Technique FAQ by mdmeaden

Version: 0.6 | Updated: 05/06/07 | Printable Version

| Guitar Hero II - Technique FAQ |
|       Mike Meaden, 2007        |

|  [000]  | 0. Table of Contents                     |

Use your browser's find feature to look up sections of the FAQ.  The lookup
codes in brackets are unique and can be used to find a specific section.

0.    Table of Contents...................[000]

1.    Legal Info..........................[100]
1.1    Copyright..........................[110]
1.2    Authorized use.....................[120]
1.3    Version information................[130]

2.    Overview............................[200]
2.1    FAQ Information....................[210]
2.2    Conventions........................[220]
2.3    Terms..............................[230]

3.    Techniques..........................[300]
3.1    The Basics.........................[310]
3.1.1   Playing notes.....................[311]
3.1.2   Note sequences....................[312]
3.1.3   Higher Notes......................[313]
3.2    The Transition to Medium...........[320]
3.2.1   Beating Easy......................[321]
3.2.2   Introducing Blue..................[322]
3.2.3   Encore!  Encore!..................[323]
3.2.4   Two Ways to Blue..................[324]
3.3    Jamming on Medium..................[330]
3.3.1   Chords............................[331]
3.3.2   Power Chords, part 1..............[332]
3.3.3   Power Chords, part 2..............[333]
3.4    Busting Medium.....................[340]
3.4.1   Hammering, part 1.................[341]
3.4.2   Toughen Up........................[342]
3.4.3   My First Free Bird................[343]
3.5    Introducing Orange.................[350]
3.5.1   The Slide, part 1.................[351]
3.5.2   Hit an Orange.....................[352]
3.5.3   The Slide, part 2.................[353]
3.5.4   Playing in R key..................[354]
3.6    Playing Hard Properly..............[360]
3.6.1   Tap-ons...........................[361]
3.6.2   Hammering, part 2.................[362]
3.6.3   Split Chords, part 1..............[363]
3.6.4   Chord-to-Hammer...................[364]
3.7    Not Just Good......................[370]
3.7.1   Double-Strum......................[371]
3.7.2   Hammering, part 3.................[372]
3.7.3   Trills............................[373]
3.7.4   Hammer-to-Chord...................[374]
3.7.5   Triples...........................[375]
3.7.6   Split Chords, part 2..............[376]
3.8    Getting into Expert................[380]
3.8.1   Totally Jamming...................[381]
3.8.2   Starting Expert...................[382]
3.8.3   Free Bird Revisited...............[383]
3.9    Absolutely Wailing.................[390]
3.9.1   Mastery of the Star...............[391]
3.9.2   The Road To Godhood...............[392]
3.9.3   Diversionary Measure..............[393]
3.9.4   The Final Battle..................[394]
3.9.5   Wear A Bucket.....................[395]

4.    Star Power..........................[400]
4.1    SP Essentials......................[410]
4.2    Whammy.............................[420]
4.3    Rocking Out........................[430]
4.4    Timing.............................[440]

5.    Other information...................[500]
5.1    Codes..............................[510]
5.2    Notes and addenda..................[520]

6.    Credits.............................[600]
6.1    Contact Information................[610]
6.2    Shout-outs and thank-yous..........[620]

|  [100]  | 1. Legal Info                            |

|  [110]  | 1.1 Copyright                            |

Copyright 2006, Mike Meaden.

This guide is the product and property of Mike Meaden (mdmeaden).  Unauthorized
reproduction or distribution of this guide is prohibited without explicit
consent of the author.  See "Contact Information" [710] to request consent.

|  [120]  | 1.2 Authorized use                       |

Without explicit consent of the author, no sites are allowed to publish this
guide with the following exceptions:

Only the latest version should be available on the site(s) listed.

Reproduction for personal use is implicitly granted to anyone, provided such
use does not include redistribution.

|  [130]  | 1.3 Version information                  |

Current version: 0.6
Version history
 v0.6 - Restructured the guide.  Removed the songs section and added more real
        techniques, which is what the guide is about anyway.  The new guide
        philosophy is "less fluff, more stuff".
 v0.5 - Fixed up techniques; addes songs through stage 4.  Also fleshed out
        some parts of stage 1 that I skimmed over before.  Second publish.
 v0.4 - More in the techniques section; added songs through stage 2.
 v0.3 - Finished techniques, started songs with details.  First publish.
 v0.2 - Fleshed out contents and techniques.
 v0.1 - Initial creation.

|  [200]  | 2. Overview                              |

A word on GHII for the XBox 360:  The new version of the game comes with a
totally restyled Star Guitar controller and a host of new songs.  This FAQ is
written around the PS2 version so there will not be any information about the
new songs here.  The most important things to mention is that the new XPloder
controller has smaller fret buttons and some songs have undergone a few ad-
justments with regard to the fret board.

Don't mail me with XBox 360 information (questions are OK).  I play the XBox
version already on a friend's machine, but I own the PS2 version.  So to those
just dying to mail me with information about The Trooper, I already know.  This
isn't the place for it, sorry.

|  [210]  | 2.1 FAQ Information                      |

This FAQ will cover (hopefully) techniques used to play effectively in the
Playstation 2 version of Guitar Hero II.  For players wondering "how do I do
that", the answers are here.  A broad range of topics will be discussed; use
the Find feature of your browser or text editor to go to a specific section as
listed in the Table of Contents.  It can also be used as a walkthrough if that
is desired, although its primary purpose is a technique reference.

|  [220]  | 2.2 Conventions                          |

These conventions will be used as shorthand throughout the rest of the guide:

Fret buttons:  The capital letters G, R, Y, B, and O represent the five fret
               buttons.  For example, "Hold Y" means to hold the yellow fret.
Chords:        Chords are represented as pairs or triplets of frets contained
               within brackets.  For example, "[GY]" means green and yellow
Fingers:       The numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 represent your index, middle, ring,
               and pinky fingers on your left hand and will be used to describe
               fingering sequences.  Fingering chords will use chord brackets,
               for example [24] means hold index and ring finger down.
Hammer-ons:    Some fast sequences of notes can be played without strumming.
               I refer to these phrases as "Hammers" or "Hammer-ons" and will
               describe them using parentheses around a phrase.  For example,
               the phrase (YRGRYB) indicates to strum with the yellow fret
               held down, then do not strum as you press red, green, red,
               yellow, and blue in that order.  More on hammers later.
Star Power:    SP means star power or star phrase depending on context.  More
               about the star power later.
Repeats:       When you see a sequence with x4 for example, it means that the
               sequence repeats four times.  [RB]x5 would mean 5 [RB] in a row.
               I might also use curly braces to bracket repeated sequences such
               as {R [RB]x3}x2, which expands to R [RB][RB][RB] R [RB][RB][RB].

|  [230]  | 2.3 Terms                                |

A few words take on special meaning within this guide, when referring to
playing techniques.

"Key" refers to your hand position on the fret buttons.  The "1st key" or "G
key" means keeping 2 above G, 3 above R, 4 above Y, and 5 above B.  The "2nd
key" or "R key" means 2 above R, 3 above Y, etc.  The "3rd key" or "Y key"
means 2 above Y (and 5 doing nothing). In some very rare cases, I've been known
to also use the "4th key" or "B key" which is just 2 on B and 3 on O.

