Any thoughts on Rocksmith as a teaching aid

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by melikecookies, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Bristol Posse

    Bristol Posse Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    2,843
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    I learned some songs by trying to pick them out along with records
    I learned some songs by reading the musical notation
    I learned some songs on rocksmith.

    All of the methods of learning were challenging, all of them were fun and I can still play most of the songs that I learned from any of those methods

    The biggest, criticism I would have of rocksmith is that there is no real music notation and since I could already read music before I started the guitar I never bothered to learn TAB, so the most irritating thing for me was having to learn a whole new notation system which made me feel clumsy to start with.

    I see it as an evolution and a pretty good first attempt at using a gaming system format for teaching and reinforcing a real world music skill. There are things that will be improved if this method gains traction but as a first go round with the technology it's quite well done

    I've heard similar arguments made about people using TAB as a short cut and crutch to take the easy way rather than having to learn music notation and theory too. Anything that is new and different will gain criticism by people who learned another way, even if they never actually tried the new method.

    IMO the more things that you can do to put a guitar in your had and playing along with music has to be a good thing no matter whether it be traditional old school, new school or completely off the wall. Playing is learning. Doesn't matter is if it is along with a record, sheet music, in a band or with a game system. You're still practicing, tweaking and improving.
    Find something that works for you and go for it

    YMMV
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow Senior Member

    Messages:
    472
    Likes Received:
    288
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    After having played Rocksmith now for between 8-10 hours, I am not sure how much of a "teaching aid" it really is. What it does best is probably force you to not look at the frettboard, and get you to spend time with guitar in hand. Not bad things at all.

    A pretty large percentage of people buying this are 30-40somethings that just want to learn to play some songs. The "game" part of it makes that hard to do in my opinion because you are concentrating so much on hitting that string on that fret as it scrolls down the screen and getting ready for the next one without much "thought" into what you are playing or rhythm.

    Sure I can play some of the often repeated riffs of particular songs, but I am nowhere close to learning/knowing the full songs. After playing Rocksmith for a couple of hours, I spent another hour on Youtube and printing off some tab, and actually learned some new songs that way.

    The Riff Repeater is probably the best learning "tool" for those wanting to learn songs. Word is they are fixing the "lives" feature possibly by removing the "lives" limit completely. That would be a nice change and let you actually work your way through a song and not just let you pass and skip over notes you miss.

    I am a hobbyist/hack and will give the game more time. But right now I am feeling that it is just a game.
     
  3. Mike-t

    Mike-t Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    351
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    I guess it all comes down to whether you feel experience is a teacher... :hmm: Based on this thread some people seem to believe it is and some people don't.

    Here is an example... I learned several Christmas songs to play for my family over the Holidays. It only took me a couple of hours to learn them because they all used chords I already knew... However, after playing them a bunch of times for practice and in front of the family I feel that I learned to play the guitar better because of the experience I gained. Some people in this thread would tell me that I learned absolutely nothing because I was using knowledge I already had. :hmm:
     
  4. D_Strasse

    D_Strasse Senior Member

    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Lots of interesting discussion here.

    Personally, I'm just looking at it as a fun way to play songs and practice finger exercises. I've taken lessons and I know chords, and some scales, can read tab (who can't lol), etc. I'm just looking for a fun way to increase finger dexterity and learn some new songs.
     
  5. Doos

    Doos Junior Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    This thread pops up as one of the first dozen links on google when searching for 'Rocksmith Forums'.

    So I thought I'd come in with my two bits just to throw another opinion on the pile regarding this game as a 'teaching aid'.

    Yes, absolutely, this game will help you play the guitar.

    Will it teach you? Sort of.

    I've sunk a good amount of time into the game, probably somewhere in the 60+ hour range and my skill has definitely increased.

    Because I'm practicing again. This game makes me want to practice.

    A little about my history with the guitar:

    When I was in the single digit years, I had guitar lessons for approx. 2 years. I learned to read some theory, mostly single notes and early chords.

    I learned some tempo etc. and all the other little things that come with the first few years of guitar lessons when you plod along at the speed that I did.

    I also learned that I hated guitar lessons.

    To quote the Simpsons 'It sounds polly wolly crappy..'

    I wanted to learn 'Rebel Yell', not 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.

    So I quit.

    Fast forward to teenage years.. I learned how to tune to Drop D.

    Nirvana was huge and you could rock the hell out to popular songs with a few simple chords. Yay! If it doesn't sound good, add more distortion. I played in bands, we played shows, I wasn't that good but who cares, we had fun.

