Pro Guitar Status, May 22, 2011

May 22 2011

This weekend, Liesl and Miranda were out much of the day on Saturday, and I took the excuse to play a bunch of Pro Guitar; and I did a fair amount today as well. The result is my most productive weekend in ages: I went through 20 songs, finishing off the Moderate tier, completing all of Challenging, and starting on Nightmare.

The songs are fairly routine by now: I’m still going through training mode, but it’s been a while since I needed to play through a song more than twice after that to feel that I was doing a credible job at it, and there were a couple of songs this week that I only played through a single time. (Which, admittedly, had as much to do with my not liking those songs very much; still, I did a decent job on that single playthrough!) So I’ve learned most of what I’m going to get out of Medium, I think: two note chords don’t hold much fear for me, at least at the speeds that Medium has me play them at.

Most, but not everything, because some of the songs definitely had their twists. There were a few odd three-note chords that the game threw at me, and there were more two note chords on the same fret than I’d previously been used to, most of which I actually tried to play as barre chords instead of using separate fingers to hold down the two strings.

And then there was Killing Loneliness, which had one section (the first or second bit, I can’t remember) that was by far the hardest thing I’d seen in training mode. It was reasonably long, moved reasonably quickly, and while the chords were (almost?) all two-note chords, the progression was such that you basically no choice but to play them as barre chords, even when the two notes were on different frets. Plus a bit of moving between strings, just to keep you on your toes. I was floored by it when I first saw it, but after going through it four or five times, it was pretty clear what the best approach was—it just happened to be an approach that I wasn’t used to taking! After another 10 or so goes, though, I was playing through it fairly solidly, and when I hit that section in the full song (it occurred fairly often, as it turned out), I managed to play it correctly live as well.

That felt really good: a nice bridge to what Hard is going to be like, I imagine. I also see what people mean when they complain about their wrist aching when learning barre chords, because my wrist hurt some after that song. And my fingertips continue to hurt, but it was manageable even this weekend, and I don’t expect to play longer stretches for the foreseeable future, so I’m over the worst there, I think. My back also hurt some: I think I was keeping pretty good posture, but the guitar is heavy enough for me to notice it, and the sofa I’m playing on doesn’t offer good support.

Actually, my body positioning is something I’ve been wondering about: I suspect that, as I play barre chords more, I’ll want to have the neck angled up more than I have been, and maybe I should shorten the strap a bit. My next door neighbor is a guitar teacher: at some point, I may ask her for a one-off lesson, for body positioning help and also for suggestions of exercises to play. (Chords, scales, etc.)

Only 20 songs left, and then on to Hard! Despite my progress this week, I won’t make it through all those songs next weekend, because we have a guest in town, and it wouldn’t shock me if I had three more weeks of Medium ahead of me. But the end of Medium is in sight, and the beginning of what I imagine will feel a lot more like real guitar playing. (I’m planning to buy an amp soon after I hit Hard.)

I was wondering how many people had been diving into Pro Guitar. The answer, judging from the leaderboards, seems to be “not many”: I’m actually in 724th place right now, which seems shockingly high to me. And my scores are a lot higher on Medium than they were on Easy, so I imagine Hard will be a similar jump: in fact, it looks to me right now that doing a good job on most of the songs on Hard would be enough to put me in the top 1%. (There are 284 people in the top 1%, so I’m comfortably within the top 3% already.) I’m assuming that means that there are 25,000–30,000 Pro Guitar controllers out there, though maybe there’s a good-sized population that doesn’t show up on the leaderboards? (You don’t need an account to show up there, though.) Who knows, maybe I’ll end up monitoring the Pro Guitar leaderboards the way I monitored Pro Keys. (I’m a little surprised to see that I’m still in 40th place on the latter.)

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  1. […] finished a bunch of songs last weekend, but with Liesl’s father in town, I didn’t expect to make much Pro Guitar progress this […]