Improve Your Skill in Guitar Hero I, II and III

You wanna shred that guitar like a pro? Some good old-fashioned practice and a few pro tips from wikiHow can get you on your way to jamming with the best of them. You'll be memorizing orange, yellow, red, blue and green before you know it and moving those fingers like lightning. Jimi Hendrix ain't got nothin' on you.


  1. Learn to perform hammer-ons and pull-offs. In the game they are explained in the 'advanced' tutorial. What hammer-ons and pull-offs (further in the article called "HOPOs") are are when there is a series of notes that go from the green to orange or orange to green direction you can use the strum bar once, and get all the notes. Timing when hitting the fret buttons is essential! A good way to practice your H.O.P.Os is to play "Less Talk more Rock" on Expert in the Practice section of the game, playing only the "Speedup." One more thing about HOPOs, when there is a long note, you will have to strum for the next note. You cannot strum between long notes or power chords (one or more frets at the same time) A way to make sure when it is okay to HOPO is when the "orbs" do not have a black ring on top. If there is a black ring, you must strum. NOTE: HOPOing is very hard to do in GH I.
  2. Learn to double strum! This is going both up and down with the strum bar. In Expert, this is a necessary thing to do for most songs: Looking at Misirlou and Jordan for examples, there are many close-together notes that are too hard or impossible to all hit strumming one direction. This skill takes time to master, so double strum when necessary at the beginning of your training to be better, and then try to move completely to double-strumming. This not only lets you get many fast notes, but it also is a lot less tiring. Also learn to gallop strum, which is fancy for the type of strumming needed to get 100% on Six and The Trooper on Expert.
  3. Play against friends in pro-faceoff (unlocked after beating on difficulty in career mode, only in GH II) and let them play at their preferred difficulty. Not only does this force you to try to do stuff you can't usually do, but if you try to hit every note, you'll keep getting higher percentages, and you'll get better at your difficulty. (But don't beat yourself up, if you can only play easy (which is really sad) and your friend is playing on expert, this will only depress you) If they're a good friend (good enough at the game to notice when you screw up, and are nice) they should show you where you're messing up and give you some advice of some extra tricks they might have.
  4. Use Star Power wisely, if at all. If you're playing a song that is difficult, save up your star power until your ROCK meter is at the bottom of the red zone, preferably right before or when it starts flashing red and use it to save your life. If you're playing a song you can beat easily, then when you have a 4x Multiplier going, use Star Power and use the 8x Multiplier to raise your score. If you can beat the song without Star Power, but you end up in the yellow zone or red zone at the end: Practice more. Strive to end your songs in the Green region. Then when you can get 4 stars without star power, play again, and go for five. Note: The only way to get five golden stars is to get 100% of the notes. Otherwise they're penciled in.
  5. Learn what possible frets can be held down when playing a note. This can be extremely helpful in some songs (Jordan - Bridge, Thunderhorse, Misirlou) where there are many of on color note on the left (if playing right handed) and few on the right. Example: In Jordan's Bridge there are many green notes coming fast, and some red-orange dotted throughout, it is best to hold the green fret button, strum as you would, and touch the other frets when needed. If there is a red note to hit there, and you are holding the red and green frets, and you let go of the red fret only, it works as a pull-off from red to green. This is only effective during pull-offs. Hammer-ons cannot be performed this way.
  6. Learn to tap. Tapping in Guitar Hero is learning to use both hands on the fret buttons. A good example of tapping is shown in this YouTube video when he gets to Solo B. Tapping in Jordan on Expert This video is a great combination showing everything mentioned here flowing together. This is intended only for expert players who want to get 100% on every Expert level song.
  7. Learn trills. Those are the notes things that are like a horizontal trapezoid. Learn this and you can beat Shout at the devil on expert!


  • If your fingers hurt, stop. (See #3 in "Warnings")
  • Strive for perfection! Practice doesn't always make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. But how can you do that, you may ask? "If you're practicing, then you're not perfect!" No. Just when you play, try your best to hit every note. Saying to yourself: 'Well, I know I can't hit this note, so I won't bother hitting it, or I'll miss these notes' is a sure-fire way to lose. This is coming from experience.
  • Experiment with different fingerings. For tough solos, sometimes its easier to use your dominant fingers. Other times its easier to hold other frets so you just need to release one fret instead of release, then hold. Try, try again.


  • If you're playing on Expert, do not plan on having rock sessions lasting several hours. Your furious fretwork could lead to future arthritis, if you play excessively.
  • With a PS2, be careful if you have wired controllers, because they do not have break-away cords like the Xbox 360 Guitars and you will bring down your PS2 crashing to the floor if you're not careful
  • If you get frustrated, put the guitar down and leave the room; do not use the guitar as an extension of your rage.

Things You'll Need

  • Guitar Hero
  • A PS2, a XBOX 360, a Wii, or a PS3
  • Some playing time

Related Articles