November 2, 2008

Ultra Premium Fake Plastic Guitars

I just learned that Logitech is entering the ultra premium fake plastic guitar market (read: $250 and up) with their Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller Premiere Edition. Right now it is PS2 / PS3 only, unfortunately.

logitech-premium-guitar-front

logitech-premium-guitar-back

logitech-premium-guitar-neck

logitech-premium-guitar-head1

I’ve been skeptical of previous entries in the ultra premium guitar category, but this one (minus Xbox 360 compatibility, which has been hinted at in the comments of their blog entry about this guitar) might actually be the first one I’d consider buying. Some features:

  • Full size guitar replica
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Metal: frets, whammy, tuning pegs
  • Quality buttons and strum mechanism (hopefully)
  • Includes new Guitar Hero: World Tour touchpad
  • Wireless (I’m looking at you, Mad Catz Precision Bass)

I trust Logitech to make high quality peripherals, so I have high hopes the strum and buttons will be on par with the truly excellent Guitar Hero: World Tour guitar. I’ve always felt that all the other ultra-premium guitars may have looked cooler than the official first party guitars, but in terms of actual feel and quality control, they were inferior. What’s the point of a fancy $80 to $300 controller if you can’t actually perform as well as the $60 default controller in the game?

Of course, as with any $249 peripheral, best to wait for some initial reviews when the Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller Premiere Edition is actually released in December. I am cautiously optimistic on this one.

While it’s not quite as high spec as Logitech’s entry, the $80 Gene Simmons Axe Guitar makes up for that in sheer badassery.

gene-simmons-axe-guitar

Sadly, it too is PS2/PS3 only. And given the no-name manufacturer, probably won’t be as good as the first party controllers. But just look at it! It’s the fabled axe guitar, as originally won when you finally managed to complete Guitar Hero 1 on Expert — man, I was stuck on Bark at the Moon on Expert for weeks. Whoever put that super hard solo right at the end is just cruel. I guess we can blame Randy Rhoads for that.

guitar-hero-battle-axe-award

And for comparison purposes, here’s the actual Axe Bass that Gene Simmons plays.

gene-simmons-axe-bass-real

Maybe I missed something in the description, but how is this work $70 more than a Starpex? Granted I haven’t had the opportunity to try the new GH touchpad, but I don’t see anything else significantly different. I’ll still probably give it a shot though.

Woodshed
November 4, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Hmm, I hadn’t heard of the starpex!

http://gizmodo.com/5025918/starpex-full+size-wooden-guitar-for-the-ps2-and-ps3

Personally, I’d say that the Logitech guitar LOOKS about 3x more professional than the starpex!

Jeff Atwood
November 4, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Dude this post is awesome. I wrote one just like it a week or so ago, you should check it out.

I dont know how I found it but i totally RSS you ;) lata

Luke
November 5, 2008 at 12:07 am

oh btw if you wanted to check it out, http://www.geekfortress.com is the site. http://geekfortress.com/?p=39 is the post

Luke
November 5, 2008 at 12:09 am

Not to be an over corrective jerk, but you would have to blame Jake E. Lee, not Randy Rhodes.

~J

Jason
November 5, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I don’t know man. The Starpex looks pretty good when getting smashed by the November 2008 Playmate of the Month =)

SFW: http://www.playboy.com/playmates/features/school-of-rock/index.html

Woodshed
November 5, 2008 at 10:20 pm

It looks pretty good- the style, model & color. And I don’t know the rest.

Guitarinstructor
November 19, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Also, MatCatz has some wooden Fender replica guitars that apparently won’t ship this year:

http://xbox360.ign.com/dor/objects/14257567/rock-band-2-game-only-/videos/rb2madcatz03_091808.html

Both Bass and Guitar models. These are a bit more RB centric, as they have the effects switch and not the touchpad of the Logitech model above.

Jeff Atwood
November 30, 2008 at 3:14 am

Peak Starpex (PS2/PS3) on sale at big lots for $60 (!!)

http://www.shopbiglots.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3551586&page=4&sort=price-desc&cp=3314980

Jeff Atwood
June 15, 2009 at 1:11 am

Not much discussion here the last year. Thought I’d add a couple of observations. I’ve purchased both the MadCatz Wooden Fender replica (in Metallic Cherry), and the Logitech (only available in Orange) for the 360. I’ve had about 6 weeks with the logitech, and 2 more weeks on the MadCatz.

Both of these pieces are stunning in person and each plays very differently. The MadCatz is truly a full-size Fender, and weighs nearly 7 pounds. The logitech is heavy as well, but not as heavy or as long as the MadCatz. Strum bars are very differnent on each model: the logitech is silent and long; the Madcatz has a firm, quiet “click”. Same goes for the fret buttons. The Madcatz buttons are smooth, easily engage at any place on the button, and always register, even with slight pressure. The logitech buttons aren’t as easy to engage, and from side angles, I found myself pressing the button (with the side of my finger during slides for example), and occasionaly the button didn’t register. This got a bit annoying actually. On this basis, I found myself preferring the MadCatz unit.

The real test is how do these models play? For background, I’m a good buy not great RB guitarist. I can finish all songs on hard, and about 80% of them on expert at present. I’ve gold-starred a few easy songs, and some passages are just tough. As an experiment, I took a passage that’s always been hard for me – the solo section in Molly Hatchet’s Flirting with Disaster. I’ve never completed this before without overdrive.

On my stock GH3 controller, I just struggled with this section. On the logitech, I found I could make it through the solo, but just barely with use of overdrive. I felt like either my strums or button hit just weren’t all registering.

Finally, I’ve tried this on the Madcatz. The difference is night and day. I easily cleared the solo and the song without overdrive. 5 stars on expert, a new record for me. I found the fast fretwork was just so much easier, I could get the rhythm in my hammerons very easily on these buttons. Further, the “click” strum bar seemed more precise in the many fast sections from this and other songs.

All-in-all, my preference is pretty strongly for the Madcatz Wooden Strat. It feels great, is heavy, and long. My scores have noticeably improved with this over the Logitech unit I had been using. Prior to the Madcatz, the Logitech was my favorite, but having played the Madcatz, the few shortcoming in the Logitech (slightly imprecise strum bar; mushy buttons which lack hard engagement as some funny angles) become more apparent.

I found the Madcatz online for $200, and the Logitech at buy.com for $99 including free shipping! This later price is a killer deal, well worth the investment. Either of these are dramatic improvements over the plastic units, IMHO.

YMMV,

J

Jose
March 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm

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