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Retail Radar: Rock Band guitar revealed

GameStop posts first images of Fender-licensed peripheral for upcoming Harmonix rhythm game, drops estimated peripheral prices.

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The Fender Stratocaster of gaming guitars.
The Fender Stratocaster of gaming guitars.

With Harmonix ready to strike up the Rock Band later this year, the first pictures of the game's Fender-licensed guitar peripheral have arrived, courtesy of retailer GameStop. In a mass-e-mailed newsletter this morning, GameStop linked customers to two images of the new Rock Band guitar.

The new guitar features 10 fret buttons, as opposed to the standard Guitar Hero controller's five. However, the set of buttons down near the base of the guitar neck may be redundant, as they are labeled with the same five colors in the same order as the buttons at the top of the neck. A similar arrangement was used by The Ant Commandos for its Guitar Hero-compatible Double Range Freedom V guitar. (The descending order of green, red, yellow, blue, and orange in the Rock Band guitar is identical to that used in controllers for Harmonix's original axe-centric series, Guitar Hero.)

Color-coded buttons for easy rocking.
Color-coded buttons for easy rocking.

Currently GameStop is accepting Rock Band preorders with an expected shipping date of November 20. While the retailer still offers the game and its individual peripherals separately, it has also added listings for a Rock Band bundle, which would include the game, the wireless guitar, drums, and a microphone. The bundle is currently going for $199.99 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The $200 price point for an all-in-one Rock Band bundle was previously floated in a focus group where, among other things, participants were told a Wii edition of the game was in development.

GameStop has also changed its estimated prices for a few of the game's peripherals. The Xbox 360 and PS3 microphones are currently being offered for $29.99, down from $39.99. Meanwhile, the PS3 wireless guitar controller is listed at $59.99, down $20 from $79.99. As of press time, the Xbox 360 wireless guitar is still listed at $79.99, although there is a note assuring customers that if the price drops before the product releases, they will be charged the lower price.

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