Rock Band 3: The Instruments


Rock Band 3 has taken music gaming to a new level, creating a bridge between doing well at a music videogame and actually playing an instrument. This "bridge" is managed with the new "Pro Mode." Drum parts were, pretty much, already at the "Pro" level in Rock Band 2, as a drummer could learn to play a part in the game and then take his ability directly to a real drum set.

The Pro Mode in Rock Band 3 takes the "if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" approach, introducing new, sophisticated guitar controllers and keyboard controllers which simulate the experiencing of playing their corresponding instruments to the point that you can actually take what you learn and play the actual instruments with what you've learned.

For the hardware, Harmonix has teamed up with a couple of companies who are well known for creating quality products in their fields. In order to create a solid real guitar / controller hybrid, Harmonix turned to Fender. The result of this collaborative effort is the Rock Band 3 Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar Controller. This is a fully functional, full-sized, six-string electric guitar that also functions as a game controller.

For the rest of the game controllers, the hardware is being manufactured by Mad Catz, a company whose products we've been reviewing for ten years or so now.

From the keyboard side, the Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard is a two-octave keyboard / keytar with on-board console controls and can be used as a fully-functional MIDI keyboard controller. This keyboard fully supports the Pro Mode keyboard functionality. An optional keyboard stand will be sold separately.

The new guitar controller that is actually able to be used in Pro Mode is called the Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar Controller. This controller is a wireless guitar controller that features accurate simulation of 6 string and 17 frets with an array of 102 unique string/fret location buttons and 6 short string sections in the strumming area to allow for discrete picking of each string. This controller fully supports all Rock Band Pro guitar features and allows for realistic guitar simulation in right handed or left handed configuration. The Fender Mustang PRO-Guitar is a fully-functional MIDI controller, as well.

For drums, there is the Rock Band 3 PRO-Cymbals Expansion Kit, which ships with three new cymbal controllers that have been re-engineered for quieter operation and which fully support Rock Band Pro drum features. They have been designed to offer quieter sound, better feel and responsiveness and will also be included with the Rock Band 3 PRO-Drum and PRO-Cymbal Kit.

If you already have a real MIDI keyboards or MIDI drum sets, you can use the Rock Band 3 MIDI PRO-Adapter to convert the MIDI messages into controller data that includes on-board console navigation buttons.

As for compatibility with existing controllers, Rock Band 3 will be compatible with all Rock Band and The Beatles: Rock Band peripherals, as well as most Guitar Hero and third party instrument and microphone controllers, for all modes except for Rock Band Pro mode. Also, keyboard, guitar and bass parts can be played by keyboards or guitar controllers, interchangeably on all difficulty levels except Rock Band Pro.

Rock Band 3
MTV Games