Rocksmith is a fun and interactive way to learn how to play the guitar.
Personally, I was obsessed with Guitar Hero before I started practicing the real guitar and had always wished something like this existed when I first started.
However, while the Rocksmith game itself is good for learning guitar, the technology setup and performance can leave something to be desired.
And by this, I obviously mean the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable that’s required to connect your guitar to the game.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable. We’ll discuss why you should consider scrapping the Real Tone cable altogether as well as provide 5 different Rocksmith Real Tone cable alternatives.
Can You Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable?
If you’re familiar with Rocksmith, then you probably know that you typically need to buy the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable to play at all.
But what happens if you misplace yours and can’t find a replacement due to how old the game is?
Or what if you buy the game digitally on the PC and don’t have the one included with the bundle? It’s definitely a hassle to have to buy the overpriced cable separately.
So a common question that many people have is “Can you play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable?
Well, you’re in luck. Yes, you can play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable.
If you don’t know, the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable is just a standard 1/4th inch guitar jack one end with a USB connection on the other to connect to your console or computer.
There are plenty of cable alternatives out there that are essentially the same exact thing.
In addition to that, there are various other ways to connect your guitar to Rocksmith with gear that you probably already have in your setup if you’re someone who tends to record guitar at home.
Why Should You Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable?
If you’ve ever played Rocksmith before, then you’ll know that the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable is probably the most frustrating thing about the experience.
It barely even works, and when it does, not well.
The cable is cheap and poorly designed, offering an inconsistent experience in general.
Here are some reasons why you should scrap it altogether and play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable in favor of a more customized setup. d
Real Tone Cables Are Expensive
First of all, the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable is SUPER expensive considering what it is.
It’s just a guitar cable with a 1/4 “ jack on one end and USB on the other. And a cheap one at that.
The Rocksmith Real Tone Cable can cost upwards of $30 which pretty ridiculous considering the cheap quality and performance.
With that money, you could get an unofficial brand guitar to USB cable that actually has good build quality for half the price.
Real Tone Cables Break Easily
As previously mentioned, the Rocksmith Real Tone cable a cheap, low-quality cable.
In total, I went through 3 different cables before I finally decided to ditch them altogether and figure out a way to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable.
Some of them were completely dead on arrival. The others stopped working after a month or two.
If you’re going to be playing Rocksmith frequently, expect to constantly replace your cable because of how easily they break.
Driver and Connectivity Issues
You would think that guitar to USB cable would be a simple plug and play solution.
Nope. At least not with the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable.
It should be as simple as plugging the cable into your computer or console and having the game recognize it immediately. After all, that’s its ONLY job.
However, I consistently ran into driver issues where my computer’s USB slot would either not recognize the device at all.
And when it finally did recognize the cable, it would randomly disconnect and stop working that that USB port. The only way I found around it was to switch the Real Tone Cable to another USB port and hope for the best.
I ran into this issue on both Mac and PC which is my preferred platform to play this game. I didn’t have any problems on console though.
The worst part is that Ubisoft’s website has absolutely no support for the game at all. Their website has no place for you to download proper drivers to connect the cable.
So, your only option is to plug and pray.
One commonly known issue with the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable is the latency.
Latency is the delay between the time you pluck a string on your guitar and Rocksmith actually registers it.
Having a lot of latency is obviously not ideal for rhythm games where you need to play all of the notes on time.
Since the Real Tone Cable is pretty cheap, a lot of users experience a significant amount of latency, especially if they’re on an older computer that’s not as powerful.
If you’re experiencing a lot of latency with the Real Tone Cable, then you’re better off switching to an alternative solution, such as using a microphone or an audio interface.
How to Play Rocksmith Without a Real Tone Cable (5 Simple Ways)
Use a Rocksmith Real Tone Cable Alternative
The Rocksmith Real Tone is just a guitar to USB cable. That’s it.
And a terrible one at that.
