Pro Guitar Status, April 17, 2011

Apr 17 2011

I didn’t work on Pro Guitar last weekend, because I was too busy. Though part of the reason why I was too busy involved Rock Band: I spent Saturday evening hanging out with Kirk Hamilton, Dan Apczynski, Jorge Albor, and Scott Juster, eating and playing Rock Band. Which was a lot of fun! Kirk is rather good on (Pro) Drums, as it turns out; and I’m much less good on Pro Keys on other people’s TVs than I am on my own. (Though part of that was because the game wasn’t calibrated at all to the TV we were using all at the start; I got to an acceptable but not great level once we fixed that.)

I did get back to Pro Guitar today, though, working on my journey through the Medium songs. And they’re super interesting, even the easiest ones. Well, maybe not the very easiest ones, but today was a lot of fun even when I was going through the later Warmup songs.

In the easiest Medium songs, you play a lot of two-note chords: as far as I can tell, these would be barre chords on a real guitar, but the game didn’t want to make us deal with that on Medium. So that’s a little boring; but even the two-note chords were interesting when I was playing Rehab, because it had me picking out the two notes of the chord instead of strumming them together. So I got to translate the individual notes that the game showed me into (a stripped down version of) the underlying chords, which was fun to think about.

And then I hit Yoshimi, and all of a sudden the game got hugely more interesting: I had to play full G, D, and C chords! Which I failed at miserably the first time: but that’s what training mode is for, and I eventually got it. (After that, I decided to just start with training mode on new songs by default, though it wouldn’t surprise me if eventually my sight reading catches up and I don’t have to do that any more.) That was a real change of pace: for the first time, I came out of a piece feeling like I could play it on a real guitar and it would actually sound like the real song.

I saw those same chords in some later songs, too. Which is kind of interesting, actually: full E and A chords aren’t any harder to play than those chords, but the game doesn’t seem to throw those at me in Medium. Not sure if they wanted to restrict themselves to only three different chords to learn in Medium or if they wanted to reserve E and A for when we had to grapple with barre chords; I’m not complaining either way, it will certainly give me something to look forward to when I get to Hard.

The other interesting song for today was Good Vibrations. Most of the song is pretty straightforward, but at the start of the song (and in one or two places in the middle), there are sequences of individual notes, going between a couple of the strings in different ways. They were complex enough that I decided to spend a little bit of time thinking about how best to finger them, in order to minimize the amount of shifting that I’d have to do with my hand, and I really enjoyed that process. In a weird way (maybe I’ve been reading Steven O’Dell too much), it felt kind of like playing a technical racer: it’s analogous to the process of analyzing a turn on a race track, experimenting with different lines to see which one is most efficient, and then practicing over and over until you can hit it reliably.

I didn’t do a lot of songs today: I finished the Warmup songs and did two of the Apprentice songs. But my hand is feeling it a bit (and I was getting remarkably sloppy on my D chords as the session went on), and I want to play some Minecraft, too! So that’s enough for this weekend; I hope I’ll be able to finish the Apprentice songs next weekend.

One response so far

  1. I know you mentioned me and my approach to racing as a passing reference but you’ve just inspired even more thoughts for that thing we’ve discussed. Now to contemplate.