Guitar Hero - The Dreaded Orange Note

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The Orange Note

The game Guitar Hero has several difficulties, each which change the style of play quite a bit. In Easy mode, you only face three notes, the green, red, and yellow. These can be played with one finger per note, and do not present much of a challenge for most players. Moving up to medium, you add on the blue note, but again, this can be done with one finger per note, and still is not too much of a challenge, allowing for a bit of practice. However, moving into the Hard difficulty, or up to Expert, presents you with a challenge: there are now five different notes, but unless you’ve figured out how to use your thumb, you’re left with only four fingers to play them. How, then, do you play this last note? See below for some of the possibilities…

The Slide

The first approach most people try is to simply move their hand back and forth between the bottom four notes (green through blue) and the top four notes (red through orange). This technique is called the slide, and is one of the two main techniques used to get to all five notes. The advantage of this method is that you are still using one finger per note, making the actual note playing easy. The difficulty with this method is that in one case, your middle finger is the red, and in the other, it plays the yellow, and this can be confusing without looking at the guitar neck. Thankfully, the designers put a small ridge on the yellow button, allowing you to feel out the center button, and figure out which set of notes your hand is over. This will help you in the majority of the songs, but during a fast rift or difficult solo, you may not have the time to think about which finger has the ridge under it. However, because it feels like playing a real guitar, this is the approach that many people choose to stick with.

The Stretch

The other primary technique is called the stretch, and it has two variations on it. You will leave your hand on the same four notes the whole time, but one of your fingers will be responsible for two notes. At first, many people use this approach and try to stretch their pinky to play both blue and orange, but because of the general weakness and shorter length of that finger, most people end up changing. Instead of stretching the pinky, you hold your fingers over the red, yellow, blue, and orange notes, and stretch your index finger for all green notes. This finger is much more versatile than the pinky, allowing for more ease in making the stretch. Also, the green and red notes are usually in easier sections of the songs, making for less work than a blue-orange stretch. The difficulty with this is twofold. You are no longer in a “one finger, one note” mindset, which is a big change from the way easy and medium are played. Also, when you encounter chords that contain both the green and red notes, or the blue and orange, depending on your stretched finger, you have to hold both with one finger. That is a bit of a challenge, but when you have a song that goes from a green-red chord to just the green or red, or between combinations of all three quickly, you can get confused easily.

Which is for me?

In the end, you need to pick whichever style is the easiest for you to grasp. Different factors, including the size of your hands, and how quick you can feel the ridge, can make a big difference in which one will work best. I suggest trying both techniques to see which one you prefer, as you may not like your initial choice. Personally, I have smaller hands, and prefer a green-red stretch, but I know people who use both techniques with great success. Either choice involves a change in mindset from the Easy and Medium difficulties, and that it will take some work to get used to. Once you have settled on one, try to stick with it and perfect your technique to improve your response time and accuracy, and you will be a true Guitar Hero in no time.