Protip: You can't REALLY play the song until you
can do it looking at the neck
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Last night I decided to tackle my personal Holy Grail, Satch Boogie, in Riff Repeater. I figured I'd just try to get through the intro. This was just the part that repeats twice, but before it moves on to the variation of the same riff.
After about an hour or 2 of practicing it from the lowest level at speeds anywhere from 10% to 30%, with auto level turned on, I managed to level up to 100% difficulty. So.....now it's time to speed it up.
So I turned on the speed setting that levels up the speed each time you play the part right (can't remember the name), and once I got to 70% speed, I hit a wall and just started flubbing notes all over the place.....like, really bad. Total meltdown......and if I tried to glance down at the neck of the guitar, that guaranteed that I was going to screw up.
To paraphrase the words of the immortal Nigel Tufnel, "My fingers were moving, yeah, but where were they going??"
What I figured out, in part, was this: At that speed, the notes were flying at me so fast, I no longer really had time to really read them, and unlike regular guitar playing, since my eyes were always fixed on the screen, looking down just screwed me up, because I'd never actually seen what I was playing or the chord shapes I was making.
What I did was, simply paused the game, looked down at my hand, and SLOWLY went through the whole riff a few times, until I felt like I comfortably had it under my fingers. From there, I progressed to 90% speed in 2 tries.....and then after a few tries on 90%, said "Screw this! I'll come back to it tomorrow!"
So as the topic says, you can't REALLY play it until you can play it while looking at your hand without messing up. I'm sure sight reading classical musicians might disagree, but we're talking about rawk here. ;)
GT: Billkwando Using Rock Band instruments on DTXMania (the Drummania/Guitar Freaks emulator): http://www.angelfire.com/nm/neogeoinserts/rbondtxmania.html
For starters I am not a professional musician, but I did attend music school and played an instrument for about 11 years, so it's safe to say I have some knowledge about music and music theory in general.
That being said... I have always treated sheet music (and the visual representation in Rocksmith as well) merely as a reference for learning the actual notes and the style they must be played in (be it legato with a hammer on or a pull off, a slide, a bend etc.). It means, I only look at the sheet (or screen) if I don't know what to play or how to play it. I suppose with all those years playing under my belt, my memory has gotten kinda good when it comes to remembering notes, so it only takes me a few tries (depends on how complicated a riff is, of course) to remember the notes I have to play. I can then look at my hands to make sure I play the correct notes and cord shapes. Or I can tease myself and look away or even close my eyes and see, how well I can play without looking at all.
Anyway, my advice is to exercise your memory and try to focus more on your hands if you're having trouble with your fingers playing exactly what you want them to play. As soon as you get the feel of the rhythm and memorize the notes, try not to look at the screen or music sheet anymore. It has benefits, trust me.
Yeah, I haven't really played guitar in about 10 years (not that I was all that good to begin with) but I just never had the coordination to do 2 things like that at once. I could never be a guitarist that sings...even if I had a singing voice, but that's another story all together. Anyway, I'm the same way where I need to see my hands doing the work, I just don't have that Jedi sense of watching the screen and moving around the frets with ease. I'll slow learn on screen, but eventually, I gotta see what I'm actually doing.