So I'm finding myself in a bit of a rut. I've been playing guitar for about 20 years now. I actually started learning piano when I was about 8 I think, and started reading music about that time so I know how to read sheet music pretty well and I also know music theory pretty well.

I took saxophone when I was about 11, and played in various bands and orchestras until I was about 22. I picked up the guitar (electric) when I was 18, and that's what actually stuck with me, I like it a lot, much better than sax for example, but I've never actually played guitar in a band, it's always been a 'just me' thing. I' m not bad, but I'm not good either. I've practiced various songs over the years and in the past few years I've been using my computer a lot to practice, making backing tracks in Reaper of various songs I like and practicing them. I certainly noticed that recording myself and listening to myself helped me identify my flaws a lot, and that helped me quite a bit...

I have an electric (LTD EC-401VF) and an Ovation electro-acoustic.

I just feel like I haven't been improving - technically - in a while now. Kind of like I plateau-ed and can't move forward. Part of it is that I don't always have a ton of time to practice, but I also think that maybe I haven't been going at it the right way. Maybe I'm just not very efficient in the way I practice. Maybe taking lessons would be a good idea, I just don't really have the time right now. Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe there is a great method out there, either book or DVD, which can help someone like me get to the next stage. I'm not really looking for blazing fast technique, I just feel like for some reason I don't get much improvement for the amount of time I practice and maybe I'm not doing something quite right.

I don't want to sound like a whiner who thinks that he should be able to play blazing fast licks after 20 minutes of light practice with minimal effort, that's not that at all, I used to practice all day when I was younger and playing the sax and play rather complicated stuff, I know the meaning of hard practice. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I feel like I hit a wall and I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to overcome it.

Thanks in advance...
Honestly, there's a lot of resources online for learning technique. It helps to have a teacher to observe your technique, but you could just film yourself playing and take note on any excess movements you make that could slow you down or maybe some particular motions that don't look smooth.

Also, remember that you want to make small precise motions rather than large sloppy motions, but you still want to be as relaxed as possible.

What level are you at in terms of formal guitar training? Are you entirely self-taught or have you taken classes or private lessons before?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Taken a few classes for the guitar, but mostly I've taken classes for saxophone or piano. So good for music education but of course didn't do anything for guitar technique.

I'm thinking of looking for a good method to learn fingerpicking as well as classical music (so two different methods). Any recommendations?

OK, I got a modern method for guitar by William Leavitt, apparently got great reviews, will check it out... and the acoustic guitar method by David Hamburger. Got to love libraries...
Last edited by OliveG at Jan 18, 2013,
A good series to check out is the Christopher Parkening Guitar Method.

So I'm assuming you have a basic understanding of theory?

Because honestly, learning theory/training your ear is one way to take your playing to the next level. Sure it won't directly make you more technical, but it does make learning songs way easier.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 18, 2013,
I've seen that one too and I'm very tempted, I'm just not sure if I should get the first volume or go straight to the next one. Are you familiar with it?
I'd say buy (or borrow, if you can) the first one. The second one won't be too advanced, but I definitely suggest following the sequence from the beginning, considering each new skill builds off of the previous skills.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea