Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Long, Hard Road to Playing Solos - Soldiering on in Riff Repeater

It was a good weekend. I'm sore as hell from edging and trimming my lawn, but I had three pretty productive practice sessions. My motivation is increasing with progress. I'm moving forward slowly, but I AM moving forward.

The brief summary is I bumped up my high score on Carol of the Bells to 80,924 (90/88), which represents a 2000 point increase over my previous high score as of last Thursday. Friday and Saturday nights I only managed a few hundred points, but by Sunday I was doing much better with the solo.

Friday Night
I started each night warming up in Riff Repeater instead of trying to play through the whole song. Friday I got the Outro back to 100% in Accelerator within 21 tries. Then I maxed it in Leveler in 5 tries. Moving on to Solo 4 in Free Speed, I managed a 93.5% with mastery forced up to 65%. Then I played through the song five times:

76,847 (87/52)
75,146 (87/39)
78,799 (90/55)
78,924 (90/75)
77,754 (89/63)

As usual, my first score dropped off a bit from the previous night's high score. That's just something I've come to expect, even if I warm up on something else first. But, the drop was only 2k - not quite as much as I've dropped off in the past. However, on the other end, my last play through dropped off, too. Getting tired? I don't know.

I've now played through the song 71 times. This doesn't count several times that I've started the song badly and then restarted it. And, of course, it doesn't count the hundreds of Riff Repeater runs.

Saturday Night
I picked up with Solo 4 in Riff Repeater and worked it hard without a lot of success. I ran through Free Speed 60 times at 50% mastery and got 89.9% the first 30 and 98.4% for my second 30 tries. Leveler was a total fail - after 30 tries, I didn't level up at all. So, I forced the mastery level to 65% and ran through Free Speed another 30 times reaching 97.3% (with a high of 98.9%).

[Still a little irritated that Free Speed only registers your FINAL attempt rather than your highest percentage. But, I still wouldn't want it to change. It's just frustrating when you have a bad final run and end up with a lower posted percentage.]

Ran through the whole song just three times gaining less than 1000 points:

77,705 (90/95)
77,353 (restarted from end)
78,998 (92/95) 

Note my starting score only dropped off slightly from the night before. Also, accuracy and streaks steadily improved over the course of two nights. So, while the scores weren't improving dramatically, they weren't dropping off dramatically from night to night, and other indicators actually continued to improve.

Sunday Night
I continued with Solo 4 in Riff Repeater and made significant gains. I ran Free Speed 30 times at 65% mastery and got as high as 99% of full speed ("official" percentage from my last run was 97.9%). Then I forced mastery to 100% and after 30 more tries had my speed up to 94.1% (with a high of 96%). This time when I went to Leveler I increased my phrase level from 50% to 90% within 30 tries.

Played through the song 4 times:

80,116 (88/88)
78,077 (87/83)
80,253 (89/55)
80,924 (90/88) New High Score

Note that the first run through on Sunday night did not drop off. In fact, that was a new high score. I dropped off on the second run but then increased the score two more times.

I think the Riff Repeater is working.

Other Stuff I Worked On
Of course I continued playing Barracuda when I was finished hammering on Carol of the Bells. I didn't make any significant progress on overall scores, but I am seeing an improvement in accuracy and streaks. I've actually dropped off of my high score (105k), but accuracy is up in the 95% range and my best streak increased to 182.

I did some Riff Repeater work on the Breakdown Sunday night. Ran Free Speed three times (30x each) at increasing levels of mastery - first at 77% then at 88% and finally at 100%. Got up to 98.8% speed at 100% mastery. After that I played through and scored 103,647 - best score for the weekend but off of my all-time high by 2k.

Sunday night I also decided to work up another low-score song that I've played at least once before: I Want Some More, which I got as an encore a month or two ago and hadn't really played since. Played through 5 times, increased score from roughly 26k and qualified the song for events with a score of 70019 and unlocked the Rust Belt Rules tone. Total play count to date: 6.

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