FretLight Guitar

Started by Elantric, January 02, 2014, 11:02:19 AM

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I had a great Holiday Season, with a combo Christmas and one week later my birthday,

Besides the killer deal on the Gibson SG with Min-Etune for $645, I also got one of these:

FretLight 2012 FG-412 Strat with Guitar Pro Fretlight edition $359

As a person who plays guitar by ear for past 45 years, after the first day of owning a Fretlight system, (yesterday) I already find this Fretlight guitar with its Guitar Pro 6 Fretlight edition software an invaluable teacher to help get my guitar playing out of a rut. Not that I had too many ruts, but I find this extremely informative and rewarding.  Suddenly there is a clear road map for suitable scales and notes for soloing across the current chord in complex chord changes. The new ability to be linked to GP6 and have access to the years of Guitar Pro format tabs brings many rewards and faster song learning.  Everyone has their own perspective, but I can honestly say among the high tech guitar gear I have purchased in past few years, the Fretlight system is the one tool that delivers many personal rewards that will extend your playing abilities for all your guitarist endeavors now and in the future. Wish I purchased one sooner!     

Read other reviews:

amazing use of technology - begs one to learn
By Avalon Bahrain on April 24, 2013
It's too easy for me to be picky, as I also have a few boutique guitars waiting for me to play them properly, but i'm going to give big credit where it's due.
For my Fretlight 421 (technically same as 521): very pleasing visually (my particular white finish was warm like ivory: perfect. I'd take other solid colors too, tho less sure about the sunburst), Strat-like handling, fully functional, slightly low budget finish (frets, pup cutouts etc) - a tad below a good MIM Strat, but so was the price: Amazon's New Old Stock only differed from the latest by having the previous model name and a free hard case! I'm sure the pups could be upgraded, but that's not the point...
This Fretlight is simply amazing technically - a brilliant tool for learning, especially with Guitar Pro6 for Fretlight (separate). Looping chosen riffs, just as you please, at slow speed to build proficiency is truly helpful. Overall for the price, virtually incredible. Compared to one-on-one lessons, a total no-brainer in cost-effectiveness: ideally not a total replacement, but extremely useful - for many learners or re-learners, could be the single most important purchase. Look Dudes, if you wanna learn, get it - you WON'T regret it!

This is an amazing guitar!
By Keith C. on December 26, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
This is the most amazing tool I've ever put my hands on! It plays great and has nice neck with smooth action. I ordered the Shelby upgrade but the standard setup is not bad. I build custom boutique guitars and own several high end Gibson's. These are great player guitars and learning tools that won't disappoint. If you want Les Paul sound then you should get one. If you want to learn using a more intuitive method this is it. I've picked up some new techniques in a couple of hours!


Like the review... I've been waiting for a left handed one for a long,long time


How much $$$ ???

the sound pickups and playability is good ?



Its just a basic Squire Strat quality guitar. Not bad, not fantastic either - could use a fret dressing / polishing.
The tech is the CPU driven 132 LEDs for training
and the guitar has decent enough performance. Been a while since I played a non tremolo Strat - so its more stable than typical Strats.

But I don't play this for the Tone, rather its part of a learning / training guide with finger positions that light up as needed - so its like the old home organs with "color glow" keys.

FretLight 2012 FG-412 Strat with Guitar Pro Fretlight edition $359 at Amazon


You're obviously running out of room to store all this stuff...I think you should send me some for safekeeping...   :-*

Read slower!!!   ....I'm typing as fast as I can...


Can't think of a better way to 'decorate' the Christmas tree!!!  :) Congratulations.


the fret light thing is nice but guitar pro is a garbage company with an even worse product. i loved guitar pro 4 it was the best one. 5 was is a pain in the butt to score on (6 is outright horrible). and regardless of your computer's power the 5 and 6 versions handle processes very slowly (6 skips and jitters on my i5quad. its the only software that does that). the software is just plain bad. 6 has even less features, and this time around they make you pay extra for sound banks, which are pathetic, so don't think about having a full array of instruments to score and write with. the piano and strings are literally 100 times worse then standard gm midi. don't think about importing scoresheets from pdf or midi, the tracks will never load in any note past the 24th fret making it useless for violin or piano scores. the perc is absurdly limited and outright PAINFUL to score. contrary to 4 and , gtr pro 6 doesn't allow you to use your keyboard to enter percussion notes. now you get to do with just with your mouse which takes hours! for the player that wants to learn a few basic chords for a cover it MAY be ok- although certainly not worth the cash compared to other products. for a songwriter or composer.. the product is utter vomit. almost 3 years later and i still want my 60 dollars back.
I've been using finale and i recommend that or sibelus. i don't see why the fret light wouldn't work with some other guitar notation software, that may be a better road to travel.


