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Bass


Yes, that's right, Guitar Hero World Tour included a Bass career, something of a mis-step by Harmonix with Rock Band (which they are thankfully rectifying with Rock Band 2). The general consensus seems to be that bass is just far too simple/easy/boring to warrant having it's own career, but that just isn't true. Bass, and only bass, gets the addition of the much desired open notes. An open note is essentially a note that you play without holding a fret, so all you do is strum in time. The open note is displayed exactly like the bass pedal for the drums, a purple line stretching all the way across the fretboard. Anything you can do with a normal note, you can do with the open note, including earn star power and play HOPOs. All I have got to say is have fun with the open notes on Tool’s "Parabola", I seriously almost failed.

We didn't have a good image of bass, so here's the new Band Streak!I played a lot of bass the first day I was testing this out, and the open notes are definitely going to be the thing that is really going to stand out to bass players and will make it so even the most experienced guitarists might want to at least give bass a go every now and then. Having the extra 6th note really does force you to go back to basics and learn a whole new input, and it really took me back to way back in Guitar Hero 1 when I was first learning the Orange button. You can really feel the gears and cogs (or neurons for those of you who are not robots) in your brain reorganizing themselves to assimilate this new visual stimulus and different muscle memory action. And boy will you need to take your brain back to basics, at least to learn it initially - not only is it hard to recognize the new note when it appears in complex patterns, having a note where you take all your hands off the guitar can affect things like losing your place on the guitar when you do return it, especially if you need to bring it back into a different position based on the notes (G - open - O is just brutal the first few times even at absurdly low BPMs). I sat down to my very first game of GHWT and took bass and selected 'expert' just by habit, and the song was System of a Down's "B.Y.O.B.", which is very fast notes and liberal use of open notes interspersed all throughout with lots of funky double time rhythms, and the result was a fail at 6% into the song (twice in a row, I had to drop down to hard to get through it). Next song we played was "Hey Man, Nice Shot" by Filter and that song has these crazy long hopo chains (10-20 notes?) that are basically just simple low BPM triplets of open-R-Y, a totally easy pattern if its G-R-Y-G-R-Y-G-R-Y, etc but change all the green to open and you have to really think for a while to wrap your head around the timings (quick crutch: strum every open note and hammer on the other two). Another song I played was "Sweet Home Alabama", the open notes there are used regularly but in a much less evil way, though even with a 'simple' open note you have to think of things you never had to do before. In the case of the classic Skynyrd tune, there was a lot of a lot G-Y sustains that basically ran directly into an open note - I'm so used to always fretting my hands to push down on a note and then strumming to hit fast transitions, that to have to let go of a note (the sustain) and then strum was a new feeling, as a crutch I was basically letting go of the sustain well before the end in order to get myself ready for the open note.

Of the songs I played on bass (at least 20 or so?) "B.Y.O.B." was definitely the hardest, and I played a few of the other probably-tough guitar songs such as "Hot For Teacher", "Assassin", "Satch Boogie", "Mr. Crowley" and "Crazy Train", (the Dream Theater song wasn't available to play), and not a one of them was as bad a mind-screw as "B.Y.O.B.". Even at the end of the day after I had gotten fairly comfortable with open notes and nabbed a few FCs on some easier songs, I went back to try and take on "B.Y.O.B." again, and made it as far as 40% or so before failing! I guess I still need more practice!

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