Two weeks ago I finally could pick up my shinny red Ibanez Bass and started to play on Rocksmith with it. Having played the Guitar for over half a year rally paid off and many of the songs I could play quit well from the get go. I went through many of the lessons and played all the song at least once. With one or two exception I mastered all of the songs over 50% and that all within 7 days. So far so good. Now if that sounds too good to be true then you are right. Unfortunately for the Bass RS has a big shortcoming. It does not mark a note played too many as mistake and so if you pick the strings fast enough then you will hit all the right notes if they are on the same string. This is not very helpful to learn rhythm patterns.
Afterwards I went back to the Guitar which suddenly felt small and short. Here I finally have to conquer chords which I for most part tried to avoid because my hand tenses up and my hand and arm start to hurt. Now applying less pressure is easier said then done and after a while I am back to my old habits. With that in mind I started to play the parts with chords slower so that I can focus on the pressure and try to apply as little as possible. Especially on chord changes to barre chords I tend to apply way too much pressure to avoid half-pressed or mute strings. Guess practice makes perfect and for me it means even more practice.
RS has another shortcoming because it does not give good hints on why chords, bends or slides are not good. For example in Billy Idol’s White Wedding there are two chords played back and forth and I failed to play them right. Eventually I figured out that one chords has to be kept short (lifting my fingers are playing it) and to play the other chord slightly faster. Later there are two chords that are easy to be done because there is enough time to prepare aka breaks in between but most of the time it does not take it. Even though this is frustrating at the end I have to feel good which also applies when RS thinks I was perfect but I know I was
A Half a Year with Rocksmith
It is now 6 month since I bought Rocksmith for the XBox 360 and for most parts I played at least 1 hour per day. Without any doubts I am making progress and playing along a song is for most parts an enjoyable past time. In addition when I am under pressure in a song I am sometimes surprised that I find notes quickly or slide over the fretboard quite accurately. There are already a few song that I can play lead over 90% mastery on full speed and new songs like the Matchbox 20 pack was quite easy to get the basics down.
That said I am now struggling to master any songs except Blitzkrieg Pop. Either there a chord progressions that make me trip off or fast solos that are difficult to conquer. For example there is a very short part in Self Trap from Playground Kings that elude me now for 3 months to master. So far the most effective way to master them is to play the slowly (70 or 80%) until I can play it with closed eyes. Then I increase the speed and repeat the procedure. When I feel under pressure or overwhelmed then I am too fast.
Funny thing though is that when I finally get the hang of it the riff seems rather mundane and slow.. I guess this is mostly due to the fact that I now can relax and enjoy playing it.
Lately I discovered on how to cheat Rocksmith and even though I don’t do it regularly when it bugs me with a song I have no inclination to learn I might use it to get pass that mission. I am not sure if that is really cheating of it that was the intention from the creator. At the end I am interested in learning the guitar and not to accomplish as many missions as possible.
Some of the songs have a strong and powerful bass sound and so I decided to buy an Ibanez SR250 bass and learn the bass as well.
Currently I am wondering where I will be in another 6 months. It would be great if I could play the most popular chords quick and effortless, find the fret on the fretboard blindly and that I could do bends easier, quicker and with less effort. Maybe mastering 15 more songs (2 now) would be great as well. Finally playing along a song outside of Rocksmith would be really an accomplishment especially if I could play with my kids.
Looking back it was a fun half a year with some great accomplishments and I am looking forward to the next 6 months.