How does learning guitar while playing a game sound?
I won’t be wrong if I say that the guitar is perhaps the most popular musical instrument today.
And with that, it is also normal that there are many ways to learn how to play it.
In addition to the traditional “one on one” lessons and the more convenient online lessons, there is also a way that involves online learning and gamification.
The educational games have taken quite a swing and are taking over the field of instrument learning.
One of these educational games for online guitar learning is Rocksmith.
Feeling bored of traditional online learning platforms?
The answer might be Rocksmith
One of the most effective ways to make progress is by learning and mastering playing actual songs. Through this process, you can learn scales, chords, and phrases and learn how to use them.
Compared to learning through watching video lessons, learning through games is more fun. It’s definitely more engaging and it’s the reason it’s getting more and more popular.
Rocksmith is an excellent example. The combination of education and fun that Rocksmith provides is an indicator of how one game can affect the progress you make in your process of learning guitar.
Rocksmith offers an option to choose a difficulty level for every song, which makes it interesting for guitar players of all levels.
With this Rocksmith has established itself as a place for both beginner and intermediate guitarists. There is also room for advanced guitarists to learn and practice playing songs and solos.
Apart from the most basic knowledge of the guitar, the next step in learning is really the key moment. It separates the people who want to learn guitar for a month, from the actual students. This involves more advanced picking techniques, muting strings, bending the strings, vibrato etc.
Even though all of this is pretty well explained, the thing that is missing is correcting the player if something is not well done. Learners benefit a lot from good feedback, and Rocksmith is overall lacking in this.
The exercises can only tell you the percentage of the tones you have hit or miss. But the game cannot recognize the techniques from the physical aspect. So if you are unable to detect the problem yourself, or don’t rewatch everything multiple times, you will find that your learning will suffer.
But even with this, Rocksmith can actually compete with the rest of the guitar learning sites, if you keep in mind that what Rocksmith does is an educational game, rather than traditional learning.
Another minus would be the lack of a step by step program that would be of a tremendous relief for beginners. This is one of the advantages that others online guitar learning sites like JamPlay or GuitarTricks have.
In order to play the game, you need to have either an electric or an acoustic – electric guitar that you can plug into the device.
An ideal category of Rocksmith users is guitar players of all levels who want to learn how to play guitar the fun way or they are just looking to have fun playing their favorite songs with a virtual band.
What is Rocksmith and how does it work?
This game is the creation of Ubisoft and it is probably inspired by the well known and popular Guitar Hero.
The attempt to replace the virtual guitar with a real one in order to add an educational side of the game is actually quite successful.
The game works on most gaming consoles like PS3 and PS4, PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
By purchasing the game, you also get a cable that connects your guitar to the console.
Rocksmith was first released in 2011 but with each subsequent version, the game has been successfully upgraded.
Now let’s take a closer look at Rocksmith and see if it’s actually a good place to learn how to play guitar.
- It is excellent for learning the basics, perfecting scales, chords, and songs
- Well-assembled video / audio lectures
- Suitable for all levels of guitarists
- Relatively inexpensive product
- One-time purchase
- Problems with lagging
- The mini games are pretty useless
- Limited use (you can use it strictly in home conditions where you stand next to the console or computer)
- There is no way of someone correcting your errors from a technical aspect and telling you what you need to work on
- No lessons on musical theory
Let’s dig into what makes Rocksmith so great
As I mentioned earlier, Rocksmith is a game that besides the fun is meant to help you learn to play guitar and learning songs. Realistically, Ubisoft’s intention to create such a game is definitely successful.
The game is designed in the spirit of rock music, which clearly indicates what the target group is.
How does Rocksmith work?
To begin with, it is a very important lesson that needs to be addressed, tuning in your guitar. You actually cannot play the game without doing this first. That is why the tuner is at the very beginning of the game.
However it is not perfectly accurate, which is a big minus.
Like any other game, Rocksmith starts with a tutorial on how to synchronize the guitar with the sounds of the game. This also gives you an opportunity to learn how the virtual neck of the guitar works and teaches you how to accurately play a tone.
For example, each string has its own color so when a note appears on a certain field with a certain color it is already known where the tone should be played.
After the tutorial, the first mission is to learn how to play a song. This is actually to check if you have mastered the first tutorial. It is no surprise that the first song is set to the lowest level of difficulty. This level can be changed as you go along depending on the player’s preferences.
Each song is divided into sections and with this, it is easier to find the part that the guitarist would like to focus on.
It also has the option to change the speed of the tones, making it easier to read the notes.
With this, we can conclude that learning songs with Rocksmith is quite easy and interesting.
The list of songs that you get when you buy the Rocksmith game is pretty small, 55 songs. However, if you want to spend some extra money you can purchase extra songs, and choose from a collection of about 1200 songs.
Further along, you will find missions on how to use the other categories from the main page.
