Bends can get bent, and other Rocksmith-isms.

More of a rant than a legit post, really. I’m still struggling with the bends 101 lesson. I’m at 93.5% completion, but the back tracking is constant.  What’s frustrating about that, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the bends themselves; it’s Rocksmith. Or, it seems to be Rocksmith.  I’ve noticed that the program seems to want me to barely press the strings at all to register notes. The trouble with that is that it’s registering notes when there’s literally no sound coming out of the guitar. I get a buzzy little barely there pluck that the human ear can’t even barely hear, and that sounds like shit when you can hear it, and Rocksmith says ‘awesome! great job!’  But when I actually press the string hard enough to get a clean sound (which is not too hard – it’s not like I’m muscling the strings or anything, but you know harder than barely touching them) Rocksmith doesn’t register the note, tells me I’m in the wrong place, etc.

I’ve tested this with my mini-amp. And, it does seem that this is a uniquely Rocksmith thing. Press the strings as lightly as Rocksmith wants me to when plugged into the amp and all I get is a barely audible, sick sounding little pluck, or at best, an awkward buzz. Press them a little harder and I can get, you know, an actual sound.

This is proving immensely frustrating, because as useful as Rocksmith is for me – giving me some different things to do, lessons about things I wouldn’t have thought about – frankly, making me ask myself (and the internet) questions I would never have thought to ask in the first place, on a very basic level this seems like a major flaw. The program seems to be training me to play guitar in a way that doesn’t actually make sound, which is immensely perplexing and frustrating.

So I start off warming up with the mini amp and some chords and general fiddling around, making actual sounds, and then I move onto Rocksmith, and have to lighten up the pressure by 50% to get anywhere, while, if I played with the amp with that same pressure, I wouldn’t be able to make the note sound.

As a beginner, I know it’s very common to press strings too hard. I absolutely thought that must be what I was doing before I got the mini amp. After all, Rocksmith was giving me grief about it. But, now that I have the amp, a very different reality seems to be unfolding, and one I’m not really sure how to work with. Rocksmith is insanely sensitive to any pressure at all on the strings.  (I’m having similar issues with Harmonics Heist, where I can do them pretty well most of the time with the amp, but trying to execute them in rocksmith is…well, 50/50, which is, I suppose, better than the bends lesson, at least.

To be this close to completion on this lesson, and also getting nowhere, is extremely annoying.  I know I’m doing things wrong. I’m a beginner, of course I’m doing things wrong. And one day I’m going to wake up and go ‘oooh! that!’ and probably look back at this entry and think I’m an idiot, but I really can’t make sense of it – how my amp requires one pressure just to issue sound, and then I turn around to rocksmith and the silly program is telling me I’m in the wrong spot, that I’m pressing way too hard! Surely, you don’t have to press strings with different amounts of pressure depending on what you happen to be plugged into…right?

Until next time, still bending strings, 101 style, much to my disdain.

2 thoughts on “Bends can get bent, and other Rocksmith-isms.

  1. I have the older edition of Rocksmith, but I only played it maybe 4-5 times, and that was like 2 or 3 years ago. But, there might be settings in the game that you can play with to control sensitivity. Also, I don’t know if this would help, but try adjusting the volume on the guitar as well. Maybe the signal its sending is too strong?


    1. They claim it’s a guitar intonation problem, which is nonsense, but whatever. It just takes a bit of learning how the program thinks. It’s not perfect, but getting a guitar ‘report card’ of sorts on lessons helps.

      I’m told the older version of Rocksmith was good at saying ‘bad’ but not giving you any clues at what was bad about it. But, there are certain advantages to having a sort of interactive syllabus that you can then supplement with related articles and lessons online. It gives a solid sense of direction. For a total beginner that’s worth a bit of quirky programming.


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