Product Comparison

FATpick vs. Yousician vs. Rocksmith vs. Ultimate-Guitar vs. Songsterr

It's no secret that there are a great number of apps and games that promise to help you on your musical journey. And while there's overlap between many of them, there are significant differences as well. It may be a little bewildering trying to keep all the details straight. We'd like to help.

The following table compares FATpick to several of the most similar apps and services in the space:

FATpick, Yousician, Rocksmith, Songsterr, and Ultimate Guitar.

TIP: If you don't see all five products in the table, increase the width of the viewport, or click here to show all columns. This page is "responsive". Some columns are hidden when the screen is too narrow for them all to fit.

We believe that on-balance FATpick is the best solution in the bunch. We hope you'll agree. But we're secure enough to recognize that FATpick may not be what you're looking for (yet). FATpick compares quite favoribly on virtually every dimension: It does many things well. It does some things best. But even we must admit that there are things that FATpick doesn't do as well as some of the alternatives. There are differences between these products. We happen to think that FATpick has made the right choices and struck the right balance with respect to these differences. But we want you to have a clear understanding of them as you make your own evaluation.

NOTE: Our intent with this chart is to provide a candid and objective comparision of FATpick and some notable related products. But for obvious reasons our perspective may be biased. We sincerely encourage you to call us out on any features we've missed, details we've misrepresented, or relevant alteratives we've ignored. If you have comments, corrections or feedback you would like to share, please let us know.

The footnotes below the chart provide citations for and describe the source of the information in each cell of the matrix.

Product Comparison Rocksmith Yousician FATpick Ultimate Guitar Songsterr
Cost 1 $59.99
+ $2.40 - $2.99 / song
$19.99 - $29.99 / month FREE
  (for now) 1
$9.99 / month $9.90 / month
Song Catalog 2 55 Songs
+ 1,444 DLC
~ 500 Songs
per instrument
1,700+ Songs
8,200+ Tabs
"Over 9,000 Tabs" "Over 100,000 Songs"
Add Custom Songs 3
🚫
🚫
Pitch & Timing Detection 4
🚫
🚫
Scoring & Game Mechanics 5
🚫
🚫
Backing Audio 6
Original Artist Recordings
Mostly Sound-Alike Covers
Some Original Artist Recordings
Sample-Based
Virtual Instruments
Sample-Based
Virtual Instruments
Sample-Based
Virtual Instruments
DAW-Style Mixer
(multi-track audio with independent voice 7 and volume 8 controls)
🚫
🚫
🚫
Repeat Looping 9
Custom Tempo 10
Instruments 11
Guitar
Bass
6-string / 4-string only
Guitar
Bass
Piano
Ukulele
Voice
6-string / 4-string only
Guitar
Bass
Ukulele
Any Fretted String Instrument
7-string guitar
5-string bass
etc.
any # strings
- -
Tools 12
Chromatic Tuner
Session Mode
Tone Designer
Chromatic Tuner
In-Song Metronome
Chromatic Tuner
In-Song Metronome
Stand-alone Metronome
Track Heatmap
Scale Explorer
Tone Bridge [?]
-
Content 13
Videos
Interactive Lessons
Mini-Games
Video Tutorials
Print Any Tab
Chord Database
Tuning Dictionary
Fretboard Chart
- -
Inputs 14
Real Tone Cable
(Branded Guitar-to-USB)
Microphone
Microphone
Guitar-to-USB
Guitar-to-AUX
Most Other Audio Interfaces
Microphone
Guitar-to-USB
Guitar-to-AUX
Most Other Audio Interfaces
- -
Platforms 15
Xbox
PlayStation 4
Windows PC
MacOS
Windows PC
MacOS
iOS
Android
Windows PC
MacOS
Linux
Web
iOS
Android
Web
iOS
Android
Windows Mobile
Product Comparison Rocksmith Yousician FATpick Ultimate Guitar Songsterr

UPDATE: This table was last updated 5 November 2022.

TIP: If you don't see all five products in the table, increase the width of the viewport, or click here to show all columns. This page is "responsive". Some columns are hidden when the screen is too narrow for them all to fit.

FATpick renders any GuitarPro file - or songs shared by others - in flowing tablature showing when and where to play each note. Instant feedback on accuracy and timing as you play along.

