July 1, 2011

Fender Squier Pro Guitar Tips

Although it is a bummer that the Rock Band 3 Fender Squier won’t be produced any more, there are still plenty of them to be had through Best Buy.

Squier® – Rock Band 3 Game Guitar – Black


In fact, I own two of ’em!

If you are truly interested in playing a real guitar in Rock Band 3 and haven’t bitten on this deal yet, you should before they run out of stock, because once they’re gone — they’re gone forever. Don’t worry, the guitar will be supported indefinitely in RB3 and future pro guitar DLC, and presumably Fender will honor any warranties on them, so it’s safe.

It’s a blast playing Pro Guitar mode with a real guitar. But don’t take my word for it — listen to this guy. Please!

Of course, the MIDI interface specific to your platform is required to use the guitar in Rock Band 3:

These Midi adapters may be platform specific, but they aren’t instrument specific; you can also use them to hook up Midi drumsets and Midi keyboards for play as well.

On Wii and PS3, the built-in controller buttons on the guitar also function, but not on Xbox (due to controller licensing restrictions). Fortunately, the Midi adapter can be cleverly mounted on the guitar itself so you don’t have to go digging around on the floor for it to push the green button. Flip the little plastic adapter on the back around, and it hooks into the strap peg for the guitar, like so:

Based on my experience, in addition to the guitar and the midi adapter, you might want a few other things to maximize the guitarpocalypse.

Since the Midi adapter and the Midi port are so close together now, it’s best to use a 1 foot Midi cable to connect them; the default Midi cable included with the guitar is far too long. A real guitar is heavy and wired enough without 6+ feet of unnecessarily long looped Midi cable hanging off your guitar as you play … or should I say try to play.

The pro guitar tutorials do a fantastic job of easing you into being a totally awful beginning guitar player. One word of warning: you will get blisters on your fingers. You’re pressing those tender digits against unforgiving steel braided wires, and something has to give. There’s a reason Ringo mentioned this, and boy, will you ever know why.

As far as strumming goes, I recommend playing with a pick. Some folks like using their fingers, but I found I had better accuracy with a pick. The guitar comes with 2 starter picks so you can decide for yourself. There are also some nifty aftermarket picks available on Amazon. They come in thin, medium, and heavy — and a variety of colors, including this beautiful celluloid abalone.

Also, there is some hidden adjustability in the guitar; remember this is a fundamentally analog instrument pulling some clever tricks to appear digital, so calibration might be necessary. Both of mine worked fine out of the box, as far as I can tell, but for completeness, here’s how to adjust:

In the battery box, there are two very small phillips head screws. Unscrewing will give you access to 6 gold on blue sensitivity potentiometers. Turn them counterclockwise to increase the sensitivity and clockwise to decrease. This means if you feel like the top string is not being picked up, “loosen” the potentiometer (and if you feel the bottom strings keep ringing, “tighten”).

You can also use a screwdriver to adjust the bridge height; bringing the pickup closer to the string can improve responsiveness if you are having issues.

Once you get your feet (er… fingers) wet (er… with blood), you should be itching to hear what your horrible guitar skillz will sound like when properly amplified. While playing in Rock Band 3, you must use the mute for detection accuracy, but there’s no reason you can’t unmute and take those same awful, hideous, terrible guitar licks and pipe them through an amp.

Since my amp probably won’t get a ton of use — I am planning on sucking at guitar beyond all human comprehension for the forseeable future — I did some research on small or mini amps and came up with the Roland Micro Cube Guitar Amplifier. I like it a lot!

Nicely compact, has a lot of neat amp simulation modes and a handful of effects, and can also optionally run on batteries — but the power adapter is, thankfully, included. It’s also available in red or black. You’ll need a standard 1/4″ instrument cable to hook your guitar up to the amp, too. I wouldn’t go fancy here, so anything in the appropriate length will do.

If you decide to go the real guitar route in Rock Band 3, your neighbors are totally going to hate you, man. Oh, and if you’d like some great starter guitar lessons to go with the in-game pro mode training, give justinguitar.com a shot.

I love my Squier, but you can’t really force learning how to play the guitar.

Plus its not really encouraging if some parts of the Medium tutorial take like over an hour to nail…
But practice makes perfect, so I’ll have to bite through the pain in my fingers and move on to some real chords!

Ivo Flipse
July 2, 2011 at 12:54 am

Liked this article as it made me break out the Squire again to get some finger pain going. Callousing my fingers is a part of it but they say no pain no gain after all. Still amazing what a great bit of kit it is, and a shame that they are now discontinued, but that means if you do own one you do indeed ROCK.

July 13, 2011 at 1:00 am

Interesting read, I would like to try it once just to see how bad I suck. Pherhaps if I masterd the guitar first I would actually play this, must be a godo way to learn songs.

August 21, 2011 at 7:42 am

Hi , I have the squire guitar and Mad catz controller which has never worked particularly well. I managed to get it to pick up by adjusting the pick up height but it still wasent great. I tried to adjust the string height and pick up again and now it doesent work at all with an sos from the controller. Will adjusting the pots improve things do you think? Any advise would be much appreciated as I cant find a repair dealer anywhere? Ta

November 12, 2013 at 5:19 am

Any info on the potentiometers at the battery compartment?
They seem to be endless as far as rotating cloc/counter-wise.
Is that right? So how does one determin the potentiometer setting, perhaps by measuring? And what basic settings should one start with? And how many turns?
… Or, some practical way of setting them?

March 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm

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