60 Days of Rocksmith: 10 Days In!

How are you doing learning guitar?

Well, I'm finding a pattern here. In terms of learning songs I'm good up to about a 30% mastery. Which means I'm around the 50-65% difficulty point and and about 70-80% accurate (I think). As with an acoustic, I'm bad at going up and down the neck of the guitar, switching finger positions, knowing where my fingers/hands are without looking down. All the things I'm bad at on an acoustic I'm bad at with an electric.

With lessons, my first go I'm pretty bad at performing the techniques but I'm able to finish most of them (I'll go into this later). But my second and third time throw lessons I do much better and have been able to adapt those techniques into learning songs.

How do you think the game is doing at teaching you guitar?

Ok. It's great at telling you what notes you've missed and why in terms of location. But with other mistakes I make it falls a bit short. Here's an example; I'm trying to learn tremolo. This is where you move the pick back and forth over the guitar as quickly as possible. This is a technique the Edge from U2 uses quite a bit (for reference). I can't get the timing right, or my hand is holding the pick wrong, or something because I can't get this technique to work consistently. The game's tips are to hold the pick at more of an angle....and just do it. That doesn't help me at all. Here's another one. When I was learning how to do palm-muted picking the game couldn't differentiate between palm muted picking and regular picking when they scored me. But when I do palm-mute the strings and get the sound they are looking for the scoring is inconsistent.

Uh oh...

Well, it's not all bad. It's great at teaching you chords, picking, and telling you when you mess up and when you do something right. So eventually, if you have the patience and know how to train yourself when the game isn't, then you'll eventually figure out a technique (or do it well enough that the game will let you proceed).

So, is this a good way to learn to play guitar?

Maybe. I'm still really early into this and I have learned things that I hadn't learned before. But I had also only been in one guitar class in high school (it lasted like 3 months) and everything else I learned on my own. So I don't really have anything to compare it to. But if I'm learning, which I am, I think it is an appropriate way to learn thus far. It may not be as good as with an instructor but it's better then learning on your own.

Anyway we can help?

Yes! I'm having problems with two techniques and the game isn't really helping me with it. With hammer-ons at least (I've yet to get to pull-offs) I can't get the technique down. I can do it on an acoustic just fine. But with an electric the string's vibrations die as soon as I 'hammer-on' to the new position. I've tried picking harder, softer, placing my finger faster. It always seems to end with a the string no longer vibrating as soon as I push down. The game isn't really telling me what I'm doing wrong just that I'm doing it wrong. So what suggestions do you guys have for me?

I'd also take some suggestions on the tremolo problem I explained above if you guys have any. Thanks.

17 Comments
18 Comments
Posted by JazGalaxy

Some thoughts:

You physically cannot learn guitar in ten days.you'll find that a lot of techniques you are having a hard time with will become easier as you build strength and coordination for the tasks.your brain has to rewire itself and your muscles have to strengthen.

As cow what the game will and will not score, you are just going to have to give it some slack. Real music isn't a game. All the matters is the sound. Them gamifying it isn't going to work 100 percent. Especially since so many techniques, like bends, are really "guitar hacks", not what the instrument wS built for.

As for hammer ons, hammer harder. If you just put your finger over it, it's a mute. A hammer on is a percussive strike.

Edited by JasonR86

@jazgalaxy:

The point of this blog is to give my analysis of the idea the game has put forward; people can learn to play guitar in 60 days. I never thought I'd learn in 10. This is just an update. I personally don't think I'll learn in 60 days either. But this is simply my take on the process. Also thanks for the suggestion on hammer-ons.

Posted by mercutio123

@jasonr86: For alternate picking instead of just turning the pick and picking like you usually would but just at an angle, use the curve of the pick to roll backwards and forwards. You'll get it eventually. Becomes second nature at some point.

Edited by JazGalaxy

I don't think I was being clear when I said you physically cannot learn to play guitar in ten days. I wasn't critiquing your journey to play guitar, I was saying that some techniques require you to be in "guitar shape", which is a process that takes longer than ten days. That isto say, it doesn't matter how long you practice, or how much you analyse the technique. It just takes time.

Edited by csl316

@jasonr86: Cool. With hammer ons, make sure you're hitting the middle of the fret. You have to build up some finger strength which may take time. I angle my strike down a tiny, tiny bit. Barely even noticeable.

Here, I made this unlisted video just now because an extreme close up might help. Note that I'm not even picking here.

Got more videos up there but nothing educational.

