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Old 05-15-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
fupashredder
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Angry 6 stagnant years. no progressing...

I have been playing for 5-6 years. mostly by myself. I have learned a good amount of theory and taken a few college classes. I have read hundreds of pages of free lessons online and watched hundreds of videos online, even "complete" courses. I have had three different guitar teachers and if you were to add all the private lessons i have done they would be around 20-30.

For some reason i just dont understand what the hell i am doing. 95% of the time I am just plucking strings and I never create things that i like. Even though I know more theory than most people, I never play with anyone else because I always feel inadequate. like i cant bring anything real to the table. like i lack creativity. It seems like everything that i have learned is pointless and i dont know how to use it correctly. All i ever seem to do is get stuck and just start playing minor scales or pentatonics in the same key over and over. Anytime i would go to a private lesson, it would be as if the teacher would just give me a very small fraction of what i really need to know(1/100000213142342135th). Like i need to see that teacher for 45 years and then I will say, "oh i get it now". there is one more teacher in my area that i am going to try who has a phd in music and plays electric guitar. I am so damn frustrated i feel like throwing my guitar into a brick wall.

It seems like either i havent grasped the concepts that i have learned, or my education is incomplete, or my brain is partially turned off. I am really hoping that i just havent learned enough. I just wish there was some place that would take someone from total noob to rediculous mastery level of the electric guitar without leaving a SINGLE THING OUT.
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Old 05-15-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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I'll be playing for 6 years in august. Have you jammed with other people? It helps a lot to have someone else to go off of.
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Old 05-15-2010, 06:51 PM   #3
fupashredder
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Originally Posted by Quantonyne
I'll be playing for 6 years in august. Have you jammed with other people? It helps a lot to have someone else to go off of.


not really. I dont feel like i have enough stuff to work with. the best way i can describe it is on family guy when peter and his crew start a band, they get all there gear and get up on stage in front of everyone and right as they are about to play peter says, "oh crap we dont know any songs" lol! thats the way i feel. same thing happens when anyone tries to get me to play anything. my brain just turns off and says, " nope, got nothin"....
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #4
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Can you improvise and play by yourself fine? Instead of backing out from jams why don't you put yourself in the spot and evaluate out of that jam what you really need to learn.

Why did you start playing guitar? I'll be honest with you, six years with no real exponential improvement maybe tells me that you aren't really into it or lack the creative drive to make music. You might love music but maybe it's not for you to play. Some people are more apt for some things over others.

But that's up to you. To me it seems you haven't found a motivation to really do it.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pillo114
Can you improvise and play by yourself fine? Instead of backing out from jams why don't you put yourself in the spot and evaluate out of that jam what you really need to learn.

Why did you start playing guitar? I'll be honest with you, six years with no real exponential improvement maybe tells me that you aren't really into it or lack the creative drive to make music. You might love music but maybe it's not for you to play. Some people are more apt for some things over others.

But that's up to you. To me it seems you haven't found a motivation to really do it.


I started playing guitar because I liked the sound of it. I have actually made a lot of progress, i just dont feel like its enough. i dont feel im at the level of understanding i should be. I can improvise on my own, but i only seem to follow patterns and shapes with no real understanding of what i am doing. I do have the motivation, i have played almost everyday since i started.

What i am really after is a better understanding of how music works. I need to know all the rules so i can break them with control. I need to "get the big picture" but dont know how to go about it.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:15 PM   #6
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I think the problem is that you're lacking a purpose to play/improve on the guitar. I'll take a guess and say that you know a lot of scales/licks and just noodle around with those by yourself. This is treating the guitar more like a tool to make noise than a musical instrument.

I think you should start learning chords and key theory, along with full songs within your skill range. As mentioned above, joining a band would also give you purpose. I personally think that if you're not writing and performing songs with your guitar, it's just a party trick and not very useful.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AlanHB
I think the problem is that you're lacking a purpose to play/improve on the guitar. I'll take a guess and say that you know a lot of scales/licks and just noodle around with those by yourself. This is treating the guitar more like a tool to make noise than a musical instrument.

I think you should start learning chords and key theory, along with full songs within your skill range. As mentioned above, joining a band would also give you purpose. I personally think that if you're not writing and performing songs with your guitar, it's just a party trick and not very useful.



