Category: Music

 

Tale of an Amateur Guitarist: Corruption Bypass

If you’ve been to this site before, you might have noticed that it got a huge upgrade, and doesn’t look like a dime store excuse of a blog anymore. If you haven’t been here before, welcome, and stay for gourmet coca. We– and by “we” I mean “I”– made it ourselves.

So… corrupt RockSmith profiles?
I’m getting to it!
The last time I spoke about RockSmith, it was just after my high E string broke. I replaced my old strings (which were way too thin for my playing style) and bought myself some heavy duty steel strings from Ernie Ball. I have to say, I’m in love with them so far. After purchasing them, I taught myself how to restring my guitar, and managed to get them on there much better than the pawn shop guy who sold it to me did. How’s that for efficiency?
After restringing Garotte, I had him back in action in no time, and restarted RockSmith, determined to find out what was causing my profile to constantly become corrupted. Here’s what I learned:

I completed a very specific mission with a CDLC and it corrupted my profile.
First, I wanted to clarify something about corrupt profiles. They don’t always happen because of CDLC. Since fixing this issue, I’ve been able to play and complete many CDLC songs without any problems. Now, however, I’m very wary of them. Your profile can also become corrupted if power is cut off to your system suddenly, or if the game freezes (especially on Xbox) during play and crashes. You never know what could happen, so always keep a back up!
Second, yes. I tried to complete a mission with a CDLC, and it corrupted my profile every time I tried. This does not happen with all missions, strangely enough. This particular mission was “Play a song in Drop D.” I kept playing a CDLC Rammstein song, and it would complete the mission. I would quit the game, try to reload, and the profile would be corrupted. So, I loaded my backup profile and played a Drop D song that came with the game, cleared the mission, and everything went back to normal. I could now play the CDLC Rammstein songs whenever I wanted without corrupting the profile. Which is awesome, because those songs are sweeeeet.

So, if you do download and keep CDLC, never fear. The files themselves after being played will not cause issues– but be wary of playing them for missions. I would definitely play it safe, no pun intended, and use a retail song to complete one. So far, I have not been able to recreate the phenomenon, but I know now what was causing it.

Remember that once a profile is corrupted, there isn’t a way to get it back. Keep regular backups of your profile so that you don’t lose your data forever the next time it happens!

How to back up your Rocksmith profile on Steam:
Navigate to Program Files–> Steam–> userdata You should see a folder with a name that is a bunch of numbers. That is your Steam user folder. Enter this folder, then open the folder named “221680” (assuming you have RS2014). Make a copy of the “remote” folder and paste it somewhere safe. I have a separate folder solely for this purpose, and I make sure to do this every time I end a RS session. Don’t back up the profile unless you’re sure it isn’t corrupt already. One way to be sure is to “quit” your game, which will take you back to the RS title screen. Re-enter the game and try to reload your profile. If it loads without problems, you know it’s not corrupted.

How to back up your Rocksmith profile on Xbox:
Learn how to turn on Cloud and backup your save games right here.

Hopefully those tips will come in handy. I know I’d be pretty pissed off if all of my hard work was erased.

I was wrong before about CDLC not including Riff Repeater!
I made a silly mistake before in my last AG post and stated that Riff Repeater couldn’t be used in CDLC. As it turns out, a lot of them do have the option, which is, needless to say, very refreshing! I’ve learned half of Garbage’s song “Push It” in this manner. The reason I thought it was impossible before was that whoever made the Rammstein songs did so without including Riff Repeater (the jerk!). But, since those songs are pretty simple to play, it isn’t as necessary.

Always check to make sure your volume and tone are cranked all the way!
I mentioned before (I don’t even know how long ago), that the game wasn’t registering when I played chords. I was completely mystified by this, because I knew I was hitting the right notes and it frustrated the demigod out of me. The reason, apparently, was because my tone was turned down. As soon as I moved the dial back up, it recognized my chords just fine. Strange that it was only chords it couldn’t read, but regardless, that seemed to fix what was wrong.

