Learning guitar in 2021 can be done in many ways. You can learn using traditional methods like using a guitar teacher or instructor, but increasingly students are turning to digital solutions like online courses, smartphone apps, and even videogames. Two of the most popular online platforms currently available are Yousician vs Rocksmith. Each has a very distinct set of features and has different pros and cons associated with them.
In this feature, we are going to look closely at how each platform teaches students guitar, what the pros and cons are of each, which method we think suits which type of player, as well as including some alternatives we think you should consider.
These learning platforms really are quite different so will appeal to different audiences. However, they have both become hugely popular over the last number of years so are well worth considering should you be looking to begin your guitar journey.
Before we get into the finer details, let’s take a look at what sets them apart.
Main Differences Between Yousician vs Rocksmith
The main differences between Yousician and Rocksmith are:
- Yousician is an app-based solution, whereas Rocksmith is essentially a video game
- Yousician can be used anywhere, whereas with Rocksmith you are limited to where your games console or PC is set up
- Yousician is based more on music theory, whereas Rocksmith values performing and playing along to songs
- Yousician requires an annual subscription to access its best content, whereas Rocksmith is available for a one-off fee which varies depending on which platform you are using.
- Yousician’s interface is slightly easier to navigate as it is a well-designed app, whereas Rocksmith has a layout comparable to the Guitar Hero franchise.
Aside from these major differences, they do have some similarities. They are both very good at what they are designed to do, they both provide hours of guitar lessons and content, and they both crucially make learning the guitar fun.
|Price||Click here for the latest price||Click here for the latest price|
|Genres Covers||Wide Selection||Varied Selection that favors rock styles|
|Focus||Guitar theory||Guitar performance|
|Suitable for intermediate players?||Yes||Yes|
Exploring Yousician and Rocksmith’s Features
Now that we’ve looked at the feature overview and side-by-side feature comparison let’s take a deeper look into what they mean for the user.
Yousician is one of the premier music education apps available on the market. You are able to download their app on iOS, Android, MAC, PC, and Linux meaning almost anyone can get access. The initial download is free and comes with a seven-day free trial of Yousician’s premium content, allowing users to try before they buy.
If you like the app and its content then you can choose to upgrade your subscription status to premium, unlocking all of the content on offer. Anyone considering Yousician should be aware that you will need to pay for this premium content to get the most out of this app.
One real positive about Yousician is that because it is an app it gets updated regularly. This means that new lessons and new songs to play are constantly becoming available and adding to their value.
Released back in 2010, Yousician has grown to become one of the largest music education companies in the world and boasts over 100 million downloads.
The app itself now has millions of songs to choose from and hours upon hours of lesson content tailored to budding musicians. If you play more than one instrument then this will be a good option for you as Yousician includes content for guitars, bass, piano, ukuleles, and vocals.
Check out our full Yousician Review here.
Yousician Key Features
- Subscription service
- Theory and learning focussed
- Multiple instruments available
- New content uploaded all the time
- Quick, simple, and easy to use interface
The overall design of Yousician is one of its real strong features. The team behind it has clearly spent a long time learning from users and refining the in-app functions and overall user experience.
Where there is a danger that new users and new guitarists could be overloaded with too much information, to begin with, Yousician has broken the process of learning down into manageable potions and lessons. This creation of clear and concise courses is a really attractive prospect for anyone just starting out on their guitar journey.
One important element to consider when choosing which of these pieces of software to use is how versatile you need it to be. By this we mean are you happy being confined to practicing in one room using one set of hardware or do you need a little more flexibility?
Yousician benefits from being available across all of the main hardware providers so if you want to be able to learn guitar using your smartphone, tablet, and laptop at different times then it may be the best choice for you.
This enhanced playability works well as the app utilizes your built-in microphone to listen to you play and provide real-time feedback. All you need is your guitar (or another compatible instrument) and your device with Yousician installed and you’re good to go.
This is an area that when testing we thought would be fairly consistent across both platforms. In fact, this is far from the case, and both Yousician and Rocksmith place fundamentally different emphasis on different areas of the learning process.
