June 15, 2009

MadCatz Premium Guitars

Remember the Mad Catz Precision Bass?

Well, its wireless (and significantly improved) cousin has arrived in three different colors for $89.99. The first one had some definite issues (most troubling were reports of poor strumbar accuracy), so perhaps this second iteration will be the one that’s worth getting.

mad-catz-wireless-precision-bass

Based upon the critically acclaimed Mad Catz Fender Precision Bass, the all-new model arrives on Xbox 360 as Mad Catz’s first licensed wireless accessory for the Xbox 360. Connecting directly to the console without a need for a USB dongle, the internal technology is the same as that used in Microsoft® controllers. The new model features a host of new innovations designed to further enhance game play. The premium Fret Buttons have been redesigned to allow for quieter operation and now feature a quick recoil action for faster game play. The Mad Catz Split Strum Bar has been further refined to replicate both the up and down fret bar movements, essentially allowing for faster strumming than ever before. As before, both the Fret Buttons and updated Split Strum Bar have been stress tested and playtested to ensure that it is possible to achieve 100% in ’Expert Mode’ should the player’s abilities be up to the challenge! With a choice of White, ’Hot Rod Red’ and ’Sea Foam Green’ colors, gamers can now choose a Bass to match their style. .

Mad Catz is also, like Logitech, getting into the ultra premium wooden guitar replica business. At $299, their stratocaster replica ain’t cheap, but I must admit the metallic candy apple red version (not pictured) is mighty tempting.

mad-catz-premium-fender-guitar

A precise wooden replica of the legendary Fender Stratocaster and a world first on Xbox 360, the Wireless Wooden Fender Stratocaster Guitar controller from Mad Catz brings gamers closer to the authentic guitar experience. Produced in conjunction with Fender, the replica Stratocaster is fashioned from the same premium wood and fittings used in the genuine guitar and is manufactured at the Fender factory to ensure identical sizing, authentic design and premium finish. Finished in a choice of ‘Three-Tone Sunburst’ or Metallic ‘Candy Apple Red’ designs, the Replica Stratocaster features stunning looks and will become a must-have for any true Rock Band connoisseur. Connecting directly to the console without a need for a USB dongle, the internal technology is the same as that used in Microsoft® controllers. The replica Stratocaster sports the same hardware as a real Stratocaster, including real tuning keys, bridge, tremolo, dials and ¼ inch amp jack. Playtested and compatible with Rock Band and Rock Band 2 as well as other rhythm and music titles, the Wireless Wooden Fender Stratocaster Replica Guitar will be highly sought after by fans and collectors alike.

Update: got $299 burning a hole in your pocket? This guitar is now available for sale.

Getting out of the ultra-premium price realm and back to something resembling reality, they will also introduce $99 premium woodenplastic Telecasters. These look remarkably nice for the price — and are also wireless.

mad-catz-premium-telecaster-guitar-1

mad-catz-premium-telecaster-guitar-2

A startling replica of the iconic Fender Telecaster, the Player’s Edition guitar delivers the must-have look and cutting edge technology for every style conscious Rock Band enthusiast. Connecting directly to the console without a need for a USB dongle, the internal technology is the same as that used in Microsoft controllers. Sporting a stunning road-worn ,distressed finish and strap, and available in either ’Sunburst’ or ’Butterscotch’ designs, the Telecaster Player’s Edition features premium ultra fast action Fret Buttons allowing gamers to play at expert speeds with ease. Overdrive activation has been simplified and can now be accessed by using the unique ’Touch Sense Button’ which effortlessly responds to the players touch and removes the need to tilt the guitar. The Mad Catz new premium Strum Bar allows gamers to shred notes like never before while the all-new Bigsby® Whammy Plate allows gamers to bend notes in style!