    Fast forward a few more years.. I've hit a damn wall. I'm playing the same crap over and over again and I hate it. All my teenage band years are behind me, no one I know plays any more and sadly, neither do I. Inspiration is gone.

    All those craptastic music games come out.. Guitar Hero, Rock Band, etc. etc.

    I'm thinking, 'Man, wouldn't it be great if they could implement that scrolling note system for practicing with a real guitar??!?'

    Fast forward again and they've finally done it.

    So here we are.

    Rocksmith is in NO WAY perfect.

    As mentioned by others, it won't teach theory or tablature. Which is a bummer, because an option to switch the HUD to Tab/theory would be excellent. But it's not there.

    Also, Rocksmith should have learned from it's competitors (GH, RB etc.) to set up a song thusly:

    I'm playing the song, a solo comes up, I miss half the notes but I want to try it again.

    Pause>Select Section: Solo>Select amount of notes: 10%, 25% etc. etc.>Slow to 50%, 80% etc. etc. speed> Resume song.

    Then have it repeat, over and over.

    That should be how it works.

    Unfortunately, it is not.

    You have to goof around going from mode to mode and it takes time and can be disheartening.

    You can still effectively do it.. but not without having to traverse from section to section.

    So, that's a downside.

    Some of the good points:

    My knowledge of where the frets are has increased significantly. Sure, sometimes I still get lost.. but I'm way further ahead than I was.

    My pinky strength and mobility is far FAR beyond where it was when I started playing this game.

    It's further along than it's ever been.

    Remember, drop d crunchiness was where my skills pretty much peaked, and now I'm all up and down the fretboard hitting notes I've never even tried before. Frets 12 and up were rarely in my repertoire.. and now I'm up there all the time.

    Up and down the neck I go.. Wheeee!

    That 'Wheee' right there is my biggest selling point with this game.

    I'm having fun playing guitar. Something I haven't had in years.

    The song variety is also a plus. Hell, even the songs I hate have a lot to teach me, and it's usually because I hate them that I learn the most from them. They're of a style I'm not used to playing.. so they're much more difficult. Which is a definite plus, because you don't learn anything from the easy ones that you already know.

    So, even though I may not like playing 6am Salvation (In fact, I hate that song) the solo alone is enough to keep my going back to it. It's ridiculous.. sounds like a carnival ride jacked up on speed, and I want to learn it!!

    I saw a few comments in here along the lines of 'You'll be able to play the song.. but you won't remember it!'

    Well, I can tell you right now that statement goes for all forms of learning to play guitar. I'm sure most of you know that.

    You get out of it what you put in. If you love that song and want to learn every little note. You will.

    So, would *I* recommend this song to someone who hasn't played guitar before?

    Yes, absolutely.

    To someone who's played for years?

    Yes, absolutely. It's great practice.

    For you random googlers like me who've found this thread:

    It can teach. Will you ever be Satriani or Vai or whoever floats your boat?

    That is entirely up to you, but this could very well be the stepping stone that gets you there because practice makes perfect and this game makes me want to practice. Something a sheet of tab rarely ever does.

    For $80 (without a guitar) how can you really go wrong? The price is dropping quickly too, so if you're at all interested in playing the guitar. I say, give it a go.
     
    4 people like this.
  6. ezzywave

    ezzywave Junior Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    I got here the same way as Doos. Very interesting thread.

    First of all, I believe that anyone can learn ANYTHING on their own. Given enough time, that is. I also believe that anyone will learn anything much quicker with a teacher than without.

    I started with a guitar 1 month ago when I got Rocksmith and I really enjoy it. BTW, I'm over 50. It soon became obvious that I should get lessons to try to shorten the learning process. Now I'm looking for the right instructor.

    Thanks to this thread I have learned some important qualities and opinions that an instructor might have that I will be avoiding! (You know who you are...)

    Instructors! Like it or not, Rocksmith is here. There will be others too. People who have started guitar with this "game" ARE going to start wanting lessons. I, for 1, am ready to pay my $$$ to someone who has played and understands Rocksmith, with all it's benifits and short-comings, 100%.
     
