When the original Guitar Hero came out for Playstation 2 in 2005, players were able to use a standard controller to play the game. The reason behind this, according to a Harmonix representative, was that they never expected many people to buy the guitars, let alone two guitars in the same room.
I bet Harmonix never expected that people would pay $300 for one of these guitars either. Well, Mad Catz seems to have felt that players would, in 2010, drop some big money for a guitar with outstanding quality. The question is, does the guitar stand up to the price tag?
Just like Harmonix’s guitars that come with the Rock Band series, the Mad Catz premium guitar is a Fender Strat model. The main difference however, is that instead of being made of plastic and a fraction of the size of the actual guitars, the Mad Catz Fender Strat replica’s body is made of solid wood and is full size.
The guitar controller is essentially a real Fender Strat that has had it’s neck modified so that it plays Guitar Hero and Rock Band instead of actual music. The guitar has a real pick-guard on it, an actual bridge made of metal, a real whammy bar and actual metal tuning pegs on the solid wood head. The neck has an ebony finish to it with real frets in between the sets of buttons.
The guitar is, without a doubt, the best looking guitar controller on the market. The buyer can choose between candy apple red (pictured) and sunburst finishes.
The guitar just feels solid. There’s no way around it. The strum bar is incredibly tough and durable and the buttons feel great. The whammy bar definitely won’t break unless you try to snap it.
There have been reports, however, of buttons becoming temperamental, but it is in pretty rare cases. Everything on this guitar is built to last and really feels that way.
The guitar really brings the best of both worlds. The buttons are sturdy, like the Rock Band 2 guitars, yet the strum bar is solid and clicks, like the Guitar Hero guitars. Many people love the clicking strum bar, which the Rock Band guitars have been lacking. For people that don’t like the clicking strum bar, however, this guitar has a very loud click.
The buttons work great, but players that don’t feel comfortable playing on embedded buttons (like Rock Band guitars), might not like this guitar. Fretting quickly can be a little difficult on the buttons if you’re really used to the Guitar Hero style of buttons.
One other thing that can be slightly problematic is that this thing is very heavy. It’s the weight of an actual guitar, so you can gauge whether or not you’ll like the weight by simply holding a Fender Strat. While it’s not a problem 99% of the time, if you want to sit and play, tilting the guitar to activate Starpower/Overdrive can be a little troublesome. Luckily, Mad Catz included a very easy to reach “select” button that will do the same thing as tilting the guitar.
Extremely solid construction, plays very well, reliable, strum bar is the toughest one on any guitar
Guitar can be a little heavy for sit-down players, click is a little loud, high price tag
While the guitar is extremely reliable and feels great, it can be very hard to justify paying nearly $300 for a guitar that only plays on games. In order to justify it, you have to have had a strong history of guitars breaking, so instead of buying less-expensive guitar after less-expensive guitar, you can view this as an investment. Either that, or you are really serious about playing on a premium guitar controller. Overall, the guitar is one of the best out on the market, but you might want to wait until you find a sale, like the one Amazon had a few weeks back.
Where to Find:
The best and most reliable place to find this guitar is definitely Amazon.com. The guitar is $257 instead of $299, and it will qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping, which will save you a ton on this heavy item. Other than that, the item is not really available in stores, so keep your eyes open for a good deal online.