"Slide" is my name for the technique of changing key.  If you are playing in
G key, that means 2 is above G.  When you slide to R key, you move your hand
down the guitar neck one button so that 2 is above R.  Slides will be noted by
the > and < characters, meaning slide up key and down key respectively.  For
example, the fingering sequence "[24]>[24]" is very common for the note
sequence "[GY][RB]" (e.g. War Pigs).

"Hammer phrase" is my name for a phrase of notes that may be played without
strumming.  I call the technique of hammer-on and pull-off just "hammering".

"Trill" is a hammer that repeats rapidly.  If you see (YBYBYBYBY) for example,
you play it (343434343) (holding 3 and tapping 4).  These are always hard.

"Power chord" is my name for a chord with a single gap.  These come in three
types: [GY], [RB], and [YO].  I recommend always playing power chords with the
[24] finger position.  Sometimes you'll use [35] but it's usually just easier
to slide, i.e. >[24]< instead.

"Split chord" is my name for a chord with a double/triple gap.  These also
come in three types: [GB], [RO], and [GO].  These are always played [25] but
that last one requires a stretch.  Thankfully, it's very rare.  For an
example of the dread [GO] chord, check out Monkey Wrench.

"Triple chord" is my name for a three-note chord.  These are unique to Guitar
Hero II.  There are two kinds.  The first is a "straight triple" where there
are no gaps.  These are [GRY], [RYB], and [BYO].  The second is a "gap triple"
where there's a gap between two notes and the third.  Examples of these are
[GRB], [GYB], [RYO], [RBO].  Techniques for playing triples will come later.

"Rock Out" is my name for deploying the star power.  Some folks press select
to rock out, but most people use the tried-and-true method of rocking the SG
controller.  More on rock out later.

"SKILL LEVEL" is just a rough estimate of how good you've gotten if you are
following along from top to bottom.  It's really there for flavor but you can
use it as a personal gauge of ability.  You'll see this in each 3.x section and
again at the very end.

|  [300]  | 3. Techniques                            |

More than just techniques, this is a scaled walkthrough from Guitar Zero all
the way to Almighty Bust The Game To Pieces Guitar GOD.  You probably want to
read all the way up to where you think you are, in terms of skill.  You might
pick up a couple of things!  As you progress in the game, keep coming back and
reading new techniques, and you'll keep expanding your skills until you get
better than me!

|  [310]  | 3.1 The Basics                           |

SKILL LEVEL:  Guitar Zero

So you wanna be a Guitar Hero, huh?  Great, let's start at the beginning.  You
certainly can't wail without learning to play.  Don't worry if some of this
information is "too simple"; just skip to the part you want to know.  Everybody
has their own learning curve.

|  [311]  | 3.1.1 Playing notes                      |

The first thing you should do is go to "Training" from the main menu, select
"Tutorials" and go through the basic tutorial.  If you haven't done this, you
really should.  Here's what you "basically" need to know.

To play a note requires two actions together.  First, you need to HOLD DOWN the
correct fret button on the neck of the guitar controller.  Then, at the right
time, PRESS the strum bar down (or up, if you prefer) to play the note.  So, if
you see a green note "G" coming up, hold down G as it approaches, then press
the strum bar just as it crosses the green target.  This will be on the beat of
the music, so it really helps to pay attention to the sound.

Go ahead and crack out that tutorial.  You'll be glad you did it later; you do
have to do these at one time or another anyway.  If you're failing the tutorial
the best advice I have for you is this: "RELAX!"  The biggest cause for song
failure (and general goof-ups) is stressing out too much.  If you just relax,
get into the music, and go through the motions, the gameplay will come to you
naturally.  Don't try too hard; just play the song and don't worry if you goof
because WE ALL DO IT.  Nobody plays perfect every time.

|  [312]  | 3.1.2 Note sequences                     |

Alright, my budding hero, it is time to actually play a song.  Before you go
making a fool out of yourself in concert, let's use the Practice mode to learn
more!  Pick "Training" on the main menu, and choose "Practice".  You can now
choose which song you'd like to practice; for this let's pick the first track,
Shout at the Devil.  You'll be asked to pick Guitar or Bass; unless I say
otherwise you should always pick the Guitar track.  Choose Easy difficulty;
pick the full song, and full speed.  OK, time to rock!

Remember the two golden rules as you play through this song.  Rule 1 is RELAX.
You're in practice mode - you can't lose, so don't sweat it.  If you miss it's
no big deal.  Rule 2 is HOLD IT DOWN.  You won't be penalized for holding down
a fret button, so don't be afraid to hold it down!  Plenty of parts in this
song have several R notes in a row.  Hold down R the whole time and strum to
the music.

|  [313]  | 3.1.3 Higher Notes                       |

When playing single notes, it's OK to hold LOWER fret(s), but not a HIGHER
fret.  If you have to play a Y, for example, its okay to hold [RY] or even
[GRY] and play.  It'll count as a Y.  If you hold B or O, it will count as a
miss because B and O are higher frets than Y.  This only applies to single
notes, which is fine for now.  Thanks to this rule, you could theoretically
play all of Shout at the Devil while holding G down.  Try it for a while if you
like - several people have told me that this little advice went a long way.

|  [320]  | 3.2 The Transition to Medium             |

SKILL LEVEL:  Guitar Trainee

Great, now you've had a little practice and it's time to bust out the easy
career mode.  Go on and start up your career, pick a name for your band, and
all that good stuff.  Play 2 stages worth of songs (that's 8-10 jams) before
you put down the guitar and take a break.  Come back, play another 2 stages,
and break again.  I can't stress this enough: TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS!!!

After 3 jam sessions you should have unlocked stage 7 on the Easy difficulty.
Come back tomorrow and continue your lessons!

|  [321]  | 3.2.1 Beating Easy                       |

Welcome back, grasshopper.  The first thing you should do is GO BACK and play
a lower-level song.  This is your "warm-up" and you'll want to do this every
time you start playing.  Trust me - do a warm-up and you'll understand.  Pick a
song you've already beaten.

Excellent.  Now, let's beat the Easy career!  You've unlocked stage 7, right?
That means you only have four songs standing between you and domination.  Let's
rock.  Naturally - start with Madhouse.

You'll notice right away that it's much faster now.  That is intentional!  The
songs you've been playing are slow, and you'll need to get quicker to play at
a higher difficulty level.  You should be able to hit most of the notes in the
main riff, though.

The other thing you'll notice is that some of the note patterns are faster as
well.  Get used to it, buddy - this is the tip of the iceberg.  Don't panic if
you miss, though.  Remember rule number 1: RELAX!!  It's ok to miss!

Did you win?  No?  That's OK, just keep on trying.  Practice makes perfect, and
you'll want all the practice you have time for.  Once you've beaten Madhouse,
keep on trucking.  You've only got a few songs left!  They are hard, they are
fast, and they are metal.  Play until you win - practice and tenacity are the
keys to victory.  Don't be afraid to check out Practice mode if you feel like
it'll help.  If it's too fast for you to comprehend, try slowing it down in the
Practice.  (Psychobilly Freakout is a good candidate.)

Keep going - once you beat Easy, you'll be told that it's time to move forward.
It is.  Easy sucks anyway - you don't earn cash for Easy and there's quite a
few songs you can't unlock on Easy.

|  [322]  | 3.2.2 Introducing Blue                   |

Alrighty, let's boogie down to Practice mode again to get used to the idea of a
fourth button.  (If you're looking at that orange button and shaking your head,
you're right on target.)  It's back to Shout at the Devil, but this time pick
Medium difficulty.  Just play through about the first half because you should
be more interested in getting used to what it's going to be like now that you
are on the higher difficulty.

