Saturday, September 29, 2012

The New Journey - Night 3. Surprising Speed Bumps

Night 3 was very busy. I played Events 7, 8, and 9 to climb back to Level 7 - International Support Act with 5,120,927 RSP. No double encores despite scoring 77,232 on the Event 7 encore  Take Me Out. I played 25 songs total, 5 at Event 7 (with encore), 7 at Event 8 (with one encore), and 5 at Event 9 (one encore). I qualified 6 songs for Event 10. I also played Hit Me with Your Best Shot and Where is My Mind (Chords) in Multiplayer Mode with my son.

Got a 100% accuracy (267 note streak) on When I'm with You. Unlocked 5 tones (i.e. broke 70k on 5 songs). And, I got the Hammer-On/Pull-Off and Slides Challenges up to Gold (99,243 and 97580). I noticed that actually picking the end-note of the slides made a huge difference on the Slides Challenge.

There's just a small handful of songs left in my song list that I haven't played since my restart. I'm 3 levels shy of where I was when I lost my game data - but 10,000,000 points behind. I get frustrated when I think of it, but all in all it's not so bad taking a fresh start.

Restarting Cures the Bass Bug?
I was very happy to discover that The Bass Bug does not seem to rear its ugly head if you restart from the beginning. I have unlocked two SSC songs so far on guitar. Last night I jumped over to the bass side just to see if these songs showed up on my song list in bass. They do. So, I'll continue on with guitar for a while before I restart my bass journey.

Tripped Up by Gobbledigook! 
The fact that I've played some songs before is not necessarily helping as I go through the Journey for the second time. Until last night, I had qualified every single song for an event on the first try. Pretty much what you'd expect since I've already played pretty much every song before, right?

Last night my setlist for Even 10 came up with two familiar oldies from Journey Pt.I: Gobbledigook and Islands. Now, I know Gobbledigook is possibly one of the least popular songs on Rocksmith (based on what I read in the Ubisoft forums). Islands doesn't seem to be a favorite, either. But, I always sort of liked both of those songs and I had worked both of them up to a reasonable degree of mastery during Journey Part I. I had Gobbledigook up to 80k+ and I had over 90k on Islands.

Last night I couldn't  play either one of them. Granted, I haven't played either song since May, so I didn't remember them off the top of my head. But, damn. It took me 4 times to qualify Gobbledigook at 40,200 (my 4th play through was a 42846  74/21). And, that was with several restarts. Islands was slightly better - only took me 3 times to qualify Islands with no restarts, but the qualifying score on that one was only 17,700 (I got 19,250  90/29 after three tries). No idea what that was all about. . . but I was very frustrated and a little peeved that I blew a perfect first-time qualifying record on these two songs!

I've also noticed while updating my spreadsheet that on some songs I got a lower "first time" score on my second journey than I did the very first time around. Odd. It's like knowing a song and forgetting how it goes makes it harder to play than never playing it before.

Venue Weirdness - May Need to Fire My Event Manager
The past couple of times that I've unlocked a new venue, RS doesn't tell me that I've unlocked it. Normally "the voice" comes up with a dialogue box and says, "Congratulations! You've unlocked a new venue." And, then you're taken on a virtual tour of the place. Well, I never got "the voice" or any other notice that I'd unlocked  Palace Hall. RS just jumped straight into the virtual tour. Same sort of thing happened when I unlocked The Hangar. But, since I don't have an Event booked at the Hangar yet I had to go into my song list and select "Perform" to figure out which venue had unlocked.

My Events seemed to be mixed up, too.  At Event 7, I unlocked The Epicenter. But, Event 8 was at Palace Hall. Then, I unlocked The Regency but my very next Event, Event 9, was at The Epicenter. I don't play The Regency until Event 10. Somehow Events 8 and 9 seem to have gotten switched up. Doesn't matter. It was just sort of confusing. Event 11 should be at The Hangar. We'll see.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rocksmith for PC - Initial Pre-release Demo Reactions

This post refers to the Original Version of Rocksmith. NOT Rocksmith 2014.

Still a couple of weeks until the official release, but it sounds like Ubisoft's demo/Beta pre-release of Rocksmith for the PC is getting generally favorable reviews. Evidently Ubi is using Steam as a distribution mechanism, but I think you can pre-order the actual software directly from Ubisoft or through retailers. There have been some download issues, but that may have a lot to do with the huge size of the demo/Beta file - 12Gb. Comments on the Ubisoft/RS forum make Steam sound like an attractive option which provides some back-up and auto-updating capabilities as well as possibly some cool online data-keeping features.

Read the comments on the Rocksmith forum here:!!

Quick Loading!
The general consensus seems to be that the PC version loads much faster than the XBox/PS3 console versions. This is huge! The amount of time needed to start Rocksmith on my XBox can be agonizing. Sometimes I'd just like to run through a couple of phrases in Riff Repeater or play a quick game of Scale Runner. But, by the time the game loads and I'm actually playing, I've run out of time. Faster load/start times would be a big incentive to buy the PC version. (Assuming you leave your computers booted up and running all the time like I do.)

