Guitar Hero with strings - but that's just the beginning

New digital MIDI guitar is also game controller

The device is a fully-functional USB MIDI electronic guitar. That means you can plug it into your computer to control MIDI programs (turn it into a saxophone or Ferris Bueller-style heaving at the push of a button) or use it as a song notebook with its on-board MIDI song data storage. That sounds awesome enough, especially as it can be dismantled to stow away in a rucksack, but it's the gaming side that makes this special.

It works as a fully-functioning Guitar Hero/Rock Band controller. First you need to plug in a wireless 'Game Flex' insert (sold separately for £26.99). Then you simply play the strings to strum (yup, that's actual strumming) and use colour-coded frets to play the notes in the game. The feel will be more realistic and you'll look cooler too, not to mention pick up some more authentic and useful guitar skills in the process.


Above: That headstock can be removed if you want to mimic Bill & Ted

The unit has more tricks up its sleeve too. You can set it to 'You Rock' mode to play along to your iPod - always in tune with wrong notes replaced with a Guitar Hero-esque clunk sound. There are also 14 tuning presets and a virtual capo for those Wonderwall moments. The wammy bar can bend pitches up or down - not just down like the Guitar Hero guitars - although we're yet to see whether the games will recognise this. There's also no tuning needed for the strings. The wonders of technology, eh?

Of course, it comes with a hefty price tag. The fact it works as a MIDI instrument, guitar tuition aid, songpad AND game controller means there's a lot of tech here, making the standalone unit come in at£199 RRP.If you want to use it as a game controller, you'll need the Game Flex cartridge for your chosen console on top of that.


Above: The console-specific wireless cartridge costs £26.99 alone

That said, the You Rock Guitar's versatility and usefulness for all three potential audiences (gamers, musos and guitar beginners) make this a very intriguing proposition. We'll see if we can get hold of one to see if it's as good as it looks. In the mean-time, check out the device'sofficial sitefor more info.

19 May, 2010

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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