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Paths (Guitar/Bass)

A 'path' is the term for how one uses their starpower or overdrive during a song. The correct usage of star power or overdrive in a song can significantly boost one's score, and thus knowledge of paths is crucial to high scores in GuitarHero or RockBand.

Though "path" refers to any usage of star power in a song, the term is most often used in reference to optimal paths, which lead to the highest possible scores.

Path Theory
The basic concept for pathing lies in the notes that one can activate star power over. The more notes that fall under an activation, the more points that one receives. In order to achieve this effect, one must find the best activation points that can gain the most points.

This leads to a rather complex problem, for sometimes the most straightforward path is not optimal. Sometimes purposely overlapping star power phrases leads to optimal scores; other times, not whammying to the fullest will lead to a higher score (by not overlapping a later star power phrase). Also, one generally must know ahead of time where it is best to use squeezing.

Most paths assume that the player gets an FC. However, sometimes it is useful to make an alternate path when a player cannot full combo a particular song.

Path Notation
Though there's never been an official declaration of proper path notation, a general consensus on path notation has formed over the years. Nowadays, many players have adopted the notation that debr5836 uses for his paths, since he is the foremost provider of optimal paths.

Text Notation

The most shorthand method of explaining a path, text notation is the most compact method. It also requires no image.

Basic text notation is a series of dash-delimited numbers (e.g., 2-3-2-1). Each number represents how many star power phrases to acquire before activating. These numbers can be augmented with some additional information:

* If there is a prefix 'C' (e.g., C2), it means the activation is 'compressed'. This means one of two things - either that one needs to hold off on whammying hold notes to their full value, or that one needs to activate immediately after acquiring the number of star power phrases designated.
* If there is a prefix 'S' (e.g. S1), it means that the previous activation 'skips' over a number of phrases.
* If there is a prefix 'ES' (e.g. ES1), it means the phrase is 'extra star power'. This star power phrase goes unused by the end of the song.

Some players postfix the numbers with a specific activation point. This is typically either "NN" (meaning next note - the note after the last phrase) or another number and the letters representing the note, meaning that you activate on the Nth version of that note. For example, (3Y) means you activate on the 3rd lone yellow note after the last phrase.

Text notation has difficulty displaying some of the more complex paths (such as purposely activating after a note but not squeezing, or when to activate within a hold).

Chart Notation

Charts are marked by shaded colors to denote what to do during a song. The colors are denoted thus:

* Green: Fully whammied star phrases
* Yellow: Unwhammied star phrases
* Blue: SP activation
* Purple: Squeeze
* Pink: Extra (or early) whammy

External Links
Bradleyzoo's Guitar Hero Paths

Category: CategoryTechniques

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