Suppose you have been playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band and now want a more authentic challenge. Rather than playing with a dumbed-down guitar controller, you want to play a real guitar.
As a result, you picked up a Rocksmith game, only to discover you are not sure how you can connect your electric guitar to your console. Does any cable work with Rocksmith?
Ubisoft recommends using the Real Tone Cable to connect your guitar to your gaming device. Ubisoft also mentions that only Real Tone Cable will work. However, many other methods of connections are found to work, such as using third-party cables, an audio interface, or acoustic guitar, and a microphone.
In this article, we explore the game Rocksmith and if any cable works with Rocksmith. We also explore if there are other options to connect your guitar to your device.
What Is Rocksmith?
Rocksmith refers to a series of electronic music games published by Ubisoft. Ubisoft first launched in 2012 and has been on the market since. The newest version, Rocksmith+, was released as recently as 6 September 2022. This keeps Rocksmith alive after Guitar Hero’s demise and Rock Band’s inactivity.
This is because Rocksmith is played with a real guitar. This set is apart from other popular electronic music games, such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band, that require a proprietary guitar controller to play.
To play the game, you connect an electric guitar to your gaming device or console, using a special cable that translates signals from your electric guitar to the device.
Playing with a real guitar makes the game’s challenges much more difficult. This is because Guitar Hero or Rock Band controllers are much simpler. Instead of six strings on 20+ frets, these controllers dumbed it down to 5 buttons over five frets, with no strings.
However, Rocksmith understands the difficulty. As a result, the gameplay can be very accommodating to players. The difficulty of the prompts adjusts in real time as a player plays. For example, if a player misses multiple notes, the subsequent prompts will be reduced and simpler.
If the player misses multiple notes in succession, the game automatically pauses, allowing the player time to adjust and reposition. A strum on the right prompts will then continue the game.
Rocksmith first came into the market in 2012 and has seen updates and new releases, such as Rocksmith 2014. The newest version, Rocksmith+ was released as recently as 6 September 2022, making it one of the ‘still alive’ guitar-based games after the demise of Guitar Hero and the inactivity of Rock Band
READ MORE: Will Rock Band Ever Return?
How Different Is Rocksmith to Guitar Hero?
Rocksmith is different from Guitar Hero in many ways. With Rocksmith, you play with a real guitar of your choice, and the game is still active, with new versions being released. Rocksmith also helps you to develop real guitar playing skills that are transferable to real guitars and bass guitars.
Rocksmith and Guitar Hero share many similarities, such as being an electronic music video game based on guitars. There may also be similarities in the tracks, with many based on rock tunes.
However, Rocksmith and Guitar Hero can also be very different in many ways:
In Rocksmith, you play with an actual electric guitar or bass guitar. You can connect any guitar of your choice, as long as they have an audio output jack.
Still Updated And Active: Guitar Hero is officially no longer updated. The ownership has passed into the hands of many developers after the last version came out in 2015. No developers intend to develop a new version of Guitar Hero.
Rocksmith came out first in 2012 and is still under Ubisoft. Ubisoft has also continued to invest in the development of Rocksmith, with a new version of Rocksmith (Rocksmith+) released as recently as September 2022.
Transferable Skill: If you dedicate time to playing Guitar Hero, you may be good at it, but not much of the skill can be transferred to the real guitar. This is because the controller is a simplified version of a real guitar.
This is in contrast to Rocksmith. Since you will be playing the game on a real guitar, you will be able to transfer the skills to an actual guitar. This is one of the strongest points that has convinced many to play the game.
Does Any Cable Work With Rocksmith?
Ubisoft recommends players use the Real Tone cable to connect their guitar to their console to play Rocksmith. This means not all cables will work with Rocksmith, as the connection requirements are unique. You need a common guitar audio jack head on one end, and possibly a USB or console-specific head on the other.
Officially, Ubisoft advises using the Real Tone to connect your guitar to your gaming device. The Real Tone cable comes with any purchase of the Rocksmith game.
The cable is rather unique in its connection. It features a standard guitar audio jack on one end, which you plug into your guitar.
At the other end, you may see a USB A-type head with a special sleeve that you can remove to reveal a gaming console head. You plug this cable end into your gaming device – Playstation, Xbox, or PC.
This means not all cables will work with Rocksmith. A typical guitar-to-amp cable will not work, as you cannot plug an audio jack into a gaming device.
Can You Play Rocksmith without Real Tone Cable?
You can play Rocksmith without a Real Tone cable. Players in the Rocksmith community discovered that you can connect your guitar to your gaming device using a third-party cable or an acoustic guitar with a microphone. You can also play without connecting to the game, which means you will not get proper feedback on screen.
At times, you may have misplaced the Real Tone cable, or your cable has broken. You are not in the mood to purchase another and wait for it. Does that mean you cannot play Rocksmith?
Many players within the Rocksmith community have discovered ways to circumvent the need to use a Real Tone cable, allowing you to play the game without it. Here are some options for you to consider:
Using A Third-Party Cable: As a start, you do not need to use a Real Tone cable exclusively. There are many third-party cables that you can use to connect your guitar to your gaming device. At times, these cables may perform even better than the Real Tone cable.
As a start, consider cables such as the Yespure USB Guitar Cable. This is a cheaper alternative to the Real Tone cable, coming at around half the price. If you prefer something more branded at about the same price as the Real Tone cable, check out Behringer’s Guitar 2USB Cable.
If you want something better and more established, consider the Roland RCC-10-US14 Black Series cable. This cable comes from Roland, a very well-known audio and musical instrument maker. This cable would make a superior alternative compared to the Real Tone cable.
Using An Audio Interface: Suppose you have an audio interface. You can then use this device as an in-between. Using a regular audio jack, you first connect your guitar to your audio interface. You then connect the audio interface to your gaming device.
The upside of this method is you do not need the real tone cable or any guitar to USB cable. However, the audio interface only connects to a PC, meaning you can only consider this option if you play Rocksmith on a PC.
If you are keen to try this method, you may check out some audio interfaces, such as the IK Audio Interface. This audio interface features connectivity to PC via the 3.5mm audio jack, with connectivity to guitar and headphone output. It also connects to Apple devices.
Using An Acoustic Guitar and A Microphone: If a cable is not available, you may consider this method. Rocksmith 2014 allows you to play using the ‘microphone mode,’ meaning you can connect your microphone to your device, place the microphone in front of your guitar, and you can play.
The microphone picks up the note sound from your guitar and sends it to the game. This method does come with some drawbacks.
First is that there may be latency and sound quality issues. The connection quality will definitely not be as good as a direct cable connection. Another issue is that you will need an acoustic guitar for this method. The guitar needs to make sounds for the microphone to pick up, which means a regular electric guitar will not work.
As a start, you can consider connecting a Yeti Blue USB microphone to your device. You get excellent sound quality and good performance at an affordable price.
Play Without Connecting: Worse come to worse, you can always play in what is called the ‘disconnected mode.’ In this mode, you run the game and play your guitar, but there is no connection.
This means you will not get any live feedback on the screen as you play. As a result, this method of playing may work well as a practice and as a temporary solution.