Friday, April 13, 2012

Breaking Down the Rocksmith Solo Wall and Improving my Attitude with Riff Repeater

Yesterday I started to write about hitting The Solo Wall. Last night's practice session sort of brought me around from feeling like I can't play solos to believing that just maybe I can.

Still, solos don't come easy for me. It took a LOT of work to get to where I ended up last night - MAXING out the first part (of four) of the solo in Carol of the Bells! To say I felt pretty good about it would be very English of me. I was stoked. And, it has really improved my whole attitude.

My attitude has frankly started to decline these past few weeks specifically because solos have stood in the way of mastering any more songs. That's all I've been working on lately - mastering the songs I've already played. So, understandably, not being able to master any songs has had a pretty negative impact on my motivation. Still, I have soldiered on, with a long break a week or so ago and a couple of nights off here and there.

Last night I got a slightly earlier start than I usually do, despite the fact that we had a baseball game to attend. I got right down to business. Here's my rehearsal note page from last night:

As you can see (but may not be able to decipher), I started off in the Riff Repeater ("RR" in my notes) and worked the second part of the solo and then the chorus. Then I played through the whole song a few times. Oddly enough, scores went down each time I played through it. But, my streaks generally improved. The outro leveled down on me the third time, so I went back to RR and worked on that some. Didn't get back to 100%, but I did work my Free Speed score back up to 95.4% (with a high of 97.1% for the 30 attempts). Then I played through the whole song again. Well, actually, I started the whole song again several times, but either my scores were bad or my streaks got cut off or something would piss me off and I'd restart it. When I finally played all the way through, my score dropped AGAIN.

This was NOT going well, but I was not quite as angry as I usually am when things go like this. I just went back to RR to do the work that needed to be done. And, it worked.

I ran the solo (part 1) in Free Speed at 100% mastery and got that up to 92.7% of full speed (with a high of 96.6% for the 30 tries). Then I worked Solo 1 in the Accelerator and Mastered it. Well. . . ! Now we were getting somewhere. Encouraged by that success, I decided to try actually earning the 100% mastery level. Don't remember how many tries it took, but it was less than 30 before I actually MAXED out Solo 1.

Inspired, I pulled up Solo 4 (relatively easy compared to Solo 2 which I still believe will take a miracle for me to ever play even half-way well). Worked speed up to 99.2% in 30 runs through Free Speed and then got to 100% with one more run. Of course, that was at a pretty paltry 35% mastery level. So, I went to the Leveler and managed to bump up my mastery two notches to 50% which seemed like enough work on that for the night.

Played through the whole song one more time just to see if any of my improvement would actually stick, and it did. Wrapped up with a new personal high score of 78,822. Accuracy and streak were nothing to get excited about but they weren't bad and I qualified the song - so I guess I can expect to see it show up in an Event at some point.

Fine by me. My whole intention is to play this song LIVE by Christmas this year.


  1. Great and detailed method of practice, JT !!!Thanks, I will have to implement a similar approach if I expect to progress in a logical way. Again, thanks for the pointers.

  2. Carol of the bells solo 2 is impossible I swear. I have everything else 100% for that song but solo 2 is extreme

    1. I agree! I still haven't managed to even come close. I'd really like to SEE someone play this just to see how it's done. I still don't think I'll ever manage it myself but at this point I'd just like to see an actual human being play this section. There's got to be a trick to it that we're missing. (On the other hand, if you had told me a year ago that I'd ever be able to play Solo 1 or the outro to this song on guitar I'd have said you were crazy. . . so maybe I just need more time.)