As far as tremolo picking, it's about how you hold your pick and finding a comfortable spot. This is how I hold a pick:

You wanna keep it mostly to your wrist since it could supposedly give you tendinitis in your elbow if you rely on that. Never had it so I couldn't tell ya. I posted a "Birthday Jam" video to the session mode. It's the most recent one and you can at least see how my picking arm works while speed picking.

I did a quick search, this dude seems to go pretty in depth:

Any other questions, I'll try to help. I occasionally teach guitar lessons for fun so maybe I've heard something before.

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Posted by white_sox

How much experience did you have with playing a guitar before this? I'm asking because I'd like to learn but have absolutely no experience with one so I'd need really early tutorials like positioning and terminology. Is that kind of stuff in there? Also, what are the advantages of this version over the last?

Edited by Ramone

One of the big secrets about playing the guitar is that it is almost all about efficiency of movement. The smaller the move you make, the less likely you are to make a mistake and the faster you can make that move. In terms of tremolo picking, just focus on getting a solid, consistent movement going. It doesn't have to be particularly fast. Make sure that, when you're picking, you only need to use enough movement to pluck the string and have the pick rest on the other side of the string. If the pick is resting on one of the other strings after you strike a note, you're using too much movement.

Hammer ons are a tough one. Personally I never had too much trouble with them so I find it hard to teach people where their technique is going wrong. Like JazGalaxy says, it is more of a percussive technique (similar to a slap on the bass guitar) and therefore requires some amount of force. Again, efficiency of movement is important here. You don't want to raise your "hammering" finger to far off the fretboard. Try practicing on the high E sting as it requires a little less force than the thicker stings. Once you have a decent grasp of the technique try hammering on on one of the thicker strings.

Pull offs are more difficult as you are essentially plucking the string with one of your fretting fingers. What you want to avoid is too severe of a bend to the string when pulling off as this will make the notes sound wrong. The mistake I made when first learning pull offs was to treat them like the reverse of a hammer on (they are in some respects) when it is really an entirely different technique.

Posted by JazGalaxy

@white_sox, yeah! rocksmith goes down to the nitty gritty basics. I keep meaning to do a review, but there are basically three core modes to the game that each could be their own game.

The "rockband" mode is just like guitar hero but with a real guitar. I. This mode, they thow one note at a time at you and actively level you up as you get better. If you're hitting everything you will rank up faster and be playing the real song more quickly. If you are not, which no beginner would, it just gives you the notes you can play with some extras for challenge. Once you get good enough for master mode, the noted begin to fade and then disappear. At that point, you are really playing the song 100 percent on your own. If you have trouble with any part of the song, you can break off just that part and riff repeat. In this sub-mode, you can slow the song down to get the muscle memory of what they're asking you to do.

The second major mode is the video instruction part. Imagine dozens of high res, interactive youtube movies that show you individual techniques, they show you the technique, explain it yo you, let you listen to it, and then ask you to do it. It's like one on one guitar instruction. This is he mode that mosteiple who use rocksmith and don't get anything out of it, skip.

The third mode is session mode, in which you play what you want and a band of ai instruments back you. This is the main educational mode. The game assigns you "missions" that have you master individual techniques as well as accomplish goals like " play for 2o minutes", which is really just practicing your instrument. But it's fun. This is the mode where they actually begin to teach you music theory. A few people have trouble with it at first, because you really can ExACTLY play what you want. That's not how music works. You can play what you want within the confines of what the ai drummer is doing, which is like real life.

At any rate, the game is amazing.

I actually haven't played it I a. Week because I played it nonstop for the first three weeks it was out and strained my wrist. Bad form I guess. Stopping and letting it heal is killing me.

Posted by JasonR86

@white_sox:

I'm an amateur on the acoustic. I can play some songs, can play nearly every type of chord (though I can only name like 10 of them from memory), and am ok at picking. I had never played electric before this. The game does a really good job with beginning info and training. It scales really well. The problems I have are for more advanced techniques. If you are new to guitar, you might not get to these lessons for a while. But I think it's a good tool for beginners.

@jazgalaxy: I just didn't know if you had known what I was trying to do with these blogs. No worries dude.

@csl316: @mercutio123: Thanks for the tips guys. I'll try them out and see how it goes with my next check in.

Edited by tourgen

@jasonr86: hammer down on the string with more force and closer to the fret wire. It might be just a case of finger strength. But I'd be surprised I guess since you can do it on an acoustic, which has more string tension and I guess would take more force for a good hammer-on.

