Learning to Play Guitar With Rocksmith: Week 1

Have you ever wanted to shred on a guitar like famed rock stars Jimi Hendrix, Slash, or Keith Richards? Ever wanted to woo the love of your life with a sultry ballad, played by your own hands? If so, you’re not alone. Many people play the guitar and many more would love to. I myself have had this desire from a very young age.

I remember when I was about four years old, my father got me my first guitar – an electric guitar. Of course, it wasn’t the full-fledged thing, but more of a toy for kids. As I grew up, the real thing got introduced to me a few times. I went through about three acoustic guitars and an electric guitar but never really learned to play the darn thing. I never had any formal training nor did I have the patience to commit to teaching myself. Around the age of 14, I decided I would try a little more. It went well for a while. I learned to play a little bit by ear and even made my own song, which I entitled, “Don’t Worry. I’m Right Here.” It was so basic and my singing was pretty terrible but I was proud. Then it all stopped. Life took over and I never went beyond that beginner stage of learning how to play the guitar.

Fast forward 14 more years and we arrive at the present. My life is so busy, there are days where I don’t even have time to eat a meal. Still, I have that desire to learn how to play the guitar. That desire never went away. Of course, technology has progressed and we are living in an age of information saturation. So I finally decided, this is it; I’m going to schedule time and use one of these resources to learn to play the guitar. The resource I chose? A video game.

“Preposterous! A video game to learn how to play guitar?” you say. Well, yes. When I told my best friend about it, he look at me and asked, “You mean, like Guitar Hero?” No. This is nothing like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or the likes. This is a full-fledged interactive instructional program on how to play the electric guitar, Rocksmith. Published by Ubisoft, Rocksmith has been hailed as one of the best programs to use to learn how to play guitar and one of the fastest. That’s right, take the 60 day challenge and you can go from a beginner to someone who can competently play songs on the guitar. After doing some research, I decided these claims were fairly legitimate and picked up Rocksmith for myself.

Now, there was only one problem… I didn’t have a guitar anymore. So, here I am with a great new program but no guitar to play it with. Easy fix: Get a guitar. So I did. It only took me a year and a half though. Yeah, it was quite the wait but I did it! So now I have Rocksmith 2014 edition and a brand new electric guitar. I decided to go with the PS4 version of Rocksmith 2014 and a starter guitar pack, the Fender Squire. So now I have everything I need, it’s time to learn how to play the guitar!

Rocksmith Guitar BoxRocksmith Guitar and Game unboxed 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

After unboxing everything, I plugged in my guitar, popped in the Rocksmith disc into my PS4 and, after installing, booted it up! My fingers are tense, my body is anxious, I’m ready to learn how to play the guitar! The game ran me through a tuning and startup stage before getting to the main menu. At the main menu, the first thing that caught my eye was “Learn a Song”. So I grabbed my controller and dove right into a song. Scrolling through the list, I found some great rock classics but one stood out to me – Everlong by the Foo Fighters. “This is it,” I thought. This is the song I’m going to learn to play on the guitar. Of course, I knew I had a sizable task ahead of me. Still, the excitement and anxiety made me press that button to start playing Everlong. Only then did it really dawn on me: This is going to take an extreme amount of dedication and practice. But I’m sticking to my guns, I will get there.

After I “finished” Everlong, I went back to the song list and explored a little more. I got the feel for the guitar and the feel for the game. Still, I knew it was soon time to get down to business. I went back to the main menu and went where I should have gone in the first place, “Lessons.” In the Lessons menu, you can learn all sorts of guitar techniques, from the most basic to the tremendously advanced. I decided I would work my way through each technique and keep practicing until I score high on each one until I become an adept guitar player. Starting the lessons showed me how much work I really have to put into the process, but I will continue and I will not give up. This dream will become a reality. After about two hours, day one was over.

The rest of the week went basically the same as day one. I was still getting a feel for the guitar and a feel for Rocksmith. Still, even just during week one, I saw improvements. Instead of the recommended one hour per day, I pushed each session to about two hours. I’m still not playing full songs but there are marked improvements in my techniques, speed, and abilities.

Week two is coming and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to give more progress reports along the way, maybe videos too. Either way, I’m excited and hopeful. I think this could really work. I realize that I have so much work to do and a long time of practice ahead of me. I figure, even if I fail this 60 day challenge, I’ll be happy if I can play decently within a year. But I wont stop there. I’ll keep playing and keep improving until I master the guitar and finally fulfill my dreams.

I’m curious, have any of you used Rocksmith? How has it gone for you? Are you a beginner using it or someone familiar with the instrument already, just looking to improve your skill? Let me know in your comments below!

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