I steadfastly avoided the guitar hero computer game craze a few years back because I thought it was a complete travesty wasting people’s time when they could be learning instruments properly. However, about a year ago, I realised there were computer games that could be played with real guitars. I thought these sounded like a great idea, especially for “too tired to practice properly” evening jams. It also gives an opportunity to play guitar whilst my kids are in the room as they like watching the games and strumming along on their little guitars (baby sitting + guitar playing = major win).

The first program I came across was http://guitarbots.com . It works quite well with my guitar going into the computer through a tapco usb interface, although I put an A-B box in the signal path so that I could hear my guitar through a proper amp at the same time as the computer sounds are quite nasty. I really liked the user interface and steamed through all the tuition and songs, and even bought a months subscription to complete everything except Mr Fastfingers (horrendously difficult). Luckily I could already play “Rondo a la turque” which was the other very hard one, and it didn’t seem to mind me using different fingering.  However, the thing that annoyed me about this program was the horrible synth backing and lack of proper songs. Once I got everything done I tried the feature of loading new songs using song pro, however this didn’t quite work as well as it should of.

Next I moved onto http://jamstar.co . The first awkward thing with this is that the tab is displayed upside down compared to guitarbots. This really messed with my head! Then I couldn’t get my usb interface to work with it so had to use the external microphone. This worked well in a quiet room with either an acoustic guitar or using a clean signal on my amp, but not at all when my two kids were watching and making noise, so no baby sitting with this one (major downer)! Finally you have to pay to access any content worth playing, and since I never quite got the hang of the interface, I didn’t think it was worth spending any money or pursuing further.

So finally I figured I’d spend some money and get Rocksmith 2014. This is head and shoulders above the other two programs, and will be the subject of an upcoming review.

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