A guitar battle in Guitar Hero III.

In Guitar Hero, a Guitar Battle is a competition between two players or a player and a computer player. In Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the players use power-ups to make their opponent miss. In Career Mode, the player faces Tom Morello (Mitch's Moose Lounge), Slash (Shanker's Island), and Lou (Lou's Inferno).

There is a Guitar Battle against Joe Perry in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. It is played at the end of Career Mode, and, upon beating it, Joe Perry is unlocked as a playable character.

In Guitar Hero World Tour, the format of the guitar battle format was changed. Power ups no longer appear; instead, the player tries to bring the crowd meter all the way to their side in a manner similar to the original Face-Off and Pro Face-Off modes. The two battles in World Tour are against Zakk Wylde and Ted Nugent. However, Battle Mode is still available as a two player gametype. Apparently, Kirk Hammett of Metallica had recorded a Guitar Duel for Guitar Hero Metallica, but was ultimately scrapped from the game. It is rumored that the Guitar Duel would have been very challenging, with many Slider and HOPO sections.

When playing online, Battle mode was very popular, however GH officials claim that it was not a true way of beating another online player, as it was not a true show of talent.


Here is a list of Battle Power-Ups for the Guitar Hero games along with their effects.

Console Power-Ups[]

  • Amp Overload - Distorts your opponent's highway and your opponent's notes blink, making it harder to see their notes. If your opponent already knows the note patterns of the song by heart, this power-up will have little to no effect, unless used in conjunction with other attacks.
    • Ride the Lightning (GH:M) - Metallica's version of Amp Overload that sends a bolt of lightning on the opponent's highway.
  • Blackout (GH:SH and GH:VH) - Temporarily completely makes the opponent's highway black, making the notes completely impossible to see.
    • Fade to Black (GH:M) - Metallica's version of Blackout that was first introduced as.
  • Broken String - Randomly disables one of the opponent's frets. That fret cannot be used until the player repeatedly presses the corresponding button.
    • Damage Inc. (GH:M) - Metallica's version of Broken String. The effects are the same but the name is different.
  • Whammy Bar - Lifts up the opponent's fret bar and completely disables all of the opponent's frets until the opponent repeatedly pushes in the whammy bar. Similar to Broken String, but it disables the entire strike line rather than a single button.
    • Trapped Under Ice - (GH:M) - Metallica's version of Whammy Bar that freezes the opponent's fret bar until the whammy bar is repeatedly pressed.
  • Difficulty Up - Temporarily increases the difficulty level of the opponent by 1. This Battle Power-Up is not available to the player if the opponent is already playing on Expert.
  • Double Notes - Temporarily adds an extra note to the opponent's upcoming notes as chords. There can only be a maximum of 3 notes per chord with this Power-Up.
  • Lefty (Righty) Flip - Temporarily flips the opponent's fret board horizontally, making your opponent's to play on Lefty Flip (or Righty Flip).
  • Mines - Randomly adds grey notes on the opponent's screen. If the opponent hits a grey note, his/her Rock Meter will greatly decrease, and they will lose their most recent power-up.
  • Steal Power-Up - Steals the opponent's current Battle Power-Up shown. If the opponent does not have any Battle Power-Ups, it should be saved until he/she does.
  • Death Drain (Sudden Death only) - A skull appears over the opponent's highway and the opponent's Rock Meter continuously drains. The meter drains faster for those on higher difficulties. This effect lasts until someone loses.

In Guitar Hero World Tour, Sudden Death is replaced with Do-or-Die. In Do-or-Die, the song restarts like in Sudden Death, however, unlike Sudden Death, Death Drain no longer appears; instead, the song plays much faster, and some power-ups, such as Amp Overload, now last twice as long, while other power-ups, such as Broken String, now require twice as many button presses to fix.

On Tour Power-Ups[]

These are the list of Battle Power-Ups for Guitar Duels on the Guitar Hero: On Tour game series for DS.

  • Amp Overload - The opponent's music volume will temporarily be muted and the opponent cannot advance the arrow to their side.
  • Broken String - Randomly breaks one the opponent's strings and disables one of your opponent's fret. That fret cannot be used until the broken guitar string is pulled from the bottom to the top.
  • Camera Flash - A bright light quickly flashes on the opponent's screen.
  • Hyper Speed - Temporarily increases the scrolling speed of the opponent's highway.
  • Pyrotechnics - The opponent's guitar will burn, disabling all of his/her frets until the opponent blows into the microphone (even if disabled) to remove the flames off of the guitar.
  • Screen Flip - The screens on the opponent's DS will temporarily swap.
  • Signature - A random object will appear over the opponent's guitar, disabling all of his/her actions. The opponent must write on the object in order to continue playing the song.
  • Steal Item - Allows the player to steal any Battle Power-Ups the opponent has. If the opponent does not have any Battle Power-Ups, this would be useless and wasteful.
  • Difficulty Up - Temporarily increases the difficulty level of the opponent by 1. This Battle Power-Up is not available to the player if the opponent is already playing on Expert.
  • Difficulty Down - Temporarily decreases the difficulty of the player and temporarily prevents the opponent from activating offensive Battle Power-Ups.
  • Bomb Notes - Temporarily replaces some upcoming notes on the opponent's highway with gray notes. If the opponent plays a gray note, his/her score will decrease. Ignoring these notes will automatically play these notes as if they were normal notes.
  • Shield - Temporarily prevents the opponent from activating offensive Battle Power-Ups.


Tom Morello and Slash Guitar Battles[]

Tom Morello[]


Lou Guitar Battle[]

Lou's Victory[]

Player's Victory[]

Zakk Wylde and Ted Nugent Guitar Battles[]

Zakk Wylde[]

Ted Nugent[]


  • Although the Broken String power-up randomly disables one of the fret buttons and has an icon of a pair of scissors, the attack is misnamed; if a string actually was broken, it would be permanently disabled. It's possible that power-up doesn't actually break the string, but instead pulls the string loose and out of tune, and pressing the fret button twists the machine head, tightening the string and putting it back in tune.
    • Additionally, the power-up implies that each fret button represents a string on the guitar. However, this is also a flawed implication, as a real guitar has 6 strings, whereas the guitar controllers (at least until Guitar Hero Live) have only 5 buttons.
    • In Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock's career mode, some powerups only appear in later battles; Broken String first appears in Slash's guitar battle, and Lefty Flip only appears in Lou's guitar battle.