- What are the differences between Rocksmith+ and Yousician?
- Which one is best for you?
- Which is best for learning guitar?
Finding a place to start learning to play is, at best, confusing if you are new to the guitar. There is a world of terminology and chords and things that you just don’t get yet.
So how are you supposed to find the best learning experience as a beginner? I get it; it’s overwhelming. So, to take the pain out of the experience, we will look at two well-known gamified guitar learning platforms; Rocksmith+ and Yousician.
We will have a look at what each platform has to offer, which is easier to navigate, and what might work for different types of players.
Rocksmith+ vs Yousician: Differences
Rocksmith+ and Yousician essentially have the same goal. Both applications want to make learning an instrument fun by gamifying the experience.
Rocksmith+ wears its video game cred with pride, while Yousician is a more recent mobile app available on multiple devices.
What Do They Do?
While both Rocksmith+ and Yousician gamify learning to play the guitar, Rocksmith+ is very much the direct descendent of Guitar hero and has a very similar interface. Yousician, on the other hand, is an app-based learning solution with a slightly easier-to-navigate interface.
Yousician may be free to download, but if you really want to get a good experience and progress as a player, the premium version is essential.
Yousician does a good job of covering the fundamentals a little more fully than Rocksmith+, which focuses more on songs and playing along.
Rocksmith+ has moved to a subscription model as well. So, either way, you are going to be paying monthly to play. The question is then, really, which suits your needs better?
Yousician does itself a favor by allowing you to download and try the app for free. That gives you a look at how the app functions and whether it will work for you without making any commitment.
I found Yousician’s interface to be quite user-friendly, although some reviews have said that they found the menu a little hard to start with, so your experience may vary.
On opening the app, you will be asked which instrument you play and what your experience level is. You’re then given a video tour of how to navigate the app and what you can expect.
The thing that jumped out at me with Yousician was the structured lesson format. Although, I will say right now that I would very much have preferred more in-depth lessons because I felt like they only skim the surface. While you are learning lots of songs, I don’t know if the fundamentals of how music works are really going to stick here.
The app gives you three sections to explore, namely Songs, Learn, and Challenges.
The Songs path does exactly what it says on the tin. This is where you are going to be learning tunes. Heck, yeah, this is what we signed up for, right?
The Learn menu is where you are going to find the majority of your lessons. Here you can learn the tricks of the trade for playing lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and any number of other topics like ear training and note names on the fretboard.
Once you have made your selection, you are into Yousician’s main learning interface. Yousician gamifies the learning experience by teaching you how to play along with songs by following a white ball that bounces along the notes you should play. The app’s display includes a tab indication of where to put your fingers, which is a great feature for guitarists and puts it a little ahead of Rocksmith+ here.
Essentially, Yousician teaches you how to sight-read a tab so that you can play along with your favorite songs. It also listens to what you are playing and can give you real-time feedback, which I think is extremely useful for beginners and is a little like having a metronome pal guiding you.
With Yousician, I found the gamification quite fun, and collecting points does give you the drive to get some more work done. You know, beat the game?
Now, I mentioned earlier that you could download Yousician to try for free. While that does give you a good place to get a taste of the app, you will need the premium membership to progress as a player. So, expect to pay a subscription fee if this is the app you will opt for. Yousician Premium is $9.99 a month.
- Easy to navigate
- Structured format
- Several paths to allow you to explore
- Needs a subscription
- Not as clear on fundamentals as I would like
Rocksmith first appeared in 2011 as a console release and was hugely popular and successful both as a game and a guitar-learning platform. However, Ubisoft announced that as of late October 2021, they would replace Rocksmith with a subscription-based model called Rocksmith+.
Rocksmith+ was released in September 2022 (after several delays) to mixed reviews. A subscription of $14.99 a month gains you access to playing tips, tutorials, and their full library of songs. And it is exactly the song library that has drawn criticism from fans. There seem to be multiple versions of the same songs and some pretty obscure ones from well-known bands. I am not sure if this is a licensing issue or the more likely possibility of songs being made DLC. Time will tell, I guess.
Like its predecessor, Rocksmith+ is essentially an interactive tab format with a fretboard that shows you where your fingers are supposed to go. All while moving along the game’s Guitar Hero-like interface. Rocksmith+ is essentially an interactive tab in a video game interface environment.
I will admit to not being a fan of this interface. I found it a bit harder to navigate while playing than I found Yousician’s, but again, that is more a matter of personal taste.
In terms of what the app has to offer for learning the fundamentals of guitar, I think that Rocksmith+ has done a good job of upping its game here. There is a load of tutorials available, and it now caters a little more to the intermediate guitarist than previous versions did.
As for learning songs, Rocksmith+ has a sliding difficulty scale, and as you correctly play the notes on a given song, the difficulty level will increase. You can start out with very beginner-friendly versions of your favorite songs that require nothing more than strumming in time with the chords or playing single notes. From there, you can crank up the difficulty until you play the song exactly as it was recorded.
Another interesting addition that Ubisoft gave us with Rocksmith+ is the Rocksmith+ Workshop. This is a new feature that allows users to upload their own arrangements of Rocksmith+ library songs for the community to play and learn from.
I love this because it allows new guitarists and musicians to learn the basics of recording their instruments, and community engagement means that you can get feedback from other musicians on your work. This is great because the quickest way to be a better player is to find players better than you and play with them. While this isn’t an IRL jam session, it is a good approximation and gives you all-important access to other musicians. That is a great place for beginners to start.
- Sliding the difficulty scale makes it accessible to beginners
- Emphasis on playing songs does keep learning fun
- Rocksmith+ Workshop is by far my favorite feature
- Song selections are a little disappointing
- I still feel a teacher would be better for technique
Rocksmith+ vs Yousician: Which Is Right For You?
Before I get to the all-important “which one?” question here, I just wanted to say that while I love that apps and games are making music so much more accessible to so many more people, I do think that you will miss some of the depth of how music works if all you have on chord tones or modes is a brief video description and demo.
Music is a physical art, and it helps to have a teacher that can see what you are physically doing and get into the minutia of theory if you want to learn music seriously and not just how to play your favorite songs.
Having said that, if your aim is just to jam along with your mates on Saturday night, or use it to learn the basics, then these will most certainly do that.
If I were looking for a more immersive version of a gamified learning platform, I would definitely opt for Rocksmith+. Many things are going for this app, even if the song library remains a little iffy. With the social factors and access to recording, this would be my pick.
On the other hand, Yousician has a slick interface that is much more an app than a video game. I liked the interface for Yousician quite a lot more than I did Rocksmith+. Rocksmith+ felt a little overwhelming for me, but I am not somebody who wants a video game when I am holding my guitar (I am old and set in my ways) so check it out for yourself.
Yousician was easy to navigate, even if it lacked a little depth. Again, the opportunity to try it out for feel gives you a lot of room, so maybe give it a download and see what you think.