Monday, April 2, 2012

A Long Break and the Benefits of Time Off

It's Spring Break and we took the opportunity to leave town for a few days last weekend. When I got back, I had too much catching up to do to play right away, so I went nearly a week without playing guitar at all. No Rocksmith, no guitar, nothing. It seems to have paid off.

When I picked up my guitar and booted up RS for the first time after a break, I was refreshed. I felt no pressure to play anything I didn't want to play. I felt no pressure to master any solos that I didn't feel like hammering on. I felt no pressure to compete in a weekly challenge. No pressure at all, actually. I just scrolled through the songs and picked out a few things that I felt like working on or just playing.

Oh, and the soreness in my left-hand index finger was virtually gone. I can still feel a little tightness in the joint when I make a tight fist, but it's a LOT better than it was.

So, here's how things went:

When I'm With You - Hadn't played this one for quite a while and wondered how it might go on the new EG112. Slight improvement - brought high score up from 58k to 66k.

Carol of the Bells - Still working on this one but making good progress toward mastery. This is one of my experiments in working on multiple arrangements simultaneously. This time I just worked the single note arrangement trying to catch up with my combo score. Feels like I've gotten to the point where I can't make any more progress by simply playing through the whole song; I think it's time to go into the Riff Repeater on this one and really tighten up some of the phrases. I made very little progress (just a few hundred points) on the single note version by playing through three times.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Gotta keep this one in memory banks for Christmas! I could definitely feel this one getting rusty, especially when it came to remembering the solo. Managed to set a new high score (208k) on the second play through.

Rebel Rebel - Used to have a ton of trouble with all the string skipping in this riff. Now it's much better and much easier. Still rough as a cob, but far better than when I started. Very monotonous song, but for some reason I seem to just spaz out at random times and screw up the riff completely. Still, managed to reach a new high score on this one, too.

Surf Hell - This was a true test of the value of laying off and letting go. I nearly burned out on this favorite of mine when it was the Ubi forum weekly challenge song. I was pissed when the best I could manage was a 205k score! First time after laying off for nearly a week - 230k+! I just played it. No worrying about scores or early groove bonuses or any of that. Just jamming and digging the crowd at the 3d Street Lounge.

I played everything except Surf Hell about 3 times through. Generally, the first play through yielded a lower score than the last time I played. The second scores were all better than the last time I played. And, the third scores were significantly better yet. (Surf Hell just blew everything away right out of the chute, but I've had that one mastered for a while now, which makes a difference.)

I also downloaded some new stuff. I've visited the DLC store a few times lately and noticed some stuff that looked fun. Then, of course, everybody on the Ubi forum has been raving about the Blues DLC from last week so I had to check that out.

I picked up:
Symphony of Destruction
Born Under a Bad Sign

Now I'll have to add these pages to my spreadsheet workbook so I can track my progress on all this new material.


  1. I told you all along that a little break would be good for both the mind and the fingers. ;-)

    Good to hear you got back at it after the break.

    Are you going to post any clips of your new guitars and amps?


    1. Tim - Yeah, I should probably do that, huh? I'll try to get something on video to post this week. The break was definitely a good thing for me. Must tell you, though - after being back to playing just a few days my finger is already pretty stiff again. Not sure what that's all about. I think one thing I've really got to focus on is not trying to squeeze the strings through the back of the neck when I'm playing chords and doubles. Seems to hurt most when I'm laying my forefinger across the fret board - not so much when I'm fretting single notes using my finger tip.

      Sadly I got the diagnosis on my old Crate amp (the one I'd broken the input jack off) and it looks terminal. It'll make a nice external speaker, though, either for my "new" old Crate CR-1 or for my Vyper.