Monday, June 23, 2014

Still Rocksmithing, but Changing it Up with Some Offline Acoustic Playing

I have been totally slack about this blog this year, but I blame it on IE9 and general difficulty in accessing Blogspot during the day. My apologies to any remaining fans.

I've continued playing often but not as regularly as before. Just been very tired at night for the past couple of months.

Mainly I've been working on Smooth (Santana), More than a Feeling and Peace of Mind (Boston). I also bought a big tab book of the Eagles' greatest hits and started working on some songs in that book, mainly Hotel California.

Both Hotel California and More than a Feeling have some pretty intriguing acoustic picking and I've probably worked more on that for the past couple of months than anything else. That's a little easier to do now that ball season is here and I spend a lot of time at baseball and softball games. I picked up a Mitchell acoustic at GC for about $70 earlier this Spring! So, that's what I've been dragging around to ball parks with me. It replaced the Fender acoustic I was using (the one with the badly warped bridge. I gave that one to a friend of mine.)

The Mitchell is a really surprisingly nice little acoustic. Reasonable action right out of the box. Nice tone. Stays tuned. Seems well put together. For $70, it was an impossible deal to pass up and hard to beat. It's not a Martin, but I've picked up a couple of used Martins at GC just to see if I could tell the difference. Honestly, I'm just not good enough to appreciate any difference - especially not for the price.

So, I've figured out that I can use Rocksmith to get a huge jump start on a song and then use a tab book (or memory) to hammer on hard parts on my acoustic when I can't or don't want to be tethered to my XBox. (Still using my wireless system at home and it's still working great. I highly recommend it. The wireless system gives me SO much more freedom of movement when I'm Rocksmithing. Not that I leap around the room while playing or duck walk or anything like that. I just like being able to set my drink down, maybe even refill it, etc. without having to unplug or trip over the cord.) 

The new RS14 really has a lot less of the fun gamey atmosphere and I wonder if that hasn't kept me from playing as much. I miss the old venues and crowds. Yeah, it was hokey and silly, but it got me playing. Now playing Rocksmith often feels more like work. I still love playing it, but it's not enough fun to stay up until 2:00 AM anymore. When I'm tired in the evenings now, instead of grabbing a guitar and firing up the Rocksmith machine, I just go to bed.

New DLC does keep me interested and they've put out some good stuff lately. My whole family loves the show "Chuck," and when I realized the theme song from that show was Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake I was all over it. Haven't played it yet, but having some new DLC in the cue keeps me interested. Also plan to buy Funk #49, but mainly because I like the way Joe Walsh played it. (I put in a request for some Joe Walsh DLC; we'll see where that goes.)

I haven't bought any more electric guitars since the Schecter, but I do have a Yamaha fretless bass on layaway at my local store. Not sure I'll go through with the deal or not. But, when I picked it up to play in the store it had flat wound strings. I'd never played on flat wound strings before. I LOVE THEM! I love them so much that I put the bass on layaway and bought a set of flat wound strings for one of my 6-strings. I ended up putting them on my Gretsch Electromatic because the package promised a bright, mellow jazz tone. They delivered a very nice, bright tone with NO finger screeching. I don't know why they're considered "jazz strings," but I highly recommend you try a set if you've never played them. NOt only do they not screech when you slide from chord to chord, they don't shred your fingertips. I don't know who all makes flat wound strings; I got the DiAdario Chromes which are slightly more expensive than what I usually buy at about $14 a set. Check a set out next time you restring. I think you'll enjoy them.

That's about it. The UPS guy  just dropped off a new case and a stand for my acoustic so I guess I'll go make sure it fits. After dinner, maybe I'll work up the energy to do some Rocksmithing.

And, I'll make a serious effort to update the blog more often. With pics.