I have tried to learn guitar many times in my life, from early lessons in my teens and sitting down with friends. I never forced myself to sit down and actually learn due to the wonderful distraction era we live in.
While I have owned an acoustic guitar for quite a bit, I never took the plunge to delve into the world of electric due to knowing myself and thinking I would never be committed to actually sitting down everyday and learning it.
I have found enjoyment in games such as Guitar Hero but was frustrated with the fact that it was just a rhythm game with a fake guitar with big’ol colorful buttons. Playing it at a friends house I felt like I could be learning the actual thing with my time invested. While I am getting older and turning into Randy Marsh, I feel the guitar is a timeless investment.
After some research I found out about Rocksmith 2014 via scouring Bing/Youtube for key search terms “guitar hero with a real guitar for PC”. And was pleasantly surprised when I found Riff Repeater’s videos. Watching him play to songs I love and seeing how the visuals worked, I knew this would be a game I could learn from so I have to delve deeper.
Doing research I learned about how the game really eases you into pretty much everything guitar. The game learns from how well you’re doing and throws you curve balls into the mix once you start doing better. You can even pause a song and repeat a riff and set a plethora of settings such as slowing down time so you can continue to work on where your hands should be.
Their official video explains the base features far better than I can.
So during a night of drinking after work I finally took the plunge. I found a cheap decent looking electric guitar on amazon and ordered a physical copy of the game because I needed the ‘real tone cable’ to plug into my PC.
The physical copy of the game came the next day (thanks Amazon) and was ecstatic to find out it was steam integrated so I could take advantage of the current sale going on for some song DLC. I only picked up a couple songs such as The Doors – “People are Strange”, Queen – “Another One Bites the Dust”, Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze”, and the Queens of the Stoneage song pack as I am more focused on learning the guitar instead of owning ever song I want to play. I don’t even know at this point if this is something that will even work out for me, but I am hopeful.
A couple days later the guitar arrived (which I have named Lini) and the amount of excitement I got when opening that box felt like the day I opened my first N64 as a kid on Christmas. I know that she is a cheap guitar comparatively but when I took her out she was and still is beautiful and most importantly, she is mine.
I wanted to get started right away but I also had to set limits for myself. I don’t want to get burned out and I have to take it slow, most importantly I need to be consistent. I applied the stickers that came with the guitar and loaded up the game.
When you boot up you are presented with a few questions such as your skill level, what type of guitar and what position you want to play in the “band”. I picked the Lead position because that obviously sounds like the most fun.
Got started and quickly realized how much I sucked, but that was OK because I was also having tons of fun and also felt the progress. The game started me off really easily and while I knew I wasn’t playing the whole song, I knew I was playing with the song. Playing parts of the chorus and getting more comfortable simply holding the guitar. I told myself that I would do at least 1 hour everyday and not force myself to overdo it. So while I could have gone longer I stopped myself and noticed how much of an itch I was getting to continue.
The next day was Friday and it was time to delve even deeper. I continued down in my comfort zone and played a song I felt was fun, Jaws – Stay In. The game quickly threw me a curve ball and kicked me right out of that comfort zone. While I didn’t get it right away, the time the chorus hit again I was able to adapt and was able to actually do it. And while it probably didn’t sound just right, it felt great because I was able to make progress and there is no better feeling than that.
I ended up taking a day off due to other things going on with the internal promise that I would not give up and I would continue playing daily. The next day I realized how much that one day set me back and felt like I needed to relearn things, but the most important thing was the fact that I was continuing and that is progress in itself.
I started to split my time between songs and the mini games they offer. The mini games are awesome and teach you the basic techniques. Really helpful and most importantly fun.
What have I learned?
I have noticed the more I continue and the more it’s on my mind and the more I improve. While I do have those stickers on my guitar, I am starting to not stare at the guitar as much and getting more comfortable with where my hands are.
I am starting to garner more rhythm as I continue
I’m thinking about it constantly in the shower and work on how to actually improve.
And the most important thing I have learned is that I am having fun and I simply cannot wait to play more.
Just today I was sitting on the menu screen not playing the game but actually just playing the guitar, coming up with my own notes and techniques. Is this game fun? YES. Will I continue to keep playing and get better? Absolutely.