Rocksmith, Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered: A Comprehensive Musical Game and Teaching Tool.

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18177/sym.2018.58.sr.11404

Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered: A Comprehensive Musical Game and Teaching Tool. Released 2014. Physical package includes the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable to plug in an electric guitar or bass. Acoustic guitar requires a pickup with a 1/4" output jack or a dedicated USB microphone.1Ubisoft’s website: rocksmith.ubisoft.com/rocksmith/en-us/buy/index.aspx Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation®4, Xbox 360, Xbox One. Single-player or multiplayer video game. rocksmith.ubisoft.com/rocksmith/en-us/home. USD $59.99.

Rocksmith is a comprehensive and innovative music video game with incredible pedagogical potential. It is sophisticated tutorial software that serves as an easily accessible guitar teaching tool due to its entertaining game component. Ubisoft’s success comes through authenticity: users plug in a real electric guitar or bass, as compared to the plastic controllers used by Guitar Hero or Rock Band. This feeling of playing a real instrument is irreplaceable.

Rocksmith follows the explicitly pedagogical aim and offers a variety of comprehensive Lessons that teach students the basics, such as fingering, simple power chords, and rhythm; other complicated guitar techniques such as legato and one or two-hand tapping follow. After learning these techniques, users progress to the Learn a Song mode where they find a collection of licensed songs. The user can sort the list alphabetically or by difficulty, giving students the opportunity to learn the music that they enjoy. The process of learning any song is made easier by using the excellent Riff Repeater tool, which facilitates practice by focusing on specific song segments. Students choose their level of difficulty and set the speed.

In Session Mode, users select up to four supporting instruments. The player can customize a virtual backup band by using a variety of instruments (e.g. drums, percussions, keys, guitar, bass, mandolin, etc.). Players set the tempo, volume, groove, complexity, chord changes or scale changes. The most attractive pedagogical feature of the game is how the computer (i.e. console) responds to the music generated by the player and reacts to their skill level. The Tone Designer feature enables students to produce a realistic sound through the various virtual effects pedals, boxes, and amplifiers.

As a game, Rocksmith takes place in the virtual space “Guitarcade,” which offers a package of mini games that represent familiar video game designs. The games teach the techniques, but in a less intensive form than traditionally learning/practicing guitar.

Teachers can implement the program into an actual course to help students practice scale shapes, or, to isolate particular sections of songs and gradually “level up” their skills by using the riff repeater. It is fun, fast, and effective.

Rocksmith is a brilliant tool that introduces the world of playing electric and bass guitar.

 

ROCKSMITH SUMMARY:

Strengths:

  • Plugs into a real instrument
  • Beneficial for players of all levels; novice to advanced
  • Comprehensive lessons: chords, picking, slides, bends, legato (hammer-ons, pull-offs), tremolo, harmonics, vibrato, syncopation, articulation, and two-hand tapping
  • Dynamic difficulty system (tool adapts to user’s skill level) Session Mode: "jamming" with supporting instruments; program generates supporting music to player’s production

Weaknesses:

  • Does not offer a deep insight into the theory
  • Is not a substitute for a professional guitar teacher (e.g. lack of instructor control over student’s technique)

 

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Last modified on Thursday, 20/09/2018

Jana Vaculíková

Jana Vaculíková is a current PhD student studying Musicology at the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic. Vaculíková currently teaches electric guitar and Music Theory at the music school Žerotín Olomouc. Vaculíková is an active guitar and bass player and has composed music for various movies and documentaries.

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