It's not too bad - even if you missed every blue note, you should be doing just
fine.  With that riff firmly planted into your impressionable mind, it is time
to start playing the career on Medium.  Remember rule number 1, and jam out the
first stage before you give your hand a rest.  (You'll need it!)

What, you forgot rule number 1?  It's "Relax - It's Okay To Miss".

|  [323]  | 3.2.3 Encore!  Encore!                   |

So you've beat the first four songs on Medium, and the crowd is screaming for
more?  DO IT!!!  There's a couple good reasons to play the encore song as soon
as you get it.  The first is to get used to playing with a tired hand - it'll
strengthen you up.  The second is that you cannot proceed without beating the
encore sooner or later, so you might as well jam it out.  This one is really
short so don't be afraid - just play!  You can do it, champ!

Two notes: if you do decline the encore, it will appear on your set list and
you will not be allowed to the next stage until you select and beat it.  Also,
when you play an encore song in career mode, you will start with a fully green
life bar!

|  [324]  | 3.2.4 Two Ways to Blue                   |

Good job!  Just a bit more and we'll be done for the day.  First of all, you
should probably go back to training and run through the second tutorial.  It's
all about star power (see also section 4) and how to really raise your score.
Also, the star power can save your life!  If you're in the red and you rock
out, just a few notes will be enough to push you back into the green.

Secondly, it's time to determine your favorite method of hitting the blue fret.
Most people use their pinky, but there is a group that prefers to stretch the
hand and reach with the ring finger instead.  Try them both (in practice mode)
and figure out which you like.  If you do go with pinky, remember that it's OK
to hold a lower fret - so ring (on Y) and pinky (on B) together is just fine.
This is how I learned it.

I'm sure your hand is aching.  Call it a night, and come back for more another

|  [330]  | 3.3 Jamming on Medium                    |

SKILL LEVEL: Guitar Player

You're doing quite well now.  The sense of accomplishment you have now is just
a fragment of what is to come.  Go on, shake your head at that orange fret - I
know you want to.  Now that's over with, it's time for a warm-up. Either play a
Medium song again, or go back and play a high-level Easy song.  The point is,
you should play something with quicker beats.  Every warm-up should get a bit
harder than the last time - that way, you KNOW you're getting better.

If you're following along from day 1, you have just unlocked Stage 2 on Medium.
Go ahead and play Strutter and the other songs on Medium.  You should be tough
enough to bust out stages 2 and 3 before you take a break this time, but don't
feel bad if you need to stop early.  Taking a break is good for you.  Also, now
is a good time to re-iterate rule number 1.  What, you forgot rule 1?  Fine,
but this is the last time.  Rule number 1 is "RELAX!"  Don't be afraid to miss
and don't let a miss psyche you out.

Having trouble?  No worries.  Just keep on practicing - that is the best thing
you can do.  I've got friends who are stuck right here, at this very level, and
they tell me that the only way up is practice.

|  [331]  | 3.3.1 Chords                             |

By now, you've seen a few of them - doubles.  The game calls them Chords.  Now
these little beasties add a new dimension to the game, and it's high time you
added this to your repoire.  First and foremost to remember, is that the hold
rule doesn't apply to chords!  In other words, it is NOT okay to hold a lower
fret when playing a chord!  You must hit the chord correctly.  Don't let this
get you down, though; it's actually easier than it seems.

Play through all the songs on stages 2 and 3 on Medium.  Play them twice if you
have trouble.  You should be hitting at least a few chords before you advance
to stage 4.

|  [332]  | 3.3.2 Power Chords, part 1               |

You've seen them (and probably missed every time) - power chords.  (See my list
of terms in section 2.)  If you want to get past stage 4 on Medium difficulty,
you will have to wrap your head around how to play the [GY] power chord with a
fair amount of consistency.  Lucky you, there's a song that is just MADE for
this very idea, and it's the second song of stage 4.  So, skip over Cherry Pie
for now, and go straight to Who Was In My Room Last Night?.

You should not have too much difficulty with the strum timing.  It's just sets
of 3 strums.  The tough part is the fret fingering, which means it's time to
start using all that fancy description stuff I outlined in section 2.

The riff itself goes {[GY]x3 Rx3}x8 which looks nice on paper but is really
hairy when you are facing it with a guitar in hand.  First of all, HOLD GREEN
THE WHOLE WAY.  That's right!  Since G is part of the chord and G is also lower
than R, it's safe to hold all through the riff.  That should make things MUCH
easier right off.

Next, the trick of switching R and Y while holding G!  You'll be tempted to let
go of G to play the R's, but don't.  Play them as [GR].  Your fingering should
be [24]...[23]...[24]...[23] as you play through.  It's exercise, and your hand
WILL hurt when you're done.  But it's training, and you'll need it.  Do it in
practice mode if you like, but remember that you'll need to beat the song at
some time.  Rule number 1 really applies here.

|  [333]  | 3.3.3 Power Chords, part 2               |

Does your hand hurt? Take a break.  Come back later, I won't be offended.  Do
you think you're ready to learn more?  OK!  Let's go into practice mode, and
pick Cherry Pie on Medium.  No need to play the whole song - just pick Chorus
1.  What, nothing happened?  Yeah.  It's a range selection, so now it wants
you to pick the end of the range.  Just press green again - we want the range
to cover only Chorus 1 in this case.

It's practice, just watch as the frets roll by and don't play.  Hello, [RB].
So, how do you do that?!  Remember the bit from earlier about two ways to play
blue?  There's 3 ways to play this, and I'll cover them all here for you.  Go
through this section about 5-8 times and try each technique until you find the
one you are comfortable with.

Method 1 - use [35].  This is the "hard way" but it could be just what you need
in some cases.  I use this method in SOME cases, but not all.  Yeah, it's hard
to do, but it does help in a pinch.  It works great for this riff.

Method 2 - Slide.  See the slide section below about how to do it.  Essentially
you will play [24], but your fingers will be down a fret.  This might boggle
your mind right now; that's fine; just try it, along with methods 1 and 3.

Method 3 - The Superman Stretch.  Reach 4 on to B, and use 3 on R.  This could
be a bit painful for folks with small hands, and I don't recommend it.  I have
huge hands, so I use it sometimes.

Once you've settled on a way to play this riff, it's time to go back and beat
stage 4 on Medium.  You might want to take a break after that, though; Sweet
Child O' Mine is a long song.  You might want to call it a night, even.

|  [340]  | 3.4 Busting Medium                       |

SKILL LEVEL: Guitarist

You should have unlocked stage 5 on Medium difficulty.  Go back and do your
warm-up; I would recommend Girlfriend.  As a matter of fact, we could include
this song as part of the next stage of training, but I think you should just
warm up first.

You should probably focus now on unlocking more songs on Medium.  Try to unlock
stage 6; this is where the tough stuff is.

|  [341]  | 3.4.1 Hammering, part 1                  |

You've seen a couple and probably not even noticed.  They really start showing
up in the later stages of Medium, so you will want to have at least beaten
stage 5 on Medium.  Go into practice mode, and pick Crazy on You on Medium.
The focus will be on the intro, so pick just that section.

