Guitar Status: January 19, 2014

Jan 19 2014

Not much to report about Rocksmith, which is why I haven’t been blogging about it recently: it’s still awesome, I still spend a good amount of time on it every week. I continue to be impressed by Session Mode; it works well, and the game continues to suggest new things for me to try there. The game has also started to suggest that I building tones; I’ve been doing that as prompted, but I haven’t really jumped into that particularly.

Mostly I’m still playing through songs, of course. But I’m also thinking I should work a bit more on specific techniques; so I’ve been trying to learn how to do pinch harmonics over the last month (with some success in isolation, though I haven’t tried it in the middle of a song), and today I started working on tapping. Na Na Na Na has a good tapping section; if I set the difficulty to where there are only pairs of notes, then I can do it okay, but right now triplets are too hard for me; they don’t seem completely out of reach, so that’s a sign that that’s a plausible section for me to work on. I’m also falling out of the habit of doing non-game practice (e.g. going through the arpeggio section of Something Bigger, Something Brighter, or learning Itsumo Nando Demo); I blame that on me having the guitar packed away because of the kitchen work. But the kitchen is almost done, there should be less than three weeks left.

I should also spend more time just focusing on individual songs, and in particular using Riff Repeater to get sections solid. There are a few songs that I’m playing every week (Love Hurts and Anna Molly, at least), and several others that I play frequently, but I’m not really taking them super seriously. In general, I still enjoy playing lots of songs, and I do feel that I’m getting better, but I suspect that I should be spending more time on focused practice, at least to the extent that that doesn’t hurt my enjoyment. I’m reading through The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance right now; I haven’t gotten to where it talks about specific recommendations yet, but I may well change my practice style once I get to that.

Oh, and today I tried following the game’s advice for how to string a guitar, which differs slightly from how I had been stringing in terms of how it sets the initial loop of the string; seems to work well, I’ll probably stick with that method assuming that the strings stay stable. And I bought a capo yesterday, though I don’t have any specific plans to use it: they released a capo-only Oasis song last week, but that didn’t seem like my style.

So, a transition period: once I finish that book and once the kitchen is done, then I’ll probably change how I practice: it will be easier to practice outside of games on weekdays, I’ll go see if my neighbor is offering lessons, and I’ll have science giving me advice. But I’m feeling pretty good about things even without that.

In Rocksmith news from other blogs: I enjoyed this Rampant Coyote progress report.

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