Monday, January 27, 2014

Scale Racer, Hurtlin' Hurdles, and General Rocksmith-ing (10-day Recap)

27 January 2014 (Monday)

Looks like I haven’t posted anything for 10 days, so I’m behind. A brief recap for the past 10 days:

10-day Recap:
Played Space Ostrich, My Generation, Pour Some Sugar on Me, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen on Lead.
Played Walk This Way, When I’m Gone, and Surf Hell on Bass.
Got into the top 10 on Leaderboards for 3 songs (Walk This Way and Surf Hell – bass, Pour Some Sugar on Me – lead).
Unlocked Stuff: gear (PS115.2C monitors on stand), 4 sets of skins, two fret inlays (Red Storm and Star), a song (Sea to Swallow), and XBox Achievement “.25% of 10,000 hour Rule.”
[*Note: 1% of 10,000 hours is 100 hours. So, .25% is 25 hours of Rocksmith playing – minus all the hours that didn’t get credited when my stupid router wouldn’t stay connected to XBL.]
Had one total lock-up that required a complete XBox restart.

The Weekend – Scales and Smooth
Didn’t have much time to play all weekend. Picked up the old acoustic yesterday afternoon finally and messed around with the G-Maj scale for about 10 minutes but then had to drop kids off for various sports activities. (Also, I went ice skating while kids were doing their thing.) Last night I finally did some Rocksmithing.

First I tried Hurtling Hurdles, the vibrato Guitarcade game, because it was one of my missions. Probably won’t bother with that again unless I find myself needing to really work on pick-vibratos. That’s all there is to that game. You just pick really, really fast and change strings. And mute strings. Not much to it. Not saying I got a killer score, just that I’m not likely to try to get a killer score. It’s a fun little game for what it is but I just didn’t find it terribly useful as far as playing guitar goes.

Guitar Noise
I might have done better using a different guitar. The Michael Kelly is still really noisy, which could be a problem in Hurtlin’ Hurdles since you have to mute strings to jump. You have to jump to clear hurdles and also to grab “Gold Bolts.” All the string noise my MK makes made it really hard to jump since RS probably couldn’t tell when I had muted anything. A little research suggests that I have a string grounding problem on this guitar – either the ground wire is not connected well or possibly the input jack is wired backwards. I’ll check that out. I really like the guitar but it’s just way too noisy.

After playing around with vibrato picking, I did some scale work. I really finked out on that last year, but I plan to start doing 5-10 minutes of scales every session. Scale Racer is my preferred scale game. I’ve tried Scale Warriors but I guess I’m just more of a motorhead at heart. Not so much into the martial arts theme of Scale Warrior. I played the G Pentatonic for a little bit and then switched to the full-blown G-Major scale. Scale racer is good for working scales. Unlike the old Scale Runner in ORS, Scale Racer gets you playing the scale all over the neck. I highly recommend it, although the longer you survive, the faster the game goes; the only way to slow down and regroup is to take an exit ramp. Easier said than done. You do that by playing the designated string/fret when the banner pops up on the side, but your timing needs to be good – otherwise you crash and burn. And start all over. 

After my scale work, I got down to LAS mode on Smooth. I really like this song and I want to be able to play it well. So far I have not burned out on it, but it has been a little frustrating. It’s not what I’d call a super hard song. Most of it, in fact, is really easy. Yet, I’m still down around 69% overall. I’ve RR-ed most of the phrases and have all but a couple of phrases levelled all the way up. I have not really worked on transitions from phrase to phrase yet, but it’s not actually playing the transitions that kills me. It’s just trying to remember what’s coming. You have to be ready for the next phrase or it’ll catch you flat footed. Last night I ran through the song once in LAS, then did some work in RR, and then worked on Score Attack.

Score Attack has really challenged me on this one. I got a decent enough score in Easy level, but the Medium level is more like Hard. Like I said, I have almost every phrase levelled all the way up. On Medium level, it seems like you’ve got to have all the phrases levelled up. I can’t imagine what Hard will be like. . . After several attempts and restarts, I finally managed to get through the Medium level with no strikes. My first Gold run on Medium. But, my score is still low – 189,595. That’s quite a bit lower than my high score on Easy – 228,499. But, at least I’m making some progress and can get through the song on Medium with no strikes occasionally.

