Rock Band 4 Features Freestyle Guitar Solos, Releasing October 6

Harmonix has announced a wealth of new information for Rock Band 4. Not only will it be releasing on October 6, in preparation for the holidays, but pre-orders are already live at

Five new songs have been announced as well: Benjamin Booker's “Violent Shiver”, Elvis Presley's “Suspicious Minds”, Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk”, Queens of the Stone Age's “My God Is The Sun”, and Scandal's “The Warrior”.

As an enhancement to the guitar solos, Rock Band 4 will be adding Freestyle Guitar Solos, a feature which I explored at Harmonix's pre-E3 event in Santa Monica. Instead of hitting precise notes in specific guitar solo sections, these freestyle solos involve both the upper and lower frets on the Rock Band guitar. Unfortunately, this means that any compatible guitar that doesn't have the ten frets along the neck won't be able to be used for the Freestyle Guitar Solos.

Both the color and pattern on the rolling track indicate how the player needs to hit the boards. Sometimes it's pressing multiple single notes in sequence or sustaining single notes, which you can “bend” by strumming up and holding. Sometimes it's holding any combination of four or fewer buttons together to create different licks. Other times it's about tapping furiously on either the upper or lower fret boards, and holding all the button down to create noise.

All of this sounds complicated and certainly learning all of the cues is a bit more difficult than simply hitting all of the notes in the traditional guitar solo. But after about ten minutes of play, I eventually got accustomed to reading the blues, oranges, and waves for the freestyle guitar solos. So long as you are hitting the right kinds of notes, you will score points. Those looking for a high score, though, may want to switch to the traditional guitar solos for the sake of precision.

Rock Band 4 is slated for October 2, 2015 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. For more details on the core features, you check out my main preview for the game.