Rocksmith Catch All

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I guess Rocksmith is a game. It gives me a score and sore hands.

I bought a copy of the game for the PS3 tonight and played it for about 2 hours.

My background is that I am a novice with the guitar. I picked up a guitar about 2.5 years ago and probably have put in about 100 hours practicing and learned all the notes in the first position and to pick out rudimentary songs in a Hal Leonard beginner book. By the time that I made it to book 2, I was bored. Reading the music was harder than the guitar.

I played Rock Band 3 with a mustang guitar for about 25 hours. I got hooked on Pro guitar, but felt like using the plastic guitar was not helping my transferable skills. The Mustang is less than full size and mashing buttons isn't quite the same as sliding on strings. I could cheat and count frets by feeling the gaps between the buttons. I was all set to buy a Squier controller, but the quality control problems and the announcement of Rocksmith made me put Rock Band 3 on hold.

My first impressions of Rocksmith are favorable. My PS3 is hooked up by HDMI cable to my TV which is a Samsung DLP HDTV. I have no lag issues and the sound is really good. I will hook the PS3 up to my stereo this weekend because I am looking forward to unlocking AMP effects and tones.

I suck at guitar so I have spent the whole night trying to play Can't Get No Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones on single note mode which is the basic mode. Rocksmith has a dynamic leveling system so once I master a note combination, it levels me up and it gets harder. Thus, the software keeps you on the edge of frustration all throughout the song. This is an interesting approach. I have never played this song before and in 2 hours, I am at about 50% mastery of the song. Mastery of a song is determined in a more complex manner than RB3. It has to do with the complexity of the fingering and strumming that you can master as well as the timing (speed). Both dimensions matter. The low complexity patterns must be mastered at 100% speed before complexity increases. (Note some reviews complain that experienced people find this boring - however, there is an option in the preferences to start at high difficulty).

In Rock Band 3, I could set the speed of the song and just play it over and over and over again until it became easy, and I could slowly increase the speed (difficulty). So I would just have fun at 75% speed, until I got the song memorized or got the hand positioning down. Rocksmith doesn't let you play around like that as it constantly pushes you forward. Once I mastered a particular rift, I could only revel in it for about 30 seconds before it became much harder. I flubbed it and it put me down a difficulty level.

I will see how long the game keeps my attention, but it is definitely aimed at teaching you songs and techniques in support of playing the songs. There is no sizzle, it is all steak. I think of it is as a learning tool with positive reinforcement points.

There is a Guitar Center downloadable content store with nothing in it.

Minor gripes.

1. Loading Screen Hell - After every play of the song, or challenge or doing ANYTHING. Data is saved and loading occurs. WORST PART OF THE 'GAME'.

2. When playing a piece of the song, you get 5 tries to master it...once done...saving screen....loading...screen....play the instrument to check tone....tune guitar....

3. saving screen....loading screen....play instrument to check tone....tune guitar...

4. saving screen....loading screen....play instrument to check tone....tune guitar...

100. saving screen....loading screen....play instrument to check tone....tune guitar...

If the PC version has really fast transition times, I will double dip on this game to get rid of the loading times. And really, isn't tuning the guitar once enough? I understand that different songs may use different tuning which would explain it, but really...

Some of these UI issues should be addressed by a patch, hopefully.

Bottom line: I am looking forward to playing my guitar again tomorrow. Worth the money. The technology is really cool. Hopefully, it will sell enough to get downloadable content, and a refined second version.

Greg wrote:

If the PC version has really fast transition times, I will double dip on this game to get rid of the loading times. And really, isn't tuning the guitar once enough? I understand that different songs may use different tuning which would explain it, but really...

I think the story with how it keeps requiring you to tune is this: I read it determines if you got the right note by actually 'listening' for the right note. In other words, if your tuning is off you could be playing all the right notes but the software would register them as different notes and therefore the wrong notes.

Really, really interested in this game(?) and seeing if it lives up to what I hope it can be.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I think the story with how it keeps requiring you to tune is this: I read it determines if you got the right note by actually 'listening' for the right note. In other words, if your tuning is off you could be playing all the right notes but the software would register them as different notes and therefore the wrong notes.

Yes, the magic is that the software acts as a sophisticated tuner to know whether you are playing the instrument correctly.

Like RB3, you can practice very small segments of a song, like 16 notes of an introduction. In the trainer mode, there are 3 ways to practice. In any of those 3 ways, you get 5 tries to improve so it goes like this...

loading....play instrument....tune instrument....play 16 notes 5 times.....saving...you fail...select training....loading...play instrument....tune instrument....play.... I really like the RB3 interface better. You could those 16 notes for an unlimited number of attempts at any speed without saving, loading, tuning... Stupid design decision. I can't image my instrument going out of tune that quickly. I chalk it up to a rest break for my aching fretting hand.

