School of rock

So you wanna be a rock star? Who doesn’t? Before you start collecting groupies, working on your rehab publicity and paying somebody to sort out all the greens from a bag of M&Ms, you should probably learn to play a few notes on the guitar. No worries, here’s everything you’ll need to have a sold-out stadium chanting “Freebird” in no time!




Fretlight Vintage Electric Guitar
Otek Music Systems

Quite possibly the coolest music technology to emerge in years, the Fretlight Vintage Electric Guitar brings music lessons into the Space Age for $499.95. Produced by Reno’s own Optek Music Systems, the Fretlight has 132 LED lights placed into the fretboard of the guitar. When synced with your computer via a USB cable, the notes light up on the fret board during your lessons showing you exactly where to place your fingers and how long to hold the note. The first 30 lessons, which are included with the guitar, are self-paced and very easy to understand, so even a complete novice can follow along. The best part is, when the guitar isn’t connected to the computer, it’s completely indistinguishable from a normal electric guitar. So once you’ve learned to shred, you can take the stage and not lose any rock cred.




Electric Guitar for Beginners DVDs

Homespun Videos

Until you know the guitar is something you want to pursue and not just a fleeting dream, you should find an inexpensive means of practicing. A DVD series, such as this one taught by Adam Traum, will give you the basics. Homespun Videos could have made the format more user-friendly and fun, but it works for what it is. You’ll have to deal with monotone instructions and the need to constantly pause the tutorials as it plays on your TV, but you can’t beat it for $29.95.




Guitar Hero 2

Red Octane

To be a rock star you need flair, you need arrogance, and you need to kick some musical ass. Enter “Guitar Hero 2” for Xbox 360. Instead of a basic controller, players use a guitar with five buttons on the neck to strum out the notes in rhythm with famous rock songs. Quite simply, it’s addicting. The game offers free play, a career mode and a two-player mode so you can go head-to-head against a fellow headbanger. Sure, after 300 caffeine-driven hours at the helm, you still won’t be able to play a scale on a real guitar, but you’ll be able to fake Kansas’ “Wayward Son” in true rock-star style for $89.99.