Comments also indicate that RS runs very nicely on PCs in general. I would expect the wide variation in PC set-ups to generate an equally wide variety of tech issues, but it's encouraging that most comments are favorable. Sounds like most demo users report Rocksmith displays smooth as silk on monitors.

Many of the most enthusiastic comments on the PC version have come from PS3 users. Some XBox users have also mentioned an improvement in performance. But, I'm very glad I went with the XBox platform last Christmas when I was trying to decide between XBox and PS3. Seems like PS3 users have had lots of trouble running RS on their consoles.

Loss of DLC?
The one nagging issue which Ubisoft has apparently declined to address so far is whether DLC purchased for XBox/PS3 consoles will be usable on the PC version. For loyal players who have purchased most of the 70 DLC songs offered to date, not being able to use those songs on the PC version would represent a significant loss. I have only bought 15 DLC songs and this issue is keeping me from buying the PC version. It's also preventing me from buying more DLC, just in case I do decide to buy the PC versions. Ubisoft should address this ASAP.

One thing that will force me to at least consider buying the PC version is that I could install it on a laptop and play Rocksmith just about anywhere that I'm willing to carry a guitar. And, I could still play on my home theatre system just like I do now by simply plugging the laptop into my TV and amp/tuner. A very intriquing possibility.

Wonder if I could sell my XBox console for enough to replace my DLC collection. . .

Rocksmith Journey II - Night 2, Event 6: I Got Mine!

Still pretty unhappy about having to restart the whole tour again, but Journey II is proving that I've made a lot of progress as a guitar player in the past 10 months since I started playing Rocksmith.

On my original Journey, I refused to play any song in an event until I got the song score over 70,000 points. I'm not doing that this time around. But, because I worked everything so hard the first time around, I'm seeing scores above 70k on my first or second run this time - even on songs that I haven't played for months. After two nights, I've played exactly 30 songs, including two unlocked SSC songs, Space Ostrich and Six AM Salvation. Of these 30 songs, half (15) are already over 70k.

All but 5 songs are already back above 40k, and 4 of those 5 low-score songs were encores which I have only played once since the restart.

Last night I qualified 5 songs for Event 6 (all on the first try) and unlocked Scale Runner. I played Event 6 at 363 Brannan and got Song 2 as an encore. I scored 80,193 on the encore which was apparently good enough for a double encore. I Got Mine (ironically?) was my double encore song. I got my second SSC unlock - Six AM Salvation. Also got promoted to Level 5, National Support Act.

One interesting change from Journey p.I is that I finally got to play Well OK Honey. On my first Journey, I played every single song plus a bunch of DLC at least once, but Well OK Honey NEVER came up on any event setlist. I had never played it before last night! Weird.

Event Location363 BrannanNotes
Date Played9/27/2012Unlocks:
SongArtistScoreTone, Woo Hoo
Unnatural Selection - Combo 58081Pedal, Stereo Phaser
Well OK Honey - ComboJenny O. 44104Venue, 3d St. Lounge
Outshined - Combo 2Soundgarden53101Song, Six AM Salvation
Freebird - Combo*Lynerd Skynerd29037Guitar, Vintage Gibson Melody Maker D
Play with Fire - ComboRolling Stones58888Total Score to date: 4259734
Song 2 - ComboBlur80193
I Got Mine - ComboThe Black Keys45377
Minimum RSP85,700
Event Score: 3687812,744,191 RSP

After this event, two songs on my next setlist were already qualified for Event 7, so I only had to qualify two new songs for the next event: Me & the Bean and When I'm with You. Got both of those qualified with no problems and unlocked my final Technique Challenge - Barre Chords. It was late, so I opted not to play the event but instead started getting my Technique Challenges caught up.

I got Sustains and Shifting up to Gold in two tries each. I got 123,884 on Sustains and 92558 on Shifting. I don't think I had either one of those up that high before. Never really paid attention before but last night I realized that the points you earn in the Technique Challenges count toward your RSP total. That was an easy bunch of points!

The BASS Bug - Will it Bite Me on Restart?
One concern I have now is whether the bass bug is going to bite me. It's known that SSC songs which were unlocked on guitar prior to installing the bass expansion pack cannot be played or unlocked on bass. That's why I was never able to play Space Ostrich on bass. I thought there just wasn't a bass arrangement for that song, but there is. I just couldn't play it because I had unlocked it on guitar before I installed the bass expansion.

Well, nobody seems to know if this problem comes up when restarting Rocksmith AFTER installing the bass expansion. Guess I'll be the guinea pig on that issue! I have already unlocked 2 SSC songs on guitar and I have not played bass since my restart. Tonight I'll see whether I'm able to play those two SSC songs on bass.

If The Bass Bug keeps me from playing those songs on bass, I'll have a tough choice to make: live with it and just never play those two songs on bass; or, start over AGAIN and unlock the SSC songs on bass FIRST before picking up the guitar. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Whole New Rocksmith Journey Begins (I'll Never Back Up My Profile Again!) Events 1-5

Actually, I guess this will be my second "whole new Rocksmith journey" since Bass was really a whole new journey that I started a month ago.

