Monday, February 27, 2012

I Got Some Satisfaction - But Not Completely Satisfied

Playing in Master Mode the other night got me all fired up and strengthened my resolve to slow down and really work on learning each song. Even though I was playing a very easy song (Run Back to Your Side, chord arr.), I felt like I was really playing (which, of course, I was). And, I liked it.

I'm going to keep moving forward with new songs but I'll move forward very slowly toward Event 7. For now, I'm going to spend most of my time working previous songs up to Master Mode level and maybe even play a Master Mode Event. Guess I'll need to add another color to my spreadsheets to indicate which songs are at Master level.

[Side Note on Event 8: The event manager has already created my setlist for Event 8 and I noticed that it includes two of the DLC songs that I downloaded from the store recently (More than a Feeling and Smoke on the Water). Good to know that DLC becomes part of the regular journey!]

Last night I worked on four songs: Satisfaction (single note arrangement), Angela, Surf Hell, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (free Christmas DLC).

Satisfaction is pretty much everybody's first RS song so just about all RS players are familiar with it. Very easy riff, but the verse thing is weird. There are three verses - all very different. Yet, Riff Repeater treats them as if there's just one verse phrase. If you max one verse, you level up all three verses. I maxed Verse 1 after considerable effort and then played through the whole song. I was cooking along thinking I'm pretty cool for finally nailing the verse when - WHAM! - the second verse hits me like a skipped record. Unlike Hen-ery the Eighth, the second verse is most definitely not the same as the first.  The third verse is not the same as the first or second verses.

This, to me, is sort of a flaw in the RS algorithm. You just need to be aware of it. You can max out the first verse but you probably won't make it through the other two without working on each one of them separately because they are so different. I worked each one for a while and played through the song just to see where I was. Missed Master Mode by 533 points! 99467 (94/154) was the best I could do. And, of course, since I didn't quite nail the 2d and 3d verses in the song, I got leveled back down on the verse - even though I did nail the 1st verse. So, I've still got some work to do to get complete "satisfaction."

The next song from the RS song list that I've already played is Angela. It wasn't the second song I played on my journey, but it's the next song on the song list that I've already played. In other words, I was too lazy to scroll through the song list last night to find Next Girl. My son likes Angela, probably because it sounds good but is very easy to play. (I just hope he doesn't learn the lyrics and start singing it around school; I was going to suggest that he work this up for the 5th Grade talent show, but I decided a song about a tease might not be such a good choice.) This song is so easy I sort of wonder why Ubisoft didn't make this the first song that comes up for new players. I'm obviously missing something. 

The only phrase I hadn't already maxed on Angela was - of course - the solo. So, I leveled up the solo to 100% within way less than 30 lives in Riff Repeater. Yet, when I went to play through the whole song, I could NOT get 100,000. I got the Perfect Phrase message every eight beats and as far as I could tell I hit every single note in the solo. I played through with a 96% accuracy and a 224-note streak. But, the absolute best I could do was 99,116 RSP! Frustrating.

One problem I'm obviously having is that I apparently try to push my strings through the neck. Not only does this make my hand very tired, I figured out last night on Angela that this habit is making a lot of my notes sharp. There's a long sustained G in Angela and I kept getting the arrows of death every time I played it - until I backed off and stopped squeezing the string so hard. That was on the low E string. Imagine what I'm doing to the other 5 strings! I would imagine that letting up on the unnecessary pressure will help me move my fingers faster, too (not to mention putting off arthritis).

As usual, I pulled up Surf Hell before I quit for the night. You'd think after playing this one 75 times I'd have it nailed, but I don't. The other night I had worked this one in Riff Repeater and leveled up 6 times in a row to max out all remaining phrases. But, my best score last night for the whole song was 96,365 (93/90). I'm sloppy on the transitions to the bridge chords; I think that's my worst issue on this one. That and the second long slide. Just need to listen and play the song instead of getting my head so deep into the frets and strings.

Not quite done, I pulled up God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and ran through that a couple of times just for good measure. I seriously want to be able to play the three DLC Christmas songs by Thanksgiving this year. Seems a long way off, but I know how this goes - in what will seem like a few weeks it'll be Hallowe'en and I'll be scrambling around trying to get Christmas decorations out of the attic, etc. and I won't have any time to work on guitar stuff. So, I've gotta stay on top of it. Still moving along on this one - slowly but surely. Haven't done any Riff Repeater work on it at all. Just plucking away seems to keep me leveling up at a modest pace. Last night I managed a 63805 (87/31). Not my best streak, but accuracy is consistently improving.

I finally packed it in around 12:30.

I almost bought a new (used) guitar yesterday but I talked myself into waiting. I found a beautiful Ibanez SA with a set neck and a tremelo bar (OEM Ibanez). Not terribly expensive but I've also got my eye on a pair of double-bass pedals and a new throne for my drums, plus a hard case to replace a stand bag I bought and never use. Can't buy everything. The very same guitar, less beautiful and with a bolt on neck is available for about half the price of the one I like. So, I'm torn. Action is nice on both, but I just can't decide if the set neck really gets that much more sustain than a bolt-on. My Epi LP is OK, but it's heavy and I don't like the way the cord sticks out of the body. The cord is fine when I'm standing up, but when I play three-hour RS sessions a 12 lb. Les Paul gets kinda heavy. If I sit down on the couch, I'm afraid the connector is going to get damaged. I guess I could just start playing our pink Washburn Lyon. I've tried it on RS and it works great.


  1. Hey,
    One thing i found is that after playing something a bunch for several days, if i give myself a little break and play something different, i usually come back better.

    Keep on postin, I am interested to hear about how your kids progress as well.


    1. Right on. I think we can get "saturated," and once that happens there's just no moving forward! I'll definitely try laying off a bit and then post the results.