Guitar Status: December 2, 2012

Dec 02 2012

On Saturday, I got my guitar back from the shop. I can’t remember what all he said he adjusted, but he worked on the curvature of the neck, the tuning apparatus (the bridge, maybe?), put on a new set of strings, and probably did some other stuff.

In general, it feels a little better to play? Also, the new strings seem noticeably stiffer, which probably helps with the problem I’d been had from being out of tune when I press too hard. (I wonder if that will change as the strings get older.) And it sounds maybe a bit janglier, but I’m okay with that, in some sense it sounds to me more like an electric guitar should. I don’t think it will make a colossal difference in my playing, but I’m glad to have had the guitar set up, and the guy who did it seemed to know his stuff. (Mark’s Guitar Repair in Campbell.)

On the way home, I stopped by a local guitar shop to wander around for a bit. Mostly I just looked at price tags on guitars, I didn’t really try anything out. (I probably should have looked at effects pedals, too; ah well.) I’m thinking that, at some point, I should just pick a price point (not particularly high, $300-ish) and buy a guitar somewhat randomly there along with a couple of pedals, and just get used to the ways they can make noise. Then again, I should probably do that more than I have been with my current guitar; I’m just feeling somewhat hampered by some aspects of its construction (e.g. not being able to bend strings smoothly) and by my feeling that it’s almost certainly musically deficient in many ways.

Once I got home, I played Rocksmith for maybe three and a half hours. I went through something like nine songs; I’ve forgotten which ones they were (Sunshine of Your Love is the only one that comes to mind, though I’m sure I’d remember more if I looked at the track list), but I was enjoying the experience enough to keep at it.

I’d done a better job practicing guitar mid-week than normal this week: Good Girl in particular has gotten stuck in my head, so I’ve practiced it both unplugged and in game a few times. Which has gotten me back in the habit of playing Rock Band 3 plugged into my amp. And I figured out how to turn off failed note sounds (you have to scroll down to see the option on the appropriate menu, which is why I’d missed it before); I still wish the game had a way to turn off failed note detection completely, but at least now it’s not actively offensive. (I’m currently #11 on the Good Girl leaderboard, which made me happy until I checked how many people had played the song at all; the answer turns out to be 78 people, which made me despair at the lack of popularity of Pro Guitar, because it’s a super fun song to play. Though admittedly probably a lot of people overlooked it, because Carrie Underwood isn’t the first artist that comes to mind when thinking about guitar.)

On Sunday, I played Rock Band 3; I was feeling like I had a lot to do, so I didn’t try new songs, but I did go through all of my standard routine, and went through the practice sections of Me Enamorata. I can already see some improvement on that song, which is heartening; still a ways to go, the solo in particular will take a while, but that’s okay. Once I’d gone through all the standard practice songs muted, I went through a few of them plugged in; I was planning to only do two or three of them that way, but I enjoyed the experience enough that I ended up playing about half of them plugged in. The other main thing that I learned today was about The Only Exception: something was clearly off on the solo when I’d played it before, with one of the strings being a half-tone off, and when I looked more closely at the names of the chords it was displaying, I realized that it showed E7 for what looked like it was the fingering for a standard E chord. Putting those two bits of information together, I realized that I was supposed to tune the top string down a half step, to a D#; I’m a little embarrassed that it took me so long to realize that, but better late than never! (And most of the chords don’t sound awful in either tuning, they just sound better tuned correctly.)

My hand ached a noticeable amount by the end of the afternoon. After this week, I’m planning to take December off from working and to do a lot of guitar practice during then; I hope my hands are up to it…

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