My newest journey is not by choice, and it all started when my Rocksmith game save data file was corrupted or lost. Ironically, this happened when I decided to back up my game save data to a flash drive. Which I will probably never attempt again.

I had just crossed over to Level 10 - Super Elite Guitarist with 15,000,905 RSP. I'd noticed that loading my saved data was taking longer these days. Seemed like a good time to make a back-up copy. Just in case.

Since I'm not really a "gamer" - remember, I bought an XBox specifically to play Rocksmith - I really had no idea how to back up my game save data. The XBox system isn't very intuitive when it comes to backing up.

If they asked me, I'd say there should be a whole separate box in the System menu section called "Back Up Game Save Data." But, there isn't. You have to navigate to the System "tab" on the main menu and then go to "Storage." You click on Storage and then pick which storage device you want to browse. Game save data is buried in a list somewhere in there. Depending on how you navigate to it, you might not even have an option to copy the data. To make a long story short, what I ended up doing the first time I tried was to actually MOVE all of the data on my HDD to my flash drive. That would be fine except that moving data is not the same as backing it up. I didn't set out to move the data. I set out to back it up. When I realized my mistake, I moved everything back to the HDD.

Eventually I figured out how to COPY files to the flash drive, but I probably won't be doing that again at any point in the foreseeable future. My experience has given me little faith in backing up my game data.

Somewhere in the process of moving the data off of and back on to my HDD, MY game save data just disappeared. The file itself was still there, but there didn't appear to be anything IN the file any more.

When I started Rocksmith after moving all the data back onto the HDD, I was taken through the whole right-hand/left-hand, pick-a-guitar-headstock, sound-check process - as though I had never played Rocksmith before! I backed out immediately without saving. Or at least I tried to back out without saving anything because I didn't want to over-write my data file. Just in case my old data was still there. Pretty sure it's not.

My son's Rocksmith data was fine. It just seemed to be MY data that disappeared. Same thing for Halo Reach (which came with the system, so I've played it some). All MY game progress - gone. Everybody else's game data, fortunately, still fine. Somehow the contents of my game save data file just went away.

I'm really pissed off about the whole thing. I'm pissed at the arcane process MS has for backing up game data in the XBox. That's some bullshit way to do a back-up on a consumer game console. I'm also pissed XBox requires a dedicated flash drive; I had to buy a whole new flash drive just so I could end up losing all of my game data! I'm kinda pissed that Ubisoft didn't put something in Rocksmith that allows players to back-up their data from within the software, but it's not their job to "fix" MS's crappy process. And, I'm pissed at myself for no specific reason except that it was my idea to try this whole damn back-up thing in the first place. But, now I know better.

After trying just about everything I could possibly think of to find my game data, I finally gave up and resigned myself to starting all over. So, I'm back to the very beginning, playing Satisfaction and Next Girl and unlocking all the tones and pedals and guitars and venues that I unlocked months ago. I started over last night. I'm really, really pissed off that I've also got to restart my bass journey, too.

Last night I did my soundcheck and unlocked The Power House, my first venue. From there, I qualified songs for and performed 5 (that's right - FIVE) events. I got a double encore on my first event and unlocked Space Ostrich (which ended up being my encore song on the third event). But, despite kicking ass on pretty much everything including encores, I didn't get another double encore in the next four events. Weird. A topic which deserves a whole blog post of its own.

So, after one night, here's where I stand:

Level 4 - Local Headliner with 1,878,952 RSP.
Completed 5 Events, 20 songs (including encores) - see progress tables on separate blog page
Preparing for Event 6 at 363 Brennan.
  Songs - Space Ostrich
  Techniques - Shifting, Sustains, Hammer-ons/Pull-offs, Slides, Palm Mutes, Bends, Double Stops, Tremelos, Power Chords, Chords, Harmonics (Done.)
  Games - Ducks, Superducks
  Tones - Stomp Box Blues, Valencia Fuzz, Sangre Saccharine, CroMagnon Drive, Pick-up Blues, Seattle Flannel, Punch Drunk, Pin Pusher, Regal Delay, Tenor Mascara, Golden Throne, Coy Koi
  Pedals - AutoFilter, Rotavibe, Tape Delay, Choppah, Vibrato
  Venues - The Power House, The Mouse Hole, The Low Down, Velvet Club, 363 Brennan
  Guitars - Epi Limited Ed Wilshire, Epi '58 Korina Flying V, Epi '64 Casino, Epi '56 Les Paul Gold Top, Epi G310 Vintage White
Also got a new XBox Live Achievement - Just Awesome. No idea what that was for. . . over 100k?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rocksmith Weekly BASS Challenge Results Archive

This is a compiled lists of participants and scores for the Rocksmith BASS Weekly Song Challenge. Most recent results are posted on top with previous weeks posted below in order. The winners of each division are posted on the Ubisoft Rocksmith Forum every week. No disrespect intended to the moderator at the Ubisoft Forum who takes the time to post winners there. He's got other stuff to do. What you're reading here is intended to be a complete list of all participants and their scores. FWIW.

This info may or may not be updated every week, but I'll try to stay on top of it. When complete results are not posted on the Rocksmith forum, it may be several weeks (or months) before I get around to digging all the participants and scores out of the forum thread and posting them here.

