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I do not know how to play guitar. I have, however, played games that use plastic guitars as controllers. Rocksmith+ can serve as bridge for people like me.
In Rocksmith+, out now, players can use an actual 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 tunes across a variety of genres, including artists like Alice Cooper, Nsync and even Mozart.
But, more importantly for a novice like me, it also comes with a suite of learning tools.
Starting from zero
If you’re completely new to guitar, like me, Rocksmith+ can teach you the basics. It offers videos tutorials on topics like guitar tuning and even on how to properly hold the instrument.
Soon, I was learning some basic chords. A video tutorial would show me where I need to place my fingers, then an on-screen lesson would begin. Here, I had to strum the chord when instructed by a note highway, similar to the UI you’d see in games like Guitar Hero. Except here, you’re playing actual strings on a real guitar.
From these starting blocks, you can begin to learn actual songs. Once you pick a track, you can tackle it as either a beginner or a vet looking to learn the song note-for-note. For someone like me, I can play a simplified version of the track. I can even use a setting that pauses the song each time I need 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 sections that you struggle on and offer practice. You can repeat the same section until you get a better handle on it.
A large range of accessibility and personalization options also make things easier. You can change the layout of the UI in some key ways, for example the orientation of your in-game fret. You can even play songs with tabs if that is a more comfortable way for you to visualize notes.
A powerful tool
Now, I’m not saying that Rocksmith+ has turned me into a Van Halen. No matter the method, learning a instrument like guitar means devoting yourself to practice. But Rocksmith+ makes practice easy and accessible, and it can give you direct feedback on how you’re doing.
It’s a clear step up from simply following tutorials on YouTube, and it’s even a decent substitute for an in-person tutor. I have little doubt that if I actually devoted the time to it, I could get a decent handle on guitar or bass.
But Rocksmith+ isn’t just a teaching tool. If you already know how to play guitar, it can become something closer to an actual game. That’s when it can feel more like a Guitar Hero experience, where you’re playing along to your favorite songs. Except now you’re actually playing real notes on a real instrument, and you can take that experience outside of the game.
A gift for the guitar hopefuls
Like I said, I don’t play guitar. I do dabble in some other instruments, like the tin whistle. I would kill to have software like this to help me learn songs and techniques for that instrument.
So if you are a guitar player or are interested in picking up the instrument, I’m honestly kind of jealous of you. If you have some motivation, Rocksmith+ offers the tools to help you become an actual string-strumming musician.
Ubisoft gave me preview access to Rocksmith+, a guitar and a Rocksmith Real Tone cable for my hands-on time.