Here’s a new bit of Guest blog writing for the excellent Effects Bay
Enjoy, and good luck!
Rocksmith and Guitar Hero. Both great fun, both help with your development as a guitarist (to differing extents)! So why do you still need a real Guitar teacher, giving you real lessons in person?
Well, some aspects of Guitar-based computer games are bang on the money. But others are about as close to real-life playing and performing as FIFA ’14 is to actually playing in a World Cup final. Ultimately you’re limited by what has been pre-programmed into the system, and you’re developing within systems of Artificial Intelligence, not real life, with feedback from a real person.
Passing the ball to a team-mate on FIFA may well be very simple, but what button do you press when you’re walking down the tunnel at half-time and want to pick up the football and bounce it alongside you like a basketball?
I don’t discourage at all the use of computer games, it’s great that something like Rocksmith has come along, a Guitar game based more on skill and reality than Guitar Hero (which it has to be said is also brilliant fun!) But ultimately it works on frequencies sent down wires. It can’t “see” you, or your posture, or how you hold your pick, or what pedals you’re using when. Nor can it understand you as a personality, or stop you from trying to advance too soon, or resting on laurels. It can’t spot bad habits, or tailor anything to you. Nor can it really pass on any genuine wisdom, it can only test you on its own pre-determined means of all-purpose technique. Thus the length of time it keeps you engaged is probably about the same as any other computer game.
If you can manage to navigate around the distraction of cats making cocktails and a Japanese football team’s physiotherapist scoring from the car park, there’s about 5 lifetimes’ worth of Guitar backing tracks to get to grips with. There being such an array of backing tracks to choose from gives the some great opportunities.
You can practise a variety of styles, changing your entire musical canvas with a single click.
The first 4 (of 1,010,000) results for a search of “Guitar backing tracks” are “Power Ballad”, “Smooth Jazz”, “Blues” and “Hard Rock”.
One fantastic thing you can find by searching “<song name> guitar backing track” is either a backing track of that song minus guitar and vocals, or sometimes minus guitar but with original vocals intact. This is brilliant for practising in context and great fun too.
So Guitarists, don’t take YouTube and its backing tracks for granted! Make the most of it, and use it to help you practise, improve and have fun. It’s only 10-15 years ago that you’d have had to spend £20 on a CD and book containing the tab and backing tracks for a handful of songs by one specific band. Now, thanks to YouTube and other sites, just about everything you need as a developing guitarist is completely free!
….Except one-to-one lessons of course. For those you’ll have to contact us!