Also, the formatting and general appearance may vary from week to week because there's no standard format for posting original results on the forum. This disturbs me, but I'm generally too lazy to reformat everything here. I just cut and paste and put a standard header on each week's post. I do what I can.

Week 6 Bass Challenge Results - In Bloom
Sept 24, 2012  
Division III:
107738 TheJohnNewton
105939 roadtrip2012
101274 tmcd35
98368 usersrdum

Division II:
119488 Brick235
102962 rcole_sooner
93016 smedford

Division I:
135467 SeattleSauve
116301 pick__pocket
114888 zaggystardust
113650 muzac989
112376 cgeorg
109506 onidlag

Division I MM:
225026 pick__pocket
221550 zaggystardust

Honorable Mentions:
         Accuracy/Note Streak:
         SeattleSauve - 100% /889
         muzac989 - 100% /889  
         zaggystardust came up 1 note short, for an 888NS 99% run

Week 5 Bass Challenge Results - Under Cover of Darkness
Sept 17, 2012  
Div I
cgeorg - 112,837
zaggystardust - 106,204
SeattleSauve - 102,309
muzac989 - 100,146

Div II
Brick235 - 109,533
yrd - 97,486

TheJohnNewton - 97,072
roadtrip2012 - 95,234
tmcd - 83,788

Week 4 Bass Challenge Results - Mean Bitch
Sept 10, 2012
Div I
Zaggystardust 114,042 BF (Div I Winner)
Pick_pocket 112,980 BF
Muzac989 111,486 BF

Div II
Brick235 121,586 BF (Div II Winner - Picks Next Song)
Smedford 115,746 BP
Leosong2 112,662 BF
Rcole_sooner 109,736 BF
Delussum1 109,541 BF
Funk-n-stein 103,178 BF

Usersrdum 112,284 BF (Div III Winner)
Roadtrip2012 111,071 BF
TheJohnNewton 109,836 BF
Tmcd35 106,575 GP

Seattlesauve 113,940 emulator with pick

Honorable Mentions:
MM score: Usersrdum 200,120
Accuracy/NS: Zaggystardust 100% /638 NS     

Week 3 Bass Challenge Results - Me and the Bean
Sept 3, 2012  
Division 1
zaggystardust 110,405 ? Finger (Div I Winner)
pick__pocket 108,455 Bass Finger
muzac989 104,185 Bass Finger

Division II
cgeorg 121,791 Bass Pick (Div II Winner)
Brick235 116,535 Bass Finger
leosong 108,247 Bass Finger
mbarsott 107,588 Bass Finger
deiussum1 107,370 Bass Finger
rcole_sooner 106,567 Bass Finger
smedford 105,033 Bass Pick
Pancho X1 103,115 Bass finger
theramiro000 103,086 Guitar Finger
Natontalas 102,856 Bass Finger
Funk-n-Stein 101,213 Bass Finger
dm_gsxr 86,603               

Division III
usersrdum 103,994 Bass Finger (Winner - Picks Next Song)
armoury_R1 102,534 Bass Finger
tmcd35 102,107 Guitar Picked
Roadtrip2012 101,850 ? ?
Ryder35 101,601 Bass Finger
TheJohnNewton 100,856 Bass Finger
TheOldWolf 95,094 Bass Finger
ZumaRocks 94,333 Bass Thumb

Division IV
CatMandu IV 88,145 Bass Finger (Div IV Winner)                 
SeattleSauve 112,184 Guitar Picked

Honorable Mention:
Highest MM score: Pick_Pocket 206,896
100% Note and Accuracy: usersrdum, zaggystardust, pick__pocket, cgeorg, Brick235, mbarsott, Pancho X1, and Natontalas

Week 2 Bass Challenge Results - Plug In Baby
August 27, 2012

Division 1
muzac989 105,315 BF (Div 1 Winner)
pick__pocket 102,259 BF

Division II
mbarsott 107,032 BF (Div 2 Winner)
Brick235 105,501 BF
smedford 102,952 BP
Rhinoceroid 102,405 BF
rcole_sooner 96,882 BF
deiussum1 62,042 BF

Division III
Pancho X1 107,353 BF (Div 3 Winner)
leosong 105,483 BF
TheJohnNewton 92,113 ??
tmcd35 86,998 GP
Braintrust18 70,603 BF

Division IV
usersrdum 74,056 BF (Div 4 Winner - Picks next song)
CatMandu 70,449 BF

SeattleSauve 113,248 GP

Honorable Mention:
Highest MM score: Pick_Pocket       200,749
Highest Accuracy: muzac989            98%
Highest Note Streak: PanchoX1        174

Week 1 Bass Challenge Results - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
August   20, 2012
Divison I:
Pick_Pocket 108,300/189.792(MM) BF WINNER!
Muzac989 101,000 BF
Shawnsquatch 99,550 BF

Divison II:
mbarsott 101,750 BF
Brick235 100,375 BF
Funk-n-Stein 99,725 BF
smedford 99,673 BP
deiussum1 95.691 BF
rcole_sooner 93,340 BF

Division III:
BCRichASM1 98,673 BF
Armoury_R1 98,321 GP
Pancho X1 97,847 BF
Ample_Jar 96,372 GP
Ryder35 95,621 BF
TheJohnNewton 92,669 BF
Tmcd35 86,010 ??

