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Rocksmith: Using your Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or PC to Learn guitar

Updated on October 13, 2013

Have you ever wanted to actually learn how to play a guitar?

I spent years dreaming about guitar. I went to concert after concert, wondering what the secret was. I didn’t have a lot of money and I still don’t. I didn’t have time or money for a teacher and the youtube method just wasn’t cutting it.

Available for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360

You can do away with the plastic.

Let’s face it, not much skill is necessary to master Guitar Hero or Rock Band. It probably makes you cringe at all the hours you wasted playing a game, pushing the same colored buttons over and over. As much as the game wants you to think you are, you’re probably not a guitar hero. Many musicians I know have a hard time playing those fake guitar games. I used to fanaticize about a music game that would involve a real guitar. Some companies have tried integrating the two by having a guitar made for the game. However, recently, a new game has emerged, and this game is called Rocksmith. Rocksmith, by Ubisoft™, doesn’t involve plastic buttons. In fact, any guitar(with electronic pickups) will work with the game using a unique cable that transfers what you are playing into the game. Don’t have a guitar? There’s a bundle version that comes with a beginner guitar.

Think it'll be easy?

Good for all playing levels

Personally, I would say I’m between a beginner and an intermediate, probably closer to the beginner end. While I had a solid base, the game still forced me through a quick run of the basics. The game is perfect for everyone though. There are testimonials from people who have never picked up a guitar to people who have been playing for 20 years! It’s fun for experts too because learning new songs is always fun. People who already play and know how to read tab can also invert the strings in the game to read like tab. I would recommend playing this way for all players so you can look up tab online and translate the notes easily. I’ve noticed my tab reading has improved greatly because of this game

Not inspired yet?

What Rocksmith does…

Teaching songs: Its main premise is to teach people songs from beginning to end. Some songs have many arrangements. You can hear yourself very well as well as the track of the real song, which doesn’t happen too often when learning from other sources. Rocksmith will learn your own playing ability and start you off very easy when playing each song for the first time. When you hit most of the notes correctly, the game will add more to make it challenging. This feature is the main reason why the game is a success. It balances out the boredom and frustration. It’s a fun frustration though. That’s how you know it’s real. Learning a new instrument is never going to be easy.

That’s why Rocksmith has the Riff Repeater. Riff Repeater mode is essential when you’ve tried many times and just can’t seem to get one section. There are different modes within the feature that allow you to slow the song down as much as you’d like as well as modes that allow you to play a section over and over until you master that section of the song. When you improve in Riff Repeater, that section retains its difficulty during rehearsal mode and performance mode.

Guitar Cade

The game doesn’t stop there. It also provides a helpful guitarcade which supplies you with a helpful dose of games that will help you improve different skills. There is a game called Dawn of the Chordead where you shoot zombies by playing the chord shown on the screen. I’ve found it difficult to learn new chords with this guitarcade game because it goes really fast but it is really helpful for fine-tuning the chords you already know. Other games include scalerunner where you learn all the scales. The better you are at scales the faster it will get. Super ducks is also a fun and challenging game that requires work down and across the fretboard. Once you get used to the colors it becomes easier. I noticed that playing Superducks has helped tremendously in my dexterity and accuracy. There are plenty more games in the guitarcade that will help with many skills. If you’re feeling competitive, there is a leaderboard for the guitarcade games that does not exist when playing the actual songs.

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I LOVE this game. Before this game I would play two hours for one day and then stop for a few weeks. I knew I liked playing but I didn’t know what was missing. I tried using YouTube videos but that proved to be impossible. There were many holes and there was no connection between the thousands of guitar lessons online. The songs were pretty good. I was pretty satisfied as a Nirvana fan. There are also many great packs you can download from their store if you’ve mastered them all, or if you’re unsatisfied with the track list.

Sometimes I noticed that I didn’t want to play a song though. You’ll notice when you play the game that you want to play but you need a break from that same riff you’ve been playing over and over. The guitarcade games help with that and while they were probably created as an extra to the game, I’ve found them to be crucial.

Another section has technique challenges which contains chords sorted by songs. These challenges also contain hammer-ons, pull-offs, harmonics, barre chords, etc. The challenges made me realize how wrong I was at playing some of the chords, especially barre chords. This aspect of the game is something you can’t get from learning from videos. I wasn’t pressing hard enough for the barre chords and therefore wasn’t getting the points. Had I not been playing this game, I never would have known that and would have embarrassed myself.

Although I love this game, it’s not for everyone.

Who should buy Rocksmith?

·People who have always wanted to play guitar but couldn’t afford the lessons or didn’t have time for them.

·People who have a guitar in the closet and haven’t touched it in years.

·People who want to have a great time learning songs by their idols.

·People who can play guitar but need to fine-tune their skills.

·People who are very good at guitar and would like to learn new songs.



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    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 4 years ago from Australia

      Looks like Rocksmith would be a great jump off point for someone wanting to have a bit of fun. :)

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      I love the premise of the game, and it is surprising that the game isn't more popular. As much as I enjoy Rockband, you are not going to learn how to play guitar from it. You did a nice job in explaining the game. Nice job and welcome to Hubpages!