There is a small price to pay to feel like a true rock star in your living room, the Starpex guitar from Peak Products delivers that experience 100%. If you felt that jamming on the plastic guitar that came with the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games was fun but just didn’t quite complete the inner rock star in you, well this guitar will certainly add the polish you need. So when we got a chance to review the Starpex guitar we jumped at the opportunity to rock out on a guitar that promised to not feel like a plastic toy but more like a true axe.
The box alone for the Starpex is impressive. It’s a tall big red angular box that features a guy strumming on the Starpex, so when I opened up the packaging I was equally impressed. The Starpex comes with 2 connectivity options – wired and wireless for both PS2 and PS3. Batteries are included as well as a strap which is sturdy, and can be adjusted for the taller gamers. The whammy bar comes loose in the box which you just have to twist into the guitar to set-up.
The Starpex we got to review is the classic fender white and black. The Starpex however comes in 3 different styles – Obsidian ( Black and White), Dead Rose, Black Sunburst, and a full wooden body with white pick guards. The Starpex is also equipped with solid chrome tuning pegs (even though you don’t need to tune the guitar) and a 5-way toggle switch which can be switched for different effects during a solo. Similar to the design of the newer Rock Band Stratocaster and Guitar Hero controller, there are ten fret buttons. Five colored frets are at the top of the guitar and five others closer to the body of the Starpex. The buttons closer to the body make it optimal for an awesome solo and the traditionally located frets at the top of the arm make the Starpex still similar in some ways to its plastic counterparts.
When I actually got settled and started to play, the first reaction I had were to the fret buttons, they are really great. When playing with the stock Guitar Hero or Rock Band guitars the buttons will only take so much but I can see the Starpex going the distance and wearing your fingers out before you get the best of it. The fret buttons higher up on the the neck are thinner so someone with smaller hands will not be left out, or if you want to get the rock star solo effect when you throw your leg up on a chair, you can use this in songs with killer solos. It does however take a few hours to get used to. This is a standard size guitar with a full wooden body so it doesn’t compare at all to its plastic counterparts in weight. After a while your shoulder will get tired, forget the hand cramps of an Iron Maiden solo! Welcome to what a real guitar player feels like when he/she is standing and playing for 30 minutes. So what if your shoulder will get tired – it is worth every aching second.
Being a woman it did wear me out after awhile but I guess after several hours I should probably take a break anyway. This is not the same toy guitar we have been beating up on and dressing up with stickers for the last 2 years. You do not need to mash the button in order to hit the note. The strum bar will not get stuck or have a squishy feel. The whammy bar is positioned perfectly and has the reaction as if it was on a real guitar. One disappointment is that the Starpex is not backwards compatible to play PS2’s Guitar Hero 2 on the PS3.
The Starpex will bring you to a new level of play. It’s a well made guitar that feels real and adds to the authenticity of playing both Guitar Hero and Rock Band, besides also being environmentally friendly. One downside is that it’s not available for X-Box 360. I for one am disappointed by that, so I hope all the rumored licensing issues with Microsoft are worked out soon because those who own that console are certainly missing out. By adding the Starpex to your arsenal of other instruments in Rock Band 2 or the soon to be released Guitar Hero World Tour, you are one step closer to feeling what it truly is like to be a rock star. How did we manage so long with those little plastic guitars?! If you can get over the weight of the guitar and the price of $179.99, this is a great buy. There is no doubt in my mind I can see this being a hard to come by gift for the holidays.
The Good - Well made, real size guitar that will have you jamming for hours without fear of breaking it. Adds even more realism to ‘rhythm games.’
The Bad - No X-Box 360 compatibility. Guitar can get heavy on the shoulders after a few hours of play. Price may scare a few consumers but you really do get what you pay for.