Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rock Band Guitar on the PC?

In the latest issue of MAKE Magazine (vol 15), they have a feature that lets you play your Guitar Hero guitar on the PC. Owen Grace of The Guitar Zeroes built some software in Max/MSP he coined 'Fretbuzz' that lets you actually interface these guitars with the PC, and offered it up for free to the community. That is awesome.

I thought it'd be a fun project. Wasn't until later that I realized I have Rock Band for the Xbox 360, not Guitar Hero. As it turns out though, happy ending: They both work. Here's the steps I went thought following the directions on the Fretbuzz page (my experience was slightly different than what their directions say)
  1. First, my Rock Band guitar wasn't recognized by my PC after plugging it into the USB port. After doing the obligatory Google search, I found I could download drivers for it here. Restarted computer. Checked under Start -> Control Panel -> Game Controllers, and my 'Harmonix Guitar for Xbox 360'was recognized.
  2. Went to The Guitar Zero's web site, and downloaded the Fretbuzz code, and started following the directions on its download page:
  3. Went to download (via the Fretbuzz page link) the Max\MSP software, but that link took me to the latest release. Fretbuzz says it wants the older version 4.6.3. I found that here under -> Older Max Windows Versions -> then downloaded 'Max/MSP 4.6.3 with documentation'. Installed after download in default location. (maybe the latest version does work, but I didn't want to jump through the hoops if it didn't)
  4. Downloaded the version of PeRColate from the Fretbuzz site, and followed the Fretbuzz site directions for installing it. They're right, the readme.rft that comes with the .zip is a bit confusing.
  5. Restarted my machine again per request by Max\MSP.
  6. Launched the runtime of Max\MSP (C:\Program Files\Cycling '74\MaxMSP 4.6\MaxRT.exe), and opened the specified file buzz_360.pat based on where I'd saved tghe Fretbuzz code. Clicked on the "Help Meee" button, and configured my guitar.
  7. Started playing!
It's just too bad that I'm not a musician. But maybe this will encourage me ;)

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