I know I'm not the only one who thought it: If someone were to make a Guitar Hero that used a real guitar, I'd only leave my house for gigs after I turned myself into the next Steve Vai. Lo and behold, I ask and GDC delivers.
I Just did a flyby on Guitar Rising, a tablature-based rhythm guitar game in development by Game Tank. The game works similarly to Guitar Hero; choose from a list of popular songs, pick a difficulty level - from Beginner to Expert - and go. The tablature scrolls along horizontally in time to the music. Beginner mode is incredibly easy, easy enough for someone completely new to guitar to pick up and play, and Expert covers every note in the song.
The crew at the show was a couple younger guys, both of whom seemed to get a kick out of me failing out of "Message in a Bottle" on Expert in less than a measure. They said they sought to make a game that's fun but challenging for guitar veterans and educational for beginners. I about came out where I last left off playing guitar - too good for beginner but bad enough to not look cool.
They're shooting to release the game with about 30 songs, and have managed to get over 45 working as proof of concept. Guitar Rising is on track to debut for the PC this year, and Game Tank is currently investigating their console options.