Rock Band 3 Teaches You To Rock With Real Guitars & Keyboards

Rock Band 3 will, as expected, let you do something you've never been able to do in a home music game before: play the keyboard.

Yes, the fifth wheel of the rock world makes its long-overdue debut in Harmonix's Rock Band 3, a report on USA Today showcasing not only the new controller in action, but a revamped tracklist designed to make the most of it.

The keyboard is a "25-key, fully functioning MIDI" version of the real thing, and is one of two key improvements made to the game, the other being the introduction of a new "Rock Band Pro" mode for expert players, which replaces coloured tabs with real musical symbols in an effort to get players on the track to playing real instruments.

To complement Pro mode, there are two new guitar controllers in development that feature actual strings, one a full-sized replica of a Fender Stratocaster, the other a Fender Mustang Pro. "You can go from plucking single notes to power chords and bar chords, we have crazy stuff like tapping and slides," Harmonix's Sylvain Dubrofsky says. "If you ever had any aspirations of connecting with the music in a deeper way ... you are really going to like Rock Band 3."

A partial tracklist has also been revealed, and is predictably keyboard-heavy.


Combat Baby — Metric

Dead End Friends — Them Crooked Vultures

Get Free — The Vines

Lasso — Phoenix

Me Enamora — Juanes

Oh My God — Ida Maria

Portions of Foxes — Rilo Kiley

The Hardest Button to Button — The White Stripes


Been Caught Stealing — Jane's Addiction

In the Meantime — Spacehog

Plush — Stone Temple Pilots

Walkin' on the Sun — Smash Mouth


Crazy Train — Ozzy Osbourne

Here I Go Again — Whitesnake

I Love Rock and Roll — Joan Jett

Just Like Heaven — The Cure

Rainbow in the Dark — Dio

The Power of Love — Huey Lewis and the News

Sister Christian — Night Ranger


Bohemian Rhapsody — Queen

Break On Through — The Doors

Crosstown Traffic — Jimi Hendrix

There are plenty of other minor tweaks and adjustments being made to the series' successful formula, which you can check out at the USA Today report below.

'Rock Band 3': Keyboards are the key [USA Today]


    (spews in amazement)

    (calls local game shop for full kit preorder)

    Frightening. Please oh please, EA, MTV Games - RELEASE THE DAMN THING HERE.

    Rock Band 3?!? You mean there was a Rock Band 2? :P

    Ace, I could see keyboarding being pretty fun stuff.

    Looks brilliant.
    Although.. the tracklist is very foggy to me. I only know Bohemian Rhapsody.

    Any word on an Australian release?

      Ages ago when RB3 was announced on Kotaku, they mentioned a world-wide release. As to whether or not that comes to pass will be left up to Harmonix. One would like to think they'll actually try and push through with this though, considering they're obviously pushing for a wider gaming community with the implementation of keyboards/keytars.

    Aw man, I go and get all excited about Power Gig and now I see this. Decisions, Decisions. I guess I'll have to wait till E3 to see RB3 in action.

    Some pretty good songs in the setlist. Now they've got keyboards I hope they bring out some Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard tracks as DLC or as on disc content.

      Here's a video I found of the keyboards in action. It looks like it can be used as a keytar or a normal keyboard.

        It should be really interesting to see how they integrate the keyboard in to some songs. Especially where the doors are concerned. Considering Ray Mankzarek used to play the bass lines on a Fender Rhodes Bass keyboard, which funnily enough, looks almost like the keyboard supplied with the game! I soooo hope they include When the Music's Over! That has such a kickass keyboard solo near the end!!

    Not overly impressed with the current track list. And why would you finally manage to get a Dio song in one of these, only to choose Rainbow in the Dark? What a waste.

    very poor track list guitar hero 6 is way better

      Fully agree with ya' man.

      The GH6 has only had <1/2 of its songs revealed, and theres at least over 12 songs that I really am looking forward to music (metal; Slipknot, A7X, Dragonforce, Megadeth and Bad Sabbath).

      Hopefully they'll kick up the pace [HMX] with some more metal. RB2 had a great tracklist, wasn't much of a fan of RB1's tracklist though.

      Yeah, we Aussies could get a taste of RB2 without importing. :(

      Also, I think you guys shouldn't worry about whether it'll be released in Australia, I'm quite sure it will since TB:RB and Green Day: RB have had international releases.

    Oh man, I think this might be the nail in Power Gig's coffin.

      Power Gig was dead to me as soon as I heard about the "Airstrike" drumkit...pffft. Air drumming? So much Fail.

    Awwww, I was hoping for 'Final Countdown'!

      "Final Countdown" was in Lego Rock Band - you can buy it cheap and import all songs into RB...

      I have that on my hard drive for rock band. Lets hope its compatible with the RB3 keyboard.

    This is interesting. The new Guitar Hero is moving even further into "casual" territory and the new Rock Band will take the genre closer to the real thing than ever before.

    I don't like the idea of making people play real guitar through a video game. I mean, if they wanted to learn, why not properly. A video game will never be as good as a proper teacher giving instructions and feedback based on your playing.

    So it basically teaches you how to play the drums and keyboard for real, but doesn't do squat for the people that want to learn how to play the guitar... Surely they could have modified the buttons to have a set of pressure sensors in the top and bottom or something...

      I don't mean to sound rude or anything, but if you read the article you would have seen this.

      "To complement Pro mode, there are two new guitar controllers in development that feature actual strings, one a full-sized replica of a Fender Stratocaster, the other a Fender Mustang Pro. You can go from plucking single notes to power chords and bar chords, we have crazy stuff like tapping and slides,”

      RB3 sounds awesome, but I hate to think how much the bundle for these "new and improved" instrument controllers is gonna cost.

        I completely missed that bit (that'll teach me to read stuff when I'm tired).

        I think another question would be if you could use the new guitars to play without the game (like the Power Gig ones)...

    give me an 80's add on disc and i'll come in my pants.. come on, who doesn't want to rock some Spandau Ballet, Men At Work, Hall and Oates etc etc

      I hear ya, Woodrow. I almost never hear anything good said about the Guitar Hero 80s game, but it was brilliant to get people around and go nuts with.

    Keen as to play this.

    Oh my god. OH MY GOD.

    As someone who actually plays guitar, I have to say, this is the coolest thing ever. This is a great way to learn to play an instrument, and I'm /definately/ going to get this because, well, the tracklist is great, too.

    This is...amazing. I cannot wait to drop the Iceman for an hour or two each day, to supplement it with this.

    Oh shit... Just like heaven... Oh shit... -explodes with angst laden excitement-

    Whoa... More Dream Theater please!?

    A Wolfmother track pack would be ideal for a keyboard peripheral. "Mind's Eye" in particular.

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