  7. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,870
    Likes Received:
    2,865
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    here's my story, not that you give a S ;)

    I've played since I was about 14, I'm 36 now. but over the last 7-8 years I've barely picked up the guitar, too busy with life, work, wife, etc... but I always wanted to get back to it... in college it was easy, hang with friends, shoot the shit, play some guitar, occasionally gig... fix a guitar or 2 for gas money... life was 15 hours of school, another 25-30 of work, and then drinking and hanging out cheaply... plenty of time to play, and friends to play with...

    as I got older friends move away, my work is more like 60-80 hours a week, plus a wife and house to keep up with... guitar put aside...

    rocksmith comes along tho and now I feel like the if I get 20-30 minutes of me time, that time is spent on better practice than I would get alone... and now I'm more apt to plug in for 15-20 minutes which can spread to an hour or 2 if I'm lucky... it did what I couldn't make my own lazy ass do... pick up the guitar and start playing for pure enjoyment again... now, I'm not the biggest fan of some of the songs, but some are good, and some others, while may not be the best songs... they teach you something you may not have known or forgotten..

    from a pure newbie sense, I wonder how they start out, I mean like the first day you pick up a guitar... but starting out playing songs is as good a start as anything... it's a way to get started or in my case, get started again... I've already noticed much of my dexterity and ability coming back...
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. TheFreeRadical

    TheFreeRadical Junior Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    I was actually searching google to see if anyone had posted a way to create a Jimi Hendrix pedal using the Rocksmith pedal customizer and stumbled on to this page. First off I read all the comments most of you posted before commenting myself. Im 25, at 20 i picked up the guitar and played till my fingertips cracked for about 4 months and dropped it because playing the blues scale everyday was well....boring after that I had sporadic lessons or I would kinda play a few chords I had taught myself here and there, at 23 I had my first and only guitar teacher, I would go in with my rusty old fender and pay him 40 bucks for a 30 min class, just to have him hand me a few papers with instructions on music notation about 5 mins of tempo instruction, after that he would tell me stories about how chicks loved musicians and he would tell me about which chick he was banging that week, and proceed to talk on the phone for the rest of the lesson....I stopped playing for 2 years after that because I was so disgusted by that experience I told myself I would never take lessons again.....Until this game came out

    6 months in with Rocksmith I have a working knowledge of Power chords, Barre chords, chords, and the names of those chords.....and Im Improvising, on my own...without the game because starring at the screen playing colorful tabs can get boring....I plug my guitar in to my amp, and play....and I love it, the way I always wanted to, I love guitar....now there is no middle man between me learning and my love of music and creating music.

    I will say that the game is a great motivation tool, but it also teachs you.....granted you still need lessons either through videos or a good teacher that actually cares about you and not the money you pay him, and this game by itself can't teach you how to be a good musician, that takes years. I also had a basic working knowledge of the guitar before I got this game so it was just plug and play for me, but its everything I wanted it to be.

    I only have a few gripes, 1. it sometimes will register that you hit a barre chord correctly even though you didn't.....it sometimes doesnt register anything except downpicking, it also doesnt teach you alternative picking though some of the in game videos tell you to experiement with alternating your picking style, and yeah the first 6 months of learning is hell....but this game actually made my first 6 months fun, I wish this game was around when I was a kid, I might be a decent musician by now.

    Oh and addressing the question of neural programming Nay, you have to program your brain to play songs, or learn anything new.. no matter what way you do it, its still programming - tabs/music notation/rocksmith...etc as a visual learner, this method worked best for me, and after playing some of the songs on the set list a few times I can play them alone now without the game....I didnt forget them 5 seconds later :dude:
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Nay

    Nay Senior Member

    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    112
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    You addressed a lot of the things I was talking about!

    "This method worked best for me"... for motivation, teaching yourself the songs, or learning how to play the guitar?

    Congratz on the return to the guitar, I'm sure you'll continue loving it.
     
  10. revtime

    revtime Senior Member

    Messages:
    862
    Likes Received:
    980
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    I have been playing guitar for one month. Fooled around with bass but nothing serious. Always wanted to play but never thought I could do it. Rocksmith has changed my world. I now spend 2 to 3 hours a night with an epi Les Paul in my hands. A guitar I bought a few days after first playing RS. I have nothing but good things to say about this "game", it makes learning fun and not so frustrating. One month in and I can actually make it sound like a guitar should. That's huge for me, and it keeps me coming back for more.
    Aside from some tablature RS will be my only learning tool. I don't plan on being the next EVH and I am playing purely for my own enjoyment. If this sounds like what you want to do then I highly reccomend Rocksmith. Its the closest thing to instant gratification out there.
    I still suck horribly but compared to where I was a month ago its a great feeling.
    Oh and I changed the strings on my LP today. Rocksmith taught me that too.
     
  11. TheFreeRadical

    TheFreeRadical Junior Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Awesome revtime, I wanted to know what it was like for someone that never played guitar before.

