GAME: Rocksmith 2014 Edition Remastered
Instruments: Bass, Guitar (Lead and Rhythm)
Steam Achievements: Yes
Steam Cards: Yes
Equipment Necessary: Rocksmith Real Tone USB Audio Cable
Acoustic-Electric Guitar / Electric Guitar
Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar/ Electric Bass Guitar
If you're like me you often think of all the useless knowledge you learn in video games. Sure they help your reasoning skills and they are fun but what if you spent that time on something with a practice purpose? What if you could learn a new language or a new instrument? Well luckily there are a few games out there that can itch your curious mind and fulfill your urge to game. In this article I'll be writing about Rocksmith a tool for guitar players and guitar learners.
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ARTICLE SERIES: GAMES THAT TEACH ENTRY001 08242018 GUITAR
ARTICLE SERIES: GAMES THAT TEACH ENTRY001 08242018 GUITAR
Rocksmith 2014 Edition Remastered
Whether you're the second coming of Jimi Hendrix or a complete beginner Rocksmith can be useful to you. The large variety of game modes that include song teaching modes, modes that drill techniques, or modes that are just there so you can jam. The better you become at guitar the more useful this game becomes to you. As you begin to understand more music theory and increase your technical skill you can better utilize tools that come with the game.
The base Rocksmith game comes with 66 playable songs. These songs come from a variety of artists and genres.
Strum along with artists like Bob Dylan, System of a Down, The Arctic Monkeys, The Police, Nirvana, Muse, Rise Against, The Rolling Stones, Avenged Sevenfold and more.
Go ahead and check out the entire song library at the Ubisoft site!
There is a good sampling and you will no doubt see something you recognize.
As you can see, that's a lot of songs. And they all vary in difficulty and mastery time. I found myself rather happy with the selection because I am not very picky about my music. I enjoy many genres and I am a fan of most of the artists on the list.
However I know that some readers may have more niche preferences. Those individuals will probably see a handful of songs they are interested in learning. For those people I would recommend looking at the extensive DLC library for Rocksmith. There are probably over 1000 songs that are available for purchase as DLC. Pick up a handful of those DLC selections if your needs are not met. I would put a full list however there are too many DLC's available for me to do that. Instead have a look through the Steam store! When buying DLC I would recommend buying bundles and waiting on sales. The DLC is much more affordable that way. I myself pick up the Radiohead, Fallout Boy, System of a Down and The Killers bundles.
And if you are reluctant to drop that much money on the game, or you still don't see the artists you want the PC version of Rocksmith has many ways of including CDLC or custom DLC that is made and shared by users. If you did a little google research you'd easily be able to find the most commonly used site. I myself have indulged in the for-purchase DLC as well as CDLC. So if you enjoy video game music, anime soundtracks, or really niche genres (Amish Death Metal?) you can find a huge selection. Everything from the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack to DMX to vocaloids is at your disposal. However songs that are published as purchasable DLC are removed from most CDLC sites. Make sure to support your favorite artists and when possible buy the DLC!
It is rather safe to say that if you are looking at Rocksmith to teach you a couple songs you won't have a problem finding music you like. However I will say that they present the music is a bit different than anything you are used to. Rocksmith does not use tablature or sheet music to tell you what to play. Instead colored dots that each represent a different string show up on the screen. Their position is an indication of the fret to play. This takes some getting used to.
One of the good things about learning guitar is that tablature is very easily accessible. It is universally accepted as a notation language and it is intuitive to the player. A lot of people have trouble learning other instruments because learning to sight read sheet music is a chore. Learning to play with the Rocksmith method of notation reminded me a bit of learning to read sheet music. And I hated it. To play something smoothly just by looking at it requires that you associate each string by color without any extraneous thought. You need to work it in to your muscle memory to the point in which you don't have to think about it.
The worst part of Rocksmith is the first 5 hours when you aren't used to the notation they use. Since it is rather simple you will pick up on it after a while. It just seems a bit silly to use this form of notation when there are much simpler ones out there.
Useful Features In Song Select Mode:
The Riff Repeater is one of my most used features on this. If you try to learn a song entirely in one playthrough it can be overwhelming. By using riff repeater you can become comfortable with the structure of the song and you will learn to play specific riffs perfectly.
Even if a song is difficult the game will start you out with a skeleton version of the song. It will give you the most basic form of the song until you master it. Then more notes will be added gradually until you can play the song as it was meant to be played.
Once you learn a song and play it well enough the notes will start disappearing and you have to start playing by feeling and by memory. This is incredibly helpful to make sure you aren't just repeating notes. You are feeling the music and eventually playing that impossible to get song is as effortless as can be. For pianists many try to learn through a program called Synthesia, which is a good learning tool but it can lead to very mechanical playing. The player just thoughtlessly repeats what was played with no understanding of what they are doing. Master mode makes you play with the sound rather than playing with the notation.
Sometimes you don't want to play the songs you have played millions of times before. You want to mess around and play whatever comes to mind. Session mode is your own private jam session. You can set up your own little band with a huge variety of instruments at your disposal.
One of my favorite tools in this game is the tone creator. You can take tones from other songs and bands and use them as your own. If you ever wondered how someone got their guitar to sound like that, you don't have to wonder anymore. You can take preset tones from any song you have and you can experiment and create new ones through Rocksmith.
With the tone creator and session mode you can let loose and play whatever comes to your mind. Maybe you'll come up with the next iconic riff.
Rocksmith also includes a variety of games that act as drills and lessons that teach or refresh any lacking fundamentals. The good thing about Rocksmith is that if you are struggling on a song the game will suggest drills to gain the technical skill to improve. You gain targeted practice at your faults.
And as a self taught guitarist I have a ton of holes in my knowledge. Rocksmith helps fill your gaps of knowledge to make you a better player. While no program is as good as a teacher, Rocksmith certainly will help you grow as a guitarist.
Nothing is as good as a good guitar teacher. But that costs lots of money and you are no longer able to improve at your own leisure. Sometimes I'll play guitar 3 hours a day for months on end, and sometimes I'll go weeks without even picking up my guitar. I'm a hobbyist that plays just for self enjoyment and self improvement. That is why Rocksmith is a great game for me. However, if you are planning on using Rocksmith as your only learning material, I would advise against it. Rocksmith makes a great supplementary learning material. At the very least make sure you are using proper posture and hand positioning, Any habit you build up early can lead to unneeded aches and pains. So make sure to use a variety of materials and compare not only your notes, but your technique.
Rocksmith is a tool, and if you use this tool right it does a fantastic job. But if you use poor learning habits, or you just play the music you play without any thought or feeling then Rocksmith will encourage bad habits. If you are interested in learning guitar or progressing your own guitar skill I would recommend Rocksmith highly. The features it brings are useful to anyone who plays.
Keep on strumming,