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Old 05-22-2013, 10:49 AM   #1
Slashdalegend
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Overcoming limitations

I have never been able to play the middle of the guitar solo in Sweet Child O' Mine, the infamous 'fast' part and I have been playing guitar casually for about 7 years now.

I am by no means a bad player, but I am certainly not a great player and as far as my own playing goes, I cannot shred to save my life, and have never been able to play anything that requires too much speed, but for slow to moderate tempo stuff, I can play quite intricate stuff.

What is the best way to overcome this guitar 'roadblock' in my playing? I feel like if I was able to play this riff, my guitar playing would have reached a level I never thought I could get to. Ironically, Sweet Child O' Mine was the reason I started to play guitar all those years ago and it annoys me that no matter how much I slow it down and practice it, I can never comfortably play it at full tempo.

Is this the limitation of my playing or can hard work overcome this? If so, any tips would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Slashdalegend

Ironically, Sweet Child O' Mine was the reason I started to play guitar all those years ago and it annoys me that no matter how much I slow it down and practice it, I can never comfortably play it at full tempo.




If you're still uncomfortable after slowing it down many times, maybe it's not so much a practice but more a technique issue. That being said, you could always shoot a video of yourself playing the solo, post it, and some people here might be able to spot certain technical flaws. Also, recording yourself from time to time is a great way to keep track of the progress you have made.

Oh, also: Ever considered getting some lessons from a good teacher?
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Last edited by My Last Words : 05-22-2013 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
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I second a good teacher.

You may want to look at your right hand picking technique. I did and found out that I was anchoring and tense, after I stopped anchoring, it took quite some time, I was able to progress MUCH faster. Ultimately, you should have enough dexterity in both hands and feel completely relaxed when you are playing.
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Old 05-22-2013, 03:23 PM   #4
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hey man,

ok, first off, it's actually normal. The solo doesn't presents major difficulties for someone with a good technique, and presents very few difficulties for someone with a rock-solid technique. But for someone without a solid technique, it isn't the easiest solo.

The answer is in what you said/wrote: ''I have been playing guitar casually''

Here's the reality.....Slash didn't play guitar casually. (I personally think he's a great rock guitar player). Slash committed himself to be an effective guitar player, over the long term. Maybe he hasn't been as disciplined as some others , maybe he could have got there much sooner, but he certainly is no 'casual' player. That means that he made most probably some kind of focused, daily effort to learn and to improve on something.

The problem is this: you are trying to catch a fish, but the real answer lies in knowing how to fish, at anytime, anywhere. And that, unfortunately, in the case of playing an instrument well, comes only with building a solid technique.

Being 'on the other side of the pond' I can say that Slash's solo is actually far from obvious (unless one has very solid technique), and the short answer why, is because it has great phrasing, even in the fast legato bit. This is why it's tricky to pull off unless you have a very good ear. So that brings us to the topic of training your ear too, and again, that comes with playing a wider range of stuff.

The absolute best way is to learn to read the tabs where all the values of the notes are shown. I don't know if you read a little music, if you don't , I highly suggest Troy Stetina's 'Lead guitar vol. 1', you'll learn to read at quite an advanced level, if you practice a little everyday.

Why am I being such a pain about reading music? Because once you learned to do that, there's really nothing you cannot learn to play, which, like a loop, will stimulate you to learn more. From then on it will be easy to just find an accurate transcription of Slash's solo and learn to play it pretty much note perfect.

The other benefit is that you'll understand the music from inside out. One thing is to play 'connecting a few dots' and one is to really understand what you are playing. Few can do that and this is really what separates the men from the boys.

I am not saying it must be a butt-busting job, or practicing for hours everyday, not at all. Just a little focused practice, but everyday.

In music, it's all a loop. Whatever single effort you make to learn something you don't know, will have a ripple effect with everything you play.

So, to recap: leave the Slash solo out for now, there's no point in frustrating yourself, you can get back to it in the future. Build a solid technique. To be more specific, practice legato-type licks on pentatonic and minor scales. Learning easier blues solos will also help tremendously. The Stetina book will give really solid foundations for reading music and all else.

As you can see, there isn't one thing to do. Thinking that there is one thing, one secret, is a major fallacy. I made that mistake years ago.

It's a combination of various skills, like I said before. If someone else did it, you can do it too. The key is knowing what to do, and doing it.

