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Gameplay Concepts & Features

FC & Tech FC

Short for Full Combo, the act of hitting every note in a song without breaking the combo.
A tech FC is the act of FC'ing every section of a song separately.


In real life, guitars are typically broken up into frets which help the player control the tone of the string being strummed. In Clone Hero, a "Fret" refers to the colored button which roughly corresponds to the tone of the guitar during a song. 

Gamepad Mode

An alternate mode of gameplay that does not require the to player to strum in order to play notes. This mode was originally called "Dualshock Mode" and is provided to make the game more accessible for players using regular gamepad controllers.


Sometimes referred to as the fretboard, this is the gameplay area where you play the notes.

Hit Window

The area around the strikeline where the game recognizes a strum of the currently held frets. Strumming frets when the gems are outside of this window will be counted as an overstrum. A visual representation can be enabled in the in-game settings.
Hit window.png


"Hammer On" and "Pull Off" notes do not require a strum as long as you have an active combo. If you do not have an active combo, then you must correctly strum at least once to begin a new combo. 

Fail / No Fail

No fail enables you to play songs without being able to fail due to missing notes or over-strumming. It is enabled by default in CH, and can be disabled in the Settings.


Modifiers are optional effects that can be chosen prior to starting a song that alter the gameplay. Not all modifiers can be combined at once. Refer to the manual for a complete list of modifiers. 

Note Speed/Hyperspeed

The visual scrolling speed of the note highway. Does not affect the actual song speed. Can be changed in the profile menu.

Open Notes

These notes are indicated by a purple bar and require you to strum without holding any frets when the indicator reaches the strikeline. 

Score and Stars

Stars are awarded based on how well you play, like a grade of your performance.

Each note grants a base score of 50 points (chords grant 50 per note in the chord), plus 25 points per beat that a sustain lasts (single and chord sustains count as just 25 per beat, while extended and disjoint sustains count each sustain individually).

Solo sections give score based on your total % of notes hit during the solo section. 100% will award 100 points per note hit, 50% or below will award no bonus, and everything in-between will award more points as the percentage increases.
Solo bonus does not affect average multiplier, it is factored out before calculating for stars.

Star Power

Star Power (SP) helps the player score more points by doubling the current multiplier. SP is obtained in phrases; each note of the phrase must be hit to obtain. A successful phrase raises the SP Meter by 1/4. If a sustain note is in a phrase, whammying will gradually increase the meter as well. To activate SP, the meter must be at least 1/2 full. A 1/2 filled bar will last for 4 measures of music. 
Star Power can be activated by either pressing Select (aka the Star Power button) or tilting the guitar (in guitars that support tilt).


The bottom part of the highway where the frets and the hit window reside.

Strum Bar

On a guitar controller, the Strum Bar is the bar in the center of the body that can be pressed down or pulled up.

Tap Notes

Tap notes are transparent notes that don't require you to strum at all. Unlike HOPOs, they can be tapped even if you break your combo.


Guitars allow you to physically tilt them to activate Star Power. However, not every guitar's tilt is supported on PC.


The Whammy Bar can be wiggled on sustained Star Power notes to increase the amount of Star Power you get. It will also create a wavy visual effect, and distort the audio in songs that have separate audio files for instruments.

Techniques & Gameplay


The act of holding down a lower fret while playing higher ones. This does not work with strum chords in neither Clone Hero nor Guitar Hero, but Clone Hero allows you to anchor HOPO and Tap chords.


Fretting a note that is not required. This can make hitting certain patterns more comfortable, but will add to your ghosting counter the game displays at the end of a song.


The act of strumming more than you need to, or strumming when there's no notes, which causes your note streak to break.


The act of playing a chart you've seen but haven't played before.

Rake Strumming

A strumming technique that allows the player to hit the strum bar more than once in each up/down motion by strumming with the index and middle fingers instead of holding the strum bar with the index and thumb. When combined with faulty guitar switches, this can lead to double or triple the amount of strums per swing. A video tutorial can be found here.

Rake Tapping

Rake tapping is used for fast trills where Alt Tapping is not fast enough. The basic concept is similar to Rake Strumming, but two fingers on the right hand tap the fret, one after each other, then a finger from the left-hand taps the fret for 3 consecutive taps. 


The act of playing a chart for the first time without having seen it before.

Tapping & Alt Tapping

Tapping is the act of using your strumming hand on the fret buttons, most often utilized in tapping sections where the fretting hand alone can't keep up.
Alt tapping is the act of alternating between your fretting and strumming hands on the fret buttons.

Songs & Charts


The playable note track that comes with every song. Although the game accepts both .mid and .chart tracks, the community generally calls them both the same thing. Sometimes this term is used to describe a custom song in general.

Disjointed Chords

Disjointed chords are extended sustains that start with a chord, where the notes in the chord can have different lengths, as seen below. Support for this type of note was added in Clone Hero v.21.5, and it does not work on any earlier versions.


Extended Sustains

Extended sustains are sustained notes that allow you to play other notes while keeping the sustain held down.

Full Band

A chart that has all instruments charted.

Full Difficulty

A chart that has all playable difficulties charted, Easy through Expert.


A type of chart that includes more notes than can be heard in the song's audio, or makes note patterns harder than they actually are.


The opposite of an overchart, a type of chart that omits notes and simplifies patterns to make the song easier.

Note patterns

Chimneys & Reverse Chimneys

Patterns that follow the format of a zig, but beginning or ending with its highest note.

A Reverse Chimney is the same thing, but reversed. Beginning or ending with the lowest note.

Reverse chimneys.png


A pattern that ascends or descends by 2-note "steps", resembling a ladder or stairs when laid out on the highway.


A repeating two-note pattern.


A descending or ascending 3-note pattern.


Short for quadruplets, an ascending or descending 4-note pattern. Can be applied as a modifier to other patterns (quad chimneys, quad zigs, etc.)


Short for quintuplets, an ascending or descending 5-note pattern. Can be applied as a modifier to other patterns (quint chimneys, quint zigs, etc.)


Short for zigzags, a 3-or-more-note pattern that loops back and forth. Can also be reversed.