Published Dec 20, 2013By the start of Week Two of the #rocksmith60 challenge, I decided to take a break from the Kinks and change it up by trying "War Ensemble" by Slayer, probably the hardest song in the default Rocksmith 2014 library, but despite being super fast, seemed like it would be really fun to play on Rhythm guitar setting. On the most basic level, it wasn't quite as hard as I was expecting: I got 76% accuracy (11.5% complete) right off the bat, which is better than I'd fared on some other songs first time around.
By the end of the third day of playing Slayer, however, I started coming a bit unravelled – the pick kept falling out of my fingers and I ended up falling behind, randomly trying to hit notes like a drunk guy taking blind swings at an opponent he can't quite see. At one point I also managed to break the bottom two strings — the B and E strings, right? — and had to visit the Exclaim! office to get some expert help with restringing it.
At this point my fingers are so cut and blistered they look like they would be more at home on a retired Sicilian farmer than a 30-something music journalist.
Rocksmith 2014 has a bunch of useful lessons on chord patterns or techniques that relate to each song, but you often need to retune your guitar to E Standard and then back again, which takes time. After a couple of these lessons I was up as high as 39.5% overall playing Slayer, which is the best I've done on any song so far. Although I have a suspicion I'll have to switch back to an easier song at some point I'm really enjoying the challenge for now.
Besides the freshly-forming calluses, another unfortunate side-effect of playing Rocksmith is I've come to expect applause and encouragement for minor accomplishments in everyday life. It's a bit disappointing not to hear "Nailed it!" or "Nice One!" when I make a killer cocktail at the bar I work at on weekends or hit a writing deadline.