If you were planning on buying a Real Tone Cable to play Rocksmith, you’re much better off buying a third-party alternative.
Not only will it work with Rocksmith, but it’ll likely be even better than the official cable.
Here is an example of a guitar to USB cable on Amazon that uses higher quality materials and costs less.
Use an Audio Interface
My favorite way to play Rocksmith on my PC without a Real Tone Cable is to connect my guitar to my computer using a dedicated audio interface.
If you’re someone who likes to record guitar through direct-in, then you might already have an audio interface as a part of your main setup.
Believe it or not, you can actually use it as a replacement for your Real Tone Cable.
And on top of that, the experience is a lot better. I had no issues with connectivity, responsiveness, or anything else.
The Scarlett 2i2 is one of the best and most versatile USB audio interfaces on the market. It features premium build quality and industry-leading pre-amps at an affordable price.
It’s an awesome interface that not only lets you play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable, but also allows you to record your guitar directly to your computer.
All you need to do is plug in your guitar into your interface, connect it to your computer via USB and fire up Rocksmith.
From Rocksmith’s menu, find your way to input settings and switch it to “Microphone Mode”
The intended purpose of this mode is to allow you to connect an acoustic guitar to Rocksmith, but it’ll recognize your audio interface as well.
Select your audio interface and you’re done. You’re now able to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable.
If you’re having any issues with the game not recognizing your audio interface, then here’s a useful Reddit post that walks through the setup process.
Play Rocksmith With an Acoustic Guitar
As I previously mentioned, another common way to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable to use an acoustic guitar paired with a microphone.
All you have to do is go into Rocksmith’s settings and enable “Microphone Mode.” If you have a microphone plugged into your computer or console, it should recognize immediately.
You can play Rocksmith with any acoustic guitar. It doesn’t really matter which.
On the other hand, since you’re going to be relying on your microphone to pick up the sound of your guitar, I would recommend getting a decent USB microphone.
If you use a cheap, low-quality microphone, it could have trouble picking up the sound of your guitar clearly and fail to register the notes in the game.
Nothing is more frustrating than playing the song correctly and still failing because the game doesn’t register the notes properly.
If you want an excellent microphone for Rocksmith, I would recommend the Blue Yeti Microphone from Amazon.
The Blue Yeti is one of the best all around USB microphones on the market. It features an all aluminum body with with superb build quality, sound quality, and responsiveness. Also, since it's a USB mic, the setup is simply plug and play.
Play Rocksmith in Disconnected Mode
If you’re more of a casual player, then another way to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable is by playing in “Disconnected Mode”
This mode basically just disables note detection altogether and displays the notes on the screen for you to play along.
As I said, this is more for casual players or people who just want to practice rather than actually play the game.
It does take away from the interactive aspect of Rocksmith, which is obviously the purpose of the game, but it definitely has it’s use cases.
You obviously won’t be able to play any of the mini-games that rely on hit detection, but you’ll be able to play along to your favorite songs completely stress-free without worrying about failing, getting high scores, or missing notes.
So, just kick back, relax, and play some guitar, no Real Tone Cable required.
Use the Rocksmith “NoCable Patch” (Fairly Technical)
Another method that allows you to play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable is through the “NoCable Patch”
Admittedly, the method is a little bit more technical, so it’s probably not for everyone.
It is essentially a third party piece of software that fans in the Rocksmith community created that allows you to connect your guitar to your computer through your mic or line-in port and have Rocksmith read it.
I personally would go for any of the other options listed above because they’re not as technical and don’t require you to download unknown software from third parties.
But if you’re interested in checking it out anyway, here is a link to the Reddit thread that discusses it in more detail
To sum things up, if you’re someone who is interested in picking up a copy of Rocksmith, just know that the Real Tone Cable does not offer a very good experience.
Luckily, there are a lot of methods out there that allow to you play Rocksmith without a Real Tone Cable.
I hope you found this post helpful. Good luck playing!