Last edited by harmony_melody_ : 05-22-2013 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:26 PM   #5
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Which part is the fast part? There's a part near the end where Slash is just shredding nonsense, but frankly, I wouldn't even bother learning it because it's bordering on poor musicianship.

If you want to take on technically challenging music, pick something that's bit more musical. Learning something with clear musical patterns will help you step up to solid technique much more effectively. Look for fun, interesting music by people whose reputations are built on their musicianship rather than their personality.

And, as was pointed out, there really is sort of a limit to your development as a "casual" player. Even if you don't have much time to invest, putting some planning and focus on that time will help you make the most of it, and make "serious" playing a more realistic goal.

Last edited by cdgraves : 05-22-2013 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves

If you want to take on technically challenging music, pick something that's bit more musical. Learning something with clear musical patterns will help you step up to solid technique much more effectively. Look for fun, interesting music by people whose reputations are built on their musicianship rather than their personality.



I'll take Slash - hat or not - over any generic tom hess-ish player any day, if you know what I mean
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by My Last Words
I'll take Slash - hat or not - over any generic tom hess-ish player any day, if you know what I mean


never heard of the guy.

I find Slash's playing extremely generic. Mostly pentatonics and basic classic rock melodies. He's not bad by any means, but his fame far exceeds his musicianship when you look at other seriously accomplished guitarists. If someone is looking to classic rock for guitar stuff, there are plenty of more cogent, musical players whose solos demonstrate a clear understanding of harmony and melody. Slash is fine and all, but his playing really doesn't touch the musical depth that you hear with many less famous players.

I mean, if you think Slash is awesome and you want to sound like Slash, go for it. But nobody else is gonna wear that tophat.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
never heard of the guy.

I find Slash's playing extremely generic. Mostly pentatonics and basic classic rock melodies. He's not bad by any means, but his fame far exceeds his musicianship when you look at other seriously accomplished guitarists. If someone is looking to classic rock for guitar stuff, there are plenty of more cogent, musical players whose solos demonstrate a clear understanding of harmony and melody. Slash is fine and all, but his playing really doesn't touch the musical depth that you hear with many less famous players.

I mean, if you think Slash is awesome and you want to sound like Slash, go for it. But nobody else is gonna wear that tophat.


Melodically Slash is one of the best players around I think. His phrasing and style is really unique and you instantly recognise it. I think that is the key feature of a real good player.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
never heard of the guy.


I mean, if you think Slash is awesome and you want to sound like Slash, go for it. But nobody else is gonna wear that tophat.


Oh, I don't find him that awesome at all. I was merely making the comparison between the fact that on one hand you have players like Slash, and then on the other hand you have tons and tons of players with a very strong musical basis - who still tend to be extremely generic.

Check the Tom Hess guy out, he knows his theory pretty well, has flawless technique and he has lessons all over UG. But his playing is straight up boring (And he's really full of himself as well)



I mean, I love shred but this guy is just atrocious. Ah well, I guess we're all entitled to our own opinions.. Each to his own mate
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
never heard of the guy.

I find Slash's playing extremely generic. Mostly pentatonics and basic classic rock melodies. He's not bad by any means, but his fame far exceeds his musicianship when you look at other seriously accomplished guitarists. If someone is looking to classic rock for guitar stuff, there are plenty of more cogent, musical players whose solos demonstrate a clear understanding of harmony and melody. Slash is fine and all, but his playing really doesn't touch the musical depth that you hear with many less famous players.

I mean, if you think Slash is awesome and you want to sound like Slash, go for it. But nobody else is gonna wear that tophat.


Generic?

What I like about slash is hes all by ear like jimi hendrix and jimmi page. these guitarist stand the test of time. And they are some of the founders of this Generic sound you speak off. which isnt generic at all really. This is why they are so famous. They were some of the most original bands out there.

Thats one thing I hate to hear...someone who acknowledge the evolution of Rock n rock...And music in general really.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:37 AM   #11
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Yeah, this is like saying Black Sabbath sounds too cliche
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #12
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Slash isn't anywhere close being a "founder" of the pentatonic guitar solo. Don't get me wrong, he's a solid player, but the other two you mentioned blow him out of the water completely. There are more instructive players out there you could learn from if you're going to learn famous guitar solos.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:39 AM   #13
Zhu Xiong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmony_melody_
hey man,

ok, first off, it's actually normal. The solo doesn't presents major difficulties for someone with a good technique, and presents very few difficulties for someone with a rock-solid technique. But for someone without a solid technique, it isn't the easiest solo.