Agree with Greg, the loading times, intro videos, and "get-you-to-the-playing" filler bits become tedious after a few songs. There is some noticeable lag at first, although the game somehow seems to adapt and get rid of this really quickly.

Foibles aside, however, I'm blown away. The difficulty progression is fantastic, the responsiveness and overall tone from the guitar is amazing, and learning a song is pure joy. Seriously, I haven't had a grin on my face this big since the original Guitar Hero. Notes, chords, palm muting, slides, bends, it's all here. At first the note charts are dead simple, but after playing through a song 2-3 times, you suddenly realize that you're playing the song. Maybe not completely, maybe not every note, but enough that you're creating music. And because the guitar input is direct, what you hear is YOU. Not a cover band, not the original recording with mistakes twanged out - it's all you.

Rock Band 3 is a much more polished game, but for actually learning the guitar Rocksmith has it beat hands down. Ubisoft knocked this one out of the park. Best $80 I've spent in years.

Good to know! Looking more and more like I'd really enjoy this.

Kind of a side note, but it's worth noting that Fender did not then, and has not yet cancelled production of the RB3 Strat.

I'm interested in it, kinda wishing I'd tried it out at PAX, but the lines were long...

I picked this up for the 360. Same loading woes are present there. My background is that I am completely new to guitar. Been self practicing on an epiphone guitar for about 4 months. So some of the concepts and terminology are still extremely new to me.

I bought the game as a distraction from some of the basic material I've been going over when playing my guitar. Having some songs I know and like makes wanting to practice a little more interesting than knowing I am going to sit down and play Minuet in G. Nothing against Minuet in G of course, was just looking for something more current.

So far this game is what I was hoping it would be. Rather than play 1 song repeatedly, I decided to just play through what they recommended on the home UI screen. After playing Stones "I cant get no satisfaction" they had me play a song by The Black Keys. I got through both. Then it let me play an event which was both songs back to back and I guess I did well enough that I got an encore which was a song by Jarvis Cocker. That opened a second set of songs including Queens of the Stone Age "Go with the Flow" and Chili Peppers "Higher Ground".

The game has a lot of technique help as well. After each song it told me about a technique. You could then go into the technique section and practice that technique. You received a score for that technique so you had a bar to set yourself against. The technique, just like the songs, have auto scaling difficulty. So you start learning very basic examples of the technique and if you do well can learn more advanced examples.

Another thing that I found was pretty cool was that it has mini games. I've only unlocked one game so far called "Ducks". On the TV screen there were 22 vertical columns, to match up with the frets on the guitar. And they would start a duck at the bottom of a column and it would make its way to the top. Your goal was to shoot the duck by playing the correct fret before it got to the top of the screen. It may sound a little silly, but for someone like me that has only learned first position, it was a great exercise in moving up and down the neck of the guitar.

Like Greg said, the auto scaling difficulty is amazing. So although I may get credit for hitting 90% of all the notes, Im still only seeing very basic patterns because of my skill level. Someone else could hit 90% of the notes on the same song and quadruple my score on the song because they played heavier note patterns. It was nice not to have to choose a difficulty too. It avoids the situation of getting to the point where easy is too easy, but medium is too difficult. You do well, you get bumped up during the song. Miss a few, you go back down to a more basic level.

I would like to add is that cable that came with the game (guitar plug to USB) is amazing. Was a thick high quality cable and game senses exactly what I am doing with the guitar.

I've seen a few negative reviews, most of the negativity seems focused around that its not as fun as the rockband/guitar hero games or that the rhythm genre is dead. In my own opinion, I would agree with the above, but I would state that this isn't supposed to be a competition with those games or that genre. It is very much a learning tool disguised in a video game UI with a nice soundtrack. So far, it is exactly what I was looking for so far. Hoping I can stick with it.

My only complaint, much like Greg, is the loading times seem a bit obnoxious.

I picked this up too. I have a guitar, so figured it'd be silly not to try Rocksmith out.

My background is that I am a ridiculously basic newbie to playing a real guitar. As in, I don't know how to read sheet music and translate it to guitar, and I've really only gotten maybe ten hours total of trying to teach myself to play. I've played tons of Guitar Hero / Rock Band and want to graduate to the Real Thing.

Fired this up last night, and am already happy with the purchase. Tuning revealed that at least I have a decent ear for tone, and my guitar was actually reasonably close to being in-tune already. Trying to play music was... well, let's just say I may leave peace offerings for my neighbors.

