Rocksmith PC related: Free/cheap software for rocking

Yeah, don't waste your time with Ultimate unless there's at least 10 things in there you KNOW you're going to use.

LiquidMantis wrote:

Reaper is a great DAW for serious recording. However if you're wanting to toy with an idea or just jam check out Riffworks. You can quickly lay down some layers and just noodle.

Huh. Hadn't heard of this. Seems like it presents an Ableton-esque experience.

Here's their old promo video. Gives a good feel for how fast you can throw something together. You just arm it and count in with "chukkas".

After listening to the last GWJCC (#451) and hearing Rabbit mention the iPad software Bias FX, I'm very interested!

However, I'm new to guitar playing. I have an acoustic/electric that I've been playing on and off for several months now, and just now picked up my first electric guitar. The only stuff I've got beyond that are Rocksmith 2014 (PC) and the Rocksmith cable.

After spending a little time searching around, I'm still not sure what the deal is with Bias FX. A couple key questions that I have at this point:

(1) With my electric guitar hooked up to Bias FX, does (or can) the iPad itself emit the sound? Or do I also need to hook up an actual amp, with Bias FX acting as a middle link in the chain?

(2) What cable do I want to buy to hook up a guitar to an iPad? From searching around, it looks like there are both models that plug into the iPad's headphone jack, and into the lightning connector? What are the pros/cons?

Rocksmith cable and a either a Lightning to USB (female) adapter or 30-pin to USB, depending on your iPad. It's the iPad "camera connection kit". Going that route the iPad will output the sound.

Avoid using the headphone jack as an input though. There's noisy crosstalk, it's an added A/D conversion, and it has extra latency.

LiquidMantis, thanks!

Looks like this is the part?

I was disappointed to see that priced as high as $29 (both on Apple's site and elsewhere), with no inexpensive 3rd-party alternatives being readily available.

Has anyone had success with a part that will do the same job (Guitar -> Rocksmith cable -> USB-lightning adapter -> iPad) for less money?

I've got another newb question for you guitar veterans.

I am currently the proud owner of two guitars: A Seagull acoustic (which I got first), and an inexpensive Monoprice electric.

I'm finding the Monoprice far easier to play (even when it's not connected to an amp). It seems to be much more forgiving in that notes will ring out clearly even if my finger is positioned about halfway between frets. With the Seagull, notes come out muted unless my finger is right near the fret.

This is causing me grief when trying to play chords such as A where my fingers are all located together in the same area on the neck.

So, my question: What accounts for this difference between the two guitars? Is it possible to adjust the Seagull in some way to make it more forgiving (even if that means a small sacrifice in sound quality)? Or, is the Seagull just forcing me to play "the right way," and I should train myself to play such that I can sound good on it?


Electrics have smaller-gauge (i.e. thinner) strings, so they're almost always easier to play. It takes less effort to press the strings down, particularly when fingering chords. Through an amp you also have the benefit of that amplification, so even poorly-struck notes will ring out. Distortion or high gain further muddies the sound of an electric and sort of smooths out any mistakes.

In my experience, acoustics are a lot less forgiving. It takes a lot more effort and attention to good technique to sound good on an acoustic.

In other words, you're not doing anything wrong.

All right, glad to hear it, thanks, Boudreaux!

To answer your "Is it possible to adjust the Seagull in some way to make it more forgiving" question, you can use a lighter gauge of strings. However, typically most acoustics are already sold with a fairly light gauge of string. Strings are usually referenced by the gauge of the lightest (high e) string, and for acoustics this is typically .011" (or "elevens"), which is on the lighter end. There are "super light" acoustic gauges that go down to .010". You wouldn't think that a thousandth of an inch makes much difference, but it does.

Electrics are often sold with light strings as well, and there the e string is .009", so it's even lighter. The difference between light strings on an acoustic (.011) and light strings on an electric (.009) is the difference you're seeing in your playing results.

You could put 10s on your acoustic and see how much of a difference it makes. Be aware you'll also subtly change other things about how it plays. 10s will have slightly less tension than 11s, so your action (the height of the strings above the neck) will be lower - the strings won't pull on the neck as much. If the action is already low, you end up with strings buzzing on the frets - very annoying. It will also change the way the guitar feels. Electrics usually have adjustable saddles at the bridge, so you can play around with action height and changing string gauge is much easier. Acoustics don't have that.

Finally, lighter strings tend to be quieter and have less sustain than thicker strings, but I don't notice that very much when going down just one step in string gauge size.

I was told that acoustics also generally have a higher action, so you have to press the string down more to fret cleanly. Only ever played electric though.

Thanks for the additional info!

One additional, probably related, question: The first time I fired up Rocksmith 2014, it was with my acoustic (which is actually an acoustic/electric as it has an output jack). Trying to play the arcade game "Temple of Bends" with that guitar was almost impossible -- the strings just wouldn't bend much.

It's easy to bend the strings on my electric, though.

What accounts for that difference?

Same thing - string gauge. Lighter strings are easier to bend. As you get better and your finger strength and dexterity improve you can more successfully bend heavier strings, but it's still harder. Heavier strings exert more tension on the guitar, and consequently it's harder to bend (or fret) them.

To some degree, you'll also find that brand new strings are stiffer and harder to bend than after they've been played and stretched and broken in a bit.

It's always cool to see this thread bubble to the top. Just wanted to add a resource that has a ton great links:

It's a good blog that's worth subscribing to, and the "best of" lists can be very handy.

Michael wrote:

It's always cool to see this thread bubble to the top. Just wanted to add a resource that has a ton great links:

It's a good blog that's worth subscribing to, and the "best of" lists can be very handy.

It is a surprisingly good resource.