Guitar Zero Heroes

Wednesday, October 1, 2008| by Will Chen

Guitar Zero Heroes

Guitar Hero is one of those topics which seem to polarize guitar players. Some vehemently hate the game and people who play it while others see it as a harmless, enjoyable diversion. The hate for the game as always fascinated me. Perhaps it’s the feeling that the game lessens the idea that guitar is an instrument which takes years to master. Or perhaps these players see it as a potential threat…

While perusing the web one lazy morning, I read a news story about Blake Peebles, a 16 year old dropping out of school to play Guitar Hero.

As competitive gaming becomes more and more prominent with tournaments currently being broadcast on multiple cable networks, is it actually possible that one could earn more playing a virtual guitar than an actual one? Say it isn’t so!

Clearly, the shortfall of virtual guitar playing is the inability to create something new. On the other hand, could it be possible that cover bands may one day have to compete with virtual bands playing their instruments through an X-BOX or Wii? Well, this is already occurring all over America in the form of “Guitar Hero” nights robbing bands of performance dates not to mention there were quite a few Guitar Hero exhibits at the 2008 Dallas Guitar Show, most notably at the Peavey booth.

I know, I know. Nothing could ever compete with a real guitar! On the other hand, look what MIDI keyboards have done to...well every instrument. Pre 80's if you wanted backing tracks you hired musicians to play them, or at the very least hired them to record the tracks and played back the tracks. MIDI keyboards now allow any anybody with even the most modest piano knowledge to play virtually any instrument. The aptly named The Guitar Zeros are already experimenting with the concept of a MIDI Guitar Hero controller.

The San Francisco, CA based band has modified Guitar Hero controllers to act as MIDI interfaces, they’ve even posted an article online for ambitious do-it-yourselfers who’d like to give a shot. With over 37,000 MySpace profile views and a combined total over 23,000+ plays of their songs the band has established quite a buzz. They were even featured on the cover of volume 15 (the current issue as of this writing) of Make magazine.

It has been confirmed that the new Guitar Hero World Tour game will feature a MIDI sequencer and Line 6 amp modeling and effects. Will history identify the creators of Guitar Hero as a passing gimmick or visionaries? Naysayers once ridiculed Leo Fender’s designs as gimmicks, only time will tell…

- Will Chen Editor in Chief

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