365 Days of Rocksmithing: Day 1

In 2012, I bought a copy of Rocksmith and a pretty kickass electric guitar. I also bought all the accouterments for the guitar, including a set of picks, a guitar tuner, and a nice strap bag. I even bought an adapter so I could connect the guitar to my iPad so I could use the iPad as a substitute amp. I had high ambitions: I would finally learn to play the guitar after on-and-off efforts since junior high school.

As before, I failed to keep at consistently practicing, and what little I learned over a couple of weeks of playing Rocksmith faded away fairly quickly.

This year, I’m forging ahead once again on my quest to learn how to play at least one song on the guitar. My wife kindly bought me an actual guitar instruction book, but I know that I learn more efficiently by actually applying theory to practice. So, the goal is to play the guitar for at least 30 minutes a day, which will equal at least 10,950 minutes played over the course of a year. If I can’t learn something after spending 10,000 minutes practicing it, I might never learn, even if popular wisdom says that we need to practice a skill for at least 10,000 hours to achieve mastery.

To hold myself accountable, I’m also documenting my progress every day, even if the post is just a simple paragraph. So, here we go.

Day 1
I wish the living room were a little warmer in the morning, but I suppose the cold will wake me up better than anything else. I thought the blank screen before me was an inauspicious start to this quest; I checked the connections, which seemed fine, so I restarted the Xbox and hoped for the best. Thankfully, everything seemed to boot and connect correctly this time.

I had forgotten how long and how many loading in Rocksmith took. Not for the first time, I thought about trading in this copy of Rocksmith for a copy of Rocksmith 2014. I wonder if the loading times are any better in that version.

I had also forgotten that I had to tune the guitar every time I loaded a song. This is the kind of thing that saps my enthusiasm.

I first tried the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ version of “Higher Ground,” and the game remembered my previous progress, so it tried to throw me into the deep end with chord switches. The program interpreted my flailing along the guitar neck as a plea for help and took the difficulty back down to simple one-string notes with a minimum of chord changes. I felt humbled.

I then tried to play my favorite song on Rocksmith’s soundtrack, the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This was probably the song I practiced most the first time I tried to learn to play the guitar with Rocksmith, and the note placement is so distinctive that I could hear when my fingers weren’t in the right place. I played through the song twice, and my brain and fingers still struggled to remember where my fingers needed to go. This is going to take longer than I had thought.