Archive for July, 2012

Rock Band Status: July 15, 2012

Jul 15 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

As I discovered last week, Tier 5 is where I’m starting to hit a wall. And my plan for that is not to fight the wall: once it becomes clear that I’m not making any more progress, I’m going to start over on simple songs and really focus on them.

What I wasn’t expecting was for that to happen this week. But I was going through training on Oye Mi Amor and thought: I could learn this song, and I would actually probably really enjoy the process. Or rather, I would enjoy the process eventually: but right now, it’s pointing out areas where I should shore up my basic skills even on songs that focus on aspects of guitar playing that I’m less incompetent at.

So, rather than press on, I decided to stop. I’m going on vacation soon, then guests are visiting, then I’ll be off at a conference; so I’m honestly not sure how much Rock Band time I’ll have in the rest of July and in August. But come September I will refocus.

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Rock Band Status: July 8, 2012

Jul 08 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I had a pretty big backlog of recently-purchased DLC that I hadn’t gone through the Pro Keys on (36 songs, it turned out), so I went through all of those on Friday and Saturday. The main takeaways from that are that Huey Lewis and the News are fun on keys and that, if I want to go for a Pro Keys streak, Private Eyes is a good candidate: it’s very repetitive and there’s no chord transition in it that I should miss. Which didn’t mean that I actually succeeded at full comboing it, and in fact my longest streak, 495, was 5 short of what I needed for the in-game achievement, but still, at least now I know about it if I want to go for that.

After last week’s experience, I decided to try adding Good Girl to the practice rotation. Which I was pretty rusty on, so I went back to practice one repeated single-note bit and the solo. The former of which is quite manageable; the latter is actually within my grasp, though it will take me a while to get there. So I think it should stay in the rotation, it’s a good choice for me.

And then I tried my first Tier 5 songs. Continuing the Huey Lewis theme from earlier in the week: The Power of Love turned out to be surprisingly fun on guitar. An easyish but pleasant two-note chord bit that I enjoyed moving around on, a more bluesy bits with chords that are less familiar but that I’m starting to get used to, and even the solo seemed potentially within reach. So I’m thinking I might actually add that one to the practice regime, though the solo in particular will sound bad for a while.

The other song I tried was Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Which was fast with a bit of sliding around: nothing individually seemed that hard, but it was too fast for me, enough so that I didn’t get three stars at it. I’m fairly sure I could get three stars without too much more work, but I’m reaching my limit, and this didn’t seem like a song worth pushing it on. So for now I’m leaving it as is and moving on; in the unlikely event that I make it through three stars on all or almost all the other Tier 5 songs then I’ll come back and get the third star on this one, but for now I’m thinking that’s not the best use of my time.

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Rock Band Status: July 1, 2012

Jul 03 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

On Saturday, I had a pleasant time at Dan Apczynski‘s place playing games with him, Jorge Albor, Mattie Brice, and Kirk Hamilton. Which was super fun; we played some board games (Pandemic, Betrayal at House on the Hill) and some Rock Band 3, and Dan even gave me some super-useful guitar tips! Just having him show me around his setup was useful, but he also had some suggestions on getting better tone.

On Sunday, my goal was to finish Tier 4. Which I did! Well, sort of: the two songs I had left were Sir Duke and Humanoid, and I only managed two and a half stars on Sir Duke. Which I do think should probably be Tier 5, and has one characteristic that makes the game particularly unforgiving when playing it, namely that it has slowly strummed chords that it represents as a closely spaced arpeggio instead of a chord, and the timing is almost impossible to get right on that. Though the flip side is that I later found a section where it was perfectly happy to let me strum chords extra times; not sure what’s going on there, but I guess I got to cheat the scoring both ways, so it all balances out? Lots of ninths and minor sevenths, though, which I’m not good at; I enjoyed the song, and I can imagine returning to it eventually, but for now, I’m not going to put in the time to get three and a half songs.

That one is just DLC, though; for in-game achievement purposes, though, the one that counts was Humanoid, and that one I did manage to get three stars. Actually, if I’m remembering correctly, I got four stars on it? It’s unpleasant metal, and in particular I didn’t enjoy the fast dropped-D power chord stuff at the start; I did enjoy a later reasonably trick bit involving jumping between medium-high frets on the high strings and then low frets on low strings, that’s something I wouldn’t always have been able to do. Still, ultimately: not something I enjoyed, I went through once and then declared victory.

I’d also downloaded a couple of pieces of DLC this week. Good Girl was Tier 3, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it: some pleasant power chords, some full barre chords that I was pleased that my hands could jump to with very little problem. And the single-note runs were within reach, too. I’m thinking I might even add that one to the regular practice rotation—not my favorite song overall, but the guitar part is fun and instructive for me right now.

The other was Drops of Jupiter. Which was only Tier 2, but I found it a lot harder than Good Girl: a fair number of slightly unusual bits and some arpeggiation that I didn’t always get right. It was reasonably fun to play, but I don’t think I’ll return to it.

So: Tier 5 next! I’m pretty sure that Sir Duke is only the first of many songs that I won’t get three stars on, and I’m also sure that solos will start to be way beyond me. (I’ve started adding scales to my out-of-game practice in an effort to help with that.) I doubt I’ll push all the way through Tier 5, and certainly not through Devil Horns, but I’ll see what I can do. And when it gets too hard, I’ll probably start over at the beginning and really try to learn stuff.

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