The beat here is not too difficult.  You'll probably pick it right up, but you
should notice there are bits with a very rapid strum and finger.  Now, let the
section go without playing the song.  If you look carefully you will see that
when these rapid notes come up, the second one does not have the usual black
ring around the top.  This is your visual cue that you do not have to strum; in
other words, you may (if you choose) use the hammer technique.  Don't bother;
instead, just cancel out of the practice, and go through the third and final
training course, which covers this technique.

The game tells you to hammer on to higher notes, and pull off to lower notes.
This technique is the skeletal basic of how to do it.  It turns out that you do
not actually have to hold any fret buttons; you can just "hammer on" to the
fret button.  The important thing is timing: you probably have your strumming
down pretty well, but now you need to learn to "hammer" the fret buttons right
on the beat.  Hammers require more precision than strumming.

OK, back to Crazy on You.  Play the intro section, this time trying to hit all
of the hammer notes without strumming.  You DO NOT have to use the pull-off at
all.  You may just hammer the lower note at the right time and it will count.
As a matter of fact, I don't recommend trying the pull-off until you have got
a firm grasp of hammering in general.

Great.  Now back to unlocking: try to beat YYZ on Medium before you continue.

|  [342]  | 3.4.2 Toughen Up                         |

You'll want to take a break before trying to tackle these last ones.  All of
these are endurance matches that pit you against some super-extended jams.  If
you want to win, you need to toughen up!

Practice, practice, practice.  Play these on practice if you aren't completely
trashing stage 7.  (If you did trash YYZ first try, you're tough enough.)  Get
that right arm strong and get those left fingers flexible.  You want to be
completely undisturbed by the presence of blue!  Each one of these songs is its
own challenge, so don't be afraid to take plenty of breaks.  It might take a
while to get all 4, but rest assured you have quite the reward coming to you.

|  [343]  | 3.4.3 My First Free Bird                 |

So you've done it - you beat the songs on stage 8.  Encore!  But this is no
ordinary encore - it's the legendary FREE BIRD.  You will KNOW - it doesn't
just ask you to encore, it warns you.  Pick no if you're tired.  You do not
have to do this!  However, if you do, the rewards are awesome.  You should at
least consider beating Free Bird; if you do, you'll likely have enough reward
money to buy all the bonus songs.  More music is good, right?

So you're ready to do it.  You're warmed up, you're on fire, and now you think
you can do it.  This song is so long, you might want to sit for the first half,
just to give your legs a break!  The first half is really, really boring - but
it has TONS of hammer practice.  Don't be afraid to biff some of these early on
since the song is so long.  Work that hammer action; it's good for you!  Once
it starts picking up, stop screwing around, and focus on playing as well as you
possibly can.  You'll want to stand soon, too; it'll get a bit freaky before a
nice long gap.  That is your warning sign!  The rest of the song is BONKERS.
Don't give up - you can do it!  If you fail, don't lose heart - just try again
another time.  It doesn't matter, though; everybody remembers their first time
trying Free Bird.  Memories are priceless.

Beating Free Bird on Medium is not a pre-requisite for moving on to hard; but,
I do recommend at least trying it once.  Either way, you've gotten this far, so
that means it's time to call it a night.  Turn off your machine and go outside!

|  [350]  | 3.5 Introducing Orange                   |


So you beat Hangar 18 on Medium.  You tried (and maybe beat) Free Bird.  Good!
You're a real pro now, and it's time to move onward to the realm of true guitar
heroism.  It's time to learn all about the orange fret.  But first, a couple of
basics are in order.  First and foremost, warm-ups!  Go back and warm up on a
tougher Medium song, like Crazy On You or YYZ.  Take Misirlou if you're feeling
really frisky.  What ever you do, do not start off on Hard without a warm-up,
and NEVER warm up on Free Bird.

Now is also a great time to look at that orange fret and shake your head again,
but this is for the last time.  Believe, and you will conquer!

|  [351]  | 3.5.1 The Slide, part 1                  |

OK, take a hard look at your guitar controller.  On the Y fret, there's a bump.
I call this bump the "braille" since it lets you know what key you're in by
feel.  Use the braille, get used to the braille!  Know that the bump is always
on Y, the middle fret.  Hold the guitar and just place your hand in G key. You
can feel the braille on 4.  Now, slide your hand down to R key. The braille
should be on 3 now.  Slide down again to Y key.  This puts the braille on 2.
Do this back and forth a few times, maybe pressing the frets to get a feel.

You will always know where your hand is by feeling for the braille.  The best
way to get the braille working for you is practice (who'd have guessed)...

|  [352]  | 3.5.2 Hit an Orange                      |

Alright, head on down to Practice mode.  Pick Surrender, but pick the Bass this
time.  Do it on Hard, full speed, full song.  An important thing to note is the
bass tracks are usually easier than the guitar tracks.  Bass usually doesn't
have a lot of chords, either.  This makes Bass a great way to learn Orange!

Just jam on.  Really, it's not hard.  The only thing that might throw you is
near the end; there's some very rapid O's that you probably won't be able to
strum.  Don't worry about that; the important thing is that you hit an orange!
It's a breakthrough, so savor it.  Aren't you glad there isn't a purple fret?

|  [353]  | 3.5.3 The Slide, part 2                  |

So you've tasted the orange fret - and its akin to guitar candy.  No time to
party, though; you still have a lot to learn.  Let's do another practice song
to really get it down.  Pick Mother on practice mode.  This song has lots of
power chords in all three keys and lots of sliding between them.  Most
of this song is played [24]<<[24]>[24]>[24] so it's a great chance to learn
how to effectively slide.  This isn't just good power chord practice; it's an
excellent way to learn that orange fret.

Notice the double slide action here.  Wait, you say, I just learned the slide
and you want me to double slide?!  Yeah.  Hard is like that.  Get used to it.
Besides, don't you LIKE to be challenged?  In any event, it's more important to
be able to keep playing after you miss.  Go on, start playing your career on
Hard difficulty.  I know you want to.  Try to unlock stage 2, or even 3.

|  [354]  | 3.5.4 Playing in R key                   |

As you start to play harder songs, you'll notice that it is very frequently
easier to play the song in R key, sliding down to hit G then sliding back.  A
great example of this is Carry On Wayward Son, on Hard.  If you go into
practice mode, select the section Verse 2 and Chorus 2.  Try reaching up with 2
to hit G while staying in R key; this is a great stretch technique that can
nimble up your fingers while adjusting you to the braille.  Also, finger 2 is
usually more nimble than finger 5 so it makes sense to play in high key.

For folks that don't use their pinky, this is where the challenge really kicks
in.  You might want to try incorporating the pinky anyway, or getting used to
reaching up with 4 (ring finger) to hit O.  Do what works for you.

I can't stress enough how much you need to practice this technique.  When you
can just reach for G while staying in key R, it makes O very easy to hit since
5 is still hovering over it.  Try to play like this as much as you can!

Now is a great time to unlock stage 3 on Hard.  It's also a great stopping
point, so let's call this a skill level checkpoint.

|  [360]  | 3.6 Playing Hard Properly                |

SKILL LEVEL: Guitar Freak

You should have beaten Carry On Wayward Son, on Hard.  This means stage 3 is
available for play in career mode.  For a warm-up, you should play a song on
Hard difficulty; don't be afraid to play You Really Got Me.  It's a great one
to warm up to.

|  [361]  | 3.6.1 Tap-ons                            |

OK champ, time for more learning!  You've already performed this technique and
you just don't know it.  Bust out Tattooed Love Boys on Practice mode, on Hard.
Go ahead and play it full speed, and if it's too fast slow it down a notch.  We
are primarily interested in the chorus, but play the whole song.  The chorus is
a tricky riff like this: {G[GY]}x4 {R[RB]}x4.  Again, nice on paper, but really
unnerving when facing it with the guitar.

