NU’s nationally ranked Guitar Hero

Alexandra Finkel

Correction appended

After 16 years of playing the violin, Weinberg senior Lee Linderman now uses his fast fingers to make music of a different kind.

Linderman has mastered Guitar Hero, a series of rock guitar simulation video games that have garnered more than $1 billion in revenue in less than three years. He plays in his free time when he’s not participating in Zeta Beta Tau, working at Norris University Center and playing club baseball.

Linderman is currently ranked 150th out of approximately 6 million people in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. He attributes his success to 16 years of playing the violin.

“In high school, my teacher told me that even though I wasn’t the best violin player, I had the fastest fingers he had ever taught,” Linderman said. “And that’s exactly what Guitar Hero is, because pressing the buttons on the guitar is just like playing notes on a violin.”

Linderman said he stumbled upon the first Guitar Hero game at a Best Buy video game kiosk in late 2006. Once Guitar Hero II debuted, he bought it and began playing nonstop.

“A lot of people start out at the easy or medium level and then slowly move up to hard and expert,” Linderman said. “But I started at medium, moved onto hard after one song and then moved right to expert, and I’ve been playing that ever since.”

In the past two years, Linderman has competed in 10 tournaments and has won more than $600 in cash and prizes.

He said he has never lost a game playing against another human being in person. Last fall, he won the chance to play before the Dethklok concert in Ryan Family Auditorium and most recently won Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Paddy Murphy Week Guitar Hero contest.

“Lee spends more times with video games and Guitar Hero than any human being should,” said Danny Ecker, one of Linderman’s roommates. “But it’s really something else when people come by just to watch him play.”

Although Linderman said he doesn’t play nearly as much as he used to, he said Guitar Hero falls somewhere in between a passion and a hobby.

“I’m not so passionate that I still comb through every song to make sure it’s absolutely perfect,” he said. “But I’m still going to practice a lot before a tournament.”

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Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story attributed a quote about Lee Linderman to Dan Jagla instead of Danny Ecker. The DAILY regrets the error.