Apr 01, 2014

Can someone really learn guitar from playing Rocksmith games?

I’ve been looking at a music game called Rocksmith that's available for the PS3, X360 and PC. Remember those music games like guitar hero? Well, this is kind of like that except you use an actual guitar to play actual chords and notes instead of one of those little plastic toy “pretend” guitars. It’s sounds interesting, but I’ve only played classical guitar and not much of that in recent years and Rocksmith needs an electric guitar. That makes it a pretty expensive purchase since I would have to buy a new guitar, but if I can actually learn guitar from it, it would be worth it. Has anyone tried it out, and if so, did if actually help you learn guitar?

I doubt it really teaches somebody in the same way that a teacher can, but might spur interest in learning. And that can help motivate someone into taking steps to learn how to play a guitar in a more formal way.

I have Rocksmith 2014. It works as a teaching tool, but you still have to put in the effort. Also, it’s going to feel very different coming from a nylon string classical guitar to a steel string electric, and you are going to have to get used to that. It shouldn’t take too long though. You can get a decent Epiphone guitar for under $200. It’s the budget line by Gibson, so you don’t really have to spend a fortune. Another good potential source of used guitars are pawn shops - a lot of people hock their guitars when times are tough. Either way, for under $300 you should be able to get the game and a guitar. 


What Rocksmith does is “gameify” learning how to play, so you aren’t truly overwhelmed at any point and you can have fun as you learn. It also adjust difficulty in response to your playing, to keep frustration to a minimum. The other thing it does is give you a chance to play along with a full band as you are learning. Instead of only hearing your guitar, you hear how it fits in the song. Very rewarding. 


Does it replace a good teacher? No, not really, and because it doesn’t teach you songs using tablature it’s going to be hard to just pick up some music and play even after you have gotten good at Rocksmith. But you absolutely can learn to play the songs on the game from scratch on a real guitar without ever taking a formal lesson. 

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