Rocksmith 2014: How I Learned to Play Guitar Without a Guitar Teacher – A Review

I never seriously learned to play guitar in the past, as my previous experiences trying to learn where very casual to say the least. I think I had an acoustic guitar when I was a very small child and then a long time after, I tried my luck again while in the Army, hanging out with the punk dudes. None of those experiences led to anything that really stuck.

So about 8 years ago I was just out of the Army, pretty bored with everyday life and wanted to find some sort of creative outlet for my boredom. I love rockin’ out, so naturally I decided guitar was the answer to my problems.

Coincidentally at about the same time, I stumble upon Rocksmith 2014. It touted itself as the guitar learning program that can get you playing in no time. I watched all the videos on the program, mostly featuring Marty Schwartz from the Marty Music channel. All the videos I watched said the program was amazing and most of all, worked. Everyone made it sound like Rocksmith 2014 was like finding a real Pick of Destiny, (All you Tenacious D fans know what I’m talkin about!) something magical to make all your rock dreams become a reality.

What I experienced after purchasing Rocksmith 2014 was nothing short of a godsend. After the first couple of weeks, I was already learning the main parts of several of my favorite songs. Rocksmith quickly became the favorite piece of software that I owned.

As a total beginner, Rocksmith takes you by the hand and not only teaches you all the techniques you need, with several baby-step lessons, but you can also play your favorite songs and play games that progressively get harder as you get better. No matter what level of guitar player you are, from never touched a guitar to a seasoned veteran, Rocksmith will have you learning something new or at the very least, help you perfect your craft.

A ton of your favorite bands are also included in the game, with the option to download even more songs if you want a deeper catalog. I gravitated towards Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots, being a child of the 1990’s and loving Grunge music, but they have pretty much any kind of genre you might be fond of, from Classical to Metal.

You can even play bass in the program with another player, all while playing the same song, at the same time, making this the perfect tool for practicing with band mates and friends. I found this to be particularly helpful, since my brother plays bass in our band and we can practice with songs we love.

The best part of the program though has to be its depth. Not only does it have lessons and songs to play, but the game is also packed with a ton of additional features.

Lets say you get bored with just typical, standardized lessons, the mini-games included in Rocksmith 2014, via the “Guitarcade”, help break up the boredom and monotony of lessons, while keeping you playing and perfecting your techniques. Some of my favorite Guitarcade games are: String Skip Saloon (for practicing string skipping), Ducks ReDux (for practicing fretting) & Return to Castle Chordead (for chord practicing). All of these games play like arcade games and are a ton of fun.

Like a specific guitar tone in a song? Well, with the included “Tone Designer”, you can find out what kind of pedals & amps make that particular guitar tone you like. I personally love the Type O Negative guitar tone and now I know exactly what kind of setup I would need outside of Rocksmith.

You can even just jam out with the “Session Mode”, if you just feel like rocking out. This feature even has an optional backing band! I rarely use this mode, but it’s useful if you just want to play without any restrictions.

So now its been a few years and I’ve actually gotten good enough to record some simple songs. What’s even better is that you can use the same Rocksmith cable to record your guitar on your PC. This cable actually sounds better than anything else I’ve tried too, so Rocksmith is also an excellent purchase, even outside of the main program.

I’m not exactly an expert player yet, but with Rocksmith, I can keep learning at my own pace and just have fun rocking out. Its a grown-up’s version of Rock Band or Guitar Hero that will actually teach you real guitar. It works and I’m living proof. Pick it up, you won’t regret it!

Official Grade: 9/10
Bottom Line:

If you want to learn to play guitar, Rocksmith 2014 is pretty much perfect. Nothing else besides an electric guitar is needed. It’s the one program you will need, period.

The only reason Rocksmith 2014 is not a 10/10 is because Rocksmith 2014 can have trouble picking up lower tunings on some very low tuned songs. This is especially true of bass tracks. Otherwise the game is perfect.