You Rock Guitar review

Full review: Rock Band and Guitar Hero controller that teaches you to play guitar

Image 1 of 4 You Rock Guitar with iPod
You Rock Guitar with iPod
Image 2 of 4 You Rock Guitar control panel
You Rock Guitar control panel
Image 3 of 4 You Rock Guitar being played
You Rock Guitar being played
Image 4 of 4 You Rock Guitar
You Rock Guitar

Hybrid guitar takes gaming control to the next level, while teaching you the real thing

In the last decade game controllers have appeared in all shapes and sizes. A major catalyst for this is without doubt the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises. The You Rock Guitar aims to take this to the next level by incorporating a game controller into a real instrument.

The result is an incredibly fun device that really does give you that extra feeling of authenticity as you strum real strings with a real plectrum using real frets. Daunting at first it's surprisingly easy to get used to, even for non guitarists. Rubber coated strings and two colour coded fret sections make it comfortable to use for all ages.

You Rock Guitar: Learning Device

In 'You Rock' mode the You Rock Guitar allows players to migrate from simple game control to playing real guitar. Jam along with one of the numerous backing tracks, and you wont miss a note thanks to the You Rock's assistance. By only sounding notes and chords that are in key with the backing track and muting the duff ones - just like in a game – You Rock mode means you play a faultless performance everytime.

The backing tracks are built using some of the more common notes and progressions in rock music. With the You Rock mode on you can experiment and learn which notes work (and therefore which don't) simply by playing along. As a learner this is a fun way to get the hang of things, and avoids those frustrating days when you simply just can't play.

You Rock Guitar: Digital Guitar

Not just a toy for gaming or learning, the You Rock is a digital guitar in its own right. The plastic neck and lightweight body prevent it from feeling anything like the real thing, also the rubber covered neck might protect your fingers, but can make note finding a little less intuitive. Purists might also take some getting used to more subtle controls like muting strings which is much harder with this device.

This is of course a consumer device and not aimed at replacing your trusty guitar just yet. It plays well enough and it's great for picking up, putting on some headphones and experimenting with some ideas. The preset sounds allow you to play in a number of styles – acoustic, country, punk and so on.

Connect via USB to use the guitar as a MIDI controller – a task it actually excels at – and you can use your skills to control synthesizers, drum machines and more. It also works with software like GarageBand Reason, Logic and Cubase.

At £200, plus £27 for the cartridge the You Rock Guitar is expensive if you’re using it soley as a gaming controller, but calling it a controller is selling it short. It offers far more than that; it’s an innovative learning aid for budding guitarists and anyone who creates digital music and a great example of how technology can be used to help develop skills.

The You Rock Guitar is out now, find out more from You Rock Guitar

You Rock Guitar Specifications:

  • 99 presets
  • 50 synch sounds
  • 25 jam tracks
  • 50 open tunes
  • Storage: 128Mb
  • Connections:Headphone out, 1/4 inch mono out, stereo in, midi out, USB
  • Weight: 2,27kg