As for how much I’m improving with the Rocksmith technique…
I’ll admit that I don’t play every single day, though I should. I do, however, play for several hours when I actually start up the game. By now, I’ve learned to play a few of my favorite songs, and I’ve been exposed to songs I’ve never heard before buying Rocksmith! I’ve become particularly attached to the song “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse. Now that is a fun song to play. I love that you can add songs to a list of favorites to choose from as well. Since my list of songs has gotten massive since buying RS, I have a lot to go through! All the more reason to give myself a deadline.

That’s it for this installment. Remember to rock on, and stay in tune!

Tale of an Amateur Guitarist: Unraveling the Mystery of the Corrupt Rocksmith Profiles

Yes, it’s the next installment of my amateur ability at playing electric guitar with Rocksmith and clumsy fingers.

Are you a rockstar YET?
When I play metal songs, I feel like one… and isn’t that what matters?
No?
Oh. Well, no, then. I’m not. But I’m getting closer!
As I said, I’ve fallen deeply in love with playing metal! Metal has always been a favorite genre of mine (not including death metal. I have a scream limit), but I’ve found that playing it is even more desirable. I’ve come to find out that my playing style is… rather aggressive. My low E string took a bite out of me this past week.


This is a sign that you’re an abusive guitar owner

Yeah, that’s blood. I literally played it till my fingers bled. Well, it’s my own fault. I didn’t strum my strings, I slammed them. And that was a mistake. Lesson learned the hard way. That’s what I get for playing when in a very sour mood. And playing metal. While in a sour mood.

Have you found out why Rocksmith profiles get corrupted?
As a matter of fact, I have. It has something, if not everything, to do with playing custom songs. After backing up and restoring my profile several times, I did a trial and error test to determine what was specifically causing it after it happened to me a second time.

After finding out about custom songs, I had downloaded a lot of them. Honestly, more than I’m capable of playing well. I sort of picked them out as “Oo, I might want to learn this one someday, oh, and this one, and this one.” The drawback to custom songs vary, but there are two so far that I have learned about in my testing:

1. You can’t use Riff Repeater in CDLC. Not any of them. This isn’t a massive setback, but for a new player, can cause some frustration. If there’s only one part in the song you want to tackle and get better at, you can’t do it unless you play the whole thing start to finish a hundred times– or, a solution I plan to take up soon, reading the tab sheets for it and learning it slowly first before playing it in Rocksmith. This gives me an excuse to find alternate resources other than Rocksmith to train myself to play.

2. You can’t complete missions with them. This, I believe, is what might be causing the corruption in the profile. When my profile would get “corrupted” it was after playing Rammstein songs– ones in Drop D. Until now, this really mystified me. My other CDLCs weren’t causing the problem– only Rammstein. It wasn’t until yesterday morning that I realized: “hey, don’t I have a mission to play a song in Drop D? Almost all Rammstein songs are in Drop D. I bet that’s what’s causing it.”

I played a Drop D song that came with the game. Cleared that, then backed up my profile after completing the mission. I reopened Rocksmith and prepared to test my theory that the mission itself was causing the CDLCs to corrupt the game. I open a Rammstein song and get ready to rock. Rocksmith asks me to tune my guitar for the song.

Twang! My high E string snaps.

“Wow,” I thought, with a slow, sarcastic blink. “The timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

Although this really bummed me out, not only because I had to quit before my goal of one hour for the day, but it meant that I wouldn’t be playing for probably a week while I wait for new strings. The positive thing is that it gave me the opportunity to order new, better strings suited for metal playing, and will teach me how to restring my guitar. Plus I get to mess around with different gauges and see what works best for my style.

So, we won’t find out the truth of profile corruption until next time?
I’m afraid so. But you could test this theory yourself! Maybe you’ll find out before me.

Lastly, I’ve become so fond of my guitar (even though it bit me) that I’ve given it a name. I’ve decided to call it “Garrote.” I thought it fitting for one that might be playing metal most of the time.

Keep on rocking until next time!
Stay in tune!

Tale of an Amateur Guitarist: More Rocksmith… and the Issues With it

 

My journey with Rocksmith continues!
Rocksmith remains to be a great teaching tool, and an encouraging one. I’m still having a lot of fun learning, and I must say that I’ve learned a lot. In the lessons so far, I’ve gotten half of them done, and I’ve gotten high scores on some of the games. The more I play my guitar, the easier it becomes.

