Guitar Tricks VS Rocksmith (Comparison)
Our pick: Guitar Tricks
Though Rocksmith puts forth a solid effort, it has a hard time competing with the instructor-led comprehension of Guitar Tricks, even in the song lessons department.
Guitar Tricks and Rocksmith don't share much in common, outside of the fact that they're both guitar learning programs. The systems employed by both are fundamentally different, and don't use the same teaching methods.
This makes them somewhat difficult to compare.
However, we can still look at both side-by-side to see where there might be strengths and weaknesses we can identify. In this article, we'll use tables to compare Guitar Tricks and Rocksmith so you can get an idea of which one might work better for you.
Partnerships and Policies
Guitar Chalk is entirely reader supported without running any banner advertising or selling sponsored articles. To provide a less intrusive user experience on our site, we recommend guitar lesson programs that we partner with, like Guitar Tricks, JamPlay and others. However, this does not impact our evaluation process or ratings system. We're committed to providing objective and helpful resources for helping you find the most ideal online guitar lessons.
Comparing Similar Guitar Lesson Programs
Guitar Tricks vs Rocksmith: A Direct Side-by-Side Comparison
Part of the reason Guitar Tricks performs so much better in this table is because of the difference in format. For example, since Rocksmith is a console application, they can't really provide a free trial period. While there might be ways to do that now with digital purchases on the XBOX and Playstation networks, it's still far less common in that space. Rocksmith is also a static game (doesn't change or update significantly) while Guitar Tricks has been continuously adding content for years.
Memberships (copies sold) as of 2021
Over 3 million
Free Trial Period
Total Number of Lessons
85 edu lessons
Styles (Genres) Covered
$119.88 (per year)
$40 (one-time fee)
Rocksmith's parent company is Ubisoft, while Guitar Tricks is its own company. This can also have an impact on how content is managed and produced. While Guitar Tricks can focus on a single program, Ubisoft has spread its resources around to other titles and new games as time goes on.
Skill Level, Depth and Challenge
In our second comparison table, we break down four categories for grading based on skill level and topical order. In this category, Guitar Tricks does far better because they produce instructor-led lessons instead of the video game interface that Rocksmith relies on.
While Rocksmith's format is a bit more addictive and fun to play, Guitar Tricks does a far better job of compartmentalizing content, ordering topics properly, and serving individual skill levels.
Structure, Design and User Experience
When grading websites and software, it's important to consider the interface, design quality, and user experience. In Rocksmith, this is a fairly significant problem area, as the ability to navigate through course content is ambiguous, at best. By comparison, it's a fairly strong point for Guitar Tricks, as they make it easy for users to work through courses and know where to go after each lesson.
Interior Course Navigation
Main Menu Navigation
Both programs look great from an aesthetic standpoint (Rocksmith may even be a little better), but the navigation elements are superior in Guitar Tricks, and that's where design will most significantly impact the user.
Video Player and Game Interface Quality
In most guitar lesson comparisons, we're comparing a video player in one program to a video player in another. But, in this case, it's a bit trickier because we need to compare the Guitar Tricks video players to the Rocksmith game interface.
Still, we can use essentially the same grading criteria (I've removed a couple categories that don't really apply to both systems) to see how the functionality of both core elements stack up against one another.
Full Screen Quality and Pixelation
The online major problem I have with the Rocksmith gaming interface - the part where you actually play songs and follow tabs - is how dark and confusing it can be. If they had brightened it up and made it easier to see what was going on, it would have scored higher in the aesthetics grade.
Song Lessons Section
Both Guitar Tricks and Rocksmith put a lot of emphasis on their song lessons and both are quite good at them. It's a little disappointing that a lot of songs from Rocksmith have to be bought and downloaded from Steam, but it could be viewed as what takes the place of the monthly membership cost in Guitar Tricks. Here's how the two song sections compare:
Number of Songs
Around 900 available (50 included)
Song Coverage (completeness)
Easy Song Versions
Despite some similarities, Guitar Tricks has several advantages here. First, they have instructors that actually teach, demonstrate, and walk you through the songs. Second, Guitar Tricks doesn't hide any songs behind a second paywall. If you buy a membership, they're all available to you. For those emphasizing song lessons as part of their learning experience, Guitar Tricks is a top pick, even while Rocksmith does a good job in this area.
Concluding the Guitar Tricks and Rocksmith Comparison
Guitar Tricks wins the lion's share of these columns, which are - admittedly - imperfect comparisons. However, it can at least give you an idea of where each program is strong and/or weak.
Generally, I can sum up the two programs as follows:
- Rocksmith: Decent with song lessons and addictive gameplay
- Guitar Tricks: Better with educational content and a yet stronger song program
If you're only interested in learning songs and you want to avoid the monthly or yearly fee, Rocksmith is a marginally better choice. Yet, it's hard to argue with the strength of the Guitar Tricks program, especially when they're beating Rocksmith on their own turf - song lessons.
For people who want structured courses, and the added value of human interaction (even if it is pre-recorded), we'd say Guitar Tricks beats out Rocksmith easily. It's more thorough, more comprehensive, and a far better educational tool.
Questions about the Programs
Do you have questions about Guitar Tricks or Rocksmith, or about our comparison and rating process?
If so, feel free to drop a line in the comments section below.
It's the easiest way for us to interact and for me to provide support, as best I can.
I'll see you there.
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