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Real Rock Band Fender coming March, costs $280

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Fender's new axe

If you've ever wondered, when playing your favorite guitar-based music game, whether you could have learned to play the real thing with all the time you've been spending playing games, this one's for you.

Fender -- yes, the people who make real guitars -- has finally coughed up pricing and availability details for its Squier Stratocaster controller, a thing of great wonder that'll double as both Rock Band 3 controller and, when plugged into an amp, a genuine electric guitar. On sale March 1, 2011, it'll cost you $280. Big bucks for a video game controller, but not such big bucks for a real guitar.

Fender's controller-guitar hybrid works its magic with a position-sensing fingerboard that lets the game know which frets you're rocking and a MIDI setup that can tell which strings you're plucking. Thanks to Rock Band 3's widely praised Pro mode, the game will teach you chords, scales, and other guitar skills -- and let you loose playing along to a metric ton of your favorite rock hits. Playing for real, that is.

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