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Old 05-06-2013, 07:21 PM   #1
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How to get good?

Hey people,
This is a little embarrassing to ask... actually a lot embarrassing, but I have been playing guitar off and on for years (three years or so). Off and on because I always run into a wall that I feel as though I'm not getting any better, and I really don't know how. I really don't want to hit that wall again because I really love playing guitar, and I really like all genres of playing, metal being my favorite, I just wanna know what should I be practicing to get better? I know how to hold a guitar and play songs but I really don't know much about guitar theory or musical theory so... I guess I need to learn some of that, but I do not know where to get started or what to get started on.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:32 PM   #2
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do you have an iphone? download the apps "tenuto" and "theory lessons" which get you started and help you to actually excersize the knowledge.

as far as getting better, pick a song you want to play, and practice it. don't stop until you can play it perfectly, and if you learn what the guitarist was actually doing (i.e vibrato, bends, etc...) then you gain those skills.

Learn your scales, the pentatonic, minor pentatonic, major, and minor scales should get you started nicely. continuously practice these scales until you can play the notes without thinking about where your fingers need to go next,

Learn barre chords, there are a few different shapes but its an excelllent way to learn how to get the sound you want.

Idk, my two cents. in the end its a lot of time, patience, and practice that get you where you need to be. but always remember, 30 minutes of focused, on track practicing is far better than 3 hours of aimless noodling on the guitar.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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Yeh that's pretty much what I do, aimless noodle on my guitar for 3 hours at a time. Thanks for the reply, I kinda already know a series of barre chords and a few scales. But I will check out the apps, as for how my practicing should go I read somewhere that having a scheduled practice time is good, but is it?
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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The short answer: Practice as much as you can.

The long answer: Practice with a metronome and learn to keep in time, learn music theory in general, do finger and chord progression exercises to improve speed and accuracy, learn to bend in tune with the notes you are trying to hit, work to synchronize your picking hand and you fretting hand together (while keep time with the beat), memorize the notes on the fretboard and where they are so you know what you are playing.

That should do it.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:39 PM   #5
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Rad, I like the answer, thanks. Any other points or suggestions are still welcomed.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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try finding people to jam with, that'll improve your playing quickly.

make a goal of learning 100 songs or something. You naturally have to improve to make sure you play the songs well. then hit an open mic night for fun if you want.

it sounds like you just need application of all the practicing you are doing. 3 hours a day every day is a really healthy level of practicing. however practicing in and of itself isn't really fun all the time, you need something else to accomplish.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:48 PM   #7
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I also recommend jamming with people. Its a really good way to learn what other people know and trade things off and its also really nice having someone to learn something with or just jam with in general.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:21 PM   #8
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Train your ear. Learn tunes and licks you like by ear, and from other instruments as well. Music is not tailored to one instrument, play stuff that you like that was originally written for (for example) the piano on guitar. You don't have to learn from guitarists only to improve.

But yeah, your ear is the best thing you can work on. And working out tunes and stuff by ear will help you build your technique in the process.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:12 PM   #9
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Thanks guys, I appreciate the tips. I wish I could jam with someone, but I live in a small town and the only guitarists around here are some teachers I have at school, and they don't even live here. I hope to someday find some people to play with, maybe whenever I go to college/university. Thanks
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:09 PM   #10
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Many good suggestions. Also, try playing different styles of music than you're used to, and different instrument music. Example: you play rock guitar? Try figuring some jazz sax lines, they're much different phrasing and structure-wise. Try playing a few quick country licks. Different things can open your mind up to different ways of thinking, and sometimes looking at the same thing the same way all the time does nothing. You need to do something different.

Learn as many covers as you can. Perfectly. Rythmn, solos, bass line. These will add to your musical "vocabulary" and allow you to more easily compose and improvise when you can remember many different chord progressions, leads and fills.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.
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