Strumming the Guitar
On the heels of the immensely popular Guitar Hero videogame franchise, Mattel, Hasbro and other toymakers have developed their own versions of a guitar learning and playing system for kids.
The "I Can Play Guitar System" (bottom image) from Mattel's Fisher-Price division is for kids 5 years and up. It plugs into the TV. For easy play, it features color-coded finger position buttons and shorter strings. Kids play the guitar by matching the color-coded images that appear on the TV screen.
You earn points as you move through the different skill levels. Each song and game cartridge has six songs that teach chords and also includes a jam session mode. The system is slated for a July launch in stores with a suggested retail price of $99.
Hasbro developed its "Power Tour Electric Guitar" (top image) in partnership with guitar-maker Gibson. The company said it's not marketing the guitar as a toy but rather as an entertainment product for older kids. It features 4 play modes and 12 pre-loaded songs. Players can also plug in an MP3 player. In learn mode, the guitar lets players know where to place their fingers. The guitar will hit stores in August with a suggested retail price of $69.99.