Use Your Own Guitar in Rock Band 3 Pro Modes

Back at E3 last year, I had a few videos of myself trying out one of the Squier prototypes in Rock Band 3 Pro Mode. Now, I’ve never played the guitar before, so this was a completely new experience for me. I tossed the videos up on YouTube along with a brief description of my thoughts. Several thousand views later, I can say that the biggest question I see is whether Rock Band 3 will let you play with your own guitar. Up until this point, I was unaware of any way to play Pro-Guitar/Bass without either the Mustang or Squier Pro Guitars, but it looks like someone has found a solution.

Using some equipment that the average guitar player may not have, including a Roland guitar pickup and an Axon guitar-to-MIDI converter, along with the Rock Band 3 MIDI Pro-Adapter, “WirelessDreamer” created a program for PC/Linux called G2GHPro that can convert the notes played on a normal guitar in real time and send them back to the console to be used in Rock Band 3′s Pro-Guitar/Bass mode.

There are two drawbacks with this method, however. The first is that this method does not show you finger placement on the fretboard the way that the Mustang and Squier guitars do. If you already know how to play, this may not be a major issue, though. The second thing is that a guitar-to-MIDI converter is not an inexpensive unit, and the price of this alone is a few hundred dollars more than the price of a Squier. If you already have your own guitar, know how to play, and have the equipment necessary to accomplish this, it may be a little more enticing than having to purchase another guitar just to play in Rock Band 3, but this solution is probably not for a majority of the community.

In this video here, WirelessDreamer talks about the hardware and setup used to accomplish the task.

If you are interested in downloading the program to try this yourself, you can go to his Sourceforge page here for the Windows and Linux downloads: http://game2midi.sourceforge.net/

[Thanks, Mathias!]

23 Responses to “Use Your Own Guitar in Rock Band 3 Pro Modes”

  • Anex says:

    Well at least it can be done.. but even with a real guitar floating around in my house I think I would rather by the RB specific one for pro mode.

  • Kyle says:

    Dang, and I was all ready to be like “YEAH, LET’S DO THIS.”

    And then I saw that you needed extra equipment and had a sad face.

  • Croq says:

    Pretty cool till I read about the price of the “guitar to midi” thingy.

  • Dorkmaster Flek says:

    Obviously, you’re going to need a MIDI pickup already for this to work. The software simply converts the MIDI notes into the SysEx commands used by the Squier and RB MIDI adaptor. However, I said from day one that this is totally possible. Kudos to Harmonix for using standard MIDI for their platform, thus making it friendly for mods such as this. It’s also entirely possible to create a finger sensing mechanism as well, provided you have the resources to develop something like this. Hobbyists, not very likely, but I wouldn’t put it past guitar manufacturers other than Fender. Very cool stuff! :D

  • Charza says:

    Here’s what I wonder:

    Can this work with those Midi Guitars i.e. that one that was designed for guitar hero and has Midi Out? (name fails me ATM) The draw is (obviously) to utilize this on a real guitar that doesn’t have Midi already, but What I wonder is if it compatible with straight-up generic Midi Guitars?

    • RockBandAide says:

      Based on what I’m seeing here, it looks like Harmonix is using the standard MIDI format, so in theory it may be possible using the MIDI Pro-Adapter.

  • Andre says:

    Is lefty mode possible using this method??????

    • Polite says:

      If you have a left handed guitar i don’t see why not. unless the game then reverses the strings. You could probably edit the translator on the pc to compensate though.

  • rodz says:

    Nice, now I could potentially use my Les Paul with the game, that would be cool.

  • Mark says:

    Aw…was all excited at the title, looks like I’m still gonna have to wait for the Squier

  • Saeglopur says:

    That’s pretty awesome, but also complicated and expensive just to play with an individual guitar. Also, the Squier will probably work the best with the game, so yeah, I guess I will go with the Squier.

  • Kyle says:

    Not to add yet another knock on this idea (which is awesome for the right people!) but this also allows for some complications with alternate tunings. Unless your guitar has a string mute, or you have some other way to do that, you’re going to have to either listen to bad notes coming off your guitar competing with the game music, or constantly retune your guitar.

    • Polite says:

      I suspect if you retune the guitar, the midi notes the pickup would send would be wrong and throw the game off.

      • Dortamur says:

        It shouldn’t be a problem if the conversion software also knows what the tuning is. It’d be a bit fiddly per song (retune your guitar + tell the software the tuning), but doable.

  • karaokefreak says:

    Not speaking of the enormous lag this must produce – going via several MIDI devices and being processed… My wild guess would be a lag of 150 MS plus, rendering it useless for bandplay.

  • Polite says:

    I do have me a GK-3 on my B.C. Virgo Platinum, but i’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

    I’m guessing i would have to retune my guitar to standard as well. At the moment i think it’s in drop B or C standard. :s

    Still… maybe it might be worth getting the midi box. I could try my Alesis DM5 Pro drum kit with rock band as well.

  • GHDrumBum says:

    THIS IS PROMISING NEWS!!! ;-)
    I was wondering how long it would take for someone to figure this out. Now if we could figure out how to do this with less hardware!?! ;-) It would sure be nice to use my own electric and bass guitars for playing / practicing.

  • GHDrumBum says:

    I wonder if anyone has tried the Roland HD-1 midi adapter with either RB3 Pro Drums or Pro Guitar. Would it work pretty much like the Mad Catz Adapter? I have the Roland Drum Tutor package, but have not used it in months, since I have been concentrating on learning to play guitar with the Mustang Pro.

  • GHDrumBum says:

    I have used my Mustang Pro as a controller to start the songs then played along with my electric / bass guitars (not connected) in Practice Mode. I of course don’t get the ons-screen feedback, but it is surprisingly easy to tell if I am on the right frets / plucking the right strings. It would be great to actually be connected and having my progress monitored.

  • GHDrumBum says:

    Has anyone tried the “Raw Talent” guitar adapter with RB3 (Pro Mode)? I don’t know if we would still need the software above. I would rather buy this package to work with my own bass and electric guitars than have to buy the Fender Squire(hybrid). I know it is nearly the same price and would not have the same visual feedback etc. It would be a lot cheaper than the hardware setup described in the article.

  • GHDrumBum says:

    Here is the adapter and utility software used in Raw Talent (Only $129 US? without RT) http://www.ikmultimedia.com/stealthplug/features/

    • Rob says:

      The Stealth Plug through IK Multimedia doesn’t come with any sort of guitar training though. I don’t play guitar, but if I want to learn I think I’d keep my Rock Band 3 for gaming and learning, and if I wanted to learn on a real guitar I’m not gonna buy all this other stuff to go with my game. I read the Raw Talent thing works with the Rock Band 3 real guitar, so if I wanna learn for real I’ll start there instead of modifying my game. It’s cool, but when I want to learn I’m not gonna modify spend more to modify a game. That’s not cool.

      • Richard says:

        The Raw Talent Guitar package requires the use of a real guitar and expects real music input from the Guitar, not MIDI. It is definitely the better choice for beginning guitar players as it teaches you real music, not MIDI.