Division IV
CatMandu 81,599 BF
JTCOOP 95,687 B? No image
          Honorable mentions:
          MM: Pick_Pocket -   189,792
          Accuracy/Note Streak: Musac989 and mbarsott  - 100%  / (# of notes????)
          First Challenge: CatMandu


Monday, September 24, 2012

Mystery Solved: Some Rocksmith Songs Have No Bass Arrangement

Recently I noticed that songs on my Bass Journey were reappearing for a second time, even though I still had four or five songs that I'd never played.

Specifically those songs are:
  Icky Thump
  When I'm with You
  Play with Fire
  Space Ostrich (a secret squirrel unlock song which I unlocked on guitar)

I posted this issue on the Ubisoft/Rocksmith Forums and someone suggested that these songs don't have bass arrangements. Sounded reasonable. But, I decided to verify that and I discovered that it's true. These four songs have no bass arrangement.

Not sure why. . . It actually sounds like there's bass in at least 3 of these songs. (Play with Fire is sort of a single acoustic guitar-sounding song.) But, there's no bass arrangement for any of these songs on RS. At least not at this point in time.

Which means that I have now officially played every single song on the original RS song list plus my modest collection of DLC on bass. And, now I'm working my way through the song list a second time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Hollow Body 6-Strings!

Here's the latest purchase - an Ibanez semi-hollow body:

I should really polish this guitar. It deserves polish.

And, here's the one I found and put on layaway when I went to pick up that one:
Walnut Finish, Gretsch G5120

I brought the Ibanez home yesterday and played it for an hour or so last night. It's a very sweet set-up (one reason I like used guitars - sometimes you find a set-up that you really, really like). Smooth action with perfectly trimmed frets and edging everywhere. A very nicely done guitar. And, it sounds as good as it looks.

But, I mean, just LOOK at this Gretsch!

My dilemma is this: if I get the Gretsch, should I take advantage of the 30 day return policy and basically trade in the Ibanez? Of course, I'd love to keep both. But, I'm already swimming in guitars. If I ever had to restring the entire collection at once, we'd have to skip a house payment or something. If I ever have to move them all, I don't know what I'll do - there's no way I'd have that many cases lying around. It's a little ridiculous. Granted, most of my guitars are pretty cheap. The PRS is probably the nicest, most expensive one I own and it's just an SE. With a battle scar. Not like I've got thousands of dollars worth of guitars. But, I don't play well enough to deserve that sort of collection. I've got mainly Epiphones. And the FrankenStrat - Yamaha with replacement neck of unknown origin. Plus the Yamaha bass. Who needs two nice hollow bodies? Really.

I've got about 27 days to think about it and make a decision. Return the Ibanez and use that money (about $300) toward the Gretsch? Or, just keep the Ibanez, let the Gretsch go, and get my $130 down payment back? The Gretsch will cost me about $499 - nearly twice as much as the Ibanez. And, it's not like I really use a tremolo but I just think a hollow body should have a Bigsby - which the Gretsch has but the Ibanez doesn't. The Ibanez has enclosed tuners which the Gretsch doesn't have, but that may not really matter. Fret markers aren't that big a deal. I mean, most guitars don't have a marker on the first fret, which is sort of a "thing" for me, and neither the Ibanez nor the Gretsch have first fret markers so that one's a wash. I guess it'll come down to how much I like playing one versus the other. I may have to pay off the Gretsch early and play the hell out of both for a week or two and then decide which one to return.

Unless, of course, somebody wants to donate some cash so I can keep both!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Failed Bass Event, Master Mode Practice, and Missing Bass Arrangements

Event 18 Failure
Many people don't even realize this is possible, but the other night I managed to fail an Event!

Yep. It can be done. Next time you have a chance, look at your event page display. Up toward the top you'll see a "Minimum RSP." That's the lowest total score you can get on the event to pass. It equals the total of the qualifying scores for each song in the setlist. If you don't get that many points, you fail.

If you don't score at least the qualifying score on each song, that's OK. You can make up for it by playing another song really well. Minimum RSP is based on your total score, not the score you get on individual songs.

Encores can't really help you here because if you don't make at least the qualifying score on each song, you won't get an encore. Sort of weird. You only get encores if you don't need them. . .

So, what happens if you fail? Nothing. You get to play the event again. And again. Until you meet the minimum RSP.

My Event 18 was just a three-song set:

Killer Queen                 (Qualification Score - 90,000)
Unnatural Selection      (Qualification Score - 76,600)
I Want Some More       (Qualification Score - 90,000)
Minimum RSP                                                256,600

Just qualifying the songs was challenging. Killer Queen, especially. And, I hate Unnatural Selection for some reason and don't even like to play it. (Yes, you can edit your setlists, but I'm trying to just roll with the Journey that RS gives me.)