Ehh.. with some exceptions…
I’ve found where Rocksmith can fall flat (and of course, cannot compare to the tutoring of an actual teacher). While I have learned ten times more about guitars in the past week than I have my whole life, I’m starting to wonder if I’m learning all I can be. I like to broaden my horizons, so in the time to come, I might try various other tools to aid me along. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the flaws Rocksmith can fall victim to.

Your save file can become corrupted.
Ohhh yes.
One fateful morning a few days ago, I opened my Rocksmith profile only to find the chilling message that the save file was “damaged” and thus could not be opened. As my heart steadily plummeted into my stomach, I realized that I had lost all of my progress. I would have to do all of the lessons over again. I would have to level up in the Guitarcade again. I would have to play those damn starter songs again (that I never heard prior to playing this game).
Thankfully, I didn’t have months worth of progress lost, as some others have! Since I had already known how to do everything from my first time around, I plowed through the lessons quicker a second time, and thankfully my high scores were saved on my Uplay profile, rather than my Rocksmith one, so my name is still on the leaderboards.
My message to ALL Rocksmith players: back up your profile for the love of all that is loud and rocking.

Rocksmith tracks “correct notes” better than it tracks “correct technique.”
Rocksmith does track your technique, but it is most useful in the songs and practice rounds of lessons, where it tells you your technique accuracy percentage. Where it isn’t useful is the lessons themselves. I’m pretty sure if you hit all of the right notes, even accidentally as I have on a couple of occasions, Mr. Proud Guy will gush “EXCELLENT” anyway. As I said, it’s not that big of an issue, since the lessons are more of forerunners to the bigger projects, but sometimes when passing a lesson, it actually shocked me that I got it right, because I knew I didn’t.

Chords.
I “get” chords… but the game seems to think I don’t. It will tell me to press my fingers on the frets… I do so. It will tell me to only strum those strings and no others. I do that. I strum it, it sounds fine. The game tells me I might be holding my fingers in the wrong place, or that I’m missing a string. I check my hand. Yeah, my fingers are on the right frets. I’m moving them around to make sure I’m not touching other strings. I strum each string individually to make sure they sound right. They do. Strum the chord. In so many words, the game keeps telling me “you’re doing it wrong.” This is extremely frustrating, as you can imagine, because without an actual player or teacher telling me EXACTLY what I’m doing wrong, I have no idea what it is. I’m doing my best to do whatever the computer asks me, and it doesn’t like the way I’m doing it, for whatever reason.
The ironic thing is that when I play those same chords during songs, they’re apparently perfect. I hit every one. Maybe the detection of the chords is more lenient in the tracks and riffs, but when trying to play them during particularly the second chord lesson, it doesn’t work. The problem is that I can’t tell if this is human error or just a bug– another problem with using a game to learn.

Bends.
I might need to toughen my fingers for this… but holy HELL does it ever hurt. I mean, it kills. Mostly because whenever I do bends, the game tells me I’m wrong, then I have to bend again… and again, and again, again, again until my fingers are nearly bleeding. I’ll push that damn string up to where it wants and it says “miss” a lot of the time. So I keep trying and miss even more because my fingers are falling off. Again, this is where a teacher would come in handy, to tell you if you’re too low or too high on your bend. Oh, and the bends are always on those thinner strings, which you have to push against the thicker ones. I wonder if working my arms this hard counts as exercise (probably not).

Tremolo.
Eh, this one just sort of requires practice right now, but I find it challenging to angle my pick just right to do it correctly. It’s all a matter of doing it repeatedly, of course, but I can’t help but tense my arm when trying to do it. They tell you not to,  but it’s sort of something that can’t be helped. My picks are medium thickness, and I heard lighter picks are ideal for tremolo, but mine aren’t that heavy. I managed to do it properly for the lesson… and then, I could never get it right again. It was like a miracle that occurred out of nowhere to help me pass it so I could move on.

So… do I feel like a rockstar yet?
Not quite… but I can tell you honestly that when holding my guitar, I feel great. It’s satisfying to learn new things, to challenge yourself, to rise above something that before has been holding you back from achieving certain goals. Onward, to conquering rock!

