Born to be wild – how to break a guitar

As I may have mentioned before I like guitar games 🙂 Rocksmith has been a great advance and forms part of many of the talks I give including the one I will be giving a week today at BCS Hampshire as part of the Animation and Games development specialist groups events.
Last week I dived back into Rocksmith as some new DLC arrived in the form of Steppenwolf “Born to be wild”. As I tweeted at the time this felt like a circle was complete. Born to be wild was one of the tunes in the original Quest For Fame guitar game. It featured in an amusing encore where a very gruff knuckle dragging cartoon character shouts at you “PLAY STEPPENWOLF!!!!” and you then launch into a tennis racquet strumming rendition. One of those video game phrases that has become part of some of our vocabulary.

There are 3 new songs in the DLC, Born to be wild is in the middle of this video 🙂
Now of course this is for real guitar not plastic buttons or cricket bats. It would appear though that my poor old Fender Squire (a cheap version of a Stratocaster) had had enough though. It was starting to wander out of tune after every song and felt a bit funny. Then there was a loud shattering noise and it sort of exploded. After 23 years the inner metal parts seemed to have given up the ghost.
Corroded gubbins on 23 year old cheap strat
The whammy bar nut sheared but also many of the parts holding the strings in place were none too happy either. It was a sad moment but these things happen. I pondered buying a more expensive guitar replacement, but thought instead I would pop down to Argos (of all places) and get another cheap(isn) fender. So came back with this
Shiny new fender starcaster for #rocksmith
Now I know a bad workman always blames his tools but my old guitar was actually making life a lot more difficult for me. I had forgotten that about 20 years ago ( in its 23 year life) the string guide at the top of the neck had broken. I went and got a new piece from a proper guitar shop but it was a bit to large. As I was only tinkering I thought it would be ok but it meant all the strings were a lot higher from the fret board then they should have been. (It should have been cut or filed down but I dind’t have anything that would deal with it.) This meant extra pressure and fraction of a second extra time to push strings down.
The new guitar now feels amazing, even for a £99 one. The strings were much lower any chord changes just flowed a little better. As it was a similar style of guitar everything else was pretty much the same. This change was instantly measurable too. As Rocksmith is scoring your work too there was a noticeable uplift. I still can’t play really properly but I am getting closer 🙂
So it does pay to have something decent to use as a tool for the job, but equally working with what you have makes you appreciate improvements more.

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