So, go into the chorus holding G (with 2).  The strum beat isn't hard.  Tap on
to Y (with 4) whilst still holding G, then release 4 (Y), after the strum.  As
you can see, do that 4 times, then slide (move 2 onto R) and do EXACTLY the
same fingering/strumming, then slide back down.  Rinse and repeat.  Isn't it
nice to have an easy technique to practice this time?  Enjoy it - it's going to
be the last time.  

You should go on to beat stage 3 now.  War Pigs is a great test of your skills.

|  [362]  | 3.6.2 Hammering, part 2                  |

Alright, time to head off to practice mode and check out some Expert riffs, and
learn a few tricks in the process!  Load up Mother on Expert and select Guitar
Solo 2c.  Set it to SLOWEST, and just let the notes roll by.  You should be
looking out for hammer-eligible notes (remember, the ones that are white-top).

You'll see a big riff of them in this section; here lies the focus of this ex-
ercise.  You will be playing in R key, so go back and re-read that section if
you feel the need.

Great, time to give it a shot.  Hold the guitar in R key right off.  It's going
to start B-O then go crazy.  Forget the B, just start with the O.  After
strumming O, just tap Y (with 3) as the marker passes under the target.  Then,
tap R as the red marker passes, and tap Y as the next yellow passes through,
etc.  Timing is key!  The fingering goes:
(53234323 53434323 53234323 534)  (spaces for clarity)

OUCH!  But it's good and slow, so it's excellent practice.  If you miss a
hammer, the best thing to do is just hit start and choose restart.  Keep
trying until you can get at least 6 in a row.  If you can hit them all up
to the G, you're doing just fantastic!  Try it on a faster setting if you
want more practice, but that's the basics.  After you can hit some of them with
consistency, you probably don't need to spend more time here just yet.

You'll be glad you did that as you approach stages 4 and 5 on Hard.  Go ahead
and beat stage 4 (this might take some time).  For Sweet Child O' Mine, be sure
to play as much of the song in key R as you can.

|  [363]  | 3.6.3 Split Chords, part 1               |

You definitely saw this in Sweet Child O' Mine, the [GB] chord.  This, and its
R-key analog [RO], are the basic split chords.  (We will save [GO] for another
time.)  It's not too difficult; play it [25].  You can do it!  For non-pinky
folks, you have to stretch your [24] action to get to it, but I heartily rec-
ommend learning [25] anyway because [GO] will kill you if you try to play it
with just [24].

Honestly, the best way to practice this technique is to do it outside of any
songs.  It doesn't occur often on Hard, but often enough to where you'll want
to practice it.  If you like, practice sliding [GB]>[RO]<[GB] without strumming
before any song or during a practice mode.  Watch the note targets as you do
this - it'll help!

|  [364]  | 3.6.4 Chord-to-Hammer                    |

You won't need this much, but it's good to know that it's here.  A few songs
feature sections of rapidly strummed chords interspersed with short hammer
phrases.  Let's load up an example in practice mode.  Choose Who Was In My Room
Last Night on Hard, and slow it down a bit.  The main riff here has power
chords interspersed with a hammer phrase:  {[GY]x4(RYRG)} Notice that even the
first R is hammer-eligible; this is because you have to strum the [GY] that
precedes it.  If you play this correctly, its 4 strums, 4 hammers.  Most folks
learning this technique play it 5 strums, 3 hammers (strumming the final G) and
that's fine too.  The point is, you can hammer that R, right after strumming
the [GY] chord.

There's a technical fact about this, that's good to know: the hammer-ability of
the note following the chord depends on the chord.  If you were to see [GY]Y,
the Y would NOT be a hammer-friendly because Y was a part of the previous
chord; however, [GY]B would be hammer-friendly because B was not part of the
previous chord.

Anyway, you've probably got a firm grasp on stage 4 on Hard now.  Let's call it
a day, and approach the really crazy stuff later.

|  [370]  | 3.7 Not Just Good                        |


Good morning!  Are you ready to get AWESOME???  Let's do a warm-up or two.  I
would recommend starting right off with Sweet Child O' Mine, although you can
warm up with something lesser and proceed to that if you're still a bit unsure
of your skills.  Remember to try to play it in key R!

I'd like to take this opportunity to say... YOU ROCK!  It's hard to get to this
skill level, so you can now consider yourself a member of the somewhat elite
"Rock Star" crew!  Keep going!  Don't you want to show that punk 15-year old in
the electronics department who's boss?

|  [371]  | 3.7.1 Double-Strum                       |

This is a lifesaving technique.  You WILL need this - I promise!  On the SG
controller, you push the strum bar to strum notes.  The strum bar goes up and
down, and either way is fine for strumming notes.  Chances are, you probably
only strum down right now.  For the really fast parts, strum up and down to
save your arm.  There's several great practices for this; go into practice mode
and choose Freya on Hard.  Pick either section called chunk riff and start.
You will want to strum up and down alternately for this.  You'll also be using
the tap-on technique from before which shouldn't be difficult by now.  Don't
panic if you mess up the tap-ons though, the timing is pretty funky.  Remember
rule number 1.  The important thing is hitting the string of G's alternating up
and down strums.

This isn't a tough practice, so let's step it up a couple of notches!  Pick a
new song.  This time, choose Rock This Town on Expert!  Pick just the Intro,
slower setting.  Start yourself in Y key - this entire riff is nothing but [YO]
with a single Y at the very end.  This riff is basically [YO][YO][YO][YO] over
and over, but at very high speed.  Practice strumming down-up-down-up on those
parts.  When it changes over to [YO][YO]--[YO][YO], practice going up-down for
each pair.  That last Y can be hit by just letting go of 5 as you do the very
last down strum. Think you got it?  Now try it full speed!  I bet you miss the
Y at the end!

|  [372]  | 3.7.2 Hammering, part 3                  |

So, hammering is a really great way to play fast notes without wearing out your
strumming arm.  Great!  But what do you do when you see GRYBO or OBYRG?  Time
to combine the two power techniques; I call it the hammer-slide.

Go into practice mode, pick Hangar 18 on expert, select the section Guitar Solo
2b on SLOWEST.  Ignore the first few notes, but pay attention after the O hold.
Here's a particularly nasty piece of fretwork!  Start in R key.  When you get
to the part that goes OBYRGYGRYBO you're likely to lose it the first time; no
worries, just keep trying!  The trick is to slide finger 2 from R to G.  When
playing that riff, you'll finger (5432) but then 2 is already on R, and you
need a G!  Slide while holding.  The R fret should pop up as your finger moves
off of it, but onto the G.  If all goes well, you should hit the G by sliding 2
onto it.  Got it?  Good, now the other way. Here's the whole riff with a finger
chart (starting after the O hold):
(RYBRYB OBYR GYG RYBO)  (spaces for clarity)
(234234 5432<242>2345)
See how you need to slide in and out of the G?  Slide while holding and you'll
find that it's actually pretty easy to hammer-slide with 2.  You can even use
this technique all the way across the fret board if you like!  I wouldn't
advise doing this in a performance, but try playing a three-note hammer using
only finger 2.  The first RYB here is a great one; just strum the R and then
do the hammer-slide accross to key B.

