Easy Rock Guitars: Rocking the Virtual World

by Traci Nubalo

Metaverse Tribune, February 17, 2012

When my editor first told me about these new Second Life musical instruments I admit that I had some doubts. The press release said that the electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass and drums could actually be played by an avatar inworld. This, of course, got my attention.

In a flash I found myself with Orion Deezul and Lisa Michelle in the “sales shop” of their business Easy Rock Guitars & Music. First thing that became obvious to me is that the three of us were standing on a huge guitar. I noticed (with a smile) that the “strings” strummed a pleasant chord as I walked over them to get closer to my hosts.

On this top floor of Easy Rock there were several instruments on stands, each with a “Buy” and a “Demo” button. Lisa encouraged me to try a demo and I did: a candy-apple-red electric guitar which felt “right” the second I wore it. I noted happily that I could “fit” the instrument to my avi, using the same “Edit” process used for any inworld object. I was able to get the axe to look just right “in my hands”, and for a former pro musician like myself, things like this are important.

After a very short bit of instruction I found that I could, indeed, “play” the guitar using a combination of the arrow keys and the “e” and “c” keys, and was able to get a rocking version of “Kumbaya” going in seconds. And, thankfully, since no one yelled out for me to play “Freebird” I moved on to demo the electric bass.

This one was even more fun for me, a longtime bass player on the road and in the studio. Using the same set of keys I laid down a few rudimentary patterns causing my newest friend Orion to blurt out, “Hey! You CAN play!”

But the devil's advocate in me began to wonder. Most of the SL players that I hang with are serious RL musicians and - despite the very authentic sounds available on these simulated instruments - that this might be too-rudimentary a process for them. Would Easy Rock be able to survive if they depended only on the professional SL singer/songwriter?

As if he was reading my mind Deezul (who creates and designs these gorgeous instruments) chimed in: “I can’t play in RL. I love music and wanted to be a performer but my professional life interfered and I could never find time to practice. That’s why I created these instruments and why we're so thrilled to be offering them to Second Life. I mean, don’t we all want to be rock stars?”

Suddenly my consciousness shifted.
I had been experiencing a kind of “why-am-I-doing-an-interview-at-ten-pm?” moment but in a flash it hit me. I got it!

These new instruments might possibly be a huge hit for the same reasons that the mega-popular “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” interactive games have enjoyed through-the-roof sales figures over the last several years: you DON’T have to be a musician to have fun with them!

For the first time ever, anyone can have the amazingly-joyful experience of picking up an instrument and learning to play quickly and easily. There’s nothing like it in the world, especially when the player develops enough chops to jam with others.

Then, with the ESP seeming to continue, Lisa said, “Jump down into the sound hole on the guitar.” And POOF she leaped in.


Journalist on assignment smelling a story, I took the dive. Down I fell for what seemed like an eternity through a wildly-colored tunnel of some sort and reappeared on the other end. Doing a nasty three-point landing (and imagining the Romanian judge holding up a 1.5 score) I blinked my eyes open. I was in the middle of a huge virtual sound stage with four totally unique stage setups.

Lisa: So Orion, tell her what we want people to do here.
Orion: This is a free play area. Since all the demos work anywhere in the store people can come down here and jam; jump up on stage, meet people and play together.
Lisa: And the sounds blend together really well.
Orion: We’re also were looking for a partner to help us create a live venue on the floor beneath us.
Lisa: We really want this to be a place that people come to hang out and enjoy live music on a number of levels.

Now my vision for Easy Rock Guitars & Music was complete. Orion and Lisa are really on to something, especially when you factor in the socialization benefits that I know appear when musicians on any level of play come together and share their craft.

As luck would have it I found an article dated today - 16 February - that discusses some of the known benefits for people who learn to play instruments (and yes, Easy Rock Guitars & Music products would qualify as such). Posted on a UK website called “Mail Online” the piece discusses the work of neuroscientist Professor Nina Kraus. “Kraus has led the first research to demonstrate that playing a musical instrument significantly enhances the brain's sensitivity to speech sounds,” the reporter comments. “Music training is not only beneficial for processing music stimuli. We've found that music training may also improve how sounds are processed for language and emotion", adds Kraus. ”Now we know that music can fundamentally shape our sub-cortical sensory circuitry in ways that may enhance everyday tasks, including reading and listening."

** ** **

You can see for yourself what the excitement is all about. Meet Orion and Lisa, and perhaps play guitar, bass, or drums for your very first time, by attending an inworld open house at Easy Rock Guitars & Music. The Open House will be this Saturday, February 18 from 2:00 - 3:30 pm SL time and again from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/da%20Vinci/20/162/973

You can also email Orion and Lisa at: easyrockmusic@gmail.com.

The “Mail Online” article about Professor Kraus’ work can be found at:

(c) Copyright 2012 Traci Nubalo.
All rights reserved.


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