Fig. A: Connect your Guitar Hero axe to your computer.
1) Guitar Hero controller. 2) A little finger-fret skill is
necessary to truly rock. 3) Controller-to-USB adapter,
if needed. 4) Optional external sound card.
5) Laptop or desktop computer. Figs. B and C: Test
your controller. Fig. D: Chord fingerings in Fretbuzz
this is new terrain. I chose to apply 1 dimension of
tilt to a band-pass filter, which produces a wah-pedal effect. It’s good for performing solos — just
ask Jimi Hendrix. What to do about the second
dimension? I’ve tried a few different things, but
Start and select buttons Use these buttons in I’m still exploring.
conjunction with the fret buttons to choose different
sound modes, adjust output volume, and perform 4. Try out the solo modes.
key changes on the fly. In addition to the fret combination approach for
chords (Figure D), I designed 3 different solo modes
Whammy bar On a real electric guitar, the whammy that employ the fret buttons and strum bar in dif-bar reduces string tension, lowering the frequencies ferent ways. Imagine assigning each fret button to
of the notes being played. So I thought to do the a relative change in pitch rather than an absolute
same with Fretbuzz. However, not all methods of pitch (see Figure E). In the basic solo mode, you can
sound synthesis allow for pitch changes on the fly, ascend a scale 1 note at a time by simply holding
so the effect is available only for certain sounds. the blue fret button and flipping the strum bar. Or
descend the scale by thirds by holding green.
By alternating between ascending and descending within a key, while flipping that strum bar as
fast as you can, you can produce some scorching
Any Eddie Van Halen fans out there? This guy is
a two-hand-tapping master, and Fretbuzz definitely
Illustration by Julian Honoré/ p4rse.com
the up-strum plays a note 4 steps higher, which
makes it easy to play bass lines that alternate
between a note and its relative fifth, common in
some styles of music.
Tilt sensor This is where the controller gets
interesting! The tilt sensor in the newer controllers
is a high-quality accelerometer that detects the
orientation of the guitar in 2 dimensions.
What in the world should this do, musically?
There’s no such tilt detector in a real guitar, so
58 Make: Volume 15