Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Proud RS Moment. 1st Place in the Week 12 Advanced Category

The Week 12 Challenge Song - Outshined - was one of those songs I had played in an event some time ago and managed to get a pretty good score on but just couldn't master due to the solo. Working on it for the Weekly Challenge did help me progress, but I still haven't mastered it even after a couple of very intense and frustrating nights of work. 

I didn't start working on this one for the Weekly Challenge until Tuesday. I jumped right into Riff Repeater and started in on the Solo. After countless tries in Free Speed at 70% mastery, I took a shot at Leveler to see what I could do. Not much. After 30x, I had progressed from 70% to 76%. I played through the song a few times and had a hard time remembering how it went. I ended up with a 98,633 (91/53).

More RR work Wednesday night didn't help. Thursday night, I was able to Max the pre-chorus (apparently I leveled that phrase down while trying to remember how the song went). I got the solo up to 99.8% speed at 76% mastery, but it wasn't pretty. Much swearing and at one point I yanked the cord out of my XBox (fortunately, they put that breakaway connector on the cord). Bumped my high score up to 104,503 (93/88).

Friday we had a birthday party and played some multiplayer, but I didn't work on this song at all. That put me in crunch time on Saturday night. Figuring there was no point in hammering away at the solo in Riff Repeater, I just played through the whole song six times trying to tighten it up. I improved 5 times from 103,727 (94/100) to 108,563 (94/123). Then I dropped off to a 107,841 (95/83) - a pretty clear sign that I was done for the night. I posted my 108,563 to the Forum.

Sunday evening I took the same approach - just played the song over and over. Seven times. It took three times just to beat Saturday night's high score, so things were moving slowly. And, from that point they actually went downhill. I peaked on my third play at 109,583 (95/96) and then gradually dropped off. The solo was still keeping me out of the Expert category so I went into the Riff Repeater and worked it 30 more times, leveling up from 76 to 82%. That's all I had.

Of course, it's much harder to Max a phrase when the rhythm changes as you level up. Riff Repeater gives you a certain rhythm all along, but when you make that last jump from 93 to 100% and start playing doublets instead of single notes on the G-string, the rhythm also changes from a fairly straight lick to some sort of syncopated strum. The strum would be fine, but - dammit! - the single notes in the lower mastery levels should be presented in that same rhythm. This is where the Note Highway notation really falls short - the relative spacing of notes is not a good way to convey a specific rhythm.

Despite my frustration and nearly throwing my guitar and XBox through the living room window Sunday night,  when I went to post my final high score I discovered that I had come out on top of the Advanced category! And, I don't even consider myself an "Advanced" player. I think I'd describe myself more as "Intermediate." But, here are the results:

I actually beat this winning score on Sunday evening, but by the time I posted my lastest scores it was too late (as you can barely see in the top lefthand corner of the screenshot, it was about 4:20 AM when I uploaded my last score). The results had been tallied and I came out on top with what was actually only my 4th best score.

This isn't quite the lifetime achievement that my one and only goal scored in competition ice hockey was at age 41, but it's up there!

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