YOU’LL NEED TO PUT IN SOME SERIOUS WORK IN ORDER TO NAIL SOME OF THE TRICKIER TUNES IN THE GUITAR HERO FRANCHISE. MASON “MASSI4H” MADDOX OFFERS HIS NINE TOP TIPS TO HELP YOU ROCK YOUR WAY TO VICTORY!1 - LEARN TO STRUM UP AND DOWN Some sections will get too fast to just strum downwards, so you should strum these parts alternating between up and down strokes. Grip it as you would a guitar pick and use your wrist to strum. Try getting used to alternate strumming most of the time, so it builds muscle memory. In the long run it will keep you more consistent2 - ONLY HIT THE NOTES ON THE SCREEN Keeping your multiplier is the most important key to getting a good score. I’ve seen people get high percentages by strumming twice as fast as the song actually is just to hit more notes. However, when you do this you break your note streak, which means even with 100% if you overstrum after every note your score could be up to fi ve times worse off than getting 100% without overstrumming (referred to as an ‘FC’or ‘Full Combo’).3 - DON’T TILT FOR STAR POWER Although it may look cooler to tilt your guitar, it is best to use the Back/Select/Star Power button for Star Power activations. Not only are you able to press this button right on the note you want to activate on, but when trying to pass a very hard part of a song you want to wait as long as you can before you activate Star Power to save you. This was a common problem in the Guitar Hero 2 song ‘Jordan’ when people would want to activate in the solo, and they would move their guitar up and keep shaking it. However, Star Power wouldn’t come out straight away and they’d fail the song.4 - ANCHOR THE LOWER NOTES When you have a pattern that goes, say, G, R, G, R, instead of hitting G then taking your fi nger off and putting your other finger on R and strumming it, you can use what’s called “anchoring” where you keep your fi nger on G and add your other finger to R. Since G is lower on the neck than R, you can do this. This means you only have to concentrate on your finger on R going on and off, and you can just leave a fi nger on G.5 - ‘5 STAR’ BEFORE MOVING UP A good way to see if you’re ready to move up a diffi culty is to use the in-game ratings. If you generally get 5 stars on the songs you play often, especially the ones with a higher intensity level, then you should think about moving up. If you are barely passing or luckily getting 4 stars, then you might want to practise more at that diffi culty.6 - “FEEL” THE MUSIC Guitar Hero speed is not based on reacting to every single note that comes. You need to “feel” the music (it helps to actually like the song) and you should get a rough idea of how to time each riff and every progression as it comes towards you.7 - PLAY IN SECOND POSITION When moving up into Expert, there are now fi ve buttons in play for your four fi ngers. Second position should be your default position where you have your index fi nger on red and pinky fi nger on orange. So instead of moving your pinky up to hit orange from fi rst position, it is much easier and more effi cient to move your index fi nger down to green. When trying to hit a sweep (green to red to yellow to blue to orange in quick succession) try sliding green to red and then using the other three fi ngers to hammer on to the three respective colours.8 - COUNT YOUR STRUMSSome strumming sections may be too fast, so you generally just fl ail away at it at a fast speed and miss around the end or every few notes. The fi rst thing to check is if you are either fi nishing on a down-strum or an up-strum, which you can do by simply looking at the chart. The second is to emphasise each beat. So if you have four notes per beat for four beats, then in each beat put an emphasis (strum harder, move your arm more, sway your head, just anything to keep your timing on beat) on the fi rst note of each of the four beats.9 - USE PRACTICE MODE WISELY Slow a section right down in practice mode. Use the slow speed to develop a fi ngering technique that will work optimally at full speed and only increase the speed when you can consistently hit it on the previous speed.