In my case I have years of tabs in GP3, GP4, GP5 (Guitarpro) format. So I use it more for learning tunes , not scoring originals , where I find TablEdit works better.

If you follow my threads its easy to see Im not a "one guitar/ one tool / one software/ one computer platform  type guy.

Actually the "Guitar Pro Fretlight Edition"
that comes with the bundle above is the deluxe version that includes  a very broad range of sounds banks in their proprietary RSE2 Format and has the exclusive controls for the Fretlight built in

(Its sells for $99 and is only available thru Fretlight)  They were running a holiday special and I purchased additional GuitarPro 6 sound libraries I was missing for $32 - so now I own it all.

So it breaks down to

* Guitar Pro Fretlight Edition= $99
* 2012 Fretlight FG-421 = $260
Total = $359 at Amazon.

Compare this price for a new 2013 Fretlight bundle.

* Guitar Pro Fretlight Edition= $99

* 2013 Fretlight FG-521 = $499

Total = $598 at Fretlight.
But what works great for my needs might not suit someone elses needs.  Im not releasing music created with my Guitar Tab program.
Now Ill fire up the Fretlight to learn my Zappa guitarpro tunes.


at this point i wouldn't take the extra sound banks if they were free. i don't want them on my computer! the software is slow enough, the less data in it the better. using them all, you don't find 6 is the worst? guitar pro6 is the only notation software I've used with a loading time, a quite slow one. vs 4 and 5 which were instant. when i contacted the company, auroras i think it is, they were rude and unhelpful. i wanted a return within under 2 hours of my purchase/download and i only used 1 of my 5 downloads. they told me too bad it was too late, basically which means "haha we already have your money". i gave the other downloads that came with my purchase to friends. theres alot of guitar tab software out there and guitar pro 6 is by far the worst imo. i wldnt recommend it to anyone when theres better for a third of the price.
i for one am not interested in paying extra for soundbanks when previous versions had better for free. not that those few banks they offer at a ridiculous price change all of the flaws in the program anyway. yes its ok for glancing at a few chords as i said but if thats all your doing why not use something that runs smoother and is cheaper? tell me why in 4 and 5 u can set a different dynamic for each note in a chord but in 6 every note has to be mf or f etc with no variation in the chord. that downgrades drums phenomenally. these little things add up and the sum does not contribute to someone trying to learn an instrument. for that case, no i wouldn't even recommend it for simple purposes. my older 4/5 files get obliviated in 6. i can't import any keyboard style music either classical or fusion/progressive bc the notes all show as a high e "0" and i gets bars among bars of 00000000000000. not that i want to listen to the horrible string or piano sounds anyway. the lead keyboard sound is pretty good but it doesn't matter bc i can't import anything into 6. general midi piano sounds better than guitar pro 6 piano. thats a plain fact. and to charge 60 bucks when a preset can't do better than midi piano from 1984 is sad and ridiculous. you really need to spend over 60 bucks to learn some smoke on the water or stones and the like? i find the software a waste of money at any level for any type of person regardless of their needs. for 60 bucks you can go to a foster home and buy a kid lunch and a starter strat. then you can teach him stairway. to use that money instead on a company that doesn't give a hell about you is beyond me. your not getting anything out of it that you can't get for free by typing "zappa tab" in the google search bar.

did i mention i don't like it? lol


We are free to share opinions  -

I stand by the ones I expressed before in this thread - i think the Fretlight 421 with GuitarPro for $359 is one of the best gear acquisitions of 2013 for me, as it suits my needs for all the reasons i already expressed. Guitarpro runs fine on my macbook.