Stay in tune!

Tale of an Amateur Guitarist: First Days With Rocksmith

As I’m typing now, my left shoulder is killing me because I’ve been playing my guitar for hours while standing. Obviously, this isn’t a good thing, but I’ve come to love playing guitar so much that I just can’t stop.

Of course, when you start getting shoulder pain, that is a time to put it away. Also, when my fingers burn and ache like nothing I’ve ever felt. No, I haven’t quite gone all Bryan Adams and played it “till my fingers bled,” but I’ve come insanely close to achieving that. By now, I believe my fingertips have permanent indents in them.

So Rocksmith. It’s a great game, but an even better teaching tool. Not only do I feel like I’m learning something important by playing, I’m having fun while I do it. I’ve only been at it for I believe three days, and already I’ve learned several power chords, I’m getting quicker at fret-switching, and the muscle memory for where my strings are is improving. Of course, I go beyond their recommended “hour a day” goal (many hours beyond it), but the time just melts away with the instrument in my hands. It’s so satisfying and rewarding to see myself getting better in just a few days. In a couple of months, there’s no telling what I’ll be able to achieve.

However, I’m not planning to go my entire guitar-playing career using only Rocksmith. There are lots of amazing videos and tutorials and tabs online to help guide me when I start getting better, and I plan to utilize every last bit of information out there to succeed. I’m not quitting, or giving up until I sound like a pro.

With that said, I have some miniscule advice for anyone else who is new to Rocksmith.

1) Play the Guitarcade. Play, play, play the Guitarcade. I can’t stress this enough. After learning a few of the lessons provided in the game on how to play frets and use other techniques, I went straight to the games before trying any song. If it’s one thing I feel improves my technique, it’s the games. On top of that, they are so insanely fun. Learning songs is fun, too, but I’ve found that after spending a good amount of time playing the mini-games, I was better at playing the songs.

2) Don’t press your strings too hard. It may sound good coming off the guitar itself, but it registers as a sharp note in the game if you do it. It’s a good way to train you to ease up on that pressure and relax. And you need to in order to play a song.

3) Don’t play for hours on end like I do. Ow.

If you can, get the PC version. That’s the version I have, and for PC, you can install custom songs, which you can get from Customs Forge.
Learn how to install custom songs Here.
Search for songs to download Here

You can install customs on Xbox and PS3, but it’s a lot harder if you’re not accustomed to modding.

The more I play Rocksmith, the more I’ll have to say. Stay in tune!

Tale of an Amateur Guitarist: My First Electric (and How it Came Into My Possession)

Over many years, I’ve wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but my intrigue was heightened in recent months when my brother-in-law told me about this little thing called “Rocksmith.” The way he described it made it sound like it was Guitar Hero… that actually taught you how to play a real instrument, rather than a piece of plastic. Perfect, I thought. I love music. I love games. I want to learn how to play a new instrument. I want to learn how to play a new game. The protagonist in my current novel is a guitarist– his guitar is one of his few passions in life, other than the person he eventually falls in love with. Writing that character really made me want to give it a shot myself. What was holding me back was the fact that I didn’t own a guitar.

“So get one,” I told myself. “Uh, after you make more money first,” I replied. Yeah, believe it or not, a guitar costs money. Sometimes, a lot of it. I was set on getting an Ibanez for my first guitar, as I’ve heard many good things about that brand, and I’ve also heard that some models make great beginner guitars that will last you through intermediate playing over the years. So I went on Craigslist and looked for one in the area, one that I could pick up.

Two of the first guitars I checked out happened to be sold already, and the seller left the ads up on the site. Already feeling a tad dismayed, I started looking for another. I found an Ibanez GIO GRX40 for seventy-five bucks (if you’re not familiar with guitar pricing, that is a steal). It’s in beautiful condition, looks almost brand new, and it’s fully functional. The guitar itself seems to have no problems (so far). Buying the guitar, however, is a story to remember.

