Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Sound Judgment

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, there's no end to the quantity of eye-candy at CES. There is also plenty of EAR candy as well - with plenty of toys for noise on display from various audio manufacturers.

The influence of the hit game "Guitar Hero" is evident on the floor here. In fact, Peavey - well known as leader in the music world for their amps and guitars - is showing off their own Peavy branded Guitar Hero controller.

I dismissed it at first - until I saw a demonstration.

As a musician, one of the most challenging aspect of playing "Guitar Hero" is that it's nothing like playing guitar. Peavey's controller is attempting to bridge the gap between gamers and guitarists by offering a full-size fret board, where the buttons are spaced more like the real thing.

The super-cool graphics don't hurt its appeal, either.

Another "Guitar Hero" inspired development is the "Guitar Wizard" software and controllers. Developed by a music teacher, this teaching tool uses a guitar with familiar looking color-coded frets.

Using a computer, novice rockers learn to play based on colors scrolling across a screen - much like the "Guitar Hero" game, but later those colors give way to actual notes, eventually turning the player - into a player.

Look for it in stores later this year.

Rock on.
As a team member of Music Wizard Group, makers of Guitar Wizard, I'd like to clear up a few things in this article.

Guitar Wizard was in no way inspired by Guitar Hero. The patented method used in both Piano Wizard and Guitar Wizard was envisioned and designed by our CEO Chris Salter over a period of years, long before Guitar Hero hit the market.

Chris travelled to other countries studying how different cultures learn music. He gradually conceived of a simple method that conveys music in the same intuitive way that we first absorb language. Piano Wizard, our first game with the Wizard technology, went through several years of R&D before being released.

Piano Wizard has been selling for a couple of years now to rave reviews and accolades from all over. Guitar Wizard is only our second in a line of products geared for the marketplace.

Resemblances to Guitar Hero are quite limited. While there are some similarities with Guitar Wizard's Step 1 (colors are used to coordinate what note to play when), it stops there. Our game goes on to Steps 2-5, leading you to read real musical notes effortlessly.

Finally, though we do have some amazingly talented music teachers on our team, the founder and inventor of the technology is not one himself. He was simply a frustrated musician inspired to develop a simple way to learn music.

How lucky for the rest of us!

Jan Altman
Evangelist/Creative
Music Wizard Group
http://www.EvenYouCanPlay.com
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