FATpick is currently free - no limits, no ads, no in-app payments - for MacOS, Linux and Windows PCs.

Notes & Sources

Except where otherwise noted all information was captured in June 2021. This page was last updated 5 November 2022.

[1] Pricing Notes
  • Rocksmith pricing is based on Rocksmith 2014 Edition - Remastered. DLC is available as single tracks for $2.99 per song or in pre-packaged bundles of up to 5 songs for $11.99 ($2.40/ea). According to this analysis, the total cost for Rocksmith 2014 and all affiliated DLC - nearly 1,500 songs in total - is approximately $1,000.
  • Yousician's pricing is a little hard to nail down precisely: there is no direct price listed on the website and the cost varies by region and other factors. Multiple sources report costs of $19.99/month (or $119.99/year for the annual subscription) for the basic, single-instrument plan, or $29.99/month ($179.99/year) for the "premium plus", 5-instrument plan. (See source 1, source 2, and source 3 for example.) A limited, "free trial" version of Youscian is also avaiable.
  • FATpick is currently free (and unconstrained) but will ultimately transition to a paid model - most likely as a subscription service. See details here.
  • Ultimate Guitar pricing via https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/pro.
  • Songsterr pricing via https://www.songsterr.com/a/wa/plus.
[2] Song Catalog Notes
  • See Wikipedia and Ubisoft for Rocksmith built-in and DLC song lists. Note that in March 2020 Ubisoft stopped adding DLC content to Rocksmith 2014 / Rocksmith 2014 Remastered.
  • Yousician's catalog includes a large number of "workouts", exercises, and sound-alike variants of popular songs with backing audio tracks credited to "The Youscians" - a collection of studio musicians acting as a sort of "house band". The top-tier Premium+ subscription also includes a collection of popular songs backed by recordings from the orginal artist. Each song typically includes multiple transcriptions with different levels of complexity. Yousician does not publish a current song count or complete listing, in part because the Premium+ catalog varies by region. You can search (but not enumerate) the list of songs in Yousician here. This third-party source maintains what is intended to be a complete listing of songs in Youscian, including all exercises, house-tracks and Premium+ songs. As of 3/28/2021 it includes 2123 guitar, 2127 ukulele and 1727 bass tabs, each with approximately 4 skill variations per song.
  • FATpick's public song catalog is populated with songs that have been imported and shared by individual users. Most songs include a transcription for multiple tracks (instruments or parts), each of which can be independently performed in the FATpick player. As of 11/5/2022 FATpick's public song library includes more than 1700 songs and over 8200 individual tabs (independently playable tracks). New songs are added every day. You can search the current list of songs and tracks shared in FATpick here.
  • Ultimate Guitar catalog size via https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/pro.
  • Songsterr catalog size via https://www.songsterr.com/a/wa/plus.
[3] Notes on Custom Song Imports
  • Rocksmith does not allow users to add custom songs. Only the songs from their official catalog can be played. However users can expand the initial 55-song catalog by purchasing individual tracks individual songs or bundles from Rocksmith's DLC library.
  • Youscian does not allow users to add custom songs. Only the songs from their official catalog can be played in the app. The exact contents of the catalog vary by subscription type and region, and songs are added or removed over time in response to licensing agreements. See the song catalog footnote, above, for more information and context.
  • FATpick, Songsterr, and UltimateGuitar allow users to add custom songs to the catalog by importing GuitarPro files or similar song transcription file formats. A library of previously shared songs is also available to play.
[4] [5] Notes on Pitch Detection and Game Mechanics
  • FATpick, Rocksmith, and Yousician use pitch and note onset/offset detection algorithms to evaluate the accuracy and timing of the user's performance. The resulting "score" is used to make the practice or performance into a "game" by which users compete with themselves or against others to achieve the highest score. Performance feedback is provided in both "real-time" (per-note, instantly, as you play along) and aggregate (summarized at end-of-song) form.
  • Ultimate Guitar (also Songsterr) is more of a tab player than an interactive "rhythm game". It does not respond to or provide feedback on your performance. It's not even "listening". It simply plays a song and highlights the corresponding notes in the musical score at the appropriate time, unaware of whether or not you are playing along.
[6] Notes on Backing Audio Tracks
  • Each song in Rocksmith is synchronized with a studio recording by the original artist that popularized the song.
