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I don’t know how to play the guitar. However, I have played games that use plastic guitars as controllers. Rocksmith + can act as a bridge for people like me.
In Rocksmith +, now available, players can use a real guitar to interact to learn and play a large catalog of songs. As part of a subscription service, Rocksmith + gives users access to a library of thousands of songs in a variety of genres, including artists such as Alice Cooper, Nsync, and even Mozart.
But more importantly for a beginner like me, it also comes with a suite of learning tools.
Starting from scratch
If you’re completely new to guitar, like me, Rocksmith + can teach you the basics. It offers video tutorials on topics like guitar tuning and even how to properly hold the instrument.
Soon I was learning some basic chords. A video tutorial would show me where I need to put my fingers, then an on-screen lesson will begin. Here, I had to strum the chord when prompted by a highway of notes, similar to the UI you’d see in games like Guitar Hero. Except here, you are playing real strings on a real guitar.
From these starting blocks, you can start learning real songs. Once you’ve chosen a track, you can tackle it as a beginner or as a vet looking to learn the song note by note. For someone like me, I can play a simplified version of the song. I can even use a setting that pauses the song every time I have to play a note, patiently waiting for me to get my fingers where they need to go and strum before the track continues.
Rocksmith + will even isolate the sections you are having trouble on and offer practice. You can repeat the same section until you have better management.
A wide range of accessibility and customization options also make things easier. You can change the UI layout in a few key ways, such as in-game key orientation. You can even play songs with tabs if that’s a more convenient way to view notes.
A powerful tool
Now, I’m not saying Rocksmith + turned me into a Van Halen. Regardless of the method, learning an instrument like the guitar means dedicating yourself to practice. But Rocksmith + makes practicing easy and accessible and can give you direct feedback on how you’re doing.
It’s a clear step up from just following the tutorials on YouTube and is even a decent substitute for an in-person tutor. I have no doubt that if I really put the time into it, I could get decent control over the guitar or bass.
But Rocksmith + is not just a teaching tool. If you already know how to play the guitar, it can become something closer to a real game. That’s when it can feel more like a Guitar Hero experience, where you’re playing along with your favorite songs. Except you are now actually playing real notes on a real instrument and can take that experience outside of the game.
A gift for aspiring guitarists
As I said, I don’t play guitar. I delight in other instruments, such as the whistle. I’d kill for software like this to help me learn the songs and techniques for that instrument.
So if you’re a guitarist or interested in picking up the instrument, honestly I’m a little jealous of you. If you have a bit of motivation, Rocksmith + offers the tools to help you become a true string-playing musician.
Ubisoft gave me early access to Rocksmith +, a Rocksmith Real Tone guitar and cable for my hands-on time.
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