So I am steadily moving along, and towards the end of module 8 now. Although I can not say I have mastered anything in the fast workouts, the slow workout mode is about where I am at on my best days.
I still suck pretty bad, but it all takes time, I know it’s a slow process, so I am not worried about progressing overnight. I am using BassBuzz as my primary learning tool for proper technique and theory and so far been very happy with Josh and his teaching methods. Although if I was to criticize anything, it’s that I feel the course could go even slower. As a new musician I really am bad… I have to check what string i’m on, and always looking at the frets as non of the positioning is second nature to me yet.
So wanting to continue learning, I debated about finding a local tutor, but decided I should probably get a stronger basic foundation before pursuing that as a next step.
So, I recently picked up Rocksmith 2014 Remastered for the PC, to supplement my training and since I have not seen anyone else review it on these forums, I figured I would, for those interested or wondering about it.
This is the package I purchased https://tinyurl.com/y2m4t6sa for $39 and it comes with the necessary cable to plug into the PC. Not sure how it works on Consoles I will be only discussing my experience with it running on Windows 10.
It is a Steam based game, so if you do not have a Steam account you will need to make one, also it’s produced by Ubisoft, so you will need to create a Uplay account on there site as well. Both of these are free, you just need them to login/play or purchase DLC (downloadable content, like additional song packs)
The install was easy enough, and I was quickly up and running in the game. I have owned it for 2 weeks now, and have about 15 hours logged on to it, so around an hour a day or so. My fingers just aren’t strong enough to do more then that yet.
The package comes with around 50 songs, most of them pretty well know, some a little less popular. But it’s plenty to start with, although I did purchase a few additional downloads, spent about $10 on extra tracks I wanted, although this is not necessary, but there is a large list of additional songs you can download for a few bucks, I think close to 2000 total.
The game allows you to play a Bass (4 string) or Guitar, and you can set it up for Left or Right handedness. If you have a 5 or 6 string bass, I guess you just ignore the extra strings. You can set the display for the E string on the top, to represent how you hold an instrument in real-life, or the E string on the bottom (if your used to reading tabs that may be what you like to see)
The song Learning/Playing mode is much like guitar-hero, where you are on a “Highway” of the ever moving neck and notes, and you need to strum the notes as they come at you. Here is a visual of the “highway” and playing https://youtu.be/oUxpHIMpOvY?t=69
But besides this main mode of the game, there are some really cool mini games, that I spend most of my time in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_t2TcF2XQ4 is the Fretting game, where little ducks move around and you need to fret notes on a particular sting to “shoot” the ducks for points. After a few correct shots, you can hit the rainbow duck and it will pick a new string to start fretting notes on… But don’t miss too many shots, or the wall moves closer to you, kind of like how space invaders comes down on top of you… till eventually you get squished and game-over.
The other mini game I play a lot is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T7yiEn8-OE this is a string jumping exercise, not fretting just strumming the necessary string, while angry robot-cowboys come running at the bar, and the bar keeper shoots at them. But you need to move from string to string strumming the proper string to attack the particular cowboy-robot in the particular lane. It makes more sense if you watch the video. The mini game can get pretty crazy, because if you miss a shot the enemies start moving faster, and faster until you get overrun. There are a few random larger enemies that require two shots, so this tests your ability to quickly double strum a string as before moving to the next.
Bottom line, I have been utilizing these simple mini games, to help improve my string skipping and strumming skills as well as fretting abilities. The interesting things is how it’s a game, but your learning at the same time. So practice seems more fun, you get to battle for high scores, and earn a bunch of in game achievements/goals. Its pretty fun, and you can easily burn 30+ mins and not even realize it.
There are many more features to the game including other mini games for scales, slides etc, as well as a session mode where you can jam with computer controlled band mates. As well as the regular song learning and highway feature, which you can also play for Points, once your ready to test your skills.
The Highway portion of the game is dynamic and learns your ability and will reduce or expand the amount of notes for you, depending on how well you are hitting the current notes. So if you’re new like me, it’s not overwhelming and you can slowly level up and take on a full song.
One thing to keep in mind, this game will NOT teach you the same things Josh is teaching us, and I would not suggest using this as a learning tool, without someone like Josh giving you foundation knowledge and skills first. The game has some basic learning tutorials, but it’s not a substitute for a real musician coaching you, when it comes to proper finger placement on the frets, reading music, two finger strumming and finger roll etc.
But utilizing this game as a way practice, in additional to formal lessons like here on Bassbuzz, has upped my game. I don’t think I have really improved enough in two weeks yet, where I can see a difference, but I can feel my fingers getting stronger. I believe early in the Bass learning process, a lot of it is just muscle memory and finger conditioning, and any time you spend on your bass is going to add to that core training. For me playing a game seems easy, fun, competitive, and over all have been enjoying it. Any if it get’s me an extra hour a day using my bass, and continuing to progress my journey, then it’s worth the price.
If you’re not into video games, then this may not be your avenue, but for me it has been a good experience so far, and will continue to use it in addition to Bassbuzz. Heck as a new player I need all the training, and experience I can get, the game is fun, and I feel like it is helping me practice more then I would on my own.