Squier by Fender Strat Guitar Pack
Schecter Hellraiser C1 Electric Guitar
Yamaha Pacifica Series Electric Guitar
Table of Contents
Reputed to be a fun and easy way to learn to play guitar, Rocksmith has been challenging guitar newbies and more experienced players alike since 2011. The guitar game combines video graphics with a real instrument and, reportedly, can help you learn to play proficiently in 60 days.
Whether you’re new to Rocksmith or have been playing for some time, choosing the right guitar is key to mastering this game.
The best guitar for Rocksmith, hands down, is the Squier by Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar Pack. It gives beginners everything they need to start playing, including lush tone.
If Fender isn’t your jam, not to worry. We’ve put together a list of the seven best guitars for Rocksmith that will have you rockin’ out in no time. So, if you’re looking for an accessible guitar to help you master the game, this guide is for you.
The 7 Best Guitars for Rocksmith:
Squier by Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar Pack
Squier’s Stratocaster is one of the best guitars for Rocksmith, but is also one of the best packages for beginners in general. The pack includes a guitar, amp, cable and strap, making it easy to start playing.
The guitar provides a poplar body, maple neck and laurel fingerboard. It’s fitted with two single-coil pickups in the neck and middle and a humbucker in the bridge. Together, these pickups give you a wide variety of tones to suit almost any genre you want to play.
A Frontman 15G amp comes packaged with the guitar. This 15-watt solid-state amp provides two channels for both clean and distorted sounds.
The pack also includes a cable and strap, permitting you to start playing as soon as you open the box. As an added bonus, the cable can be used to connect to Rocksmith.
Yamaha Pacifica Series Electric Guitar
The Yamaha Pacifica has been a favorite for beginners for decades. It’s known for its sturdy build quality, good playability, and surprising tone, making it a great guitar for Rocksmith. If you’ve never played guitar, a Pacifica is one of the best values you can find.
It comes with a solid alder body — something only found in high-end Fenders and boutique guitars — to provide a clear, balanced tonal response.
The neck is made from maple for fast, smooth playing while an Indonesian rosewood fretboard with jumbo frets top things off.
Three pickups across the body control the Pacifica’s tone. They’re arranged in a HSS configuration, with a humbucker bridge pickup and two single-coils for maximum flexibility.
The Pacifica includes master volume and tone controls, along with a vibrato system built into the tailpiece. This gives you an intuitive way to add flourishes and movement to your chords as you learn to play.
Schecter Hellraiser C1 Electric Guitar
Schechter’s Hellraiser C1 stars two EMG humbuckers, a quilted maple top and a stunning abalone rosette around the mahogany body. It’s built to impress with both sound and looks. The combination makes the Hellraiser one of the best guitars for Rocksmith on PS4.
This guitar provides a solid mahogany body, with a set neck and two Strat-style cutaways. The premium tonewood, solid body and set neck maximize sustain throughout the guitar.
That premium feel continues with the aesthetic touches. The Hellraiser offers a quilted maple top and smooth abalone rosette. The rosette extends around the edge of the body and headstock giving the guitar a luxurious look. The string-through tailpiece adds a hard-rock edge.
Two EMG humbucking pickups power the tone. These active pickups can boost or cut frequencies in your pickups, giving you far more control over your final tone.
While they excel with overdrive, they also sound surprisingly snappy when played clean. You can also coil-tap the pickups to obtain a traditional single-coil feel.
ESP LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar
While ESP might be known for its hard rock and metal influences, the LTD EC-256 is a balanced axe that’s suited to classic rock and heavier styles alike. It excels as a guitar for Rocksmith and as a learner’s guitar in general.
The guitar’s mahogany body includes a single cutaway, Les Paul style. It’s hefty, but not too heavy to play for long periods of time. That combines with a mahogany neck and jatoba fretboard, shaped in a thin “U” profile for comfort and speed.
There are two ESP humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions that are wired for high output. That means you can can pump out overdrive crunch and heavy distortion. If you’re playing classic rock, hard rock or metal, you’ll appreciate the gain on tap.
The EC-256 offers a Tune-O-Matic style bridge and a stopbar tailpiece. You’ve also got a master tone control and individual volume controls, while a coil-tap function lets you split the humbuckers for a brighter single-coil sound.
Ibanez RG421 Electric Guitar
For metal and shred guitar, you need an instrument built to play fast. The Ibanez RG421 fulfills that and is surprisingly affordable.
The RG421 provides a “superstrat” design, with extended cutaways on both sides of the neck. The bolt-on neck features a contoured heel, with five bolts for added stability and sustain. Together, these give you easy, smooth access to the very highest frets — one of the reasons this is a great guitar for Rocksmith.
The body itself is made from solid mahogany, with a “Wizard III” maple neck to emphasize quick playing and precision. The fretboard uses rosewood, which provides a bit of tonal warmth and a smooth, vintage feel.
Two Ibanez active humbuckers power the sound of this guitar. They work best with distortion and high gain, for a perfect hard rock sound. You also get a three-way pickup selector switch, and master volume and tone knobs to control them.
A fixed Strat-style bridge and Ibanez tuners round out the hardware and do a good job of keeping your tuning and intonation stable.
Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90 Electric Guitar
These guitars offer a solid mahogany neck and body, with a ’60s “D” shape.
It’s comfortable but not too thin, making it a great fit for young and experienced players alike.
The neck pairs with two Epiphone P90 pickups providing airy, warm tones that fall between a traditional single-coil and a humbucker. If you like classic rock and blues, these will be a great option.
The pickups can be controlled with master tone and volume knobs while a three-way selector switch lets you select either pickup, or combine them.
Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster Electric Guitar
Fender’s Squier lineup produces consistently great budget instruments and this Affinity series Telecaster is no different. Whether you’re a beginner or just want to save some money, this is one of the best guitars for Rocksmith for PS4.