First off, the seller was a pawn shop twenty minutes away from us. I don’t have anything against pawn shops per se, but the one I purchased my first guitar at happened to be one hell of an interesting place right from the get go, and not necessarily in a positive way. As soon as me and my husband arrived and pulled into the parking area behind the shop, we saw a young man standing outside talking on the phone, in an elevated voice. Not quite yet screaming, mind you, but whatever conversation he happened to be having was clearly a stressful one. Already a little wary, me and my husband stepped out of the car and headed for the entrance. The man speaking in a raised voice was now quite literally screaming at the top of his lungs. The subject matter was questionable, but it revolved around something to do with the person on the receiving end “knowing a bunch of lazy kids” and he wasn’t sure what to say or do about it (other than yell– really, really loud).

My husband and I passed each other disturbed glances, as even as we passed by the fellow, he continued to holler into his cell phone, even after meeting our gaze. Come to find out, I spoke to this gentleman on the phone no more than thirty minutes beforehand, the very one I asked if the guitar was still available in their shop. As I’ve said earlier, I was set on buying this guitar because it was exceptionally cheap for what it was. The guitar is damn fine, sounds great, and even getting it at a hundred would have been practically snatching it.

Gio GRX40 on Ultimate Guitar


What my new baby looks like

So, going into the pawn shop, I already knew I wanted to purchase the thing. I know how pawn shops work. You walk into one, and any broker within immediately lights up with joy and treats you like you’re their favorite customer, despite whether or not they know you. This shop was no different. However, at this particular store, the air was badly stirred because of Sir Screams-a-Lot, and when he reentered the store after his lengthy throat-busting contest, the other men dwelling inside had the sense to talk him down while in my presence and keep him from panting. “How can I help ya?” asked one of them, diverting my attention from the dramatic episode that had unfolded before me.

“I was interested in purchasing your GIO Ibanez that was up on Craigslist.”

He proceeded to ask me which one I was talking about, referring to the color schemes of the various guitars on the wall. I told him it was the one in red and white. The funny thing is, I had this exact same exchange with the young man that was yelling earlier. I had called the shop prior to visiting to ensure the thing was still available, and when I asked if it was, there was a long pause before he asked me: “What color is it?” I took this for what it was; that maybe they didn’t know a lot about guitars. They don’t need to, really. I’m the one buying, and I know I’m getting it for a very good price. In the shop, they also had a B.C. Rich Warlock, a Reynolds, and a couple other Ibanezs. They were cheap, but over my budget. The guitar I did end up with is perfect, anyhow, especially for the price. As for how I knew it was McScreamy I was speaking to on the phone beforehand, he confirmed it when I mentioned the GIO. “Oh, you called earlier!” His mood was lighter by this point, which I was really, really thankful for. Actually, he was quite nice to me. Very polite man. People are interesting.

When I told the man dealing with me the color of the specific guitar, he suddenly became an expert on it. “Ooooh! Special Edition.” Then he fans me a “are you impressed with me?” look. I made no remark, though I was amused. He takes it down for me to check out, which I do. I notice right away that all of the strings are loosened. He explains this to me before I can question it. “I loosened the strings because sometimes guys will come into the shop, ask to see a guitar, play on it for thirty minutes, then leave without buying anything.” I told him that they might have been trying to “relive the glory days” and play in front of a free audience. He laughed and said “maybe they should buy it and relive them at home.” I was inclined to agree.

The guitar didn’t come with a strap, but it did include a free case, which was a nice touch. I ask him if I can plug it into an amp to test the sound of the strings. He allows me to do so. After tightening them up, I give them a strum to see if they aren’t faulty. Hearing no problems, I told him everything sounds good and I’m ready to buy. He tries to sell me an amp, but I’m going to have Rocksmith soon, so I don’t need one.

In the background as I’m doing all of this, the other men are still chatting with their buddy, telling him “they can see the vein in his forehead popping out,” and mentioning that his family always gives him problems. I have to admit, I was at the point where I also wanted to ask the young man if he was all right. While deciding ultimately on purchasing it, he told me that when I “make it big” to remember the little guys that sold me my first guitar. I assured him that I would never forget this encounter.

As my skill progresses, I’ll be keeping a journal here on my site on how I’m doing. I’ve already gotten past step one: buying the guitar. Now it’s time to order Rocksmith, a strap, and some new picks, and really learn what makes rock music so incredibly great.

The guitar in action (note: this is not me playing. Yet!)