Then I unlocked the "arcade game" for fret practicing (Duck Shoot or somesuch). Now THAT was something I needed! After a while of playing that, I was starting to be able to switch frets (it only kept me on the first string, though) fairly quickly without having to look at my hand on the guitar neck every time. I still had to look for larger transitions, but was already getting used to the movement up and down the neck.

I think I'm going to research for some tutorial videos online for basic stuff though, because I don't want to start off with too many truly awful habits. And I totally don't get why some strings require you to play frets that don't line up with the locations on the game display (seriously wtf?). Either I'm not playing them right so the tone is off, or there's something I'm really missing here.

Very interested in this game. Have played guitar for about 20 years, and would love a game that I could actually jam with. Please keep us updated with your impressions!

I've alerted my wife to the existence of this and am hoping for a nice birthday present. I only have an acoustic though, so the real expense will be getting a guitar that will work with this.

Here is the track list by the by:

The Animals — House of the Rising Sun
Best Coast — When I’m With You
The Black Keys — Next Girl
The Black Keys — I Got Mine
Blur — Song 2
The Boxer Rebellion — Step Out The Car
Cream — Sunshine Of Your Love
The Cribs — We Share The Same Skies
The Cure — Boys Don’t Cry
Dan Auerbach — I Want Some More
David Bowie — Rebel Rebel
The Dead Weather — I Can’t Hear You
Eric Clapton — Run Back To Your Side
Franz Ferdinand — Take Me Out
The Horrors — Do You Remember
Incubus — I Miss You
Interpol — Slow Hands
Jarvis Cocker — Angela
Jenny O — Well OK Honey
Kings Of Leon — Use Somebody
Lenny Kravitz — Are You Gonna Go My Way
Little Barrie — Surf Hell
Lynyrd Skynyrd — Sweet Home Alabama
Muse — Unnatural Selection
Muse — Plug In Baby Nirvana — In Bloom
Nirvana — Breed
The Pixies — Where Is My Mind
Queens of the Stone Age — Go With The Flow
Radiohead — High And Dry
The Rapscallions — California Brain
Red Fang — Number Thirteen
Red Hot Chili Peppers — Higher Ground
The Rolling Stones — The Spider And The Fly
The Rolling Stones — Play With Fire
The Rolling Stones — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Sigur Ros — Gobbledigook
Silversun Pickups — Panic Switch
Soundgarden — Outshined
Spoon — Me And The Bean
Stone Temple Pilots — Between The Lines
Stone Temple Pilots — Vasoline
The Strokes — Under Cover Of Darkness
Taddy Porter — Mean Bitch
Titus Andronicus — A More Perfect Union
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers — Good Enough
Velvet Revolver — Slither
White Denim — Burnished
The White Stripes — Icky Thump
The xx — Islands
Yellow Moon Band — Chimney

Some great classics, and some stuff I haven't ever heard of.

Farscry wrote:

I think I'm going to research for some tutorial videos online for basic stuff though, because I don't want to start off with too many truly awful habits. And I totally don't get why some strings require you to play frets that don't line up with the locations on the game display (seriously wtf?). Either I'm not playing them right so the tone is off, or there's something I'm really missing here.

First - Continue to check out the techniques and tutorials in the main menu. I was surprised that many of the technique exercises start out with a video that explains the technique and actually shows someone doing it. I wasn't expecting much, but there are some really great tips in there. The video for power chords (or maybe double stops - I forget), for example, goes into a variety of string muting techniques.

Second - Not entirely sure what you mean by "some strings require you to play frets that don't line up with the locations on the game display", but I did notice one thing. When a series of notes comes up and the fret display "shifts", there's a highlighted area on the fretboard that usually covers four frets. I finally figured out that it's prompting you to move your fretting hand to a new position. I was playing something last night and the highlight shifted way up to the 12th fret. The chord it wanted me to play used notes on the 12th and 14th frets, but the highlighted area covered the 12th through 15th frets. I got confused until I understood that the fretboard highlight was prompting me to move my hand to the correct position. After that, I'm able to play anything that comes down the screen.

Loading times? Then I'm waiting for the pc version.

Loving the impressions. It sounds like they made a solid teaching tool.

SallyNasty wrote:

Very interested in this game. Have played guitar for about 20 years, and would love a game that I could actually jam with. Please keep us updated with your impressions!

I've played guitar for about 6-7 years and other instruments for 25+. I was hoping for something that would let me play songs on guitar with some scaled difficulty, and give me a backing group to play along with. Rocksmith is exactly what I was hoping for, and then some. Really impressed.

garion333 wrote:

Loading times? Then I'm waiting for the pc version.

The cool thing about the loading screens is they turn your guitar tone on, so you can practice, play, or just doodle around on the guitar while the game is loading. You don't have to just sit there and wait.

