Guitar Status: December 18, 2012

Dec 18 2012

It’s been a busy week for me musically: I took a week and a bit off from my job, which left me with lots of free time, and I decided that most of what I wanted to do during that free time was music! With, of course, the help of Rock Band 3 and Rocksmith.

The strengths and weaknesses of those two games is getting interesting enough that I should probably write about this soon on my main blog; but, basically, over the last week, I did my guitar practice almost exclusively through Rocksmith. I played through another set every day; these days, I’m seeing the same songs (and even the same guitar parts in the songs—one of the differences between the two games is that Rocksmith teaches you all the different guitar parts), but with higher score targets.

And, once the targets get high enough, I’m frequently getting to a level where I unlock “Master Mode” for that song, where I can play through the song without being shown the notes. I’ve unlocked that for seven songs now: Angela, Boys Don’t Cry, Go with the Flow, Next Girl, Song 2, Take Me Out, and When I’m with You. Some of them are super super simple, some are a little more complex.

At first, I didn’t actually play them in Master Mode, other than once as an experiment. But then it threw me into Master Mode in one of them as an encore, so I decided I should give them a try. I still have mixed feelings about being dumped into Master Mode without warning, to be honest (enough so that I’m now no longer actively trying to unlock Master Mode on songs until I get more confident with those seven), but ultimately I do want to learn this music.

So I spent a bit of time this weekend playing through all of those songs in rehearsal and then in Master Mode. It turns out that, if you don’t press the A button on the controller when you’re done playing a song, it will play through your performance again, but this time showing you the notes; I think that’s actually a really good idea from a didactic point of view, because you get the correction after you’ve made the mistake, right when you need it. Including corrections of mistakes you didn’t think you’d made, some of which are subtle: I don’t realize how bad my rhythm is in sections that I’m uncertain about until I listen to it.

So: yay Rocksmith! I’m thinking I should dial back my Rock Band 3 practice: for where I am now, Rocksmith is a better teaching tool for me.

Or rather, I should dial back my Rocksmith practice on guitar: I actually felt like singing this week, so I sung in Rock Band 3 for maybe an hour a day. To give me something to focus on, I decided to try for the goal of getting five-star on expert vocals on every song.

Looking around the goals, I actually started on a related goal: I sung the songs that I hadn’t five starred on expert on any instrument. It turned out there were only four of those; and Beast and the Harlot was not much fun to learn! But I managed it; after that, I started going through the remaining songs on vocals. I got five stars on maybe twenty or thirty more songs; now I have somewhere in the neighborhood of ten songs (I think a few less, seven or eight maybe?) left.

And, honestly, I doubt I’ll finish that goal any time soon: I won’t have much free time when the house is empty to sing, and I seem to recall that Good Vibrations was really hard. Who knows, though; and it’s certainly been fun working on that.

The one unfortunate thing that occurred in this process was that, during one play session, the game stopped being able to talk to the hard drive. Fortunately, rebooting the console and reseating the drive fixed that, but that got me pretty nervous. So I bought a USB stick and backed up my save files for all the games that let me do that. (And I’m annoyed that not all games do in fact allow you to back up your save file; fortunately, both Rock Band 3 and Rocksmith allow that.) I should probably look into Xbox cloud saves; that may actually be exactly what I’m looking for, for all I know.

One response so far

  1. […] also feeling relatively secure with the seven songs I had previously mastered, so I decided to start going for mastery on new songs again. This morning I mastered I Can’t […]