Session mode is the part where you can use an already created band or create your own. It consists of 4 parts which you need to fill with instruments depending on your desire. The list of instruments you can choose from has drums, bass, keyboards, and rhythm guitars. You can also choose multiple styles like rock, metal, blues…
The virtual band starts playing in the tonality and the tempo you have chosen and responds to the phrasing of the player.
The Nonstop Play is a mode that you can activate where after you finish one song you automatically get another to play. The choice of the songs is random. The title of this mode is pretty self-explanatory and the mode overall is good for someone looking for a challenge.
Lessons is one of the most important elements of this game. Here you get to learn through tasks about the basic chords and power chords, melodies, and rhythm. The whole process is pretty simplified which is not a bad option for beginners.
The lessons include video and an added audio explanation by a narrator. With this, the narrator explains while the instructor demonstrates at the same time.
Taking an example from the already established online guitar lesson sites, Rocksmith meets all the requirements for providing a good program for different levels of students. Each lesson is very well and thoroughly clarified. Once you learn the lesson you can use to practice through the virtual guitar.
I think this combination of a video lesson and a game to practice and bring fun to the process is great and I consider Rocksmith one of the best alternative platform (game) for learning guitar.
But as I mentioned above, just like any other way of guitar learning without direct interaction, it is considered one level lower than having guitar lessons one on one in real life.
The next section is Guitarcade
Here you will find mini-games where your guitar only functions as a controller.
This is totally unrelated to the educational part and has nothing to do with learning guitar.
The games itself are not that good and simply have no potential.
Now let’s get back to the interesting part of the menu.
The Multiplayer Option
I don’t think I need to explain this because we are all familiar with the concept. But still it’s a good option to have and it definitely makes that game that much more fun.
The Tone Designer
This is a part where every guitar player would spend his or her time. Imagine all that you would do and the time you would spend experimenting if you would have a bunch of guitar pedals, amps, and cabinets available. Awesome, right?
Here you can create your own unique tone by dialing the amp and tuning the potentiometers. You can also try the remaining 300 tones that you get with the game. These can be changed during the playing track.
The other two sections are the Shop and Uplay
At the shop, you will find the list of songs that can be added to the game. The rest is guitar accessories that you can use in the game also.
How much does Rocksmith cost?
Most of you are already familiar with how the purchase and prices of games in the gaming world function.
Rocksmith can be found on online game platforms.
Compared to online guitar lessons, buying the game is about the average monthly subscription to the best online learning sites. You can get Rocksmith for $29.99.
The good thing is that is a one time purchase. Once you have paid for the game you get all the lessons and exercises and you don’t need to pay a monthly subscription to keep using it.
In addition to everything included in the price you can also buy extra songs. If you are a determined and fast learner, you will run out of songs quickly. In this case, if you don’t spend some extra money to buy new and more difficult songs, the game might lose its appeal and become boring.
The songs are sold individually, with the cost for songs varying from $3 to $12. It might not seem like a lot of money for an individual song, but if you plan on buying more or want to collect songs, the cost can really add up.
This is what people think
Learning through game is undoubtedly fun. And Rocksmith really is a fun game, plus it’s a game you can really get into and learn a thing or two.
So there is no surprise that the majority of the user reviews I found online tend to praise the game. Here are some of them that I found summed up some valid points and contributed to this Rocksmith review.
What else can you try?
Rocksmith is one of the most complete guitar learning platforms. But unlike Rocksmith, sites that focus only on music education have certain advantages.
Now we will look at some of them briefly:
- GuitarTricks is one of the oldest online guitar lesson sites. By being one of the first such sites they have had enough time to see all the shortcomings and fix them. An excellent part of GuitarTricks are the lessons for music theory.
A lot of sites have lessons for music theory, but not a lot of them are as successful as GuitarTricks. Thanks to their experience, they have created the Step by Step method.
This guitar lessons system is one of the most successful. This is one of the main reasons GuitarTricks has its high rating amongst users.
Another successful online guitar lesson site is GuitarJamz. The crucial moment that sets apart GuitarJamz from other sites is its originality. This originality is all thanks to its creator Marty Schwartz. The availability of free Youtube lessons is a great asset to GuitarJamz. With this, you can best learn how the instructor’s system works and whether the site is right for you before you buy it.
A system similar to Guitarsmith is the Yousician application.
Yousician’s advantage is that you can have it on your smartphone and if you carry a guitar with you, you can literally use it wherever you want.
Unlike the rest, the application can be used for free, and you get a limited version that still does the job. The only problem is that is has a very limited number of songs.
All in all, should you get Rocksmith?
So is Rocksmith really worth your time? To be completely honest, if you are looking for the most effective way to learn guitar, then no. If you are looking for the most fun way to make progress learning guitar, then yes.
Rocksmith is a game, an educational online game that will help you learn some things and practice. It’s a new take on the online guitar learning experience. So if you are an aspiring guitar player looking for a way to have fun and learn along the way, you should definitely give it a try.