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Now *that* is an useful-looking game
device
jducoeur
Another article on Ars -- 745 Studios has come out with a Rock Band clone that has a nearly-real guitar peripheral. The company is a subsidiary of a real musical-instrument firm, so they have a clue in how to build something that works in Guitar Hero style, but also has higher levels of difficulty that turn into really playing the guitar.

The only mysterious part? The company is apparently claiming, "We won't be marketing this as a learn-to-play guitar product." To which my response is, why the hell not? If they released this thing for the Wii, and had a slowly-ramping level of difficulty that slowly teaches you real guitar chords, I would be *all* over it. I've wanted to learn for ages, so a good game would be right up my alley. The disclaimer worries me a little (mostly that they may start out too hard), but I'd still be likely to pick it up if it comes out for the Wii. Even the 2/3 scale guitar doesn't worry me, given that the mandolin is the instrument I actually *own*. (Granted, I don't think the chords are the same, but it would at least give me the sense of the thing.)

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Maybe the parent company doesn't want to sabotage their existing learn-guitar products?

Could be -- that wouldn't be an unusual choice. But it's a bad one, IMO, if so: I think a computer-game-oriented teaching tool has the potential to sell really well, and they can likely charge a good premium for it...

Oh, I didn't say it was a good idea.

re: I think a computer-game-oriented teaching tool has the potential to sell really well

Sure taught me how to type.

Mandolins are tuned like violins, not guitars (even ignoring the difference in strings 8/4 vs 12/6). They are idiots however if they don't allow retuning, which would make it useful for _all_ similar instruments. The only difficulty remaining would be various fret distances between instruments..

They are idiots however if they don't allow retuning

That would seem to be outside their scope—they're trying to make something that plays like a real guitar, but they're also trying to do it cheaply. If they can save money by not playing like a real mandolin, they'll probably do it.

But I don't know; the hardware might already be good enough. The article says, It can sense which strings are being hit, which ones are being strummed.... In order to do that, it probably needs to measure tension on the strings, which means it might be tunable.


I meant software retuning. string 1 open is an A or a D depending on what you set it to on the menu. cost per unit practically nil.

Except, from the article, it sounds like the guitar really makes its own sounds. If you retune it in software, but the hardware is playing different notes, that's not so good.

I suppose you could retune it on both ends, but that's very bad usability.

Yeah, I saw this a few days ago. I was disappointed that they were using a hardware solution -- the controller -- rather than a software one through signal-processing the input from a real guitar.

Oh, and if you ever get around to learning guitar, I recommend an Epiphone. I've got one, along with a Squier Strat, and the Epiphone has a much more stable feel to it.

(Though I'm only a year in. Four more to go before I'm any good.)

It's a good point -- having something that attaches a real guitar would be more general, and in some ways more useful.

That said, I'm sure they're trying to make much of their money selling the hardware. I suspect that the programming is much easier with the hardware support, and it sounds like the physical bits are their forte. So it's the logical move for the company, even if we might wish for something different...

Mandolin is like backwards guitar. The mandolin strings, of course, are G/D/A/E from top to bottom. The guitar strings are E/A/D/F/B/E, from top to bottom, so the bottom 4 strings are like mandolin only backwards. While there are refinements, that might help a little.

Interesting. I've mostly heard mandolin described in terms of banjo (or violin) -- this is the first time I've heard this particular comparison...

> The company is apparently claiming, "We won't be marketing this as a learn-to-play guitar product." To which my response is, why the hell not? <

Maybe they want to avoid a kind of eat-your-vegetables thing with young gamers.

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