#1
So I've been playing about 7 years and have noticed that I have made very little progress in technicality than I should have for how much effort I have put into it. I probably have spent on average of an hour a day for the past 6 years on technique and am only able to play solos like the 2nd solo in Mr crowley and the No More Tears solo. I feel like should be able to be playing at least easier Dream Theatre stuff by now for how long I have worked on technique. I am feeling like maybe I should just focus on songwriting and forget being able to play technically advanced stuff (even though that is the stuff I would love to play).

Here is an example: I spent 3 days working on technique 2 hours a day. I focused on 3-note per string alternate picking ascending runs in various scales. After 3 days my speed increased about 10 BPM. A week later, after focusing on other stuff (but playing guitar about the same amount), I was back to where I started on 3 note per string alternate picking, like I regressed back and had to start all over again.
#2
Quote by psychosylocibin
I am feeling like maybe I should just focus on songwriting and forget being able to play technically advanced stuff (even though that is the stuff I would love to play).


Never give up on your goals (unless you can honestly say that what is important to you has changed over the time). That said, songwriting is uber important, and you need to work on that in addition to your technique. Songwriting is figuring out what you want to say, technique is having the vocabulary to say it. One without the other is a really bad, frustrating state of affairs.

To me, the single hardest thing about learning to play guitar, is learning how to practice effectively. I've been playing for 16, almost 17 years, and really feel that it's only these last couple of years that I've started having a better idea of how to practice. It's quite possible that when I've been playing 19 years, that I will still feel that the last two years from that point where when I started figuring it out, but I do feel confident that I've got a better handle on it now than I did a few years ago.

Anyway, a couple of things I noticed from your post. First of all, it sounds a bit like you're going on blind faith - like "if I work really hard on these alt picked 3nps runs, then something good will happen". You need to reverse the order of the reasoning - first decide what you want to achieve, then decide on what exercies to do in order to help you get there. So, you mentioned wanting to be able to play the easier dream theater stuff. That sounds like a good place to start. Pick a song that even though it's a little beyond your current ability, is not completely out of reach. If none of the easier dt stuff fits the bill, find something in between that and the stuff you are currently able handle. Then make a commitment that you will work on this very hard until you can play it as well as you possibly can. Then get to work, learning each part slow, then after a while building the speed up. The difficulties you encounter will dictate what you should be practicing. The process is pretty much - 1) Try to do something. 2) Fail. 3) Figure why you failed. 4) Work on those things. 5) Try again. 6) Fail again, but for different reasons. 7) ...you get the idea. So, I'm wondering why the hell it took me so long to figure this out when it's so simple....

Next thing I noticed from your post - you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. Don't waste time worrying about what you "should" be able to play at your stage. Set goals for yourself and spend all your energy working to achieve those, and don't worry about that other stuff.

Finally about maintaining progress. This is a good question, especially if you are working on a complex song containing a lot of material that all needs improving. In the example you gave, 3 days is probably not quite enough time to lock in the improvements you made. Here's how I approach this. Every Sunday, I will take stock of where I am at progressing towards my goals. I will identify the area that I think is the weakest. I will call that my primary focus for the week, and I will practice that everyday for a good 30-45 mins. But I also have a slot in my practice schedule for what I call my secondary focus. What I do with that slot varies, but it is essentially time for maintaining/continuing to improve primary focuses of the past. Sometimes I will use it for a lesser area of weakness and switch it out every 3 days or so, other times just rotate through other parts. I will spend another 30-45 mins on this. The rest of my practice time I use for stretching, warm up, rhythm, playing the whole song that I am working on in whatever state I have it, and ear training. I also have a couple of 5 min slots for working on transitions, since this is a totally underrated skill, and how good you are at going from one part to another massively affects how tight the song will sound.

Anyway, I'm about out of words. Best of luck!
#3
^

Quote by psychosylocibin
I spent 3 days working on technique 2 hours a day. I focused on 3-note per string alternate picking ascending runs in various scales. After 3 days my speed increased about 10 BPM. A week later, after focusing on other stuff (but playing guitar about the same amount), I was back to where I started on 3 note per string alternate picking, like I regressed back and had to start all over again.


Well, you only acheived that speed on the third day of a 3 day practice regime. Why does that suprise you? You need to be playing something for weeks before your muscles can remember it flawlessly, if you practiced it flawlessly in the first place.

Go to the first link in my sig and check all the relevant sections. It has collected answers and solutions from many similar threads.
#4
Quote by psychosylocibin
So I've been playing about 7 years and have noticed that I have made very little progress in technicality than I should have for how much effort I have put into it. I probably have spent on average of an hour a day for the past 6 years on technique and am only able to play solos like the 2nd solo in Mr crowley and the No More Tears solo. I feel like should be able to be playing at least easier Dream Theatre stuff by now for how long I have worked on technique. I am feeling like maybe I should just focus on songwriting and forget being able to play technically advanced stuff (even though that is the stuff I would love to play).

Here is an example: I spent 3 days working on technique 2 hours a day. I focused on 3-note per string alternate picking ascending runs in various scales. After 3 days my speed increased about 10 BPM. A week later, after focusing on other stuff (but playing guitar about the same amount), I was back to where I started on 3 note per string alternate picking, like I regressed back and had to start all over again.

Be patient, the kind of improvement you're looking for takes place over months and years, not days.
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