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Quick impression of Rocksmith 2014

A little bit over a year ago I purchased the first Rocksmith on PC to get back into regular guitar playing. In the end I’ve only spent about 13 hours playing it. Not nearly enough to really get through some songs though I did master a couple of them. The reasons I didn’t invest more time in it were due to sound lag issues, the confusing interface (the fretboard is displayed with a slightly angled view), practicing a song was difficult, bad detection (power chords always failed for some reason) and having to play the songs that the game decided was a pain as well.

So I was a little weary of buying the latest Rocksmith 2014 game. For good reasons if I say so myself. But the stuff they showed at E3 such as the session mode and riff repeater made me decide to get it anyway. One very nice thing is that all the DLC you bought for the first Rocksmith can be used in the 2014 edition.

I’m liking Rocksmith 2014 a lot more than the first game. The riff repeater is a great tool that helps you master a riff. You can adapt difficulty and speed so you can gradually master a riff. I’ve done this before with Guitar Pro using the loop-feature and tweaking the speed. But with the variable difficulty setting Rocksmith 2014 makes you learn core notes of a riff first and every time you have a perfect run it increases the difficulty which adds more notes. With difficult parts what helps for me is to turn down the speed to around 80-85% with difficulty at 100%. Then after a couple of runs I crank it all up to 100% and try that.

When playing a new song it starts at an easy level and it gradually increases the difficulty if you’re doing well. This feature was available in the first Rocksmith as well but as far as I can tell all I could do is change the difficulty back to very easy to the highest level. Not really great when trying to learn the song.

I’m only 4 hours in and have almost mastered Bring Me To Life by Evanescence (I’m at 99.7% or something). And with Wheels by Foo Fighters I’ve already been able to master a part of the solo and some other parts. With the first Rocksmith I couldn’t really get anywhere with it.

In the few hours I’ve played I’m liking Rocksmith 2014 a lot more than the first game and will try to play more frequent (daily?) now. I try to play the guitar at least 3 times a week, but never learn anything new. With Rocksmith 2014 I’m finally learning new stuff again. Such as pinch harmonics, which so far have proven to be challenging :-).

Hook up your guitar to GarageBand on iPad with your Rocksmith Real Tone Cable

Do you own an iPad? Have you got GarageBand installed on it? And do you per change own the game Rocksmith (for PC, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) with the included Real Tone Cable? Yes? Good!

Now go get yourself a (cheap) USB adapter for your iPad so you can hook up your Real Tone Cable to it. These adapters can be bought cheap online from DealExtreme. Yes, you can use the official adapter by Apple which is of better quality but also a lot more expensive.

With your guitar connected to your iPad you can start recording with GarageBand. GarageBand also comes with a lot of guitar amplifiers and stomp boxes for added effects. Don’t quite like the result of your recording? Simply modify the amp settings or change the amp all together.

Using GarageBand with your guitar is a lot of fun as it opens up a lot of possibilities to try things out and just have fun. For one you can record a solo, duplicate the track and change some amp settings and et voilĂ  you’ve got a double guitar solo going on!

I’ve been having a lot of fun with this for the past two weeks. I could also connect my acoustic guitar and even with the non-clean amp stacks it still sounded really nice. And with the Smart Guitar, Smart Bass and Drumkit you can quickly create a backing track to which you can jam on.

The Real Tone Cable has been in my possession since the Dutch/European release of Rocksmith and I only wished I had gotten this USB adapter for my iPad sooner.