.
|11:00 AM on 09.15.2008|
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