Hey guys,

I am just over the year mark and I am starting to work on some things that I know are above my ability in order to try to speed my learning up. Aside from that, I take lessons so this is the "other" part of my practicing.

I am currently working on "Enter Sandman" and I have noticed a few things are frustrating me, and of course it's the speed parts in the solo. My question is, how much of this type of thing is muscle memory and how much is just being great on the instrument?

My lesson path at this point is mostly scales and learning to forms riffs over chord progression. In the last year, my physical ability has improved greatly, but this solo with the speedy pull offs are driving me nuts. I am having a hard time giving each note the it's correct value. I guess what I am asking is it that melodies like those are the ones I need to play 200 times to build the muscle memory, or could it be that this is just too hard for my current skill?

Thanks guys!
Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus w/ '60s neck
Ibanez JEM 7V
Jackson SL2H Soloist
PRS Singlecut SE
Marshall JVM410h
Marshall 1960a 4x12
Line 6 Pod x3 Live
It's probably a bit too hard, but if you keep practicing you will get it eventually. I wouldn't try and learn the whole thing straight through. Get down some of the easier parts first and then move onto the harder parts.
Like anything if you can't do it, slow it down and work your way up until you're confident with and can play it successfully
You shouldn't try to remember solo's purely mathematically. Listen to them a lot, a whole lot. You'll 'feel' where the solo is going when you learn it.
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Sounds to me that it's not muscle memory that's your problem. You need to practice effectively more often in smaller sessions at the specific parts of a solo or melody or riff that you can't play. In other words, if you know what you suck at, just practice that for a while. Seems obvious but most people gravitate towards 'practicing' what is already their strong point. Work on your pull offs and hammer ons only. I find an excercise like this moved up and down the neck and across strings:

    h h h p p p

works well if you start at a slow tempo and really focus on getting the notes ringing and then build up your tempo over time. Another thing to do is to play the whole solo at a slower tempo and increase the speed (guitar pro and power tab are great for this), and to break it down in sections so it's easier to learn.

I'm coming up to four years of playing and I've found that nothing is really "out of your level" (unless it's absolutely rediculously fast shredding), you just have to know what it is your failing at.

Hope that helps... it was a bit long...
Inhuman evil take down!

i find that getting comfortable with the riff/lick helps a lot. so id say muscle memory, however its important to know various ways to get around the fretboard in order to get the cleanest most solid sound. i would pratice going at it slow and occasionally trying to increase your speed until the point where you cant play. its important to play slow in order to build the muscle memory, but without really pushing yourself to play faster, you wont really develop the speed.
Thanks for the help guys.

What I did in this case is I learned the solo enough that I know how to play it well enough to not have to look at Guitar Pro. I broke down the runs piece by piece to see what scales they were, in this case mostly pentatonic with the blues notes. I tried it at 50% temp until I get pretty close but then I noticed I need to go over and over a few of the runs just because of the staggered patterns in the scales.

I did this with The Unforgiven solo, even though there only is one descending scale, which I probably played 250 times until I was able to do it automatically. It worked out pretty well for me and the first time I nailed it at full speed, I was excited, yet terrified that it was only luck, heh.

Like I said in the original post, it might just be a little too hard for me right now, but I like the challenge as well as the amazing feeling when I am able to play something I really didn't think I could.

I know what is meant by feeling where the solo is going, I have gotten there with The Unforgiven and Don't Cry and it made me see why so many of you dedicate your life to the guitar. I never want to play something that isn't musical, and being that I have played the sax for over 20 years, I know what notes sound like, and I know what music sounds like, and the difference is HUGE!

I guess this frustration is normal, but I am going to try to stop giving up on certain things because they seem too hard.
Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus w/ '60s neck
Ibanez JEM 7V
Jackson SL2H Soloist
PRS Singlecut SE
Marshall JVM410h
Marshall 1960a 4x12
Line 6 Pod x3 Live

I dont know. I do know that I watched a video one time where Lars and James sat there for 15-20 minutes trying to teach Kirk a lick and he just couldnt pick it up to save his life.

Take that for what you will...