Whatever your age, at some point you have probably had the urge to learn guitar. At age 8 or 10, as a teenager trying to recreate the work of your favorite guitarists, or as an adult ready to fulfill a desire that never went away, you have always felt the little call of the guitarist in you, right?
For many, and especially among men, playing guitar ranks in the Top 6 of the most important things in life after breathing, eating, drinking, having a shelter and falling in love.
It’s like you’re under a trance, and the only remedy is to start the guitar.
Many of you may have started to learn guitar, bought your first instrument, taken electric guitar lessons, followed online courses and suddenly found after a few months that you have plateaued and your enthusiasm waned.
Even when you are able to play many songs and learn from your favorite artists, it can be hard not to feel that you have reached a peak in some way, and that you will never fully master the instrument.
Luckily, the internet and video games are here to help you recapture your former passion.
Learn how to play the guitar like a pro, but with the fun of video games.
The tools are out there to make you a total 6-string nerd!
Are Guitar Hero and Rock Band useful?
Since 2006 (yes, more than a decade already), there have been two alternatives helping you play guitar like a pro; undertake serious training or have fun with your friends.
The first game to really succeed was Guitar Hero (2006) followed in 2007 by Rock Band, its main competition on the market.
Let’s examine the differences between these two games, what they propose as gameplay and how effective they are in teaching the guitar.
Guitar Hero is a series of video games from Activision
The game is played with a 3-key guitar and is suitable for novices and as six-string experts alike.
The layout of the notes on your screen is designed to allow you to place your fingers naturally on the neck of your guitar. Guitar Hero allows you to improvise, perform your first solos, tune your guitar and play As well as blues, rock and folk.
The guitar has digital keys to launch the different play modes. Any type of microphone with a USB port can be plugged into your console to play with a friend, or to combine guitar and vocal tracks and play as a professional.
The first guitar-teaching videogame: Guitar Hero
The advantage of learning guitar with Guitar Hero is that you are on stage right away: you are the rockstar facing an admiring audience.
The audience will react differently depending on your performance, making the experience even more vivid and immersive. The environment changes; you can also play stadiums and festivals with thousands of people, or in more intimate club settings.
Guitar Hero gives you the chance to step into the shoes legendary guitarist with the opportunity to access more than 100 tracks.
Rock Band is a musical videogame series from Harmonix; with four installments to date (Rock Band 4 was released in October 2015).
The advantage is that all the instruments of the old Rock Band games are compatible despite new accessories being developed.
Like Guitar Hero, Rock Band puts you in the shoes of a guitarist and leads you on stage.
The guitar game Rock Band has reached its 4th installment.
Guitar Hero only caters to the guitar, but Rock Band offers a complete set of instruments, such as:
- A wireless guitar that looks like a Fender Stratocaster: a guitar with 2 sets of keys, a rhythm bar and sound effects.
- A wireless drum kit with touch-sensitive boxes and a pedal for the bass drum
- A high quality USB microphone to avoid distortion.Rock Band has two story modes: 2 scenarios can be interpreted on Rock Band: story mode, which allows you to form a band and go on tour (up to 4 players) and performance mode, which includes multiplayer but tracks the quality of your performances.
Players can enter and exit the game as they want.
You can also play your own guitar solos with Freestyle Guitar Solo mode and hear the crowd respond to your performance.
Innovation from Rocksmith
While games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band have enjoyed great success, they are still somewhat outdated and the buzz around them has started to ebb.
Those two games sought to make a real musician out of you using toy guitars, but a new game has entered the ring to teach you guitar:
Rocksmith, which brings with it the radical innovation of letting you play with a real electric guitar
Become a real guitarist with Rocksmith
Rocksmith is a new fast and efficient way to learn guitar.
You only need to plug your guitar directly into your games console (Xbox One and 360, PlayStation3, PC or Mac) and start you guitar lessons.
Learn the major and pentatonic scales, discover finger picking, and most importantly play the style of music and guitar you want.Rocksmith will become your personal guitar teacher. It analyzes your style, adjusts difficulty according to your skills, and introduces new sequences as you make progress, until you can play your favorite tunes.
