I do a lot of one string solos because I'm not talented enough to move up and down the fret board and I think i make some pretty good sounding solos on one string, I incorporate two strings a lot as well but that's easy, but is it unskillful or is it okay? and another thing I forgot to mention. I also like to play heavy metal, so.... is playing one fret chords unskillful as well? if you don't know what I mean, imagine Drop C or Drop D and then you just play the first three strings one fret to make the chord, anyways, I do this for rhythm and I was wondering if it was okay to do this, because I want to join a band but i don't want them to think I suck because I play one or two string solos and one fret chords.
Last edited by Who Sh0t Ya HxO at Feb 3, 2009,
this shouldn't be in this forum. but I'll help you out anyways.

basically, start practicing using all the strings. it will just make you more versatile.

playing barred power chords is in no way bad. and a lot of bands do that. I believe that limiting yourself to just those is absurd however.

and playing a whole solo would be insanely hard to play on just one string if you want it to sound interesting.
so work with yourself and improve. what you're doing isn't wrong so to say but you are definitely building a wall around yourself as a guitarist. and you can't just walk through a wall.
...Nothing you've ever...
...Planned on ever turned out...
...The way you planned...

...You're still disappointing them...
it IS unskillfull
and it IS wrong to be unskillfull,
and dont join a band before YOU know that u don't suck
It's NOT "unskillful" - it's just "limiting".

If you like what you do on one string and it sounds good, don't let anyone ever tell you that you "need" to do it differently. "More strings" doesn't necessarily equal "better than", and there are many people that play weak and unimaginative stuff on all strings, so that's not the issue per se.

"Skill" in the sense of technicality or complexity is not something that you should consider for its own sake. The only skill you really need is just the skill to make good music. Good music can be made on one string.

However, I did say that it is indeed somewhat limiting. There are just some things that are practically impossible to play on a one-string set (just as there are some things that are not suited for playing on several strings). If you only can play on one string, you are limited in your ability to express the music you want to create, as there are many more possibilites of music on several strings, that you miss out on. If you don't care for that, no problem, but most people strive for maximum versatility.
Imagine a painter that could only paint with the color blue. Doesn't mean that he can't create nice pictures in blue, but what if someday he wanted to do something with red and green ?

Single-String playing is not "bad" in any way, there are lots of valuable things you can learn from it (like how to create melodies along the whole neck without being stuck in some pattern boxes), it makes for great technical exercises and has some fairly unique modes of expression (like sliding and bending to give your sound a unique flavor).

This is what's called "horizontal" playing. You move left or right along the neck but your hand doesn't move much up or down across the strings.

The opposite of this is obviously "vertical" playing, you may also call this position-playing. Your hand is relatively "locked" in a space of about 3-4 frets and primarily moves up and down the strings (facilitated by the unique tuning of the guitar).
What you can do with this is pretty obvious. Because the neck is much longer than wide, you'd need far more large jumps if you wanted to play a "big" interval than if you simply stayed in one position. Consider you played an open E. To play the octave E, you'd need to jump all the way up to the 12th fret. If you'd just played the octave on the 2nd fret D-string, you'd need no jump at all and your hand can stay in the same first position. Obviously for this you'd need to learn how to play several strings consecutively reliably and acurately. But that is not a hard skill to master, if you spend some concentrated practice effort, and it will greatly help your playing (and, as said above, broaden your possibilites for expression).

How to practice that ? Just take some of the most favorite "position" boxes, like the pentatonic, the minor and major scale and some modes. You probably have come across tabs for those already (and if not, a quick google- or youtube-search will give you examples). Those sets are easy to remember and demand of you to play just 2-3 notes on one string then switch to the next, play some notes there, switch next again, etc. And remember you don't just can play those scales up and down one after another. You can mix the order of notes up any way you like, and you'll get more versatile.

As for the rhythm playing, again - one-fret droptuning is not "unskillfull". If you like what you do with it, keep doing it. However, if it's the ONLY thing you can do, it severely limits your available modes of expression. Say you made up a chord progression thats really good and you just need an extra last chord to finish it up - and you realize that none of your standart dropchords sound right, voila dilemma. Again, it's not too hard to learn new chordforms and standart tuning, there are innumerable resources online - and no matter what you do now (because you can always keep doing it), learning new stuff can only help you.

If you want to join a band, well, that's a whole different story in itself. Usually, if the band is somewhat professional, you probably already heard their music before and can determine their demands and skill level (and compare it to your own, thus you already can realize beforehand if they are out of your league or not). There are many bands that only use simple dropchord stuff, and if that's what you want to do - go for it. There are some bands that use no dropchords - if you're not able or willing to shape up, those will not be for you.

Alas, there's so much more to say, but hey, if something's still unclear, just ask away
Do what feels best for you. Ailes pretty much summed it up in great detail (+1 Ailes).

Don't keep yourself trapped in a box though. If you are struggling with string skipping and such, learn some scales. Practice parts of the scales that involve only 2 strings, and then advance into more strings.

For example, take this G-based blues scale on the 3rd fret

Standard Tuning

low to high, E A D G B E


Start with just the first 2 strings (E and A). One you perfect those at a reasonable pace, add another strings. Then, you will be play E A and D. Continue this pattern until you can play the whole scale at a reasonable pace all the way through. Eventually you will feel comfortable enough to play this scale BACKWARDS (high->low). Incorporate string skipping, where youre playing chunks of the scale. Play part of the scale on low E, then skip over to D. Play on the A then skip to G. So on and so forth.

Remember, it takes time. No one became an over-night success. Take some time throughout the day just to run through scales. Check the Lessons section of the main webpage for help and scales (UG Lessons )

Hope this helped. Good luck. And have fun!
Get up and free yourself from yourself.
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