    Nay it was great for all three,

    motivation - I couldn't sit for longer than 10 minutes every other day playing scales before, now I can play for hours, they even have a mini game called scale runner that has all the scales listed and availiable to play

    learning - it has in game tutorials, video's, it shows proper hand placement, it can't of course see if your hand is properly placed, but it tells you how to do it, the rest is left up to you, I think each player has to kinda monitor themselves to keep from developing bad habits. Teaches technique, doublestops/bends/tremolo/harmonics, i have a few gripes with some songs, like it will not tell you that a section of a song is in C or something like that and instead of telling you to keep your fingers on the chord and pick individual strings it just shows them as independent notes, it doesnt always do it, infact it will show you to do it the right way, just certain songs seem to miss it. It might also have to do with the way it levels the individual player up, you have to memorize sections of songs before it will throw more notes at you, and so on and so forth until you have the entire song memorized. Some of the harder songs on the setlist took me weeks to actually master, and when you do master a song it gives you the master mode option, which basicly puts you to play along to the song, but with out any notation, no tabs nothing, and tells you your accuracy when the song is done

    however as far a learning songs, their setlist is ok but nothing that you probably haven't heard a cover band play before, there are some songs you can download too....Im still waiting for them to release some Hendrix. Im dieing to play some Hendrix using rocksmith, I tried customizing a pedal to get the Hendrix sound using rocksmith, but it just isnt the same and Im a total "newb" with pedal effects I don't get the terminology yet, almost seems like you have to be some sort of technomage to understand it

    I would say that if someone picks this game up, combines it with a great guitar teacher, and also practices a few times a week alone with out the aid of the game then they could probably turn out alright, Im actually going out to buy a metronome soon, so I can keep tempo playing alone

    (If your the parent of a kid and you happen to stumble on this page, and arent sure about this game. I would say get it, 80 bucks is a small investment. If your kid actually shows interest in the guitar after playing this game, then I would suggest taking them to a good guitar teacher):slash:
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. TheFreeRadical

    TheFreeRadical Junior Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks Nay, Im just happy to be playing again :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Brett27295

    Brett27295 Junior Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    25
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    I have never played guitar until this February. I've always wanted to learn to play, but somehow life got in the way. After spending about two weeks researching the game and doing Google searches on "beginner guitar lessons" etc I purchased Rocksmith and an Epiphone L-100 two months ago and a week later I added a Vox Valvetronic amp for practice outside Rocksmith.

    Over the past two months I've gone from incredible highs ("mastering" my first song on Rocksmith, learning a few favorite riffs, realizing that I can play a lot of my favorite songs with power chords lol) to frustrating lows. I probably spend around 12-18 hours a week practicing/playing. I estimate 50% of the time is spent playing Rocksmith and 50% is spent with online lessons from JustinGuitar, Marty Swartz, musical theory etc. I've also taught myself to play a lot of my favorite guitar riffs, Heartbreaker, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Iron Man, Smoke On The Water (the correct way!), etc. Am I bragging? Of course not, anyone learning guitar can play those riffs. But this was something I never dreamed I'd be doing.

    I look forward to playing guitar every day, and part of that is because of Rocksmith. The game hasn't taught me how to play guitar, but it is a fantastic tool to help in that journey. Two nights ago I played the Black Keys "Next Girl" is master mode for the first time. For those of you without the game this means I played along with the backing track without the "note highway" or any other visual clues to tell me what or when to play. I successfully played the correct note with the correct timing/rhythm 93% of the time according to the game and when I watched and listened to the playback it sounded really good like someone that had a clue was playing guitar lol. Now I realize that this is an incredibly easy song to play, but the fact that two months ago I couldn't play at all and now I can actually play a song without sight reading the notes was an incredible accomplishment to me.

    Now last night I was working on Sunshine of Your Love and I was just fumbling all over the fretboard. I went to bed incredibly frustrated. Why won't my fingers move faster? But you know what? I can't wait to get home and work on it again tonight.

    I think Rocksmith is a great tool to help someone learning guitar. From my experience as a beginner it's best used in addition to other tools. There are some nights where I don't play Rocksmith at all. I'm too busy practicing scales or chord changes or working on an online lesson. There are other nights where I use the Rocksmith mini-games to work on scales/chord changes etc. And then of course there are other nights where I want to "play songs". I would recommend Rocksmith to anyone learning guitar as long as they understood it was just another tool in the toolbox and not a "guitar teacher".

    The one major problem in all this? I am constantly looking at other guitars now lol. I've promised myself as soon as I get a little better I'm buying myself a much better guitar. Right now I'm leaning toward one of the Tribute Gibson Les Paul Studios. I really want an SG too. And at some point I'd like a Strat, played one in a GC and really enjoyed it.
     
