Tactile guitar cues applied with tape embosser

I’ve been playing Rocksmith a lot, lately, and the “Ducks” minigame has me moving up and down the length of the fretboard pretty quickly and pretty accurately, now, without looking.  But I’m still concerned my 30-something reflexes will never be able to keep up with the obsessive Japanese preteens I just know are monopolizing the top ten spots on the leaderboard.

Not without an edge, that is.

This trick—using a Dymo embosser to put tactile indicators on the backside of the neck—works pretty well. At least so far as the physical hack itself, goes: The labels are cheap, don’t look awful, stick firmly even after a lot of use, and yet can be removed easily enough without damaging the neck or its finish. In use, they index against the thumbpad on the fretting hand.

The strips are centered behind each of the “dotted” frets: three, five, seven, nine, and 12. Originally, I embossed the corresponding number characters into the tapes, but found in practice that my thumb cannot really feel the difference between a “5” and a “3.” But this ternary scheme (using capital letters “O,” dashes, and a single blank strip of tape at the seventh fret) works pretty well. These are easily distinguishable by touch. So far it hasn’t made too much difference, in practice, but I think in the long run it will.

So look out, IEatzBilletzNomNomNom.  I am coming for you.