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Can You Learn to Play the Guitar with Guitar Hero or Rock Band?

 

Don't Be This Guy

Don’t Be This Guy

Can I learn to play the guitar by playing Rock Band or Guitar Hero?

No.

Ok.

No.

However…

…playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band probably won’t hurt – and may actually help a little.

We’ll look at this from a few angles.

Will Guitar Hero or Rock Band Teach Me How To Play The Guitar?

No.  But it will help develop your “strumming” or rhythm.  Moving your hand that does the strumming or picking (right hand for right-handed guitarists, vice versa for left-handers), is a skill in itself.  It’s difficult to develop a sense of rhythm and timing when you’re struggling to fret the right notes and chords.  It’s tough to do those two things by themselves, much less in sync.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band can help in this way.  It helps with the coordination of the two hands – and it helps develop a sense of rhythm within whatever hand you use to strum.

But that’s where the “teaching” and “learning” ends.

Well… Will Guitar Hero Help Me To Learn Certain Songs?

Most definitely.  But…

It won’t help you to learn the songs on the guitar.  It will help you understand and retain certain parts of the song.  If you’re playing the opening lick to “Iron Man”, guitar-based video games will help you learn how the riff sounds (of course so could just listening to the song on the radio).  However, playing this lick for speed and accuracy will help develop muscle memory that MIGHT be applicable to the actual instrument.  Might.

But if you’re an ace at Guitar Hero’s “Iron Man” and I hand you an electric guitar and say “Play that opening riff” – no, unless you’re a guitar player already – you won’t be able to do it.  Sorry.

Do You Recommend Playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band?

Oh yes.

Personally – I totally dig Guitar Hero and Rock Band.  When Guitar Hero first came out – I bought it and loved it.   I had already been playing the guitar for years when the video games came out – and I think that having already played guitar made me better at the video game.  So maybe… the question should be: Will playing the guitar help me get better at Guitar Hero?  Answer:  I think so.

But maybe more important than becoming a video game god – the video games can help develop and cultivate an interest in the instrument.  It’s fun, it’s different, and it may help a little.  I say go for it.  But certainly don’t replace it with your regularly scheduled practice.

Conclusion:

So will Guitar Hero and Rock Band teach you how to play the guitar?  No.  (Now drums on the other hand…)
So what do you think?  Agree/Disagree?  Comment below and let me know.

2 comments… add one
  • rylan donaugh November 14, 2013, 3:06 pm

    good job i somewhat agree with you i being a guitar player i think people with be able to hit some of the notes and get a feel for the song the notes and the rythem

    • jposko November 14, 2013, 3:12 pm

      Hey Rylan,
      Good point – you’re right, it’s definitely not a substitute for the real thing.

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