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Guitar Hero Crossover

Since Guitar Hero video games first hit the market, music retailers and suppliers have tried to bridge the gap between the game’s five-button controller and real guitar playing.

Inspired Instruments may have found a solution. The company will debut its all-digital You Rock Guitar at E3, the Entertainment Software Association’s annual convention, held June 15–17 in Los Angeles.

The You Rock Guitar is equipped with actual strings and a touch-sensitive fretboard. The digital unit can be plugged into an external amplifier and used as a real playing instrument for beginners. It can connect to headphones for silent practice or plug into an iPod, MP3 player, cell phone or stereo receiver. Its USB connection offers computer interfacing, as well.

Inspired Instruments has also developed the Gameflex plug-in for the You Rock Guitar. This cartridge plugs into the guitar body and enables it to connect remotely to video game consoles, including Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 2 and 3, and Microsoft Xbox This is a key feature for gamers who’ve had to buy a new guitar controller every time a new game or system is released.

“The bridge between video games and real music performance has been elusive and somewhat of a holy grail for the millions of Guitar Hero and Rock Band players who want to step out of the box and onto a real stage,” said Kevin Kent, CEO of Inspired Instruments. “It must be fun from chord one. Never having to tune the guitar is essential to converting gamers to real music.”

The suggested retail price for the You Rock Guitar is $179.99, and the Gameflex plug-in will run for an additional $19.99–$24.99. The products will begin shipping nationwide this summer. MI