Real Guitar + Guitar Hero


[Alan] isn’t very good at guitar. He says so himself. He’s not that great at guitar hero either. Was that medium difficulty? Let’s put aside his skill to talk about his controller. He has fused the guitar hero controller with a real guitar. The original guitar has retained its functionality, though the controller bits may get in the way if he jams really hard. With a flip of the switch, it turns into a guitar hero controller. You simply press the strings down at the frets where the buttons should be, while strumming the controller part.

35 thoughts on “Real Guitar + Guitar Hero

  1. When I was little – I played a game called Simon.
    It was a box that lit up 4 different colors in various orders.

    The object was to play them back in the same order. Very Simple.

    Now, as an adult, I see Guitar Hero as nothing more than “Simon on a Stick”.


    However – I’ll give this guy some credit.
    At least he integrated “Simon” with a real guitar.

    A beginner with a real gutar might actual get some use out of the damn thing.

    Good work.

    1. If it were merely Simon on a stick, I would likely agree. However, from my limited experience with guitar games (as opposed to my much larger experience with Simon games), the Guitar Hero-esque games add a factor to Simon: namely, they add familiarity. If you could get a Simon to synchronize with one of your favorite music tracks, wouldn’t you enjoy it more?

      And, of course, there’s probably some aspect of multiplayer that Guitar Hero and/or Rock Band also implement, which seems to be all the rage these days.

      Now, someone should take apart a Simon game and put it in a guitar controller. Or vice-versa.

  2. Well, at first glance it doesn’t seem like this would actually help with learning real guitar at all when it’s in guitar hero mode…but actually there are a few ways it could help the extreme novice. First, it gets you used to the fret positioning, so you aren’t staring at your fingers as you play, and secondly it can get you used to pressing the strings down, so you aren’t writhing in pain from actually playing (those damn strings can hurt like hell when you first start playing). Oh, and I suppose it may help get a player used to twisting their hand around to get the more difficult reaches for chords. So, unlike some of the other guitar to guitar hero mods, this one has a few plusses.

  3. there are commercial products out there that convert guitar to midi notes (apparently pretty well, too). i think that ideally, guitar hero should use such a device and be able to compare your playing the actual song on an actual guitar note by note.

    patrick – simon lacks the element of rythym, it’s not quite the same.

    tim – i’m also waiting for piano hero. give me 88 keys.

  4. I own an 88 key Piano Hero controller. It’s manufactured by Steinway.

    Guitar Hero is popular because it allows people to feel like they’re playing awesome music. I’m still not sure whether I think that’s a good thing or not.

    anyway, nice project. It helps bring people closer to actually playing music.

  5. I think this is a awesome step to the dorks that talk shit to the real guitar and band members about whats up… I cant even imagine why guitar hero players talk shit to us real band members…I love this movement in guitar hero and such… THANX!! I will keep up to date on this ..

  6. Actually, Guitar Hero is why I started playing both guitar and bass, both of which I am intermediate at, and also lead me to choose my ECE major. So ppl that talk bad about Guitar Hero are obviously the underinformed.
    Guitar Hero is a great way for a guitar player to work on their fretting speed, and playing HOPOs in Guitar Hero help both HOPOs on guitar, and sweeps.
    This gives me an idea actually… but there’s no way in hell I’m cannibalizing one of my own guitars. =\

  7. Cute but isn’t their real software and lesson material available for learning guitar playing? Is there really a need to go through such trouble and get so-so results I wonder.

  8. I’m sure it has its benefits, but none that can’t be surpassed by real practice on a real instrument. Guitar Hero seems to be about instant gratification – if a n00b buys a guitar and a chord book, and spends maybe a week practicing and struggling through the pain and bum notes, they’ll be able to play a song or two reasonably well. But if they buy a copy of Guitar Hero, within an hour or two they’ll have learned how to ‘play’ the same amount of songs so well it sounds just like the record(!)

    To me, that seems like an empty achievement – the difference between solving a crossword and writing a book.

  9. RB and GH are a more in-depth way of enjoying music and discovering music. Rock Band is well over 530 songs and growing. Better yet, it’s accessible to older generations because there’s a large selection of songs that they grew up with. It’s also one of the few local multiplayer games worth its salt.

    There’s a lot of kids who have never heard bands like The Who until they picked up a guitar controller. Even scarier, there’s kids who have never heard The Beatles, and that’ll change soon too.