Alright, time to tackle stage 5 on Hard.  Warning!  Freya is VERY difficult,
largely due to the repetitive riffs and hammers.  How you beat that song is up
to you, but be warned: you will have to do (GO) hammers, which require quite a
stretch.  You'll see a similar riff in Last Child as well.

|  [373]  | 3.7.3 Trills                             |

So you probably have the hammer action down pretty well.  Great!  Let's really
put it to practical use.  Load up Last Child on Practice, Hard, and pick solo
1a.  Run it full speed.  There's 2 parts that go R(YRYRYR).. which is the focus
of this lesson.  This is a trill!  Now think back to the tutorial on hammers.
Remember the "pull-off" that I told you not to worry about?  Now it comes into
action.  To do this riff, hold R and strum.  TAP ON Y with out letting go of R,
and HOLD the Y just until the next R- then let go.  The letting go action, or
"pulling off" of Y counts as hammering on R.  Then tap on Y again, let go, etc.

Do this one until you can hit an entire string of RYRY.  Now, let's do the
difficult version!  Practice Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight, on Expert!  Be
sure to slow it down a notch or two.  The section you want is appropriately
called Trill Me! and the riff is just (YBYBYBYB)..  Practice it in all three
keys, and don't feel bad if you mess it up a lot.  This riff is difficult, but
it makes for great practice.

|  [374]  | 3.7.4 Hammer-to-Chord                    |

Remember chord-to-hammer?  Well, this is kind of the reverse.  There's a riff
in the song Freya that probably kicked your butt; it's vengeance time.  Load it
up in Practice.  Slow it down if you like; pick verse 1.  What you're looking
for is the part that goes [RB][RB] R(YB) [YB] (and the following riff as well).
The part where you hammer is the key to this technique!  For R(YB), you strum R
and hammer Y then B.  But, since there's [YB] coming up, you just tap-on the B
while still holding Y, and then just hold them both for the upcoming chord.
The next riff does it with B(O)[BO]; same trick.  Tap-on the O but hold them
both down and strum to hit the chord.  Don't you feel silly for letting go of
the lower note now?

|  [375]  | 3.7.5 Triples                            |

Ah, the dread triple-chord.  As I mentioned before, there are two basic types
of triples; the straight triple and the gap triple.  You have already seen a
bit of triple action in getting this far, but it's not enough to mess you up.
You'll need to be pretty good at them to finish Hard, so now is a great time
to practice them.

First, the straight triple.  A straight triple is three consecutive frets in
unison, e.g. [GRY].  They aren't too difficult to play, just hold [234] and
strum.  The higher ones you'll use [345] instead, but it's basically the same
as a regular chord.  Let's practice some! Load up Killing In The Name Of, on
Expert.  Select Outro, and put it on slow.  Put yourself in key Y, and get
ready to [234]!  One pass of this stuff should be enough to get you used to it.
You could also try it [345] in key R, if you like.

Alright, now for the hard stuff.  There are two types of gap triples and each
type has two possible positions.  The first, easier type, is an extended power
chord.  For example, the power chord [GY] could be extended to [GYB] with the
addition of B.  Extended power chords are always played [245].  A great place
to practice this type is Jessica, on Expert.  Choose Gtr Intro, and set it to
slower.  Key G, the riff is basically:
[GY] (YG) [GYB][GYB][GYB][GYB] [GY]   (spaces indicate song spaces)
[24] (42) [245][245][245][245] [24]
Yes, it's a little different each time; don't sweat the small stuff for now.
For the first bit, hold [24] and strum; keep [24] down and strum for (YG),
releasing 4 to hit the G (pull-off).  Then, hold 4 and 5 while you hit the four
[GYB] chords, releasing 5 to prepare for the following [GY].  Don't let go of 2
at all through this section!

That's not too bad, but what about the other type?  These ones are fingered
[235] instead.  The feel is different for this one, so let's get some practice
in.  Load up Crazy On You, Expert, and choose Bridge 2, slowest.  There's some
gnarly hammers at first; ignore that and hold out for the [GY] power chords.
After the [GY] you'll need to slide to key R; there's two R strums before the
triple [RYO].  If you're intent on practicing the [235] chord, ignore the [GY]
and just hold out for the R.  I'd give this one two or three tries, and maybe
step it up to slower if you can handle it.

A word of caution:  In the XBox 360 version of Guitar Hero II, there are some
new riffs that really abuse the triple.  I'm not covering that stuff, but [GBO]
and 'nuff said.

Speaking of..

|  [376]  | 3.7.6 Split Chords, part 2               |

Surely you've played [GB] and [RO] enough by now that you're used to it.  What?
You're not?  Oh.  Sorry about that.  Anyway, we'll now focus on the very rare
and unpredictible [GO] chord.  If you want to see it in action, practice Monkey
Wrench on Expert.  It's in the guitar hook section.  You might also consider
the bonus song Radium Eyes, again on expert - this time, look at chorus 1.  My
poor hands!

Anyway, enough trivia for today.  Why not try to unlock stage 8 on Hard?  If
you've made it this far, you should be able to do it with some practice.  Don't
be afraid to use practice mode - that's why it's there!

|  [380]  | 3.8 Getting into Expert                  |

SKILL LEVEL: Guitar Hero

Right, so you should have at least beat YYZ on Hard.  A superb warm-up for this
stage is Jessica.  Considering the challenges ahead, you might also want to try
one of the first four songs on stage 7 after that.  Onward, to stage 8 and the
domain of Guitar Gods!

|  [381]  | 3.8.1 Totally Jamming                    |

Obviously, you'll need to combine many techniques together to be truly awesome.
Most commonly, you'll need to combine the slide, tap-on, and double-strum in
their various forms.  Don't forget the chord-to-hammer and hammer-to-chord as
they can reduce the stress on your arms.  Also, screw what the loading screen
says and feel free to hike the guitar way above your waist!  I find that it
helps with the very fast double-strum.  It's also at this point that I should
probably remind you - STAR POWER CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!

So, where to begin?  How about Misirlou.  There's a ton of double-strum action
in this song, as well as some serious precision hammers.  Watch out for the
incredibly fast double-strum - it's double-fast!  A fair amount of power chord
action, plus double-strummed straight triple near the end, make this a great
medley of everything you've learned so far.  If you can beat Misirlou on Hard,
you're probably ready to graduate.  Beating these four won't be easy, so don't
let this stop you!  Just start up your Expert career now, and come back to the
very difficult ones once you feel that you've gotten better!

|  [382]  | 3.8.2 Starting Expert                    |

Most people try out Shout At The Devil on Expert way before they're ready (I
sure did!) so you probably already know what's coming.  Still, it's THE place
to start properly, so give it a jam.  I'll give you some heads-up information
in advance.  You will NOT beat this song unless you can double-slide with at
least some precision - and playing this song will give you that precision.  No
but's about it!  Try it two or three times if you have to, but double-slide
mastery is where it's at for this song.

You're not going to get to stage 2 until you have some control over trills.
Remember the trills section?  This is it - full speed ahead captain!  Don't be
hurt if you lose the first time you play Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight.
It bests us all.  (It's also very difficult to get 5 stars, due to its length.)

Are you still getting crushed?  First, go back to Hard and at least unlock Free
Bird.  That's quite a feat by itself, and it'll make you a bit better.  You can
also try John The Fisherman's bass line on Expert in practice mode.  It's a fun
simple riff that should give you good preparation for Expert-type playing.

