I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was 12 years old. Five months later, I was playing with a band in front of a crowd of people at a coffee shop, and I had never been happier than I was right then and there. Since then, music has been one of the most important things in my life — it’s how I express myself and how I feel most alive. A few years ago, the Guitar Hero video game franchise came back into popular culture with its series of games that allow gamers to play along to their favorite songs using an electric guitar controller modeled after real guitars. After getting Guitar Hero PS4 as a gift recently, I immediately started thinking about all the tips and tricks that would make me good at this like playing real guitar does for me. Without further ado, here are some ideas on how to be awesome at Guitar Hero!
Know your equipment
The first step in mastering Guitar Hero is knowing your equipment. You’ll want to be fully familiar with the layout of your guitar controller, especially if you’re using an older model. The new series of controllers have a different shape and feel than their predecessors, so while they’re easier to use, they may not be intuitive for someone who’s been playing on older models for years. If you’re using a newer model, great! Make sure that all of the buttons are working properly and that there aren’t any loose pieces or wires hanging around inside the guitar itself.
Now that we’ve covered safety precautions, let’s talk about how to effectively play the game itself:
Practice makes perfect
If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “practice makes perfect” is sweat, gritted teeth and a familiar song on repeat in your head, then you’re probably not practicing correctly.
Practicing is more than just repeating something over and over until it sticks. In fact, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Montreal, if you practice with too much focus on learning new material (aka “consciously”), it can actually hurt your ability to learn.
Instead of concentrating on memorizing everything down to the last fret or chord change, try focusing on learning how to play each section of Guitar Hero’s songs: start by playing through an entire verse without stopping; then do another; then do another; and so forth until you’ve mastered one entire part of a song without needing any help from the game’s prompts or other players (it’s also helpful if you have someone else around who knows how to play so they can give them tips). By focusing on learning only small bits at a time using this method—and making sure that every note is played correctly—you’ll be able pick up new songs much more quickly than if instead spent all day trying unsuccessfully simply play through one whole song without missing any notes
Figure out as much of the song as possible before you begin.
Before you start a song, you should know as much about it as possible. You can do this by listening to the actual song, or playing the track on another instrument (such as piano).
If you haven’t done either of those things, there’s still hope! The game will give you some clues about what comes next in the song. For instance, if there is a drum fill coming up soon, one of your bandmates might warn “Drum fill!”. When they say this, pay attention and listen closely! If you don’t hear them say “Drum fill!”, don’t worry too much—you’ll sound great no matter what happens!
Warm up and stretch.
In the past, I never really warmed up or stretched before playing Guitar Hero. This is something that I’ve been doing lately, and it’s made a huge difference in my performance!
Warming up and stretching should be done after you finish playing your favorite song(s). There are several stretches that you can do to loosen up your muscles. Here are some great ones:
- Reach for the sky with both hands and hold for 8 seconds (this stretch is also good for chest muscles)
- Stretch one arm over head, then reach for other hand with opposite arm (repeat on other side)
Break it down.
When you are ready to learn the whole song, break it down into smaller sections.
Practice the sections separately and then put them together. Do this until you can play the entire song with no mistakes at all. If you still have trouble, go back to checking your accuracy for each section individually before putting them together again.
Once you feel comfortable with your playing in general, try playing each section in order (1 through 6 for example), then reverse it (6 through 1), but don’t worry about memorizing it completely yet: just get used to how it feels when you play that part of the song as well as possible while keeping an eye on what comes next so that when something doesn’t sound right or goes off key or whatever happens next time around when someone else starts playing along with their own instrument(s) instead of using just an audio track like they did during lessons…well…you’ll know exactly where they went wrong too!
Get into a routine for practice
To get started, you should set aside 30 minutes every day to practice. It’s okay to be flexible with your schedule. If one day you only have 20 minutes available and the next day you have 45, that’s fine! Just make sure that over time, you’re getting in more than an hour a week.
But it’s important to keep in mind that not all practice is created equal—and neither are all days of the week and months of the year. Here are some tips for setting up your schedule:
- Practice every single day, even if for just 10 minutes at a time (I know this can be hard when life gets busy). If someone tells you they don’t need practice because they’ve been playing since they were a kid or because they were naturally gifted at something else (such as drawing or math), remind them that there was no such thing as “naturally gifted” back in their childhoods either; they had to work hard at those things too!
Practice with friends.
Practice with friends. While the game’s unique level creator gives you a lot of freedom to create your own songs and playlists, there’s nothing like playing an actual song with someone else. You can learn from each other what works and what doesn’t, and help each other get better faster in the process. You’ll also have fun together, which is important!
The only rule here is to be nice; don’t try to show off or make things harder than they need to be for others who may not be at your level yet. The whole point here is learning together (and having fun), so don’t let it get competitive if someone wants more help than you’re willing or able to give at that particular moment in time—just smile big and tell them how great their performance was!
Being prepared is the key to success in any game or sport.
Being prepared is the key to success in any game or sport. If you go into a game unprepared, chances are you’ll lose and feel stupid. You can avoid all of that by preparing yourself with the right attitude, practice, and equipment before heading into the arena.
Well, I hope this article has been helpful. Happy shredding!