The End of Guitar Hero

On Wednesday February 9th, 2011, Activision Publishing announced that it would be discontinuing the Guitar Hero game series. This move brings to an end the game series’ six year life and potentially signals a shift in the direction in the future of musical gaming.

Activision cited a severe decline in sales as the key reason for this move, but there are a few other factors that have hurt Guitar Hero’s sales success. Only a couple of years ago, the game pulled in over $2 billion dollars in sales, but has experienced a steady decline since then. The latest installment of the series, “World Tour” moved under 100,000 units. This seemingly was the final straw that pushed Activision to direct their financial and manpower resources in the direction of their much more profitable projects, including World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series. The Guitar Hero series demand quite simply depleted to lows that Activision viewed as financially irresponsible to continue to pursue.

The evolution of music gaming was, of course, another factor. The development of Rock Band for example, expanded the concept of interactive musical games from just one instrument, to multiple ones, allowing for a more diverse field of attention for their games.

Other factors include the rise in popularity of dance based games, such as those offered by X-Box 360 with the recent release of its Kinect technology. The trend of these games seems to be moving players away from music games involving any hand held technology, and allowing for more free-motion based experiences.

Along with Guitar Hero, Activision announced that the DJ Hero series will also be ending. While there is some speculation that for some period of time there would be new, downloadable game packs available with new songs for the Guitar Hero series, it is unlikely that this will last for long. Activision’s intent is to shut down all development for this series, and move on to more profitable projects. They have, however, stated that support would still be available for the defunct series to users who continue to play the Guitar Hero games. There is no timetable on the longevity of this support at this time.


Guitar Playing Tips

This article is a collection of tips for any guitar player, beginner to advanced that will help you learn and get the most out of your practice time.

Find a quiet place to practice all to yourself

You need a room or space all to yourself. This can be a bedroom, place by the computer or a full studio. Make sure you have all your equipment ready. You will need a music stand or another place to put your books, picks, music books, and tuner. Try to keep this area clean and free of clutter so you can concentrate on your music. If you live with other people tell them not to disturb you unless it is very important. The more distractions you have the less you will accomplish. Another tip is to turn off your cell phone or other electronic devices. Unless you need that phone for work, turn it off and get to work.

Warm up before you practice

You would be surprised how many guitar players do not warm-up before playing. You will need a good 15-30 minutes to fully warm-up before you begin any practice routine. By doing this you are fully stretching your muscles and tendons in your hands and avoiding injuries. Play scales and simple exercises before you move into any wide stretching or complicated moves. This is especially important when coming in from cold weather, Warm up your hands first before beginning. You can also wash your hands in warm to hot water this will get the blood moving and help to relax your hands. Take your time and you will find your playing is easier when you are fully warmed up.

Focus on your weak areas

If you keep practice the same songs, riffs, and scales over and over you will not improve much just get a little better or faster at what you already know. The trick is to challenge yourself with every practice session. You need to learn something new and apply it to your routine. This can be as simple as one new chord or a whole piece of music. Push yourself to the limit and see what you can do. This way of approaching practice will make you a better player and introduce new ideas into your daily practice. Buy a new book or explore the internet just keep improving and growing.

Maintain a positive outlook

One of the best things you can do doing practice is to stay positive. No matter how hard something seems you can overcome it. Even if this involves practice one piece a thousand times. You will be rewarded if you keep at it and don’t give up. Stay positive and replace all those negative feeling you may have about your own playing. Every player is unique and has something to say. Music comes from within.

Write and record everything

You need to write down or record everything you practice. If you come up with a riff or lick you like write it down or record yourself playing it. Do this with everything even scales. Record yourself playing the scale and listen to it. Make note of any mistakes and try to correct them. Keep a notebook of your ideas and refer to it often. Save your recordings as well for future reference.

I hope these tips help you with your playing. Good luck and keep jamming.

Benefits of Guitar Hero

Not Just a Game … but Exercise

Most people think that Guitar Hero is just another game for kids to play indoors that takes away from their daily activity. In reality, it is a great way to get your kids active. In addition to getting your kids a bit more active; it works out their forearm muscles, sometimes gets them up and jumping or dancing to the music, and it significantly helps improve hand-eye coordination. If you have never tried the game, you should. After the first day I played, my arm was actually twitching. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening. I knew it meant my muscles were fatigued, but I didn’t think guitar hero could cause it. Well, it was definitely the cause. Once again I spent a few hours in front of my TV with a guitar controller attached to me via a strap around my shoulder, and once again my arm was fatigued. I give all these kids who can sit there and play the game without stopping for hours on end credit.