Again, don't forget:  STAR POWER CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!  If a song is holding
you back, try saving your stars until you hit red life.

|  [383]  | 3.8.3 Free Bird Revisited                |

So you've unlocked Free Bird on Hard, and you think you're ready to give it a
try.  Do it in practice mode first, and start with the Fast Part.  Trust me, it
will save you much heart-ache!  Play it full speed, and if you lose your mind,
try going to the part that got you and slowing it down.  That's a great way to
"train your fingers" for the real thing.  (Most people get stuck at solo 'I'.)

If you can beat the solo in practice full speed without feeling like you really
suck, it's time to show 'em.  Don't forget to sit down for the first bit, it'll
help.  Also, use up your early star power since it gives you plenty more before
you run the risk of losing.

Did you beat Free Bird on Hard?  Wow.  You're a legend!  You should probably
go get some fresh air.  Maybe a walk around the block is in order, or a day off
from this game.

|  [390]  | 3.9 Absolutely Wailing                   |

SKILL LEVEL: Guitar Legend

That's right, I said 'LEGEND'.  Very few can beat Free Bird on Hard, and that
means that the last real challenge is same on Expert.  For a warm-up, go with
Hangar 18 on Hard, or maybe Woman on Expert.  It's your call.  Just don't ever
try to warm up on Free Bird.  (Or do; it's not pleasant at all.)

Now is a good time to think back on when you used to look at the Orange button
and shake your head.  That's what we call progress!

|  [391]  | 3.9.1 Mastery of the Star                |

This is the last real technique there is, unless you count hours of practice as
a technique.  The gag here is, burn the stars you don't need and save the stars
you do need.  You want to burn early stars because it's a good way to boost
your score and life bar early on.  It's vital to have a full life bar whenever
possible so don't hesitate to use up the star if you know you can play a part
well.  If you know that there's a part that destroys you coming up, save up
your star power and try to use it at the last possible second.  Hitting even
just a few notes will save you and drive your life back into the green!

For the songs you like, consider using the "star path" method mentioned below.

|  [392]  | 3.9.2 The Road To Godhood                |

By now, you likely eat hammer combos for breakfast.  Good; that's a sign that
you're ready for the truly difficult riffs in this game.  You should have at
least unlocked stage 3 on Expert by now; if you haven't, make it a priority.
You should also have developed the "hammer eye" - you should be able to spot
a hammer note no matter how chaotic the riff is.

Hammers are only half the challenge; chords and double-strums can't be left
to get stale because you'll regret it later.  Practice even the songs you don't
like, because they are preparing you for the worst later.  Practice them ALL.

Ideally, you should be able to go back to Medium and get five stars on every
song without breaking a sweat (well, maybe a little one for Free Bird).  Now is
an excellent time to do so - and unlock some stuff in the process!  You should
have also purchased all the bonus songs by now, as well as the characters and
outfits and maybe most of the guitars.  (The videos are interesting, but save
them for when there's nothing left to buy.)

So, let's test your precision!  Play Tattooed Love Boys on Expert.  Don't go
to practice mode; be a man!  Play it!  If you can, at any time, maintain a
x8 multiplier for four notes, then you are well on the path to guitar godhood!

Once you have reached Expert status, the ideal benchmark of your ability is
Carry On Wayward Son.  This song is THE gauge of skill.  Get four stars, and
it shows you're one of the best.  Five stars, and you're in the top 1%.  99%
of all notes - you've really got it down!  100%???  Well, I haven't done that
(yet).  For the record, my high score on this one is 218,206.  (Don't mail me
just because you beat me, please.  I know there are better than myself.)

|  [393]  | 3.9.3 Diversionary Measure               |

Still practicing?  Good.  You probably have reached stage 6 or 7 by now.  Keep
it up - you're so close!  Every time you beat another song, you're one step
closer to the ultimate showdown.  Meanwhile, I might make a few recommendations
from the bonus songs?

The gnarly ones that are great for working your way up to Free Bird include
FTK, Red Lottery, Fall Of Pangea, The New Black, One For The Road, Soy Bomb,
and X-Stream.

For double-strum precision, try X-Stream.  The best for slides and power chords
is Mr. Fix It (which is, incidentally, a really funny song).  A good mix of all
the major techniques can be found in Push Push, Collide, and The Light That
Blinds (watch out, that one's REALLY hard).

If you just want a bad-assed jam that's hard and fun, go with Gemini.  And if
you just want something easy, go with Elephant Bones or Soy Bomb.

Stay the hell away from Yes We Can; it's quite possibly the worst song I have
ever heard in my entire life.  Also, stay away from Jordan and Six on Expert;
both of these songs are harder than Free Bird.

If you really just want a hammer combo from hell, play Less Talk More Rokk.
You can do it, champ!  It's calling you.

Red Lottery is super-slow (and hammerrific).  It's a general running joke among
my friends that somewhere in that song is the "Brown Noise" from South Park.
Still, it's not as bad as Yes We Can.

|  [394]  | 3.9.4 The Final Battle                   |

Did you finally unlock Free Bird on Expert?  Pat yourself on the back!  This is
the perfect time to go back to Hard and get five stars on as many songs as you
can.  You should be able to five-star all the songs on Hard at about the same
time you can beat Free Bird on Expert.  Don't be afraid to use practice mode;
on Expert, Free Bird is completely nuts.  Keep trying - you can do it!

If you actually beat Free Bird, you belong to a select few.  There are but two
goals, so far beyond reach that even trying denotes you as a complete addict.

First:  Beat Six on Expert.  Go on.  Do it!  DO IT!!!
Second: Beat Jordan on Expert.  This deserves its own section.

|  [395]  | 3.9.5 Wear A Bucket                      |


This is the one that I CANNOT BEAT.  I crush it on Hard; on Expert, it crushes
me.  Very, very few people can even get to 50% of this song.  I've read many
online helps concerning this song, and I'll share what pearls of wisdom I have,
but remember - I'm no authority.  If you really need more, scoot on down to a
great little site called score hero.  (I'm sure you can guess the address.)

First, practice the main 2 riffs at the start.  Get them DOWN PAT!!!  You'll
need to use the pull-off, the hammer-slide, and the double-strum with blazing
accuracy just to get through the riffs.  Don't use up your stars; save them for
the "hard part".

When the riff changes, there's a nifty hammer combo that you'll pretty much
need to hit perfectly.  This is your warning: be prepared to ROCK.  It's going
to literally assault you with notes after that!  Watch your life - and rock out
as soon as you hit the red.  FLAIL on that strum bar and try your damnedest to
hit as many notes as you can!  Try to save that rock for as long as you can,
since you only get one; you want it to go as far as possible.  After the "note
assault" part is another hammer combo that you should thrash; then another
super-fast part, but this time it's actually possible.  You will have to get at
least half of this part right.  Once you get to the B hold, you've done it!
That is the note affectionately known as the "Blue Hold Of Freedom".  Don't
let go yet though; you still need to do the main riff again and if you biff it
there, it's all over.

