Best Guitars For Rocksmith – Buying Guide and Reviews

One of the key things to remember is that the best guitars for Rocksmith will be the ones that stay with you long after you’ve moved on from practicing in your living room.

With that in mind, choosing a guitar that can keep up with you for years if looked after is the smartest choice.

If you’re looking for the best guitar for Rocksmith, it’s likely that you’re either a beginner or are buying for someone who is.

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Guitars For Rocksmith

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Buyer's Tips: What to look for when buying the best guitar for Rocksmith

  • The cheapest guitars lack the good quality that’s needed in the early stages of learning to develop good technique and make it harder to enjoy playing. Likewise, you don’t need to go and spend thousands.
  • Electric guitars are preferable as they require less equipment to interface with Rocksmith

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...

5 Best Guitars For Rocksmith

1. Ibanez S Series

Ibanez S521 - Blackberry Sunburst

This guitar is great for playing metal, and unlike the wide necks that tends to be associated with guitars for this type of music, Ibanez have created a very thin, but flat type they call the “Wizard neck”, with the aim of making it easier for lightning-fast shredding. It’s a great tool for learning on in conjunction with rocksmith, and it’s thin neck makes it easier for younger learners with small hands.

  • A very high quality axe that uses excellent materials and electronics for a great sound
  • Very lightweight so your technique isn’t hampered by supporting the weight with your hands which helps to learn the proper form
  • Uses Ibanez’s Wizard Neck design which makes it easier to play at insane speeds without sacrificing high frets, and it also makes it very easy to wrap even tiny hand spans around
  • Although in a skilled pair of hands any guitar can play any style of music, the tone of this guitar is really aimed at hard rock and metal, so if you were looking to do something else like pop or jazz, you might not like the particular tone
  • Although this is a versatile instrument, it doesn’t include a whammy bar
  • This is a full bodied guitar, so although it’s a good choice for players with smaller than average hands, it will still be difficult for a child to play

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2. ESP LTD EC-256 Black

ESP 6 String LTD EC-256 Electric Guitar, Black, (EC256BLK)

This guitar is a high quality Les Paul imitator, making it a decent first guitar and a stylish one to learn on. It’s similar in many ways to the guitar that comes with Rocksmith, but is a full sized guitar and of better quality.

  • The stock pickups are adaptive to a lot of styles of music, and you can switch between single coil and humbucker at your leisure
  • The all black look is really powerful, and makes a really striking image with the Les Paul shape
  • Stays in tune for a very long time
  • The neck is thinner, making it easier for learning on as the stretches are less severe
  • The action is a little high at first and will need to be adjusted from stock
  • If you’ve never played a guitar with jumbo frets before, you’ll need to give yourself some time to adjust to the feel of them

Let's take a look at this product...

3. Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus

Fender Modern Player Tele Plus  Electric Guitar, Honey Burst, Maple Fretboard

A cheap telecaster-style guitar, which produces a great classic tone and is an easy guitar for learning on with Rocksmith and when paired with an amp for Rocksmith-free practice or performance it has a great tone.

  • Powerful gain that can hold those ominous drones or violent squeals with an ease that isn’t often found in a Telecaster
  • 5 way switching plus a coil tap for the humbucker makes for a versatile instrument that can produce the right tone for a ton of different styles
  • Not too shabby to look at compared to other Telecasters, this one takes the simple Telecaster layout and takes full advantage of that to show of the beautiful body and pickguard
  • Frets will need gentle levelling
  • As this guitar is produced in China (don’t panic, it’s actually one of the best guitars to come from there!) the transport process is known to have an effect as it gets shipped halfway around the world and different heats and humidities play on the instrument. Be prepared to get it serviced to offset this
  • More expensive than many single coil telecasters of similar quality

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4. Gibson SG Special (Editor's Choice)

Gibson SG Special 2016 T Electric Guitar, Satin Cherry

This is a short scale guitar, making it more accessible to learners who are younger and want to dive straight into Rocksmith without having to spend a few weeks getting used to the demands of playing a full scale guitar. It looks and sounds great, making it an ideal choice for progressing past using Rocksmith as a tool for learning guitar whilst also being one of the best guitars for Rocksmith.

  • Excellent finish and the bevelled edges make a very nice visual impact as well as being very comfortable to hold and play
  • Low action which can be adjusted without a lot of technical knowledge allows you to compensate for a weaker grip strength or to light the fretboard on fire shredding
  • Tune-o-matic bridge holds light-gauge strings very well with minimal slipping
  • Frets need to be filed smooth at the edges
  • Whilst the overall design looks good, the humbucker pickups seem to spoil the overall aesthetic
  • If you’re looking for a short scale guitar so that you have something easier to practice on as you begin learning guitar, you might find this one a little too expensive compared to the others

5. Laguna LE50

Laguna LE50 Short-Scale Electric Guitar Satin Black

For the truly diminutive guitarist, the Laguna LE50 has a scale length of 22.75” making it one of the easiest to play. However, it has some rather glaring design flaws. On the plus side, it is dirt cheap and sounds far better than a typical entry level guitar would normally be expected to.

  • Easily the smallest, with a very short scale and a slim tapered neck
  • Smooth neck that feels almost like you’re playing on a long stick of butter, which is helped even more by the jumbo frets
  • Has a very nice fat crunchy tone thanks to its two humbucker pickups, which are surprisingly good for such a cheap instrument
  • For a ¾ size guitar, it can be impossible to use the full 24 frets, as the highest frets are spaced so closely together that you need to be very precise in order to play accurately beyond the 20th fret or so
  • A number of the pieces aren’t put together very well, key issues being the rear cover plate and the pickups, which are a little loose and the wiring on them is not perfect
  • Will definitely require attention by a technician before it can be played in earnest

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So What Are The Best Guitars For Rocksmith?

​As we said in the introduction, our advice is to buy something that lives on beyond your days playing Rocksmith in your living room. 

Because of this, the short scale guitars are a little lower on our list in terms of overall performance as it’s better to start with a proper sized guitar unless the person it’s being bought for still has a lot of growing to do.

Our top pick in the end is the Gibson SG Special. It’s a tad expensive, sure, but it’s such a fine guitar that it’ll be a lot of fun to play with Rocksmith and without.

Image credits:
Featured image source: Mike Prosser
CC BY-SA 2.0

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

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