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Rocksmith combines console, PC or Mac software with downloadable content to help you learn guitar faster than ever. You simply plug in your electric guitar using a special cable, choose a song or game, and play.
The really clever thing about Rocksmith is that it immediately learns and responds to your playing. Choose a song, start playing at a simple level (just one note) and the software slowly increases the difficulty. If you’re struggling, the difficulty is reduced, if you’re breezing through it then it becomes harder. With this instant feedback, you are always pushed to improve, meaning that your development is incredibly quick and specific to your needs.
The software comes with around a dozen songs, although you can download more easily. The basic interface includes a music video and fret board style on-screen notification system, so you can easily see which notes to play, and when. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Guitar Hero, but more in depth, and the really good thing is that you’re genuinely learning guitar rather than simply playing a game.
It can feel as though you are playing a game rather than playing the guitar, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are also a variety of guitar exercises to try, which are cleverly disguised as video games. For example, moving between certain chords at the right time, might fire a missile at the correct enemy. So, whilst you’re blowing things up, you’re actually learning progressive chord changes. Clever!
Rocksmith.ubi.com contains relatively little content as a website, although it does a very good job at telling you about the software. You can also watch a trailer with rock legends talking about how they love the program. In this video you’ll also learn that Rocksmith was voted the fastest way of learning guitar or improving your guitar skills.
The full online library contains over 500 songs from all genres, though they tend to be more electric-guitar focused than acoustic, since that’s the tool you’re using. Still, you can play acoustic tracks without any problems. Other features lacking here include sheet music or more traditional tools for guitar learning. Away from the screen, we do wonder how effective a player might be with just sheet music in front of them.
That said, Rocksmith does include band modes and co-op modes so you can get the feeling and timing of playing with other musicians, which could essentially train you to be a guitarist in a band.
Since you’ll probably want more than the dozen or so songs on the first disc, you’ll have to start downloading more songs. You can easily find these by performing a search on the site, although it is not free to download new tracks and videos. That’s not surprising since so much work must go into creating the software and adapting it for each song, plus you get a music video and all the perks which come with each download.
Rocksmith teaches you guitar as you enjoy playing games and rocking with the legends of music. Prices could mount as you download new content, but the system is proven to be a fun and fast way to learn guitar or to improve your skills. It’s a high tech, unique and intriguing approach to learning guitar.
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