One of the most cool things about rhythm games like Guitar Hero was that you have this feeling that the notes you are playing actually make sense to play and feel nice to perform flawlessly. This blog post is mostly going to be about Guitar Hero note theory.
There are a set of patterns in Guitar Hero that are common across many songs. One of the most common ones are scales that go higher or lower.
The most extreme case of this in Guitar Hero 3 is the Mosh 1 section in Slayer’s Raining Blood. This entire section is just the following pattern in the image repeating with occasional breaks for a chord. It is often considered the hardest part of the song, however, it is in essence the same pattern. When played correctly, one rarely has to strum, it evokes a feeling of zen where all there is is you, and the feeling of a cascading waterfall, of blood. This pattern does not have to be used with just four notes descending, it has been used in many other places, including patterns of 3 notes ascending as in the Guitar Break in Jordan, by Buckethead or as a repeated three note triplet, such as in Solo A in Metallica’s One.
Another popular technique that are in a variety of Guitar Hero Songs are trills. They are two notes repeated over an amount of time. They can be at a decent pace, as in Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You by Spinal Tap in Guitar Hero 2, or an insane blistering pace as in Surfing With the Alien by Joe Satriani. There are various techniques to play these notes, the version I use is to root my index finger on the lower note and use my middle finger or ring finger to do the hammer-ons. For faster ones, most higher level players actually take their strumming hand and use it to help fret.
This may seem like a weird blog post, but it has a purpose. One of the main goals of Guitar Hero is to make the player feel like they are playing the actual instrument, and not just some plastic toy. Having to use multiple hands in order to play notes, especially trills has been common in guitar playing since Eddie Van Halen’s hayday. Using all four fingers to play a riff is how Raining Blood is actually played.