I do know chords. i dont know what you mean by "key theory". isnt every guitar part of a song written by someone first noodling around by themselves?
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:36 PM   #8
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Exactly what Alan said.

And about knowing all the rules, how will that help? You could get a big book on music theory and learn the whole thing front to back but how are you going to start applying all that to making music? What do you do in your lessons anyways?

It's like in any sport, knowing all the player's stats, strategies, moves, etc won't make you good at actually playing and getting better at the sport. They definitely help, but in a more indirect way. Same thing with knowing the rules. You seem to be driven by all these things but lack the main bit, actually playing.

Just find a friend that plays any instrument and play together, who cares if what you come up with is crap, at least you'll know you have to fix it.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pillo114
Exactly what Alan said.

And about knowing all the rules, how will that help? You could get a big book on music theory and learn the whole thing front to back but how are you going to start applying all that to making music? What do you do in your lessons anyways?

It's like in any sport, knowing all the player's stats, strategies, moves, etc won't make you good at actually playing and getting better at the sport. They definitely help, but in a more indirect way. Same thing with knowing the rules. You seem to be driven by all these things but lack the main bit, actually playing.

Just find a friend that plays any instrument and play together, who cares if what you come up with is crap, at least you'll know you have to fix it.



this actually seems to be the answer i keep getting when i ask around. i guess i just need to sack up and find some people to play with.

but you say that even if i learned all of music theory how am i going to be able to apply it? i would guess the same way i learn to apply the theory that i know now. which is actually somewhat of a problem for me. a lot of the times i dont know how to apply what i do know about theory. or if i do try to apply it, just doesnt go together. liek i am missing peices to the puzzle.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fupashredder
this actually seems to be the answer i keep getting when i ask around. i guess i just need to sack up and find some people to play with.

but you say that even if i learned all of music theory how am i going to be able to apply it? i would guess the same way i learn to apply the theory that i know now. which is actually somewhat of a problem for me. a lot of the times i dont know how to apply what i do know about theory. or if i do try to apply it, just doesnt go together. liek i am missing peices to the puzzle.


Yeah, because you don't know how to apply it. Look at how theory works in some of your favourite songs and you'll clue on.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:00 PM   #11
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That's why you need to learn songs, or at least analyze them to figure out what they are doing and why they chose the particular set of chords or notes. You'll start realizing how everything intertwines together.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:26 PM   #12
fupashredder
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so basically i should:

1) start analyzing a bunch of songs that i like
2)start playing with other people

I can do that. What about continuing my theory education. I think im just one of those people who iehter wont ever be satisfied with my level of knowledge or it will take a lot of knowledge to satisfy. I dont quite know where to go to get real good(and complete!!!) info on theory. everywhere i go it seems like i have to start from scratch.
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:47 PM   #13
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You've probably just picked up bits here and there, theory really is no use unless you're playing songs anyway. Once you start playing them you'll understand how and why it all works.
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:29 AM   #14
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Jamming with other people is also a skill that needs to be developed.

It might seems silly.. but hear me out. When you take guitar lessons, you learn how to play. mostly for yourself to help encourage your learning and find what direction you want to take (it sounds like you're at this point.. deciding where to go)

From here, find someone that makes you want to play.. don't be concerned about what you're bringing to the table.. if you don't know what you have, you'll never find out by not going.

Develop your "jam" skills by playing with others the same way you develop your theory and technique skills by reading and repetition.
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fupashredder
I dont quite know where to go to get real good(and complete!!!) info on theory. everywhere i go it seems like i have to start from scratch.

Well it probably is a good idea to start from the basics. I have no idea what your current knowledge is or what type of things you'd like to learn.
Theory is a bunch of small concepts which build upon each other and can become more complex. Do you know how to harmonize a major scale (or at least the chord qualities for each scale degree?)

Learn some chord relations and how some chords pull to others like with cadences and such. You could base a song off of the chords or riffs like that. Also knowing how to make scales is really important too. Some of the best music uses tension and release a lot so knowing how they work together is helpful.

This forum can be a really good source of theory but it's a lot more helpful when you have specific things to ask about.

