Putting The Plastic vs. Real Instrument Argument to Rest

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Ever since Guitar Hero first came out it seems anyone who plays a real guitar has something to say about the game. Their opinions can vary wildly from saying that they like that it is inspiring more people to pick up a guitar to Chad Kroeger telling us to put down the game and learn a real instrument.

Then Rock Band came out and people saw the drums and thought “Fuck yeah, I can learn the drums” (or at least, that was part of my thought on them). Most drummers will tell you that it won’t teach you much at all because it is not like a real kit but I disagree a lot there. Catch my opinions and cold, hard facts after the jump.

First off, the guitars in both Rock Band and Guitar Hero will teach you bugger all about playing a real guitar. The only possible thing to pick up from them is a decent sense of rhythm and it can make learning hammer-ons and pull-offs easier on a real guitar. I know this from experience because I could never do them on my bass guitar before whereas after playing these games for quite some time I found HOPO was a hell of a lot easier. It might also help build muscle in your arms but then so would wanking so that is sort of negligible.

The singing is just singing so you’ll get better just like if you were to sing in the shower or on your drive to work (properly I mean). Nothing much else to say here.

The drums is where the difference between plastic instrument and real instrument starts to shrink. Drummers will tell you that playing on the four pad drums on RB or the five pad drums on GHWT is not enough like real drums to make it worth it. They are wrong.

If you can successfully play most songs on expert on one of those games (like me) then if you were to be sat in front of a real kit I am sure you would be able to knock together beats. Just think about it. When playing guitar in the game, it is like having a five fret, one string guitar. When playing drums, you are hitting one of a number of pads with a drumstick while pressing a kick pedal in time. This is funnily enough what you do on a real kit.

But don’t just take my word for it, take the following video of me sitting on a drum kit. The only other time on a kit I have ever had is about 3 hours spread across a couple of days over Christmas break on a shitty broken kit. This kit was put together about half an hour before I sat on it. I had maybe a 5 minute warm up run to check everything wouldn’t break when I hit it and then recorded this.

What do you think now? These video games don’t teach you anything huh? Granted I do suck quite a bit but I have more muscle on my legs and arms than when I bought the game, more co-ordination and to top it off, I had fun every step of the way on the game from medium right up to expert. I also didn’t have to spend £300 on a sub-par kit, make a few million decibels of noise, alienate my neighbours and take up all my room space with a kit that is hard to transport. I also learned a few songs on drums while doing it (sort of).

So next time you see an argument against those drums, punch that fucker in the throat and tell him how wrong he is.

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