Posted by JasonR86

@tourgen:

It might just be a psychological thing. It really feels a lot different playing an electric compared to acoustic even if a lot if the concepts are the same.

Posted by guiseppe

@csl316 said:

@jasonr86: Cool. With hammer ons, make sure you're hitting the middle of the fret. You have to build up some finger strength which may take time. I angle my strike down a tiny, tiny bit. Barely even noticeable.

Here, I made this unlisted video just now because an extreme close up might help. Note that I'm not even picking here.

Got more videos up there but nothing educational.

As far as tremolo picking, it's about how you hold your pick and finding a comfortable spot. This is how I hold a pick:

You wanna keep it mostly to your wrist since it could supposedly give you tendinitis in your elbow if you rely on that. Never had it so I couldn't tell ya. I posted a "Birthday Jam" video to the session mode. It's the most recent one and you can at least see how my picking arm works while speed picking.

I did a quick search, this dude seems to go pretty in depth:

Any other questions, I'll try to help. I occasionally teach guitar lessons for fun so maybe I've heard something before.

Pretty much what this guy said. And Violator is awesome.

Posted by csl316
Online
Edited by GnaTSoL

I haven't picked up my guitar in a year but I think Rocksmith looks like something that'll supercharge me back into it. I see lots of potential in Rocksmith cause it gives you so many things to learn and shapes it into a game so you always remember to mostly have fun. That makes repetition easier which leads to mass improvement.

Don't even see a need for a teacher other than for Theory but you can get a book for that plus a chord book.

Seems like a almost complete package to me. People can make it work for them.

One thing though, I don't think I like the game's amp modeling/simulations. Definitely gonna need real gear soon. Gear helps with being able to hear your hammer-ons properly and then judging them from there.

Edited by white_sox

@jasonr86: @jazgalaxy: Thanks for the info guys. I'm really glad the game takes that approach. Only way it would have any value for a person like me.

Posted by GaspoweR

It's a shot in the dark but maybe @vinny can hopefully chime in with tips. :)

Edited by Yesiamaduck

Hey, I got Rocksmith and my first Guitar last week (sorry to sabotage your thread but I'm going to do it anyways ^.^ for my calloused fingers don't appear to be afraid of anything these days.

Play time (16hours accord to Steam)

First of all my history is simple, I have played Bass guitar on and off since 2009 & have always wanted to learn guitar but always got scared off due to the immense finger pain, the inability to play chords, finding 6 thin strings overwhelming & finding my wrist action to be subpar... despite primarily playing bass with a plectrum.

First day was mainly spent with me hitting strings too hard, catching my fingers on the strings, clumsy fret movement and being overwhelmed by the information being shown on screen.

After the first 2 or 3 days I found myself more comfortable with basic chords, struggling a lot with bar chords much like I always have done, and more comfortable with the fret board (just had to get used to the size of the frets because Bass necks are far longer) so I take that as an advantage of playing bass in the past due to being used to going up and down the neck of an instrument. I was still worthless at strumming in a rhythm (well if I had to go up and down & this was even worse when it came to single strings) but I saw progress... was able to hit Blitzkrieg Bop 104% by day 4 though...so progress!

After 5 - 7 Days (where I am at now) Strumming multiple strings at once feels second nature to me, jumping from frets and interpreting the on screen instructions has become noticeably quicker, a lot less delay between my brain seeing what my fingers have to do and actually doing it. Can play a handful of bar chords and starting to get the hang of soloing, hammer on's don't phase me nore do string bends. I still occasionally hit the wrong string but this has become a lot less frequent and my chords sound a lot cleaner with me very occasionally muting a string. Have almost mastered 'Where Is My Mind' (70%, just need to be slightly quicker to chords but can play all the parts at a slower pace) (I got RS1 on sale to import the songs) and 97% on the lead guitar of 'Next Girl' by Black Keys getting 'with a few silly mistakes stopping me from getting 100%. Still having trouble with palm mutes, a lot of trouble in fact! Dependence on looking at the fret board significantly reduced for anything between 1 - 12 but I still need to second guess the higher frets.

On the Rhythm guitar side of things I have near 100%'d Radiohead - High & Dry & David Bowie - Rebel Rebel but still need to play a long to the tabs and still occasionally screw up the rhythm.

The main thing is my strumming hand has never felt so precise and confident, I can't wait until I hit around the 1 month mark because I think all it's short comings should be ironed out!