Yousician’s style is based much more on music theory and traditional teaching methods. Whilst it is still essentially a game, the in-app content is clearly defined between elements that are designed to be more fun and those that are designed purely to teach the user important aspects of guitar playing such as finger positioning and chord progression.
Another key aspect of Yousician is that it is an app. This means that the overall experience and content within it are constantly being updated and added to.
Although this is reflected in the overall pricing, the ability to add new lessons or tweak old ones to make them even better is a great feature and helps set it apart from other music teaching software like Rocksmith.
The connectivity offered by a modern app also means there is an active community within it. Users are able to submit songs to the system, allowing other players to listen, download and play along with them. If you like the idea of becoming part of a community or sharing your music with newcomers then Yousician is a great way to do so.
Price-wise Yousician is initially free to download and comes with a 7 day free trial of its premium features. This is great as it gives the end-user the opportunity to explore all of the features offered and really get hands-on with the software before investing.
As a free member, you will be able to access most of the content however you only get one free lesson per day. This comes in the form of twenty minutes’ worth of feedback. If you’re only looking to start playing the guitar casually then this may work for you, however, if you’re committed to learning then we would highly recommend paying for the full version.
The full premium membership is currently priced at $9.99 per month if you pay annually and $19.99 per month if you pay monthly.
This is an important aspect to remember when weighing up which of these products to go for as the total cost of Yousician can potentially become much higher than that of Rocksmith.
Rocksmith is another well-established name in the digital music education industry. Originally released back in 2011 it is a direct descendant of the hugely popular Guitar Hero video game franchise.
The aim upon its release was to build on the popularity of Guitar Hero but position itself as a product designed for people who actually wanted to play the guitar rather than strumming along on a plastic imitation.
This is where the first fundamental difference between Rocksmith and Yousician becomes clear, one is an app and one is purely a video game. This may seem like an odd comparison but both do an excellent job at teaching guitar, they just go about it in very different ways.
If you have a PC, Xbox, or Playstation then you are pretty much ready to go. All you need to do is purchase the game, install it and run it. Using your guitar at home you will then be able to play along with well-known songs and participate in virtual lessons that help improve technique and speed.
Rocksmith Key Features
- Games console & PC based
- One-off cost
- Performance focussed
- Easy to use, especially if you are familiar with the Guitar Hero games
- There is the option to purchase a bundle that includes the game, a Les Paul guitar, and an amp if needed
Design-wise the look and feel of Rocksmith is very much like your stereotypical computer game. If this is a format that you are familiar with and enjoy then this option could be for you.
Similarly, if you already have a good gaming setup then Rocksmith presents the perfect opportunity to use it for something other than shooting bad guys.
The benefit of this format is that it makes it incredibly easy for newcomers to pick up and understand. The simple layout, easy-to-follow instructions, and well-thought-out exercises are very beginner-friendly and provide a great basis on which a good understanding of guitar can be built.
This is another area where the difference between the two products is very obvious. Where Yousician is adaptable and versatile, Rocksmith is much more linear and regimented.
You see when learning with Rocksmith you are limited to using your games console or PC and confined to the area in which you have yours set up.
This may be no issue at all, as the majority of players will have one area that they use when practicing. If you have your TV, console/PC, and guitar equipment all set up and ready to use in one place then the lack of portability really isn’t an issue. This only really becomes a hindrance if you are planning to regularly practice in multiple locations.
Other aspects of versatility to consider include the range of music available on the platform. Whereas Yousician caters to multiple instruments and a variety of musical styles, Rocksmith is very much geared towards rock and its subsidiary genres.
This is in line with the older Guitar Hero games and ties into the more performance-based ethos of the platform. If these genres appeal to you and you enjoy learning through playing along with some of your favorite bands in a fun and engaging way then Rocksmith could be the option for you.
Leading on from the versatility aspects we’ll take a little look at the kind of teaching style you can expect when using Rocksmith. What Rocksmith does really well is it provides simple and easy-to-follow exercises for absolute beginners.
This is done whilst playing along with well-known classic rock anthems that add to the overall enjoyment of the user by giving them the feeling that they’re playing a fully constructed song early on.
Whilst this method is definitely fun it leads to less emphasis being placed on more traditional teaching methods that have their basis in music theory and other core principles.
If this is not an area that particularly interests you and you just want to be able to jam along to your favorite tracks then great, but if you’re looking for a deeper and more cohesive learning experience then, unfortunately, Rocksmith won’t provide it.
That being said there are plenty of users and former users who swear by Rocksmith and would argue that the emphasis on fun and enjoyment of guitar playing promotes longer-term engagement leading to higher playing ability.
This is an area that Rocksmith excels in when compared with Yousician. Rocksmith is available for the one-off cost of the game itself, provided you already have a games console or PC to use it with. Once you have purchased the game you then have access to all of its content for life, along with any updates that get released.
Yousician vs Rocksmith Pros and Cons
- Its videogame-like interface means it appeals to a range of ages
- The app uses your device’s microphone to provide feedback on chords and notes you play
- Available across iOS, Android, PC, MAC & Linux
- Yousician allows for uploading your own songs to practice them
- Yousician has 15 levels to explore and work through, providing a good learning experience for different guitar skills
- Some of the videos and courses are not as useful as others and often feel redundant
- Lessons and courses are delivered via voiceovers as opposed to human actors. This can get a little frustrating at times
- There is no support for intermediate or above playing abilities
- Subscription cost is quite high
- Also has parallels with a videogame making it easily accessible to all
- Uses immersive teaching styles that promote the enjoyment
- The cost of the game is relatively low
- Gives you access to a ‘live’ session band
- Great if you’re into rock, blues, metal, etc
- Fantastic practice aid
- Only supports up to a certain level of ability
- No live feedback
- You must already have a games console or PC to run it on
- Focusses on electric guitar
- Lessons can become repetitive after a while
Are there any Alternatives?
Here we’ll take a look at other competitors on the market that we think you should be considering when deciding which music education software you should use.
This is a great app that is very similar to Yousician. It features hits from some of the biggest artists of all time and does a good job of providing informative and educational lessons.
This is a great option if you like the versatility and freedom that comes with learning guitar via an app but also want to be able to play along with your favorite songs straightaway. Price-wise Guitar Tricks is very similar to the Yousician premium subscription.
Another app-based offering, JamPlay focuses on providing in-depth lessons in a much more traditional way. Lessons are a combination of video tutorials, interactive diagrams, and expert explanations.
If you’re looking for a Rocksmith or Yousician alternative that moves away from the videogame model this could be a good option for you. Check out our recent comparison between JamPlay vs Guitar Tricks to find out more.
Answer: Yousician makes it very easy to manage your subscription via the settings page. You can pause your membership if you pay monthly here. You can also manage your renewal settings.
Answer: Yes. Unlike the Guitar Hero games, Rocksmith requires players to use real guitars. As long as your electric guitar has a ¼ inch jack then you will be able to plug in and play.
If you are wanting to use an acoustic guitar you will need to purchase a separate pickup from your local music store.
Answer: No, you don’t need an amp. All you need is your game’s console or PC, a screen, your guitar, and the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable that comes with the game. Using this cable you will be able to plug your guitar straight into your console or PC.
Our Verdict: Which Music Education Software is Better?
This really does come down to personal preference and individual learning styles. If you would benefit from the flexibility of being able to learn anywhere across multiple devices then it’s hard to look past Yousician. So long as you purchase the full premium service you will have more than enough content to begin your guitar journey.
As for Rocksmith, we would recommend this for students who are already taking lessons elsewhere. The emphasis on fun and excellent session mode means that Rocksmith is a really useful practice tool but when used as the sole source of information can become a little stale and repetitive.
Jodie is a trained classical guitarist. She is also a full-time blogger and loves to write about different types of guitars. Just give her 60 seconds of your time, and she’ll tell you all that you need to know about any guitar of your choice.