Deary me, how long has it been since my last review here? It feels like years have sailed on by, yet it has only been months. Granted, it has been many months, and much regret has stricken my heart as time merrily marched on. I am back, at least for a while, because a surge of passion has struck me like a fumbled chord on a crooked neck. In my absence, I picked up the bass guitar, grabbed the nearest app, and well, now I am reviewing it after months of play.
The app I tried, as the title of this long-windedly introduced article suggests, was Yousician. Why did I pick this over the myriad other options on the market? I saw that Metallica had struck a deal with them, and honestly, I wanted to play some metal once I gained some degree of competence. The question is, did I ever get to play Metallica after countless hours of practice? Yes. Is Yousician worth using to learn bass? That’s harder to say for sure.
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Yousician is, in a sense, a really fancy version of Guitar Hero. You have a rolling track of notes depicted in tablature, and you simply need to play the right note at the right time. Notes are colour-coded with each colour representing a finger, and honestly, that’s it. It’s incredibly intuitive to pick up, and getting down and plucking the thumpy notes feels great almost immediately.
Yousician is not Guitar Hero of course. It is intended to teach you bass, so alongside its vast song list, it has a rather comprehensive string of lessons that will guide you through hours of content. These are a mixture of practical and theoretical work, with a frequent smattering of songs to keep you interested. Bass lessons are split over eight levels, and I managed to get to level eight in a couple of months.
I can say with absolute confidence that Yousician did a fantastic job at getting me on the bass every day and playing songs. I am a significantly better bass player than I was when I started, but I would not say I was a good bass player. In fact, Yousician, whilst fun, kept me locked in as a novice, and I don’t think anyone will progress beyond that using it.
Can I play the full bassline to Master Of Puppets, Enter Sandman, or Fade To Black? Absolutely. I’m not perfect at it, but I can absolutely jam along and feel awesome doing it. Do I know how to pick notes out of a mix by ear, or make my own music? No. Yousician teaches you how to play the bass, but it doesn’t teach you to PLAY the bass – if that makes sense.
Despite that, the app has plenty of positives going for it. Learning any song is easy thanks to a robust practice mode that lets you alter the speed of the song, loop certain sections and more. Not only that, but most songs come in multiple difficulties. You can play the full bassline if you have the chops, but if you are just learning, then Yousician will have a basic bassline waiting for you, letting you play with your favourite bands far earlier than you may think.
In the end, however, Yousician is the karaoke of the instrument world. I could grab my app, pull up some Michael Buble or Eric Clapton and play like an absolute king, but take away that app, and I honestly don’t think I could play more than a couple of notes before I was lost. Yousician is a game that teaches you the movements, and nothing else.
This isn’t a bad thing if that’s all you are looking for. If you want to play bass in your room, or garage, and never want to go beyond just plucking some strings, then this is amazing. I went from nothing to having the dexterity to play thrash. If you actually want to learn bass though, then sorry to say, you should probably skip on this and find an actual teacher.
That’s all we have on Yousician for now. I might come back and do other music apps in the future, but for now, I am satisfied with what I’ve done. If you haven’t already, you should absolutely consider picking up an instrument. It’s good for the soul.