  • Each song in Youscian is synchronized with a live (studio) recording of either a "house band" of session musicians they call "The Yousicians" or (for Premium+ songs) the original artist.
  • Each song in FATpick and Ultimate Guitar is synchronized with multiple audio tracks - one per instrument or part in the original transcription - generated with sample-based virtual instruments. Each track has independent volume controls, and the virtual instrument that "voices" each track can be selected by the user. FATpick users also have the option to enable an customizable metronome track that is automatically generated from the time-signature associated with each measure of the song.
  • Each song in Songsterr is synchronized with a synthesized audio track (generated with sample-based virtual instruments), with limited customization options.
[7] Notes on Instrument and Voice Controls
  • Rocksmith's backing audio tracks are recorded, not generated, and do not support any voice or instrument customization.
  • Youscian's backing audio tracks are recorded, not generated, and do not support any voice or instrument customization.
  • Users can dynamically assign any of 100+ virtual instruments to "voice" a given track (part) in each song in Ultimate Guitar and FATpick. FATpick's generated metronome track (and the stand-alone metronome tool) can be further customized by mapping specific percussion notes to each beat accent type.
  • Songs in Songsterr are backed by synthesized audio tracks but users have little or no control over the specific instrument used to voice each track.
[8] Notes on Track Volume Controls
  • Each song in Yousician is backed by a single audio track. Users may adjust the master audio volume only.
  • Songs in FATpick and Ultimate Guitar are backed by an independent track or "stem" for each instrument or part in the score. Each track can be independently soloed, muted, or set to an arbitrary volume.
  • Songs in Songsterr are backed by an independent track or "stem" for each instrument or part in the score. However users can only solo/mute the track currently being viewed. Other tracks are either all-on or all-off.
[9] Notes on Repeat Looping Support
  • Each of these applications allow the end user to loop the playback over a specific section of the song, although there are some subtle differences in implementation.
  • Rocksmith's Riff Repeater supports looping over individual blocks or sections of a song. The looping isn't quite continuous, there's a prominient, rhythm-breaking interruption when the loop restarts.
  • Youscian allows looping when in practice mode. Loops are constrained to measure boundaries - i.e., loops must start and stop at the beginning or end of a measure. Yousician's looping mode is continuous - the loop restarts one beat after it ends.
  • FATpick also allows looping when in practice mode. Loop endpoints are arbitrary - they can stop or start in the middle of a note (beat) if you want them to, but the interface makes it easy to "snap" the loop boundaries to notes, beats and measures. Looping in FATpick is continuous, there is no gap or delay when the loop repeats.
  • Loops in Ultimate-Guitar are defined at note boundaries - they can start or stop within a measure but always at the beginning or end of a note. Ultimate-Guitar's looping is continuous, there is no delay when the loop repeats.
  • The premium version of Songsterr supports continuous repeat looping, by note. Loops begin and end at note boundaries and there is no delay when restarting the loop.
[10] Notes on Custom Tempo / Song Playback Speed Support
  • Each of these applications allow the end user to set a custom tempo or playback rate in order to play the song slower - and in all but one case, faster - than the normal tempo.
  • The most notable difference in the custom tempo support between these applications is driven by differences in the backing-audio-track implementation:
    • Yousician and Rocksmith use pre-recorded audio. In order to play these recordings at a different tempo that audio must be digitally scaled and re-pitched - stretching or dropping individual "frames" of audio to change the playback rate and pitch-bending to account for the change in frequency that would otherwise occur when the audio is sped-up or slowed-down. This processing can lead to distortion, especially at tempos that are significantly faster or slower than normal.
    • Ultimate-Guitar, FATpick and Songsterr use dynamically-generated audio for their backing tracks. This eliminates the need to manipulate or process the audio signal to play back at a different tempo. When these apps play a song faster or slower than normal they simply play each note in the original pitch at the selected tempo. There is no distortion, even for extreme changes in speed. The true pitch and true tempo are used for each note, at any playback rate.
  • The range and granularity of tempo changes varies a bit from app to app:
    • Rocksmith uses scaled and re-pitched audio to support a playback rate of 0.25x to 1.00x the original tempo. (Rocksmith does not allow playback at a faster-than-normal tempo.)
    • Yousician uses scaled and re-pitched recordings to support a custom tempo of 0.25x to 1.75x of the original speed.