The Tele offers a solid poplar body with two single-coil pickups. The neck is smooth and glassy for clean sounds while the bridge incorporates a hotter, more aggressive tone for overdrive and lead playing.
Together, these two pickups provide an exceptional range of tones. In fact, you can play nearly any genre just with this guitar sound.
There’s also a “C” shape maple neck, with die-cast tuners and 21 medium jumbo frets. The bridge utilizes six cast saddles for hardware, rather than a traditional Telecaster bridge. This lets you adjust the intonation and action of each string individually.
What is Rocksmith?
Rocksmith is a video game designed to teach you guitar in a fun, relaxed setting. Once you’ve plugged your guitar in, the game teaches you to play notes and chords of classic rock songs. As you improve, the game feeds you more complex notes to play.
Beyond the central game mode, Rocksmith includes 11 games, designed to improve specific foundational techniques. These range from fretting and sliding to bending and skipping strings. For a more detailed look at the best mini-games, check out this YouTube guide.
What Types of Guitars Can You Use for Rocksmith?
As long as you’re comfortable, almost any type of guitar can be used for Rocksmith. It must have six strings — which eliminates tenor and bass guitars — and the ability to plug it in or amplify it with a microphone.
Most players prefer electric guitars for Rocksmith because they often have lower action, or string height, than acoustic guitars, making them easier to play. Beginners in particular opt for lower action on electric guitars because its easier to fret notes consistently and eliminate fret buzz.
Can You Use Acoustic Guitars for Rocksmith?
If you’re playing Rocksmith 2014, an acoustic guitar will work. One of the latest updates allows you to plug in using a microphone, rather than a cable. The microphone lets the game recognize your acoustic guitar, even if it doesn’t have a pickup.
If you have an acoustic-electric guitar, you can plug in via a standard cable. Acoustic-electric guitars use a mounted pickup to transmit sound electronically. These allow you to use amplifiers and games like Rocksmith while preserving your guitar’s natural acoustic tone.
Do You Need an Amp for Rocksmith?
An amp isn’t necessary for playing Rocksmith because the game allows you to plug into your console. As long as you have a guitar and a cable, you’re all set.
If you want to use the game to learn electric guitar, playing Rocksmith with guitar isn’t enough. You’ll need to practice without the game too — and that makes an amp purchase essential.
A package with both a guitar and an amp can be a simple way to save money and get learning.
Our top pick, the Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster, is a combo pack. If you don’t have any gear but want to learn guitar with Rocksmith, be sure to check it out.
Does Rocksmith Teach You to Read Music?
No, playing Rocksmith won’t teach you how to read music because it uses tablature for its interface, rather than music notation.
On video game consoles like the PS4, Rocksmith displays different notes on your screen in tab. Tab notation numbers the fret that you need to play on your guitar.
In Rocksmith, the screen displays your entire guitar fretboard and highlights the number of the specific fret you need to play. This makes it easy to identify the correct note and fret it accurately every time.
Rocksmith PS4 progresses like this throughout the game. It teaches you how to play riffs and lead lines, but it won’t teach you to read guitar chords.
Here Are Some Rocksmith Guitar Lessons to Get Started
You’ll need to get your bearings within Rocksmith before learning songs.
Begin by opening up the game and plugging in your guitar before selecting a path through the levels. You can focus on either lead or rhythm guitar, or you can play as a bass guitarist.
You’ll then need to calibrate and tune your guitar before going through the basic game system.
Rocksmith works like Guitar Hero, with a scrolling “highway” where notes come to you. To increase your score, you need to play the notes at the correct fret, in time with the game.
This can be a bit difficult, but the game helps you through the learning curve with a few trial runs. Over time, you’ll get more comfortable and learn how to anticipate the proper notes.
It might be helpful to watch a video walking you through the start of the game. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you first open Rocksmith.
Rocksmith Guitar Tutorial for Beginners
Once you’ve started playing, you’ll need to learn some valuable techniques. To get the most out of Rocksmith, it’s important to focus on technique and precision from the start. This way, you’ll improve quickly and won’t need to double back to fix flaws in your playing.
To start, it’s important to keep your picking motion precise. Make sure you cover most of the pick with your fingers to keep it from slipping out of your hands and keep your picking hand close over the strings. Don’t start from high up, or you might miss the right string.
Alternate picking, although difficult for beginners, is an important technique to learn to play more advanced styles of music.
Before you play the game, you should practice alternate picking (picking down, then up) each day. Consistent practice will lead to big improvements in your playing.
For your fretting hand technique, it’s important to keep your fingers as smooth as possible. Try to avoid sliding between notes with one finger, which can make notes sound stiff and disjointed. Instead, use all four fingers on your fretting hand. This will keep the music sounding smooth and connected.
You should also try to position your thumb around the back of the neck. While some famous guitar players have kept their thumb over the top of the neck, this position makes it difficult to fret some chords. It can also reduce your precision when playing solo lines high on the neck. Try to maintain proper technique to see the best results.
The Best Way to Use Rocksmith
Rocksmith is easy to get into, but some users quickly get bored and stop playing guitar altogether. You can avoid that by learning the best ways to use Rocksmith.
The game allows you to learn songs, but its best value is as a consistent practice tool. Depending on the song, you might be able to learn the whole thing with Rocksmith. If you want to improve, though, you’ll need to focus on technique. Don’t let your playing get sloppy by only learning songs.
The Squier Stratocaster pack provides everything you need in one package, making it the best guitar for Rocksmith.
If you have a bit more to spend, the Schecter Hellraiser C1 offers more tonal flexibility and looks stunning as well.
What do you think is the best guitar for Rocksmith? What parts of the game are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.