Ubisoft is claiming that Rocksmith is the fastest and easiest way to learn how to play the guitar. Their commercials proudly proclaim that numerous people have gained basic to advanced skills in a mere 60 days by playing Rocksmith for one hour a day. Their website even claims that existing players benefit, citing Toluna Consumer Survey as saying “95% of Players Improved At Guitar”. They also claim that “Over 1 million people have played Rocksmith and improved their guitar skills”.
However, all advertisements only feature the guitar. I checked on Ubisoft’s site for Rocksmith, and not a single bass was to be found. Is Ubisoft merely catering to the fact that guitar players will naturally outnumber bass players? Are less overall resources put towards the bass section, making it less prominent in advertising? Ubisoft doesn’t list the breakdown of how many guitar players versus bass players there are, so I can only speculate as to why they don’t really talk the bass despite it being a supported instrument. During a Reddit AMA in November, the development team said “We’re a little surprised at the smaller number of people using bass since we think they’re some of the most fun arrangements in the game.” as well as “Yep! We <3 bass too.”
Starting next week, I will be logging my progress on the 60-Day Challenge with a bass on a weekly basis. I’ve barely played it and have received no formal lessons. I’ve attempted to play along to tutorials on Youtube, but my practice is inconsistent, sloppy, lacking direction, and done only when I didn’t feel like doing much else. With the 60-Day Challenge, this is a commitment to play Rocksmith for an hour a day for 60 days. This must be done consistently to meet the rules of the Challenge. I’m effectively a complete beginner to playing music; the only other instruments I’ve played were the recorder in elementary school and non-serious playing of an ocarina, on which I can really only play Zelda’s Lullaby and the Song of Time.
For the challenge, I’ll be using this bass: a Rondo Music SX Ursa JR RN PK Left-Handed. Rondo Music says that this bass is “about 3” shorter and 2” more narrow than a full size bass”. I purchased this like-new used during moveout time at the University of Illinois, and it seems to be a solid bass, though the original strings broke very quickly. As seen in the picture, it is a four-string bass. However, note that because I am left handed and since I will be playing with a left handed bass, I will be using my right hand for fretting rather than strumming, so any screenshots I post from Rocksmith will have interaction with the bass mirrored for a majority of the population. I’ll also be using my fingers for strumming, rather than a pick.
The 60-Day Challenge starts today, so we’ll see how much a mere 60 hours of practice can teach a complete beginner. I’ll be updating my progress with an article as well as a link to my uPlay page every week. Will I be the next Steve Harris, Paul McCartney, or Cliff Burton? Will I gain a new skill? Or am I just going to learn how to play the Seinfeld theme? Stay tuned.