Let me say first that obviously this is not a casual purchase. However, as a gamer who went out and bought not only the Ion rock drum kit but also the conversion module so I could play it with both my PS3 and 360 systems I will generally spend the money for an upgrade if it is warranted. I definitely believe high quality is worth it for a game you play for hours and hours a day. So the question is, is this solid wood game guitar worth the price?
A real Fender Standard Stratocaster (made in Mexico) goes for about $500, the US version is $1000. This one, made in China, is cheaper than both of those, and substitutes Rock Band innards for standard guitar innards. The rest of the guitar is impressively the same. It's solid wood, except the plastic fretboard. The finish is gorgeous. The whammy bar "hangs down" like on a real guitar. Your knobs turn, rather than push in, for start and back.
I admit that in the "real" music world I don't play heavy electric guitars - the only guitar I play is a light acoustic guitar. So my shoulders aren't used to this kind of weight pulling down on them. It only takes me an hour or so of Rock Banding before I have to put this Fender down and switch to one of my other guitars. The pain gets to me. My boyfriend calls me a wuss - his main regular guitar (stringed) weighs 13 pounds. This is a mere 7 pounds. Still, I think many Rock Band players will run into this same issue with the weight.
On the up side, if you have a desire to play real guitars, this can be great training for you. Build up that shoulder strength while you game!
The buttons are spaced a little differently than on our other Rock Band guitars. Let's see if I can explain this. The distance between the five buttons by the headstock is the same on the various guitars we own. So moving from green to red and so on is the same. However, the neck itself is much longer on this Fender version. It's sized like a real guitar. So if you use the lower set of buttons, then moving your hand from that upper button set to the lower button set is a much longer reach.
Also, the strum bar is rather stiff and clicky. So your Fender guitar playing has a lot of clicking noises in it.
Again, because I don't play "real" electric guitar, I found the dangling whammy bar to be a pain. I am used to it sticking right near my fingers. However, instruction from my boyfriend taught me the catch-in-the-crook-of-your-little-finger technique. I am slowly learning.
This certainly plays better than the super cheap guitars out there! However, it seems to play just as well as some of our other more high priced guitars in terms of finger responsiveness - both on the buttons and on the strum bar (once you get used to the stiffness). The wood would seem to be a reliable setup - but I'm not sure that's a distinctive benefit. I've had some of these other guitars for quite a while - and we hammer on them fairly frequently. I haven't had any problems with them either.
So I won't give this a five star rating. Unlike the Ion Drums, you aren't getting a "maximum benefit" from buying the Fender guitar. With the Ion drums, they are head and shoulders better than playing anything else. With this guitar, it's as good as many other much cheaper guitars in terms of performance.
Still, Fender definitely gets high kudos for the quality and beauty of the instrument. You are building up arm / shoulder strength using this - which is useful in using real instruments. Also, you're holding your arms in a much more natural position for real guitar playing, since the size is proper.
So in the end if having high quality, beautiful instruments is important to you, then I would say that splurging on this guitar will bring you a lot of satisfaction. It really is a work of art. However, in terms of ultimate gameplay, the instrument does not bring anything new - and some might feel it slightly impairs gameplay compared with other good quality Rock Band guitars.
Feel free to write with any questions, we have numerous guitars in the house (game guitars and real guitars) so we can be pretty fluent in our answers.
Buy the Xbox 360 Rock Band Fender Stratocaster from Amazon.com