On my first attempt, I got a 232,233 total RSP. Killer Queen killed me - I only got 70,767 on that song, so I would have needed to make up 20,000 points on the other two songs to pass.

Second attempt was better, but I was still short on Unnatural Selection by nearly 4,000. I almost made up the difference on the other two songs but fell short by 313 points with a 256,287 RSP.

I guess coming that close made me mad enough to finally get it on the third attempt. Even got an encore. But, alas, it was another MM encore! High and Dry. It's not a particularly hard song, but I had only played it 6 times before - not even close to memorizing it.

Memorizing Songs for Master Mode Performance

By the time I master a song on guitar, I usually have it burned into my brain because it takes me so long to master songs on the guitar. I have to play through them dozens and dozens of times and usually I have to do some pretty intense Riff Repeater work just to level up songs on guitar. On bass, I have mastered 7 songs just by playing through them a few times to qualify for events. Memorizing them is going to be a whole separate effort.

Since this was about the 3d time I've been faced with an impossible MM encore, I'm now spending at least part of every practice session working on memorizing songs. I started with Song 2, Angela, and Next Girl. Those are pretty easy. Angela, in particular, since it's virtually the same riff and fingering as the guitar part which I mastered and memorized quite a while back. Where is My Mind is fairly easy, too. Two strings and only a few frets to deal with. Chimney doesn't seem too bad, but I've just started working on it. Haven't even touched Six AM Salvation yet.

High and Dry has been challenging, so I'm cheating. I transcribed some of the tabs onto tab paper; by the time I do that work, I'm usually well on my way to memorizing the song. I also find it very helpful to write down the basic song structure: Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Solo, Chorus, Out. . . etc. And, along with that, I like to write down how many measures make up each part of the song or how many times to repeat a particular part. Most pop/rock songs are built on basic 4/4 time and phrases of 4, 8, or 16 measures. When you break a song down into those phrases, it gets much easier to keep track of everything.

Not only are songs sometimes easier to master on bass, I've "accidentally" gotten 100% accuracy on 3 songs. By "accidentally," I mean I was just playing through the song; I wasn't trying to get 100% of the notes. Two of those (Angela and Song 2) I got 100% while playing in MM from memory! The other song was Where is My Mind.

Some Songs Don't Have Bass Arrangements? Or, Do They?

After just a few weeks of playing nothing but events, I have already managed to work my way through almost all of the songs in my catalog - a total of 73 songs including DLC and 5 of the secret squirrel songs that I've unlocked. I've played almost every single song at least once in an event and many of them I've played in two events.

But, even though I'm seeing some songs for the second time, there are still four songs that haven't come up on a setlist or as an encore yet:

          Icky Thump
          Play with Fire
          When I'm With You
          Space Ostrich

I posted something about this on the Ubisoft RS forum and one theory was that these songs don't have bass arrangements. I suppose that's possible. I'll have to check. But, Icky Thump doesn't have a bass part??? Seems a little hard to believe.

But, if that's the case, then I have played every song that I own so far. And, even if that's not the reason these songs haven't popped up yet, it looks like I'll need to recharge my MS points and buy some new DLC soon. Fortunately, there's a bunch of new DLC that I like so it shouldn't be hard to freshen up my collection.

Another New Guitar

This weekend I'll pick up my "new" (to me) Ibanez ArtCore hollow-body electric. Can't wait to get it home and play it. I still haven't gotten to where I feel comfortable jamming at the GC in front of a bunch of people yet. Maybe on bass, but not on guitar.

If the price is right, I'll also pick up a couple of wall hooks and take some photos. This blog is seriously lacking in graphic imagery! Time to spice it up a little.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bass Level 9 Gets Challenging but I Got My First 100% Accuracy Run

Things are starting to get a bit more challenging on bass with qualifying scores mostly at 90k.

My next event (Event 18) is a three-song event:

Title:                               Qualifying Score
Killer Queen (DLC)            90,000
Unnatural Selection            76,600
I Want Some More             90,000

Killer Queen was my double-encore song on Event 12 and I didn't exactly set the stage on fire with it. Only got 34,044. So, I've worked on this one quite a lot, mostly playing it in Multiplayer Mode with my son who likes it. Still, after playing it 12 times and getting my score up to 66,203, it took me another 8 plays through to qualify the song at 90k. Still no riff repeater work - just playing the song over and over. I think I've still got two phrases that aren't leveled all the way up. So far, Killer Queen is the hardest song I've tackled on bass.

Unnatural Selection isn't all that difficult. I just hate the song. And, it's very long. Like 6 minutes. So, playing it over and over again is not something I'm likely to do. And, it's an Open-G (?) tuning which is kind of a nuisance. I've already played this one in Event 10. The first qualifying score was just 27,000. I scored 38,388 on it the first time through and then scored 55,657 on it during the event. It took me 3 more plays to qualify the song again for Event 18 with a score of 77,134 (93/191). After Event 18 is over, I hope to not see (or hear) this song again for a very long time.

[I could simply edit my set-list for Event 18, but I'm trying to just roll with the RS Recommended Journey on bass. If this song shows up again, though, I'll probably replace it on the set-list.]

