Rock Band 3 Squier shredding March 1

Preorders for rhythm-game-compatible $280 Fender Stratocaster guitar and controller open January 1, 2011.

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Rock Band 3 arrived in stores last week alongside a new range of Mad Catz instrument controllers, but diehard fans may be looking at that barrage of plastic instruments as a mere opening act. The main event, as it were, is set for next year, as Fender Stratocaster today announced that its Rock Band 3-compatible Squier guitar will launch March 1 for $280.

$280 is expensive for a game peripheral, but on the lower end of electric guitar prices.
$280 is expensive for a game peripheral, but on the lower end of electric guitar prices.

A full-size electric guitar complete with steel strings and maple neck, the Squier also works with Rock Band 3's Pro guitar songs and trainer modes. The Squier requires the use of a Mad Catz MIDI Pro Adapter to hook up with the game. The box, which also allows MIDI-compatible drums and keyboards to be used with the game's Pro modes, was announced in June with a suggested retail prices of $40. The Squier also works as a MIDI-compatible electric guitar and can be plugged into a standard amplifier.

Preorders for the Squier controller will open on January 1, 2011. Those who can't wait that long to try out Rock Band 3's Pro guitar songs can look into Mad Catz's wireless Fender Mustang Pro-Guitar controller. The $150 peripheral features 102 different buttons on the neck (one to replicate each of a guitar's six strings at 17 frets) and a touch-sensitive strumming area with real strings so players can pluck individual strings or cut notes short by pressing on them.

Developed by Harmonix, Rock Band 3 introduces keyboards to the series, as well as Pro drum, keyboard, and guitar modes. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's review.

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