Electronic axe men sending hopeful rock and rollers to the hills?

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It takes time, dedication, excellent hand eye coordination and, if you're lucky, you can play the Beatles or Taylor Swift in no time flat.

No, you don't have to be a musical prodigy you just need your copy of Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or any one of the musical video games flooding the market in recent years.

But, have the floods of musical gamers caused the pool of true musicians to recede? Are electronic axe men causing hopeful rock and rollers to run to the hills?

Note by note, Jesus Alvarado, 17, jams to a nearly perfect rendition of the Beatles' "Can't Buy me Love."

"I don't play it all the time, only when I hang around my friends and stuff," said Alvarado.

Guitar instructor Randy York can play the music too. It has just taken a bit longer; try 40 years.

"I started when I was 11," said York.

The equalizer is Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and the slew of music games hitting the market in recent years. Players rock in packed venues for points, a sensation some say beats the real thing.

"The real thing, you got strings coming all the way down here," said Eliseo Hernandez. "You gotta go back and forth...no, I'm not gonna do that."

The guitar for the game does cover its bases with a strum bar, fret buttons and no strings attached. For the past seven years, York has taught music as he learned it.

"When I first heard of those things, I thought, 'Man, this is bad for guitar teachers,'" said York.

York took a closer look and soon found parallels, beginning with the colored note bars.

"When you're reading music, it travels," said York. "You have to travel and keep up. I was actually wrong because a lot of kids play the songs with the game and then they come take lessons."

Along with the dreaded "P" word: practice.

"Nah, that's not for me actually," said Alvarado. "I actually don't really like instruments. I just play this."

But York says that's OK.

"It gives me something to start a conversation with me and young students," said York. "Sometimes you can play and just get in sort of a trance."

It's a spell seeming to happen whether strumming strings or pushing plastic. If you have a fan of the video games looking to pick up a guitar with actual strings, York said you're in luck. While the latest model video games are still costing quite a bit, he says there are plenty of deals on quality guitars you can use to learn.

Also, we want to know your opinion on the issue. Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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