I Want Some More requires some serious fast fingering as you level up the phrases. I played it before in Event 8. First qualifying miminum was 48,600. I qualified at 70,577 and scored 79,709 at the event. I managed to re-qualify it for Event 18 with a score of 92,242 (92/86) in only two plays last night. It's very similar to the guitar part. Sort of. The big, fat strings make it more difficult to play on bass.

Took me so long to get the songs qualified last night that I didn't play the event itself. So, I'll probably run through everything again before I actually play Event 18.

I've started rehearsing my mastered songs so I'll be prepared if they show up as master mode encores. Last night I played through Song 2 a few times. Very easy - but when it popped up the other night as a MM encore I went completely blank! Last night I played through it three times and failed to match my previous high score of 108,784. On my third play I got a 108,700.

I started to get mad, BUT then I noticed that my accuracy was 100%! Note streak was 300.

By then I pretty much had a handle on the song, so I took one shot at a Master Mode performance and scored 215,001 - with a 99% accuracy! Not too shabby.

That score pushed my RSPs over 10,000,000 and bumped me up to Level 9 - Elite Bassist.

Easy-to-Master Rocksmith Bass Songs

I've mastered two more songs since the previous update. The whole list, with number of plays to master is as follows:

Song Title                     Plays to Master
Angela                                   3
Chimney                                2
High and Dry                         6
Next Girl                                4
Six AM Salvation                  5
Song 2                                    4
Where is my Mind?               3

I have not done any riff repeater work or made any special efforts to master any songs on bass. Basically, by just playing these songs through a few times I managed to level up all the phrases and score the required 100k.

Chimney is sort of the oddball here. My rehearsal note entries tell the story. Chimney first showed up as an encore on my Event 6. Then it showed up on my set-list for Event 16 with a qualifying score of 90k.

18-Aug-2012 57708  n/a  n/a Encore - Event 6
10-Sep-2012 72952 77 28  
10-Sep-2012 80456 88 28  
10-Sep-2012 81690 84 37  
10-Sep-2012 98571 85 33 Qualified @ 90,000 (4x)
10-Sep-2012 107003 93 64 MASTERED!!
10-Sep-2012 106324  n/a  n/a Event 16

It took me 4 tries to reach 90k. But, by the time I reached 90k, it took just one more play to get over 100k. It didn't take any riff repeater work to get the phrase levels up - it was just a matter of running through it enough to make the score.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Secret Squirrel (Locked) Songs, High Qualification Scores, and Master Mode Encores

It's widely known that you can unlock songs on bass and play them on guitar. But, in the past my son and I were unable to play a song in multi-player mode if one of us had not unlocked the song yet. That made perfect sense to me, but the situation appears to have changed.

Last night my son and I were playing multi-player mode with him on his Strat and me on bass. I needed to qualify Six AM Salvation - one of the secret squirrel double-encore unlock songs - for my next event. I had unlocked this song on bass a while back. My son has not unlocked it yet, but we could play the song together in multi-player mode. (I was also able to qualify it for the next event (at 90k) and master it in multi-player mode.)

Even though all four songs in my event had qualifying scores of 90k, the event (my 17th on bass) wasn't too bad - until the encore. I've mastered a handful of songs on bass, so naturally I got a master mode encore last night. What a train wreck. I scored 42,667 on Song 2. In master mode. That would be a 21,333 in regular, non-master mode - a score that I normally beat even on songs I've never heard before! And, of course, my wife and kids were there watching the whole horrible tragedy unfold before their very eyes. Needless to say, I didn't get a double-encore.

I'd have to say that I am joining in the chorus of those calling for an end to master mode encores - or at least some serious reforms. Like, letting us know which song will appear as the MM encore BEFORE the event starts so you can rehearse it. What real band would ever pick a song they haven't played forever as an encore?

Strangely, I had played all four of the songs from last night in previous events - but I still have 4 songs that I've never played on bass at all. Wonder why they haven't shown up on a set-list yet while other songs have already appeared in at least two events? (I have a similar situation in guitar mode where the Jenny O song has NEVER appeared on a set-list.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rocksmith Bass Status Update

In three weeks after downloading the Bass Expansion, I have played 16 Events, unlocked 4 secret squirrel songs, and played all but 4 of the available songs at least once during an Event. I have unlocked all of the bass guitars and techniques, but somehow I still have over 30 tones left to unlock. I've reached Gold level on all 5 of the bass-specific technique challenges. I'm sitting at Level 8, International Headliner, with 9,263,200 RSP.

I have mastered 5 songs on bass without doing any Riff Repeater work - just playing through the songs a few times to qualify for events. Virtually all of the songs that appear on my set-lists now have qualifying scores of 90,000. So, by the time I qualify a song for an event, I'm very close to mastering the song anyway. Here are the ones I've mastered so far:

High and Dry
Next Girl
Song 2

Angela is just like the guitar arrangement but without the solo, which makes it even easier. Took me 3 times to master Angela. I played it once to qualify for Event 2 and then I played it in Event 2. Then it showed up pre-qualified (?) on my set-list for Event 15. When I finished the event, the song was mastered. Last night I played this as my first bass Master Mode performance, scoring 202,694 with 99% accuracy. (There is one spot after the second verse where the basic riff is slightly modified - beware!)