    2 people like this.
  14. Timshady

    Timshady Senior Member

    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    64
    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    I think this is a great game. So what if it's a game? Does it get a guitar in your hands? Yes. Does it get you focused on playing chords and single note scales in proper timing? Yes. Is it different than "traditional" teaching methods? Yes. Last time I checked, different isn't bad, it's just different.

    I never understood the argument of "you need to do it the way that it's always been done in order to expect to be any good".

    This argument is stale and only perpetuated by those who are jealous that they had to force themselves through struggles and don't like the fact that technology that is now available makes things easier for a new generation. You hear it all the time, and not just pertained to learning guitar. "When I was your age, you had to walk up hill both ways in the snow to get to school.....now you youngsters have these....skateyboards and wheeleymabobs and learn no respect and character for the way it SHOULD be done!!"

    I say if it gets a guitar in your hands and points you in the right direction AND keeps you coming back for more, then it has a better chance of producing guitar players than MOST of the boring instructors who complain that their students don't have motivation and give up. A good instructor would be able to figure out what way their students learn the best and exploit that learning style.
     
    2 people like this.
  15. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,870
    Likes Received:
    2,865
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Amen! it makes me focus on playing, and sometimes when I play away from the game I get distracted, trying different tones, tweaking amp settings, looking at lessons online, instead of putting the pick to the strings... nothing to mess with in the game... just grab a guitar and play.... seems more productive...
     
  16. Nay

    Nay Senior Member

    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    112
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    I got a Vox AV50T Valvetronic about a month ago and its a cracking amp for the price I paid. Then again, its probably something a bit bigger than a bedroom practice amp!

    Again, great that Rocksmith's getting a guitar in your hand! I'm looking forward to getting it (UK release...) just to jam to some new stuff and to test it out properly. I've watched a few play the american version over here and it looks fun. Its motivation, and a more straightforward way to pickup the guitar.

    As for speed... well I have a thread on here about Picking Technique. Have a gander over that, work on hitting notes better and cleaner, which will help with well... everything.

    As for guitars, wait and dont rush. They wont make you a "better" player. Also, i'd avoid a Studio... USA strats are nice too. But then again, the best playing bass I own is a Vintage MM copy (£140 new), and I've owed my USA Ernie Ball MM for a long time now.

    My advice is to hunt ebay (or preferably something like craigslist) for a older guitar. 80's LPs or Fenders or Gretches or whatever you like. They are often constructed a touch better, or use better woods, or less cost cutting issues, or whatever else. They also have a bit more mojo, can save a lot of money (even if you have to service it) and quite often come out with a better instrument.

    The main reason why I say this though is even Gibson and Fender can make "...off..." guitars. Every one is still a little different. Learning to pick the best of the bunch takes a bit more experience and you dont really want to spend a lot of money only to find the next one you play is nicer.

    That happened to me with a £1300+ MM (which new, cost £1800+ nowadays). Being a lefty it was ordered in and it plays nice and all, but every other one I've played has been better... food for thought!
     
  17. Brett27295

    Brett27295 Junior Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    25
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Thanks for the advice! I'm definitively not in a hurry to get a another guitar...but looking at so many NGD pics makes my mouth water.

    I have the Vox Valvetronix VT20+. I played through several in my price range and it was the one I liked best. The only problem with it is I spend as much time messing with the sound as I do playing because it's got so many fun tone options and sounds. I didn't want to spend too much when I got it because I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with guitar but now I wish I would have gotten an all tube amp.

    As for Rocksmith, last night was the most fun I've ever had playing guitar. I downloaded the new Judas Priest DLC and spent well over 2 hours learning to play Breakin' The Law. It has two versions Combo and Combo 2. I assume one is KK Downing's part and the other is Glen Tipton's. I only worked on the first last night but what a fun song to play, a great riff and a bunch of "metal" power chords. I started at 8 and before I knew it it was 11:30 lol.
     
  18. Nay

    Nay Senior Member

    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    112
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Amps definately make a big difference, but again there is the problem on always wanting new amps as they are all different! To keep my amp/tone habbit at bay I use guitar rig 5. With the right setup its the best practice "amp" available in my opinion. I say that but I haven't tried Amplitube for PC yet... I use my Vox for those louder days... :D
     
  19. FrankieOliver

    FrankieOliver Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,959
    Likes Received:
    27,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Interesting.
     
  20. carydad

    carydad Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,463
    Likes Received:
    354
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Check out fretlight and guitar pro. Teachers could actually write there own lessons and have them appear on the fretboard. Who needs the TV screen when the guitar lights up for you ;)
     

Share This Page