I have always been one for active games and sports, and I still am. However, if you are going to be playing video games, it should be one that benefits you in some way. The main benefit of course is exercise for the 20 muscles in your forearm and exercise for your mind. You have to hit the correct colored button and strum at the exact time that the colored button appears at the right spot on the bottom of the screen. Sounds difficult, well it can be, especially as the levels increase and the songs get longer and more difficult. Imagine the exercise your hands and your mind are getting. It is almost like Dance Dance Revolution (although that is a bit more active because your jumping around). It requires you to do something at the moment you see it, which is exactly how your hand-eye coordination improves. There is another benefit that I almost forgot about, musical beats. Not everyone can keep a beat, and this game truly teaches you how to strum with the beat (when the color gets to the bottom of the screen). For kids, this is especially important because we try to teach kids about music at a young age because it is an important skill mentally. Of course, the more you play, the more you benefit physically and mentally. Overall though, it is quite a physical activity that benefits everyone who participates. I highly recommend that you give it a try, because guitar hero has a lot more benefits than you may think.

Tuning Your Guitar by Ear

Keeping Your Guitar in Tune

What do you do when you don’t have a tuner available ,and being able to play in tune is necessary? What are the ways you can tune without having a tuner? Basically, tune by ear! The easiest way to tune by ear you must first have a basic understanding of the strings. Standard tuning is eadgbE. Low to high. E being your thickest string and also known as the 6th string. You will also need to have a relatively good ear to differentiate the pitch. When playing your guitar in tune you will have a good understanding of how it should sound. So chances are if your guitar is sounding different at any point you should be able to recognize this difference immediately.

If you are a beginning guitar player this may seem a little awkward, but using this method is very simple. We are going to use the top E string or the 6th string as a basis of tuning the rest of our guitar. Using this method of tuning we are assuming that you have already managed to tune your top Estring with a pitch pipe or some other means. To use this method we will begin by holding down the E string being the very top string (6th string), on the fifth fret. Hit it, now pluck your A string or 5th string open. The two strings should relatively have the same tone. If not adjust the A string until they both reach the same. Once that is achieved, we are going to repeat the process.

Now place your finger on the A string same fret. We now are going to tune the Dstring to the A string. using the same technique by holding down your A string, hit it, then by hitting your d string. It too should also have the same tone. If it varies adjust your D string accordingly until it reaches the same level as your A. Now we are going to tune our our G string (no pun intended there) we will tune our G to the D string. Same process, we will place our finger onto the D string and hit it , and desire the same tone. Now once that is accomplished and you have reached the same tone as your D string we are going to tune our B string to the G string. Same process with a slight variation. In order to tune the B string to our G we will have to move our finger down to the 4th fret. Once accomplished, we now are going to tune our e string to our b string by moving back up to the 5th fret repeating the same process.Once this has been achieved, your guitar should now be in tune and ready to play!

What’s in a Guitar Lesson?

It’s a familiar story, kid wants to learn to play the guitar and parents say no they don’t have the money for lessons. At least that’s the way it was for me when I was growing up.

Hi, my name is Ken. I am the youngest of four and when my oldest sister wanted to play the guitar my parents bought her an electric guitar and amp. Well that lasted about two weeks, at that time I was too young to know much about playing music much less playing the guitar. I do remember the noise though. That guitar amp had several synthesizing buttons and a cool lever on it that did some kind of reverberation thing with the sound. My parents ended up having to sell it for a loss.

Next my other sister wanted to play in the school band and my parents bought her a clarinet. Boy was that some head knocking sound she was playing but I she persevered and did make the school band. And through Junior High School and High School she played in the band. I even think I saw a picture of her at my parent’s house in her uniform. Heady days to be sure.

Next my older brother wanted to join the school band and play the tuba. My memories of him with that tuba were any kid brothers dream. That thing seemed to rap itself all around him and made him look like some kind of space alien. I couldn’t help it but I had to make fun of him. After all what are little brothers for anyway? Needless to say His tuba playing lasted about two weeks and again my parents had to sell the thing for a loss.

Now it was my turn. I wanted to play the guitar. But I wanted to play the acoustic guitar not the electric guitar. Know what my parents said? You got it. “We aren’t going to pay for another musical instrument and lessons just so we can sell it later at a loss. So I was shot down. My dream of being another singing star was crushed unceremoniously. But I didn’t give up. I got a summer job and bought myself a classical guitar and a chord sheet and started to learn each chord one at a time.

My fingers just didn’t want to go in those positions on the guitar frets like I wanted them to. I thought I would never get that chord change down. I also found that my rhythm wasn’t what it should be. But that didn’t stop me. I eventually learned to play a few songs that were popular at that time. A few friends thought that was cool which made me cool. But you know I never really mastered playing guitar the way I had envisioned it.

Now I believe that if I had been given those guitar lessons I may very well have been a classical Guitar playing great. OK maybe just a very, very good Guitar player. I really only wanted to play the Guitar to impress my friends. If I would of had a good Guitar course when I bought my first Guitar I would have gone a whole different place with my playing.

You know what? I don’t think I’ll leave this childhood dream left unfulfilled. I’m going to go and string up my old classical and start strumming again.