Funny you mention guitars for Fostor kids  - as each year I contribute to Guitars not Guns.
  - I own, use, and enjoy many polarizing pieces of music gear. I love my You Rock Guitar GenII. and Madwaves MadPlayer too



I have to admit that these guitars really have me intrigued.  I keep looking at them and just stop short of hitting the complete order button. 


I have also been looking at these guitars for years - but i balked at the typical price of $499-$899

Its only when Fretlight began selling the prior year's models at discount on amazon and Ebay that i got interested. The Amazon price ended up being lower cost to me at $359 - which includes the $99 version of GuitarPro 6 Fretlight edition which is the only version with integrated control of the Fretight guitar

Its already providing me the tools in a manner i find more interactive and direct for learning new skills on guitar.

But of course there are naysayers  - but Optek Music has been making these guitars for 20 years now, and the 2012 version is just fine for me.

The 2013 521 models have brighter LEDS  - but start at $499 with no software.


Thank you all, and especially Elantric, for these inspiring report/reviews of the Fretlight package and its practical use. As a result, I am eagerly awaiting arrival of a 2012 guitar with GuitarPro 6 (from Amazon, same price as Elantric paid.) Thanks for the reviews and the pricing tip!



Once again, I'd like to thank Elantric for his initial tips and pricing info on the FretLight! I bought the initial package from Amazon, and was so impressed I gave it to my grandkids (9+11 at the time) to learn on, and bought another for myself, for the same reasons as Elantric did. In both cases, it's one of the best musical investments I've ever made! And the grandkids love it (and are actually learning)!!! Thanks, Elantric!


QuoteOnce again, I'd like to thank Elantric for his initial tips and pricing info on the FretLight! I bought the initial package from Amazon, and was so impressed I gave it to my grandkids (9+11 at the time) to learn on, and bought another for myself, for the same reasons as Elantric did. In both cases, it's one of the best musical investments I've ever made! And the grandkids love it (and are actually learning)!!! Thanks, Elantric!

Glad to pass on the these advanced tools for effective learning to "unlock" the guitar fretboard . Wish these were around when i was age 16!


Hey Elantric, Thanks for this review, I recently have gotten into playing jazz changes and improvising with new scale combinations, I'm currently downloading the fretlight studio software to check out the functionality. Can you give a review of the improvisor feature on the software which is supposed to light up full scales with the chord changes. If possible I'd like to know if this is fully configurable or limited to the standard basic scales chords. I.E can the user define their own scales over certain chord parts etc?


Downloaded the fretlight studio software just to get an idea of the features and the improviser feature part is pretty flexible, can edit an existing midi song to be used and light up different scales to learn changes during more complex jazz tunes which is a feature I'm interested in.Band in the Box 2014 (windows only, doesnt seem to be a mac version out yet) apparently also supports the fretlight.

I've been mostly a by ear player but recently been taking courses into the theory side of things and am finding it daunting with all the fast scale switches etc. this might be a good move but am interested to hear how much use more experienced guitarists are getting out of it vs a beginners tool.

For learning new tunes one of the negative reviews I read mentions that it will light up exactly when the note needs to be played and it can be difficult to keep up unless you are looking at the tabs anyway as most of us tend to read a bit ahead when learning tunes. If this is the case then the benefit is kind of lost since you have to keep looking at the screen anyway.


Theres plenty of demos/ reviews of Fretlight on Youtube - I can't add anything other than I wish i had more actual time during the week to actually use all my music tools  - lately Ive been spending bulk of my time designing PC boards for Immersive sound 13.1 audio products for Cinema.


Quote from: Elantric on March 28, 2014, 07:55:49 PM
Glad to pass on the these advanced tools for effective learning to "unlock" the guitar fretboard . Wish these were around when i was age 16!
Me too! just wish they hd a lefty version



Quote from: Elantric on March 29, 2014, 06:46:20 AM
lately Ive been spending bulk of my time designing PC boards for Immersive sound 13.1 audio products for Cinema.

Anything currently in the market, I work for a cinema company where we usually use Dolby audio processors and Doremi servers , most often it's 7.1, I'd be interested in getting more info on what your working on if you are able to share.



Wow thanks, not sure how I missed it. I will look into this this week 8)


Sadly  - The $359 Fretlight Strat deals with Software bundle are no longer available at Amazon

The best deals today are on the Fretlight Ebay store