For the record, I have NEVER gotten to the "Blue Hold Of Freedom".  Good Luck.

|  [400]  | 4. Star Power                            |

Star Power.  What a lame name.  It's the ROCK OUT!!!  Rock out, dude!

|  [410]  | 4.1 SP Essentials                        |

There are a couple of things to know about the Star Power that can really help
you maximize it's effectiveness.  First and foremost, the Star Phrases do not
change - they're always in the same place in each song.  It's good to learn
where the SP's are so you can plan your rock out.  Usually, it's best to rock
out as soon as you have enough SP; however, nearing the end of the song, you
might need to wait for that last phrase so it doesn't go to waste.
Every SP nets you 1/4 of the rock bar.  So, after you've collected 4 SP's, you
will want to rock out ASAP, and hope it wears out before the next SP comes.
Ideally, you should rock out after 2 or 3 SP's - but remember where the SP's
are, so you aren't in rock mode while you pass through.  If you're rocking, any
SP's you pass will be lost!  Check the "More Stats" option at the end of a song
to see how many SP's you got.  For those songs you are maxing out, you should
get every one, and you should end the song with an empty rock bar.

|  [420]  | 4.2 Whammy                               |

The whammy bar is your ticket to bonus SP.  If you hit a star note that has a
long hold on it, whammy!  You'll get extra SP for whammying a star hold.  Now,
it's good to know the appropriate whammy techniques; you can't just hit the
note and hold down the whammy bar.  The bonus SP is responsive to CHANGES in
the whammy.  So, ideally, you want to wiggle the whammy bar, or push it in and
release it slowly.  Don't just hold it - move it up and down.  It helps to
develop a favorite whammy technique for each song, because you'll remember to
hit the whammy AND you'll maximize your SP gains from it by making a sound that
you like.
Whammy does NOTHING else for you, so don't waste your efforts trying to whammy
all the time!  You don't get points for whammy, and you only get SP boost on
a star note.  Save your whammy for where it really counts.  Another side effect
to using the whammy all the time is that it makes it sound like you're ruining
the song.  If you only use it on SP's, it tends to enhance the sound more.
I've read reports of whammy bars breaking.  Be gentle!  Don't slam it into the
bulk of the controller.  If the whammy bar resists your efforts, it's already
at its limit, so move it the other way.  When releasing the whammy, it's good
to prepare for the release so you can let go of it slowly and prevent a sudden
impact inside the SG controller.  These things aren't cheap, so treat it good.

|  [430]  | 4.3 Rocking Out                          |

Here it is, the almighty Star Power deployed.  You can always press select with
the palm of your strumming hand if you like, but I have developed a distaste
for that method, and I prefer to just "rock out".  To rock out, as they say in
the tutorial, be sure your SG controller is in the upright and rocked position.
Essentially, try to point the handle of the controller straight up.  It helps
to practice playing with the controller in this position because it'll help you
not miss notes while you are rocking out.
I've noticed that the SG doesn't respond well to being shaken, so when rocking
out I recommend holding the controller up and leaning your body at the same
time in a fluid, "rocking" motion.  Also, if your rock out fails, just ignore
it and wait for another chance because it's easy to focus too much on the rock
out and not enough on the notes, and destroy your multiplier in the process.
You could also try hitting select when the traditional rock out fails; this
might help you maximize your use of SP while minimizing the risk.  I can't
seem to do it, myself; the select button just feels foreign.
Another idea is to hold the SG close to your body in preparation for a rock out
and then bending over to finish the move.  The upside of this is that it takes
less motion to rock out, and is very reliable.  The downside is, you get stuck
with the SG close to your body when you're trying to play for x8.  It works
for me, but not for some of my friends.
When you rock out, all the notes will turn a glowing blue.  I find this makes
it easier, rather than harder, to play; since you aren't thinking about the
colors anymore, you're thinking about the fingering position.

|  [440]  | 4.4 Timing                               |

Once you've developed a rock out technique that works reliably for you, it's
time to put it to hard use.  Pick a song you really, really like; put it on
Medium.  Now, you want to play the song perfectly if you can, but also keep a
mental note of how much SP you have accumulated.  If you miss a star phrase,
try to remember that you did so you can count that against your SP's at the
end of the song.  As soon as you have a half-bar or more, rock out!  You want
to have an empty rock bar as much as possible.  However, once you're near the
end of the song, save your SP until you get the last stars of the song and then
rock out.  This is a simple technique to maximize your SP potential.
Anyway, after you win, check the More Stats and look at how many star phrases
you picked up.  If you did everything correctly, you should have gotten them
all.  If you didn't, but you're sure you didn't mess one up, that means you
were in rock out mode when you passed a star phrase.  The thing to do in this
case is to re-play the song, and don't rock out at all; just look for the stars
that you missed.  Play again, and this time, work around the stars so that you
can get them all!  Timing your rock out to not pass through a star phrase is
the five-star insurance; even if you do poorly on a song, the rock out will net
you enough points usually.  The only exception to the rule is when there is a
star phrase you just CANNOT play; in this case, you could either ignore them,
or you can try some mental preparation.  Ignore the notes before the stars, and
just play the star phrase.  Getting star power far outweighs the extra couple
of points you get for playing the notes before the stars.

|  [500]  | 5. Other Information                     |

Wait, there's more...?

|  [510]  | 5.1 Codes                                |

Here are all the codes for the US version.  Enter a code to enable/disable it.

YYBOYB             - Air Guitar        (character has no guitar)
BOYOYOB            - Eyeball Heads     (crowd's heads are eyeballs)
OBYYOBYY           - Monkey Heads      (crowd's heads are monkey heads)
OYOOYOYY           - Flaming Head      (character's head is on fire)
BOOBOOBOOB         - Horse Head        (all band members have horse heads)
OBOYOBOY           - Hyper Speed       (fret board scrolls faster)
YYBYYOYY           - Performance Mode  (no display at all!!!)
BYOROYRYRYRYRYRYRY - Unlock everything, disable saving

I've gotten some e-mails saying the "Unlock Everything" code doesn't work.  I
know FOR A FACT that it does; just try the code twice, and append some extra
presses of RYRYRY at the end for good measure.

|  [520]  | 5.2 Notes and addenda                    |

All the encore songs are much longer than the other songs on each level; it's
on purpose.  If you play an encore song, prepare for an extended jam!

All main songs were covered by the Harmonix team, except for John the Fisherman
by Primus and Stop by Jane's Addiction which were performed by the original
artists (presumably in-house).

All bonus songs were performed by the original artists, except for Trogdor,
which is sort of a joke song.  Check out Trogdor's origins at this address:
The voice in the song is that of the voice actor for Strong Bad, though.

Thunderhorse by Dethklok is a shameless plug for Metalocalypse, a show on
Cartoon Network's night-time branch, [adult swim].

Made In Mexico is, by gamer consensus, the worst band ever.

|  [600]  | 6. Credits                               |

|  [610]  | 6.1 Contact Information                  |

I can be reached via e-mail, my address is chernobyl(at)rpg(dash)free(dot)com.
If you send me e-mail concerning this guide, be sure to include "GH2" somewhere
in the subject so I know what it is.  Spam will be summarily deleted.  I KNOW
there are people out there better than I - so if you have something to add to
my guide, just send me an e-mail!

|  [620]  | 6.2 Shout-outs and thank-yous            |

Shout-outs to:
 * FreeTheFro, Boy4Pele, Trouble and Bubble, Budman, Berta, and several others.
    You guys get better every day, and it is friends like you that helped me
    develop these techniques and this guide!
 * Marcus Henderson, the real hero of Guitar Hero.  YOU ROCK!!!

Thank-yous to:
 * CJayC, for creating a superb gaming resource.
 * Harmonix.  GH is great!  When will we see Amplitude 2 (Frequency 3)?
 * Activision.  For making this game such a success.
 * You.  For reading the guide!  I hope you benefit from it.