Chimney showed up first as an encore for my first bass Event. It showed up later on my list for Event 14 and I mastered it in one play before playing it in the event. The other night I thought I had Mastered this one on the very first play. I was very excited. But, I forgot that I had actually played it once before as an encore. Still, not too shabby to master a song on the second play through!

High and Dry first popped up as the encore song for my Event 6. Then it reappeared on the setlist for Event 16 with a qualifying score of 90k. It took me four tries to qualify the song with a score of 98571. It was fully leveled up by then, so I tried one more time and mastered it on the 6th play through.

Next Girl was on my set-list for Event 2. I qualified on the first play with 86,174 and scored 89,750 at the event. I qualified it for Event 15 on the first try with 99,536. I took a shot at mastering it and got it on the 4th play with a score of 110,460.

Song 2 is a pain due to the Eb tuning, but it's an easy play. (Use a pick.) It first showed up as my second encore on Event 4. Then it took me two tries to qualify the song for Event 15. I mastered it on the 4th play through with 98% accuracy and a 234-note streak. Tried for 100% accuracy by couldn't get past 99% with a score of 108,784. (Blew it on the event and got a 94,917.)

I've got 9 more songs with scores over 100,000. (I Miss You is sitting at 146,198.) Just a matter of leveling up the phrases. I don't plan to deliberately master any more songs because doing that is just asking to get Master Mode Encores - and who wants that? Not me. I've got one more secret squirrel song to unlock!

This just illustrates the difference between bass and guitar on Rocksmith. Bass seems quite a bit easier as a rule. Which can make it more fun. I mean, I'd love to be able to rip through a lead guitar solo, but so far I just don't seem to have what it takes. On bass, I can lay down a solid back-riff without killing myself in Riff Repeater.

Monday, September 10, 2012

3 Weeks of Rocksmith Bass Playin' and A New Hollow Body 6-String

After just 3 weeks, I'm sitting at Level 8 on my bass and loving it. The bass expansion is awesome and well worth the $30. It downloaded fine (took a while with my slow ISP) and has worked flawlessly on my XBox 360.

I have approached my bass journey a little differently than I approached the guitar journey. On guitar I never played events until I had all the songs up to 70k or more. On bass, I've played events as soon as I qualify the songs, which usually means after one play through. Much less pressure. Much more fun. I have already had at least two songs pop up with first-time qualifying scores of 90k, and at least one song came up fully leveled the very first time, so things will probably slow down for me soon and I'll have to work at qualifying songs a little harder after the next few events.

Bass CAN be a lot easier than guitar. Last night I mastered a song the very first time I played it on bass. My son has done the same thing on a different song. Bass can also be a lot HARDER. Higher Ground, for example, takes some serious bass chops that even the best guitarist is unlikely to have without working at it.

First really surprising thing I noticed about the bass expansion is that you can unlock the Secret Squirrel Club songs pretty easily. And, once you unlock them on bass, they're unlocked for guitar, too! In eight months of Rocksmith playing (pretty intense, serious Rocksmith playing and 14 events) I only managed to unlock one SSC song (Space Ostrich). Playing 14 events in less than three weeks on bass, I've unlocked all the remaining SSC songs except The Star Spangled Banner.

Even though I had diamonds for finger tips from playing guitar, the switch to bass raised some huge new blisters. HUGE. I guess I fret the bass a little differently than the guitar. But, the last of the dead skin is peeling off as I type this and my fingerprints will be well-disguised now.

In short, the bass expansion rocks. If you have Rocksmith and even the slightest inclination to check out the bass world, you need to get the bass expansion. You don't even need to buy a bass guitar to play it - Rocksmith will let you emulate a bass using the top four strings on your regular guitar. A whole new release of Rocksmith which includes the bass expansion is due out next month, but at $30 for the expansion, you may be able to score the original Rocksmith software and add the bass expansion on for less than what the new release is likely to go for.

Guitar-wise, I put a beautiful used Ibanez ArtCore hollow-body on lay-away last weekend. Stopped at the local GC to poke around during the Labor Day sale and it was just hanging there. About $250 with a hardshell case made it a hard deal to pass up. Really nice action and a smooth-as-silk neck with perfectly trimmed frets and edging all the way around. I might have put it down but a guy from the band I sit in with was there and said that he thinks the Ibanez is every bit as good as the Gibson ES-330. I said, "Yeah, but this one doesn't have a Bigsby on it. . . " He said, "Do you really USE a tremelo?" Well, no, I don't. Barracuda is about the only song I ever use a whammy bar on and I wouldn't use the hollow-body to play Barracuda, so I put the Ibanez on lay-away. This gives me a little time to think about it but doesn't allow for the possibility that someone else will buy it while I think. Plus, you know, it gives me two more paychecks in the meantime. I plan to pick it up the first of October. Photos will be posted.

Instruments-in-general-wise, Yesterday I bought an upright piano. Been wanting one for ages. Actually bought one for $10 a year or so ago but had no way to move it. Still not quite sure how I'll move this one, but I'll figure something out.