Who needs music lessons? Now there's a VIDEO GAME that can transform you from guitar novice to capable musician

  • Rocksmith claims to make more than 95%of people better at playing guitar
  • Works with Xbox 360, PS3 and PC - simply plug into the device's USB
  • Started as a tech demo but now supported by gaming giants Ubisoft

For many of us, playing the air guitar is the closest you'll get to strumming your favourite tunes.

But now, thanks to a new videogame called Rocksmith, even the most musically challenged can learn how to play... and it only takes a few sessions.

The software, now in its second year, is developed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It works by allowing users to plug their electric guitar into their consoles via a 'Hercules' adapter - a USB cable that connects the guitar's output jack. Acoustic guitars can also be used, but may require additional hardware.

Scroll down for video


Strum's the word: The game, now in its second year, has proven a hit with audiences worldwide

The game monitors how you play, dynamically adjusting the skill levels to suit your level of expertise. Over time, more notes and phrases are introduced before you're playing your favourite songs note for note.

On screen there is a virtual fretboard with coloured notes housed in coloured lanes that indicate what you should play on the guitar.

To help track your progress, difficulty, previous scores and lyrics are all shown at the top of the screen.

And it's proving to be a successful method, with a Toluna Consumer Survey finding that 95 per cent of players improved at playing the guitar.

Similarly, Research Strategy group Inc claimed that 'it was the fastest way to learn guitar'.

A growing number of players, too, are turning to YouTube to show off their achievements - with some videos scoring hundreds of thousands of hits.

The idea comes from the 2008 game, Guitar Rising - developed by small start-up business, Game Tank. Rising was more technology demo than game proper, showing off the ability to link a guitar to a console via a USB cable.

But is it any good? Expansive DLC Founder, Ray Wilmott, gives us his verdict

Rocksmith 2014 is all a sequel should be. It takes the core foundations set out in the original game and expands on them in every conceivable way. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine how much more Ubisoft could add in further instalments. This is the total package.

Rocksmith 2014 wants you to bring real, compatible guitars, plug them into your console and start strumming away to the songs you’ve always dreamed of playing. Whether it’s ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters, ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police or ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ by Def Leopard, the game offers incredible diversity with its 55 song tracklist.


Inventive: it's not just boring music lessons - there are games, too, to make things more exciting

Each song is broken down to its most basic form, providing just the key notes that make up the tune, but as you start to get more comfortable playing, Rocksmith throws in extra chords. Before long, you’re playing the song in full, trying to master it to 100 per cent.

Each time you play a song, the game is observing and will make recommendations for how you can improve. Sometimes it suggests slowing down a section of the song to practice a set of chords, or it might refer you to the Guitarcade.

However, if the game can’t offer you further input with the current set of notes, it asks you to reach a certain standard before it will give additional advice.

To accompany this, the game offers a series of video tutorials, some of them asking you to provide an interactive demonstration of what you’ve learned. However, while many lessons are easily played through, several are extremely persistent and demanding.

Even if you’re doing exactly what’s shown on screen, certain lessons expect you to play in a particular way or you won’t be able to progress.


Steady does it: the learning curve adjusts with your ability and is suitable for nearly all ages

Still, unlike a grouchy, over 50’s failed rockstar-turned-teacher, the game doesn’t give off a patronising tone or irritable vibe while you’re trying to learn.

Rocksmith 2014’s education style is calm, easy to get to grips with, encourages engagement and even comments on where you’re going wrong. And while the game certainly makes you sound better than you actually are, the satisfaction of being able to hear familiar traits from a song coming from your own play cannot be described in words.

While you’re not going to come away from Rocksmith the next Brian May, the game can take a complete novice and turn them into a confident, competent player.

Then, once you’ve got down the basics, there’s still this excellent platform available for you to learn the greatest rock songs of all time.

What might surprise you, however, is the best way to get used to your shiny new six-string is by tackling the Guitarcade. Through a series of 8-bit Arcade Games, you can become even more familiar with the different guitar techniques while improving reaction times.

Ninja Slide N sees you controlling a ninja by sliding up and down frets. The aim is to swiftly move between towers before being engulfed by a screen-sized, live, electric fence.


Clever: although games such as Guitar Hero have been around for a while, Rocksmith actually teaches you to play - rather than just hammer buttons to correspond to on-screen button prompts

Ducks ReDux has you shooting at ducks by playing different chords. In contrast, Gone Wailin’ is a high score bonanza that puts you in control of a man tied to balloons. Collect coins in the sky by ascending (making lots of noise on the Guitar) or descending (playing softly).

Before you realise it, a huge chunk of your Rocksmith 2014 gametime will be soaked up by Guitarcade; maybe even more than you spend playing actual songs.

The good news is that these games can be more beneficial than the lessons in teaching you how to become comfortable with a guitar. After a few hours, my overall competency definitely improved.

Rocksmith 2014 is an astonishing piece of software. So many critics claim games are only capable of violence and encourage acts of ill-will, but this educational tool proves that gamers are capable of harnessing hidden talents and converting them into a universally desirable skill.

Rocksmith 2014 is the most fun you’ll ever have learning.

Four and a half stars out of five.

Follow us on Twitter: @DailyMailGames and on Facebook: Daily Mail Games.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now