You could also try to improvise using other scales than the ones you always resort back to. Learning songs is a great way to take in different styles of playing.
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:00 AM   #16
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Playing in Key...substituting chords and notes that are not in the key to add flavor...

I know a dude who is damn good at guitar when it comes to covering satriani songs and things of the such. We were chillin one day and he said he can't really make songs and come up with his own shit. I told him I just play in Key and noodle around that way...he didn't even know what playing in Key meant. Then I showed him a bit. This was very recently. I need to get ahold of him and see how he is doing with it, if he took it to heart he should be making good progress and well on his way to writing his own material.
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:22 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by PattyCakes
Playing in Key...substituting chords and notes that are not in the key to add flavor...

I know a dude who is damn good at guitar when it comes to covering satriani songs and things of the such. We were chillin one day and he said he can't really make songs and come up with his own shit. I told him I just play in Key and noodle around that way...he didn't even know what playing in Key meant. Then I showed him a bit. This was very recently. I need to get ahold of him and see how he is doing with it, if he took it to heart he should be making good progress and well on his way to writing his own material.



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Some people bother so much about theory and other technical things that they have been playing a glorified version of guitar hero because they neglected to improve the most important part, the musical one.
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:53 AM   #18
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Okay, it seems like your at pretty much the same place I was a year ago, when I had played for about 4 years and knew loads of theory, but didn't really put it to good use. Anyways, there's a couple of things you can do to make your music more creative.

First of, TRANSCRIBING (=learning songs by ear). Really important to train your ear as it's pretty much the most important tool you have to make music and it helps you in so many ways that I can't believe how little it's discussed on the forums these days. If you want you can start with the ear trainers at www.musictheory.com first (they have interval, chord and scale ear trainers). Remember that it will probably be really frustrating at first (especially if you haven't done much ear training before), but it's worth it in the end!

Secondly, SONGWRITING. I didn't really understand how songwriting would help me progress until I wrote my first song, bu it really does. It's like you really have to use both your ear and your music theory and combine the too to make it sound good, just try it out and see if it's for you.

IMPROVISING WITH A PURPOSE. This will probably be quite hard in the beginning, but in the end it's worth it. There are (what I know of) two ways to do this: the first one is kinda using theory. You put on a backing track and you choose your notes based on the chords playing, like you would have A C E as your "safe" notes over and Am chord, but then again you wouldn't want to use only those as it would get boring so you have to add tension with other notes. The second way is just listening to the backing track with no guitar and try to hear a guitar solo that fits over it in your head and then try to transcribe it to the guitar, so this technique uses mostly your ear.

Then, lastly, JOINING A BAND. Loads of fun and you learn LOTS!

Also remember that theory is more like guidelines than rules anyway. And if you're comparing yourself to other guitarists, remember that you tend to see the positives in them and the negatives in yourself, pretty much every guitarist out there will know something you don't, but you will probably also know something they don't.

Hope I could help
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:23 AM   #19
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TS... you may just have to let go of your inner demons and just play... forget what you have learned and just write... the more you write.... the better you get. Of course, like everyone elsew, myself included... there is the propensity to write turds... when that happens, you just move on. Write often... and do your best to forget what you have learned in the past when you want to write something fresh. The same with solo's...

It sounds like you are really down when it comes to your playing... forgive yourself for whatever shit you think u have done and play... lol... play like there is no 2moro.

If need be, go to the phrasing thread and see if you can pick up any iinfo there that may help you.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fupashredder
I started playing guitar because I liked the sound of it. I have actually made a lot of progress, i just dont feel like its enough. i dont feel im at the level of understanding i should be. I can improvise on my own, but i only seem to follow patterns and shapes with no real understanding of what i am doing. I do have the motivation, i have played almost everyday since i started.

What i am really after is a better understanding of how music works. I need to know all the rules so i can break them with control. I need to "get the big picture" but dont know how to go about it.

You're in luck...somebody made you a TV show



Now if you've got absolutely no background in theory you may find it a little heavy going, if so it put it on the backburner and spend some time familiarising yourself with the basics first - learn the notes on your fretboard, learn about intervals , the major scale and chord construction. However it may make sense, in which case you may simply be able to familiaraise yourself with thigs as and when they appear in the show, and as always you can ask questions about anything that doesn't seem to make sense yet.
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