    • FATpick supports a true-pitch, true-tempo playback rate of 0.01x to 3.00x of the song's original speed.
    • Ultimate-Guitar also supports true-pitch, true-tempo playback, from 0.10x to 1.50x of the song's standard tempo.
    • The premium version of Sonsterr supports true-pitch, true-tempo playback at 0.25x to 1.75x of the original tempo.
[11] Notes on Supported Instruments
  • Rocksmith supports any guitar or bass guitar with a 1/4" output jack that can be connected via a Real Tone cable. Their catalog includes both 6-string guitar and 4-string bass content.
  • Yousician both supports and has lesson plans for guitar (6 string only), bass guitar (4 string only), ukulele (4 string only), piano and voice.
  • FATpick's catalog primarily contains guitar and bass guitar content, with a lesser amount of transcriptions for ukulele and others. FATpick supports any fretted, plucked-string instrument, including 7-string guitar, 6-string bass, 5-string ukulele, mandolin, etc. Tabs for any type of instrument may be imported.
  • UltimateGuitar does not support any sort of audio input. It is an output-only application.
  • Songsterr does not support any sort of audio input. It is an output-only application.
[12] Other Included Tools
  • FATpick includes a number of stand-alone guitar practice tools - which work both online and off - including the musical scale explorer, a chromatic tuner, an in-song metronome track, a stand-alone digital metronome, the fretbaord heatmap and more. See blog posts tagged Features or Tools for more examples.
  • UltimateGuitar's Tonebridge is a virtual amplifier for iOS and Android mobile devices that models the tone generated by specific amplifiers and pedal chains. Most (all?) of the tabs on UG's site are linked to corresponding Tonebridge presets that recreate the tone of the original recording. It's actually pretty nifty, but official comments from the Ultimate Guitar support team (e.g., 1, 2) indicate the product is no longer supported (since mid-2020?). It's not clear what this means for the Tonebridge presets still linked from the tabs on UG's web site, but some similar apps are listed here.
  • See individual product sites for additional information.
[13] Other Included Content
[14] Audio Input Support Notes
  • Traditionally, Rocksmith requires a cable that connects the 1/4" output jack on your guitar to a USB port on your computer or console. Ubisoft recommends a proprietary (or at least branded) cable they call "Real Tone". A Real Tone cable comes bundled with most hard-media distributions of Rocksmith 2014 or can be purchased separately for around $35 (to use with a media-free, download-only version of Rocksmith, for example). A Real Tone cable is not strictly neccessary, however. Most third-party guitar-to-USB cables should also work, and connecting an external mic and switching Rocksmith to "microphone mode" allows you to use it with a fully acoustic guitar. This page describes some options for using Rocksmith without a Real Tone cable.
  • FATpick and Youscian both support virtually any way of getting an audio signal into your device, including internal (built-in) and external microphones (via AUX or USB), a guitar-to-USB or guitar-to-AUX cable, a guitar-to-amp-to-device connection (via AUX or USB), an external audio interface device (like the Focusrite Scarlett, for example, a popular choice for digital recording), as well as most other set-ups that appear as an "audio input device" within your computer. For examples of the audio input configurations typically used with FATpick see this blog post. (Most of those configurations should also work with Youscian.)
  • UltimateGuitar does not support any sort of audio input. It is an output-only application.
  • Songsterr does not support any sort of audio input. It is an output-only application.
[15] Supported Platforms
  • Rocksmith is largely targetted at "gamers" using Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation consoles. Rocksmith is also available for personal computers running Microsoft Windows or macOS.
  • Yousician is available for PCs running Microsoft Windows or macOS and both Android and iOS mobile devices (both phones and tablets).
  • FATpick is available for desktop and laptop computers running Microsoft Windows, Apple's macOS or most flavors of Linux. Mobile apps for iOS and Android are planned but not yet available to a general audience.
  • Ultimate Guitar is available as a web-based application and as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
  • Songsterr is available as a web-based application and as a mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices.

 

Our intent with this chart is to provide a candid and objective product comparison. But we're not exactly without bias here, so we sincerely encourage you to call us out on any features we've missed, details we've misrepresented, or notable competitors we've ignored. If you have any comments, corrections or feedback you would like to share, please let us know.

 

All trademarks and copyrights are property of their respective owners.