    GH was created by musicians (before Neversoft started ruining it), and the crew behind RB is the same guys behind GH, only there’s more of ’em now.

    I’m all for hardware hacks, and the guitars are cool but they’re also not that great because you’re dealing with six strings when all you need to worry about is five frets. I guess you can toughen up your fingers.

  10. someone mentioned “piano hero”,
    There were some keyboards that came with a game very similar to guitar hero. It was way before guitar hero came out. It was nowhere near as fun, but you actually learned to play the songs.

  11. This was interesting but all it is is a GH controller…that’s it. The frets are just a replacement of the buttons. I am a RB2 player (drums and vocals only since those are the only ‘instruments’ that take skill and some talent) that is taking interest in playing drums for real. This is taking a small step towards implementing real instruments in the game but it is still a long way off. The video that data posted seems like it’s taking larger steps in the right direction. And yes there are Midi controllers for guitars that with a little ingenuity (and probably an arduino or two ;) ) could translate to GH or RB game notes. That’s what I am waiting for and would be very impressed if it worked well. Maybe even some game company taking that idea and implementing it onto the next generation of ‘music games’.

  12. A nice change to the game that should help make it (a little) more realistic. It’s still not going to be anything like playing a guitar, but it’s just what you get used to isn’t it.

    I’ve played guitar for about 4 years now, but on the few occasions I’ve played Guitar Hero I’ve struggled to get by on easy, so I’m not saying Guitar Hero is any easier, or more difficult that playing a real guitar, but it is completely different. If the use of guitars as controllers closes this gap even a little then it can only be a good thing.


    PS: I’m with the MIDI idea above as well, it shouldn’t be too difficult for someone technically minded to ‘adjust’ an effects processor, or even run the guitar through a laptop first to convert it.

  13. Damn someone beat me to this lol. All the electronics on my $100 Behringer guitar got destroyed, so I was going to simply add most of the RB controller internals into it. Its really simple, just run a wire for each button to the appropriate metal fretbar, and have the strings as common ground. I figured after doing this it would be more worth paying ~$300 to replace the pots and do an active EMG setup lol.

  14. Thanks for all the comments, everyone. Yeah, the ultimate goal is to have something where it looks and works just like a regular guitar too. For now, the goal with this project is a controller where you can play actual gh/rb with a real guitar, without having to have some laptop in the middle, so that’s the angle I’m coming from.

    Oh, and check out the instructable, .x, you’ll need it to be a little more complicated than that if you want to be able to play the notes with your fingers between the frets. But I hope you do build this or something simmilar; if you do, let me know!

  15. I guess I never have been thoroughly seduced by video games, as I never understood guitar hero. A new decent acoustic guitar, is reasonably priced. With the same amount of time invested in playing a GD video game most people can learn to play a guitar well enough to be able to play recognisable tunes. Then there’s that risk a real talent might be discovered? :)

  16. I just use guitar pro, thats my guitar hero/rockband. I sit down with my friends choose a tab and click play, and I play the notes/chords etc it tells me to as its happening in real time (I’ll also wack on the mp3 in the background). If we make mistakes we lose, if we don’t we’ve learned and played a new song without realizing it. On reaaal instruments. its no bloody different to guitar hero, but guitar pro does actually help you play guitar.I think the only thing guitar hero did for me was train my pinky finger a little.

  17. @all you GH/RB haters. to say you’re missing the point would be a gross understatement. The beauty of GH/RB is you can literally just pick up a guitar-shaped controller and have fun with it. No skill? You guitar players out there (myself included)completely take for granted that you have independant hand coordination – watch any beginner on the game to see that it’s not just ‘Simon’.

  18. Same here evilmarshy, except with Powertab instead of Guitar Pro (only because it was free). It is pretty much the same idea as GH/RB, but real.

    I’m still waiting for someone to make a guitar where you can play songs in ‘easy’ mode, rather than the ‘expert’ we’ve all been using so far.

  19. Guitar Hero and Real Guitar… a real guitar is completely different than guitar hero.

    I, myself, can play on Expert (the hardest mode on guitar hero, for those who don’t know), easily, but can’t play a lick of real guitar.

    And I have friends who are great at real guitar, but can’t play a round of guitar hero to save their life.

    I give credit where its due. I might occasionally take a bit of pride in my hand-eye coordination skills in that game, but no matter how hard you can make guitar hero, its nothing to a real guitar and a real guitarist.

    ..and what kind of person would dis real guitarists just because they can play guitar hero? Thats just wrong.

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