I Wish it had more straight up blues tunes. I guess it's not "Bluessmith".

Boudreaux wrote:

I've played guitar for about 6-7 years and other instruments for 25+. I was hoping for something that would let me play songs on guitar with some scaled difficulty, and give me a backing group to play along with. Rocksmith is exactly what I was hoping for, and then some. Really impressed.

And that'll do. That'll do.

I'll go 360. Might as well get achievements too.

AnimeJ wrote:

Kind of a side note, but it's worth noting that Fender did not then, and has not yet cancelled production of the RB3 Strat.

Thanks, AnimeJ. I fixed my post. I enjoyed RB3 and perhaps after making significant progress on RS, I will move back to RB3 with a Strat controller. I see RS more as a learning tool with positive reinforcement in the guise of a game (score). Both are interesting learning systems, and I hope both franchises prosper.

Man, I am sitting here at work and can't wait to get home to play some more. Been a long time since I skipped work to play a game. Might just happen this week for the first time in 15 years.

For those who play guitar and are thinking of getting this, one thing to prepare for - the default notation in the game is different than anything you've probably seen. I'm used to playing guitar by reading either sheet music or tablature. Rocksmith's notation is basically tablature, but upside down - it's as if you're looking at the strings from behind the neck, almost looking through the neck. The low E string is on top, the high E string is on bottom. Completely backward from normal tablature, and it takes some getting used to. I'm curious if there's a way to reverse it to "normal" tab notation. It's not a huge deal, but the first time it throws a chord shape at you, it looks all wrong. To me at least. The nice thing is that all of the chords also have the chord name right there alongside, so you can almost just read that and ignore the "notes".

Boudreaux wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Loading times? Then I'm waiting for the pc version.

The cool thing about the loading screens is they turn your guitar tone on, so you can practice, play, or just doodle around on the guitar while the game is loading. You don't have to just sit there and wait.

That's cool, but I can do that already.

Really, the reason I'd rather get something like this for PC is because I expect to be using PCs (pc-like devices) longer than I would a console.

But I also hate loading times. They're on my s**t list right after aliasing.

Boudreaux wrote:

I'm curious if there's a way to reverse it to "normal" tab notation.

Yes, this can be changed in the options menu.

garion333 wrote:

Really, the reason I'd rather get something like this for PC is because I expect to be using PCs (pc-like devices) longer than I would a console.

This is the second reason that I may double dip. If I were to put money into downloadable content, I have the feeling that I will own a compatible PC longer than a PS3.

I guess it makes sense with content licensing and all, but I was thinking this would be more a case that you were buying the hardware and you'd be able to download the PC version.

Boudreaux wrote:

For those who play guitar and are thinking of getting this, one thing to prepare for - the default notation in the game is different than anything you've probably seen. I'm used to playing guitar by reading either sheet music or tablature. Rocksmith's notation is basically tablature, but upside down - it's as if you're looking at the strings from behind the neck, almost looking through the neck. The low E string is on top, the high E string is on bottom. Completely backward from normal tablature, and it takes some getting used to. I'm curious if there's a way to reverse it to "normal" tab notation. It's not a huge deal, but the first time it throws a chord shape at you, it looks all wrong. To me at least. The nice thing is that all of the chords also have the chord name right there alongside, so you can almost just read that and ignore the "notes".

This would drive me absolutely crazy. Honestly might be a deal breaker for me.

gregrampage wrote:

This would drive me absolutely crazy. Honestly might be a deal breaker for me.

You did see where Other Greg said it was reversible in the options, right?

LiquidMantis wrote:
gregrampage wrote:

This would drive me absolutely crazy. Honestly might be a deal breaker for me.

You did see where Other Greg said it was reversible in the options, right?

Haha, no, no I didn't. Thank you. Deal's back on.

gregrampage wrote:
LiquidMantis wrote:
gregrampage wrote:

This would drive me absolutely crazy. Honestly might be a deal breaker for me.

You did see where Other Greg said it was reversible in the options, right?

Haha, no, no I didn't. Thank you. Deal's back on.

That is OK, he won my prize.

I'm right in thinking that my RB3 Squier will be compatible with this, right? Just hook up the 1/4 inch jack, and I'm good to go?

Jonman wrote:

I'm right in thinking that my RB3 Squier will be compatible with this, right? Just hook up the 1/4 inch jack, and I'm good to go?

I'd have to assume so as the Squier is a real guitar, so ....

Jonman wrote:

I'm right in thinking that my RB3 Squier will be compatible with this, right? Just hook up the 1/4 inch jack, and I'm good to go?

Yes it is compatible. RB3 Forum users suggest taking the Squier to a music store and having it 'set up'. Some of them sound terrible because they were not set up correctly at the factory.

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