Random Musings
A few nights ago I broke out the Gretsch just because I felt guilty for not playing it for so long. I think I’ll have to keep that one, but the Ibanez Artcore will probably have to go. It’s a nice player and a really nice guitar overall, but I just don’t need two hollow-bodies.

Current Inventory (sort of in ranked order): 
·         Fender MIM Telecaster
·         Gretsch Electromatic hollow body
·         PRS Tremonti SE
·         Michael Kelly Valor II with split coil humbuckers
·         Ibanez Artcore hollow body
·         Epiphone Les Paul Special with P90s
·         Frankenstrat (Yamaha EG112 H-S-S with generic replacement neck of unknown make) – actually a very nice player
·         Yamaha bass – model unknown

Like I said recently, once I’ve got the new Schecter and Peavey bass out of layaway, I’m laying off the guitar buying this year. I’m looking forward to making some improvements on what I’ve got (or at least on what I’m keeping). Better grounding, shielding, maybe some pick-up potting. A little neck work. Possibly some experiments with different bridges and nuts. Upgraded pick-ups if I can find a good deal. Stuff like that. Also depending on what I end up selling, maybe some refinishing work on the PRS Tremonti (SE) and Yamaha bass. In another year or two, if I can settle on what I really like and what I don’t like, I might sell all of it and order a custom Carvin. We’ll see.


  1. Just an aside, the .25% is 25 hrs of LAS playing - not general RS playing. I have about 35 hrs logged in RS, but I just got the .1% (10 hrs) achievement - I guess a lot of my time is spent outside of LAS, which is surprising, since I avoid Guitarcade and Session mode. I guess Score Attack and all those "Tone Designer" missions ate up some time (along with the Session/G'cade missions that I've done).

    Walk this Way (bass) is throwing me a little. I'm not fast enough with the main riff, where it jumps from the A to the E to the A string - I have trouble keeping up there. I RR'd it, and I know the notes, and can do them slow - just can't do them (reliably) at full speed. Keep trying, I guess.

    Also unlocked the "Try it you might like it" achievement (play all RS2014 songs at least once) and "100 missions completed", which I think may be a UPlay achievement for the PC version (UbiSoft's online component). I've played (I think) in excess of 80 songs on RS2014, but most of them once. I pretty much work on missions though, so all those "Learn X new songs" missions, I'm playing whatever is at the top of the "Recommended" sort. I still have 40-50 unplayed songs, but I guess they're all ORS and DLC songs.

    1. I seem to not be getting credit for the time I'm putting in on LAS mode. . . The 60 Day Challenge site has had me at 35 days for at least a few days now and I know damn well I played at least an hour and a half last night. There have been nights recently when I've played over 3 hours; those would still only count as "1 day" for the 60 day challenge, but I don't think I've even gotten credit for 1 day on those. Kind of irritating.

      And, the "Try it you might like it" achievement must not be on XBox? I read you comment a while back and decided to just do that - play all the new RS2014 songs to see what they were like - but when I finished I got nada. So, no idea what's up there. New posts coming in a few minutes!

  2. "Try it you might like it" is #25 on the list of achievements you posted a while back. :-) Maybe it includes "unlockable" songs that you haven't unlocked yet or something? I dunno... And I don't think the 60 day challenge works at all. I have a few days on there, but nowhere near as many as I've put in...

    1. Must be something I'm not doing. . . I still haven't gotten the Try It You Might LIke it achievement. Guess I'll figure it out eventually.

      Yeah - the 60 Day Challenge tracker hasn't impressed me. It's particularly ineffective when the Rocksmith server is down and can't be reached by XBox Live. I'm pretty sure I've put in 60 days by now, but I'm only on Day 35 according to the tracking site. Plus, there's the fact that most nights I play at least 2 hours and often 3 - but we don't get extra credit for that.