#1
I've been playing for over a year and a half, and I just completely suck. The hardest song I can play from beginning to end is Life By The Drop by SRV. Don't let the artist fool you, it's an extremely easy song.

Anyway, I really don't have a set practice routine, and I think that is definatley pulling me down. Also, when I first started playing, I thought I only wanted to play rhythm. As in strumming along to songs on an acoustic as I sang. Well, now that I'm in my church's youth band, and I have a tube amp for my electric that I don't feel I am doing justice to, I really want to start learing to play lead. My goal is to be vastly improved enough by June to play lead for my youth band when we do some 80's covers at a youth gathering-type thing. Oh, and I also want to be able to start writing my own songs.

Do you guys have any suggestions for me? I just want to say this (if it matters). I don't like metal.
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#4
Well, right now I'm just sitting down and playing what I feel like playing when I feel like playing. I really haven't done much practicing, and I know that's the problem, is that I'm not working technique. Not only that, but I haven't tried anything very challenging to me. I really don't challenge myself enough. I mean, I'm sure if I worked a harder song, that I could get it, but I don't feel like I can. And I can't play the riffs/solos/fills I can hear in my head. Another problem is that my ear, knowledge, and mental composition skills far exceed my playing skills.

Oh, and I would take lessons again, but I have no time to take them at the moment. In fact, I probably won't have time until school is over.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

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man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


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plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#5
On the upside you've identified what you want to or need to work on!

Get some scale work or technical exercises happening is my first idea for you, even if you only run one or two shapes/exercises for 20 minutes each you should see some results (if you add some theoretical knowledge to the scales you're learning then so much the better! ) If you find you're having particular problems try to spend some time working on them specifically (can you bend to pitch? Are your pull offs not quite there? You get the idea...).

Second pick a song. I don't like picking songs I look at and know I can play, the idea is to look at it and go 'hmmm, that could take me a while...but it's doable!' (ie. are you comfortable with the skills required to play it? Are there one or two skills that you aren't comfortable with but think you could give a go?) You said you had your eye on some 80s covers? Pick one! Are you going to be able to do it by next weekend? Probably not, but if you break it into bits and work at the bits (with your friend the metronome) you should get there.

Third, play regularly. And don't just noodle, it gets to a point (kinda like where you sound like you are) where noodling doesn't cut it anymore. I noodled for almost a year before I sucked it up and started putting some effort in! Try and at least pick your guitar up every day - only got half an hour? That's ok, you don't need Vai length practice sessions to see results. Just solidly work and focus for that period of time on whatever you're doing. Practice that bar of your solo for the whole time, with a metronome and then put the guitar down if you have to.

Finally, back yourself! You've already achieved some goals on the guitar that you wanted to achieve (which probably looked daunting at the start), you've got some really clear goals set out already so there is no reason to think you can't achieve these too - it's just going to require a step up in effort on your part. So start putting some time in, regularly, on some chops building exercises and some challenging songs and good luck!
#6
pretty much listen to firesprite and dont give up on something just because it doesnt seem like you can do it.
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#7
Actually it doesn't sound like you suck at all - it sounds like you've become a competent rhythm guitarist and have gained experience playing with a band at church. That's a lot for your first year and a half. Many wannabe lead guitarists will "skip the basics" and go shredding away, and are still in their bedrooms many years later, unable to string even a basic set of chords together with a band. So you're underestimating how far you've actually progressed.

Ok, you hear things in your head that you can't play. This means that you should learn your scales. With scales you'll have a guide as to which notes should be used in certain keys, and eventually you'll become competent with them enough to be able to play that melody that you have stuck in your head.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
You sound kinda like me. I don't usually don't do strict practice sessions. Occasionally I'll work on some technique and such, but usually I just play songs that I already can and feel like playing.

The way I improved is by learning challenging songs. Like Eruption has really helped with me tapping, pinch harmonics, alternate and tremelo picking, and pseudo-shredding. Asturias has helped with finger strength, finger picking, and just in general pick-less playing.

So I would recommend that you find songs that you like that are really tough, and then just dedicate time and work on those songs.
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#9
try to find a tab book for the latest album from the guy in your avatar. there's about a dozen different styles there, blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock, country....

every post so far has been great, but i'd add make sure to practice with a metronome/drum machine/recording. not much point in getting good at playing bad.
Bluegrass Rocks

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#10
Your answer:
Accept the fact you're not yet amazing but keep practicing.

I've been playing for more than 2 years now and I still suck.
#11
Yeah I'm almost 2 years now, I still have problems with fast chord changes and I can't sweep, and sometimes I still play on the wrong string

So don't be worried about progress. Just keep at it.
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#13
Quote by LJHarris
Maybe you should play the piano

Who says versatility is a bad thing?

Thanks for all of the advice guys! And to whoever said to pick up a tab book for Play, great idea! I love that album!

Actually, to the guy that said it sounds like I've become a competant rhythm guitarist, I admit that yes, I'm actually a decent rhythm guitarist, but it's really easy, to me at least, to play rhythm because I have a good sense of rhythm from playing in my school band since 5th grade, and the fact that I started playing piano in 3rd grade. Thanks for the encouragement though!

Now then.......I think it's about time for me to tackle some SRV. Peace everyone! Thanks for the help!
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


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plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#14
Quote by Natrone
Actually, to the guy that said it sounds like I've become a competant rhythm guitarist, I admit that yes, I'm actually a decent rhythm guitarist, but it's really easy, to me at least, to play rhythm because I have a good sense of rhythm from playing in my school band since 5th grade, and the fact that I started playing piano in 3rd grade. Thanks for the encouragement though!


Yah that's me. If you regard yourself as "crap" just try jamming along with the guys whom have "skipped the basics" and been shredding for the same amount of time. Sure it looks cool, but they'll generally lack the ability to play with others effectively, and their rhythm guitar skills will be sorely lacking. That basically means they won't be able to play with a band.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
Ok, so any advice on scales and such to practice on? I'm really into blues, country, and classic rock. Ok, I'll narrow that down a little bit. I'm into classic, blues based hard rock, like Aerosmith and AC/DC. Yes, I know, they sound different, but they're both blues based hard rock, so shut up
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#16
For the rock, classic rock and the blues you'll largely be using the Blues and Minor Penatonic Scales

For country you'll largely use the Major Pentatonic Scales.

Luckly for you they're all very similar and easy to learn. Most guitarists start by learning the Minor Pentatonic and Blues scales because they're very versatile, easy to learn, and very similar to eachothoer (Blues adds one note to the Minor Pentatonic, otherwise they are the same).

Once you feel comfortable with those learn the minor and major (Ionian) scales. That's probably all you'll ever need to know
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
for country, try kris kristoferson, i know what you may be thinking, it's a little old school, but the guitar work from the me and booby mcgee album was pretty good. also merle haggard's stay here and drink is a neat guitar song. i've been meaning to looking into country myself. just don't try to rush it like brad paisley in ticks.
#18
im about the same place you are. i started learning eugenes trick bag-by steve vai. its extremely difficult(for me) but i hope after like the year it seems like its gonna take me to perfect it i should be alot better!

give that song a look.