How is Rocksmith a game-changer?
Honestly, it has almost the full experience of really playing the guitar, apart from the feelings.
Different scoring systems, goals, and mini-games make guitar exercises more enjoyable and will add spice to your 6-string rehearsals.This game is more interactive and livelier than the other two mentioned above.
It will allow you to train your ear for the guitar.There is no need to learn to read music theory or to read guitar tablatures to play with your guitar in Rocksmith. Since your guitar has 6 strings, the screen will display your 6 strings in real time.
All you have to do is put your trust in Ubisoft, and play whatever new song you choose.
You can replace your cable jack with a Rocksmith cable and launch into wild riffs Aerosmith could only dream of.
Does this game help you grasp the mechanics of a song?
Rocksmith's goal is simple; to plunge you into learning guitar, where Guitar Hero and Rock Band paddle on the surface.With its progressive learning system, you will actually develop your guitar playing, making visible progress after a few weeks.
A good guitar experience
However, being a true guitarist takes more than just wishing!
Even with Rocksmith, it is not easy to play guitar perfectly on your first try at a piece, but Rocksmith avoids frustrating players by adapting to their variable level.
Indeed, if you are not an experienced musician, Rocksmith will only tell you the key bars, and if the first notes are perfectly executed, the game will quickly increase the difficulty by adding barred chords and other more complex chords such as seventh chords or arpeggios, until you have completely mastered the piece.
But does it help you to understand a piece, and to analyze its mechanics?
Learn the components of the bend technique
Rocksmith transcribes each note and every nuance that appears on the recording.
Brian Adam McCune, a 31-year-old who spent many years arranging music for high school bands and playing at New York's Carnegie Hall as a percussionist, conductor and composer, helped to create the experience of Rocksmith.With his team, McCune listened carefully to all the songs to transcribe each note and each chord into the Rocksmith program.
Of course, like him, you can reproduce every note of your favorite music, but will you understand the mechanics of your song?
Will you be able to recreate the same music without the game’s help afterwards? It is unlikely.
Can it replace a guitar tutor?
Although games like Rocksmith allow you to play guitar and treat you like a pro, there are still some pitfalls that demonstrate that this way of learning guitar has its limitations, especially pedagogically.
Of course, the position of your fingers and the position for the chords are well indicated, but not for all the notes of the piece.
The game does not tell you how to position yourself overall; should you place your thumb up?
Or on the side of the guitar neck? Which fingers should you use to pluck the strings?
These questions will push you online to find the necessary information.
Let’s be clear, this type of learning will never replace a real learning with a guitar teacher.
Learning the electric guitar, learning the flamenco guitar or the classical guitar requires time, patience, technique, self-investment and above all a lot of practice.
A guitar teacher ready to listen to you.
Following guitar lessons online with a teacher has many advantages, whether it’s a private teacher or guitar teacher in a music school or in an association:
- You will learn to place your fingers on the neck
- You will learn how to hold your plectrum and strum the strings without hurting yourself
- You learn your ranges, and to read guitar tablatures
- You will discover solfeggio
- You will form a real human relationship, one based on a shared passion for the guitar, with a professional who sincerely wants to share their knowledge
- You will receive advice (both on the choice of the guitar and the purchase of your guitar and accessories), tips to play well on the guitar, and suggestions to expand your musical culture
- You will be guided and encouraged if you give up or if you face a difficulty. These many advantages cannot be found by learning the guitar with a video game. Even if the game world is interactive, it is still virtual.
Guitar video games can be real complement to learning with a teacher, especially if you are a guitarist.
It will help you play and motivate you to play your favorite songs, but you will never know everything about the guitar in this way
A guitar lesson with a professional will teach you tips and help you progress both technically and emotionally. You will eventually find that guitar can come easily for some, and hard for others.
Practicing the guitar must be engaging, and who does not find playing a piece of music with other musicians much more exciting and motivating than playing in front of a screen?