It’s not commonly known, but all Rock Band Stratocaster guitars have a port for pedal-based overdrive activation. Just check the side of your strat; it’s there. It even works with spare Rock Band drum kick pedals, if you add an extension cord! I’ve heard rumors that you can use a regular guitar sustain pedal with adapter, as well. But if you want an off-the-shelf, authentic looking solution, Mad Catz has you covered with their Electro-Harmonix Overdrive Pedal for $29.99.

mad-catz-overdrive-pedal

Designed exclusively for Rock Band 2, the Electro-Harmonix Overdrive Pedal quickly connects to the Rock Band 2 official guitar, the Mad Catz Wireless Wooden Fender Stratocaster Replica or the Mad Catz Wireless Fender Precision Bass Guitar via a 10’ cable. It allows gamers to simply push the pedal’s soft Activation Switch to enter Overdrive during game play, removing the need to tilt the guitar and potentially miss notes or lose focus. Realistically styled, the Overdrive Pedal is fashioned from tough durable metal and provides an authentic way to rock out like the pros!

All this stuff is supposed to become available sometime in September, around the release of The Beatles: Rock Band.

I have mixed feelings about premium and ultra-premium fake plastic guitars.

For one thing, they’re expensive, obviously. But here’s the real problem: if they’re different enough from the default controllers, there’s a risk that you might get used to “your” guitar and have problems playing on standard setups.

Personally, I think you might be better off buying the regular fake plastic guitars (the still-excellent GH3 Les Paul is dirt cheap these days) and learning to mod them a bit for superior performance; scroll to the bottom of this post for my key fake plastic guitar mod recommendations.

apparently the only place the bass and overdrive pedal are on sale currently, is the gameshark store:

http://store.gameshark.com/RockBand

Jeff Atwood
June 15, 2009 at 1:09 am

I hate to say it, but that $99 “Premium” looks like it might have a buyer.

Bullseye
June 15, 2009 at 6:30 am

Hmm, the strum bar wasn’t where I had issues with the wired Mad Catz Bass, aside from the clicking it makes which I’ve never been a fan of. It’s always been the tilt censor that’s given the grief, as the bass was prone to setting off Overdrive while you weren’t actually moving. Fortunately for me, I’m on guitar in our band and often manage to infuriate the bassist by setting off his Overdrive merely by talking about it. I eventually cured it by tilting the sensor inside the bass. Wireless would be quite nice though.

The wooden guitars do look quite nice though. I’m not so concerned about any issues that may arise in getting used to it, as I got one of those Ion drum kits. My problem would be that if I got one of those guitars, I’d want a bass of similar quality and that’d really start to add up.

Oh, and the thing with the pedal. Is this jack on just the wireless guitars? I’ve noticed another socket where the USB cable goes on the wired guitars. The only port I can see is the headset one. Or have I just missed something really obvious?

Toothball
June 16, 2009 at 5:03 am

See the fret buttons: what about lefty players?

Yukka
July 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm

@bullseye- that 99$ guitar looks very nice for the price, I might consider picking one up, but if it has the same “feel” as the rb and rb2 strats no deal, I have always been a fan of the gh controller the buttons give off the very satisfying tap, and the strum bar makes a clacking noise that assures me that I hit the strum bar, but the strats are very mushy and I am not a fan of that. Overall I just like the guitar hero controllers better.

zzxxima
July 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm

zzxxima, well, then I recommend the 2nd gen Logitech models.

http://www.fakeplasticrock.com/2009/07/20/new-logitech-ultra-premium-guitars/

(I too prefer the GH style of buttons and strum..)

Jeff Atwood
August 7, 2009 at 10:53 am

Jeff, I do not believe the Telecasters are wood. See the pics in this thread:
http://docsrockbandmods.netforums.us/2-vt2277.html?start=15
or just view them at Amazon (pre-order is now available).

Jumpman
August 20, 2009 at 8:56 am

Interesting — I see them on Amazon now and I think you’re right!

I’ll update the post. Still ZERO news on the real ultra-premium guitar from Mad Catz, in terms of release date. I even emailed their PR folks a while back and they don’t know either.

Jeff Atwood
August 20, 2009 at 10:53 am

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