The Beatles: Rock Band -- up close

Microsoft is inviting players to buy replicas of the moptops' gear: Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 guitar, McCartney's Hofner bass, and Harrison's Gretch Duo Jet guitar

With so many Beatles fans out there, a lot of people want to know more about the hardware that The Beatles: Rock Band offers to help users morph into a Fab Four (or more, if additional mics are on hand). I had a chance to play with the new set today--and the Microsoft marketing team got one thing right from the get-go: A couple of fan-girls attentively man (woman?) the booth while you play, no doubt inspiring the guys in attendance to play harder.

Okay, back to the topic at hand: the gear. As you may have heard, Microsoft is inviting players to buy replicas of the moptops' gear: Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 guitar, McCartney's Hofner bass, and Harrison's Gretch Duo Jet guitar (US$99 each).

The replica instruments feel solid, with a fluid strum response (quite different from the clicker-clack of the Guitar Hero strum mechanism). You might even be tempted to try and choke up on some of the guitars. The Hofner bass feels a little odd, but then again, I've never played a real Hofner.