The answer is in what you said/wrote: ''I have been playing guitar casually''

Here's the reality.....Slash didn't play guitar casually. (I personally think he's a great rock guitar player). Slash committed himself to be an effective guitar player, over the long term. Maybe he hasn't been as disciplined as some others , maybe he could have got there much sooner, but he certainly is no 'casual' player. That means that he made most probably some kind of focused, daily effort to learn and to improve on something.

The problem is this: you are trying to catch a fish, but the real answer lies in knowing how to fish, at anytime, anywhere. And that, unfortunately, in the case of playing an instrument well, comes only with building a solid technique.

Being 'on the other side of the pond' I can say that Slash's solo is actually far from obvious (unless one has very solid technique), and the short answer why, is because it has great phrasing, even in the fast legato bit. This is why it's tricky to pull off unless you have a very good ear. So that brings us to the topic of training your ear too, and again, that comes with playing a wider range of stuff.

The absolute best way is to learn to read the tabs where all the values of the notes are shown. I don't know if you read a little music, if you don't , I highly suggest Troy Stetina's 'Lead guitar vol. 1', you'll learn to read at quite an advanced level, if you practice a little everyday.

Why am I being such a pain about reading music? Because once you learned to do that, there's really nothing you cannot learn to play, which, like a loop, will stimulate you to learn more. From then on it will be easy to just find an accurate transcription of Slash's solo and learn to play it pretty much note perfect.

The other benefit is that you'll understand the music from inside out. One thing is to play 'connecting a few dots' and one is to really understand what you are playing. Few can do that and this is really what separates the men from the boys.

I am not saying it must be a butt-busting job, or practicing for hours everyday, not at all. Just a little focused practice, but everyday.

In music, it's all a loop. Whatever single effort you make to learn something you don't know, will have a ripple effect with everything you play.

So, to recap: leave the Slash solo out for now, there's no point in frustrating yourself, you can get back to it in the future. Build a solid technique. To be more specific, practice legato-type licks on pentatonic and minor scales. Learning easier blues solos will also help tremendously. The Stetina book will give really solid foundations for reading music and all else.

As you can see, there isn't one thing to do. Thinking that there is one thing, one secret, is a major fallacy. I made that mistake years ago.

It's a combination of various skills, like I said before. If someone else did it, you can do it too. The key is knowing what to do, and doing it.


I'd just like to say, this really helped me out massively. As a beginner, reading this and realising there's a lot more to learn than just playing the guitar had given me a wider look on playing. I'm glad i read it It's helped me before even starting. I had never really thought that my technique would be as much as a hinderence as it obviously is when trying to play. I honestly don't know if my technique is right, or good, or what it's doing to me, so i will definitely have to look into this.

I will probably try out the book you suggested too. I used to read a little music back in college but i've forgotten most of what i learned already. It shouldn't be too hard to pick back up, and it's one of the things i've always wanted to be able to do; read music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
Which part is the fast part? There's a part near the end where Slash is just shredding nonsense, but frankly, I wouldn't even bother learning it because it's bordering on poor musicianship.

If you want to take on technically challenging music, pick something that's bit more musical. Learning something with clear musical patterns will help you step up to solid technique much more effectively. Look for fun, interesting music by people whose reputations are built on their musicianship rather than their personality.

And, as was pointed out, there really is sort of a limit to your development as a "casual" player. Even if you don't have much time to invest, putting some planning and focus on that time will help you make the most of it, and make "serious" playing a more realistic goal.


I would hazard a guess at either the progression around the 4 minute mark, or the flutter around 4:30.

To be honest, i don't want to turn this thread into some kind of war between everybody with sense and you, but calling Slash generic is literally one of the most ridiculous things i have ever witnessed in my 22 years of living. Slash is one of the founders of this style of playing. Slash is part of where this all began. Guns N Roses are part of where this all began. He is one of the key guitar players in history that changed the sound of music for the better. There is nothing other than genius and originality behind what he does.

And, i think you'll find, the 'shredding' at the end of Sweet Child O' Mine was actually improvisation and a very good one to be fair. Not many guitarists can improvise a solo like that and make it fit with the song as well as work as a whole.

I hope i wasn't offensive in any way, because it really wasn't my intention. I just wanted to defend the honour of Slash, because he deserves everybody's respect and acknowledgment of his accomplishments in music.
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Last edited by Zhu Xiong : 05-24-2013 at 08:41 AM.
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