#1
Ok I'm a two year self taught guitar player and I'm coming to realize that I'm really slowing down in progress, and overall not that good.

Whenever I play electric, I always use distortion, I think I do that because it sorta covers up my mistakes and makes me feel good about my playing. In that sense, my sound is very monotonous and my playing style is stale. I can't shred, but I'm working on it, I can't finger pick very well, my rhythm playing is wonky because my timing isn't that great for complex riffs, and my theory knowledge, while decent, Is TERRIBLE when actually playing. What that means is that I have good understanding of theory, but when it comes to applying it to the fretboard and playing the guitar, it all goes out the window. Also, I feel that I rely on tabs too much. I think I should have a better ear for figuring out melody.


So lotsa problems here, not really sure how to fix it. Any good lessons, websites, or practice exercises?

EDIT: And yes I did mistype the title.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
Last edited by Yeti60 at Mar 15, 2009,
#3
maybe look into getting a teacher
Epiphone G-400
Yamaha Pacifica (Mod on hold due to procrastination)
Rocktron Banshee
Marshall 10CD

Quote by geetarguy13

I've never smoked before but it looks like fun.
#4
i agree with the other two above me, play clean and get a teacher/instructor. It'll really pay off in the long run because you're already a mile and a half in front of new students who get one.
Quote by k_quest:
I feel like we are in Nazi Germany in this chat room
#5
Whenever I play electric, I always use distortion, I think I do that because it sorta covers up my mistakes and makes me feel good about my playing. In that sense, my sound is very monotonous and my playing style is stale.


Shake things up - try playing clean for a few weeks, learning some jazz tunes or laid back stuff. Pay attention to your mistakes and FIX THEM with correct practice - see the YT vid in my sig.

I can't shred, but I'm working on it, I can't finger pick very well, my rhythm playing is wonky because my timing isn't that great for complex riffs, and


Don't even think about "shred". You need to sort out your timing or your "shred" will be just as "stale and monotonous" as the rest of your playing - except you'll have wasted a whole lot of time on getting it to that stage.

my theory knowledge, while decent, Is TERRIBLE when actually playing. What that means is that I have good understanding of theory, but when it comes to applying it to the fretboard and playing the guitar, it all goes out the window.


Focus on completely understanding simple concepts. Take a look at my theory vids, they cover fretboard application immediately. See if they help.

Also, I feel that I rely on tabs too much. I think I should have a better ear for figuring out melody.


Then start figuring out melodies!
#6
I have considered getting a teacher, however at this point in my life I don't think it could work... I'm gonna go off to college next year and at least bring my acoustic... maybe I can find some musicians there who can help me out some. I'm learning Pachabel's Canon in D and am playing that with a metronome... but I need some more work on that definitely.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#7
Freepower, I checked your video on 'Correct Practice'. It seems so simple, yet I've never practiced like that.

And I think from now on, I'm just going to practice my electric unplugged so I focus on the technique only.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#8
Freepower pretty much has this thread covered.

Quote by Yeti60
And I think from now on, I'm just going to practice my electric unplugged so I focus on the technique only.

I find that I miss my mistakes much easier because I can't hear them as well as I can when it's plugged in. Believe me, I've tried doing this. It didn't work so well with me.
#9
Stop using distortion so you can improve on your note clarity. Build finger independence and finger strength.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvhZ80OsuTQ


Also I bet you need to improve your posture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyvGD9edWcg

Also start playing practicing with a metronome or a drum machine/drum loops. And pick up a copy of Guitar for Dummies, it has lots of productive exercises and theory and other info.

Lastly look for a teacher, they help alot.
#10
I've realized that when I don't play with distortion, or when I play unplugged, I come up with mildly more creative double stop licks and melodic lines. So thats cool.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#11
All those folk above where right with the metronome thing...

BUY A METRONOME!

True it is a weird thing though. At first you just hate it, later on you hate it even more and when you finaly start to love the thing you don't need it anymore .

When getting a teacher is not an option consider buying some good practise courses, something a teacher would use. Myself i live in the Netherlands but i use american books for practise. You should definately check out the Musicians Institute (MI) books. I get to some titles later on.

When using exercises out of books you should be real hard on yourself. When you think it slightly sucks believe it sucks bigtime. But on the other hand you shouldn't sattle for less than perfection. Patience and thourough practice are the key tot succes.

Some books i've used for practise: (they all come with a play-along cd)
Rock Solo Basics - Nick Nolan and Danny Gill - MI - Hall Leonard
Rock Lead Basics - Nick Nolan and Danny Gill - MI - Hall Leonard
Funk Guitar - Ross Bolton - MI - Hall Leonard
Blues You Can Use - John Ganapes - Hall Leonard

However i have not listend to a single funk song for my own pleasure, playing it has definitely increased my playing skill the most.

I hope my post is usefull to you

Cheers!
#12
Quote by Yeti60
I've realized that when I don't play with distortion, or when I play unplugged, I come up with mildly more creative double stop licks and melodic lines. So thats cool.


That's great - sounds like you won't lose track of having fun just because you've found out how to practice technique properly.
#13
Freepower, I looked at your posture video (cause someone here mentioned I may have bad posture) and you said to not anchor... I know its not good, but is it really that bad? I find it comfortable and it keeps the bending in the wrist not in the elbow.

I do have a metronome, and I use it occasionally. I probably should use it more.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#14
Another question on a vid, Freepower... Your video on finger interdependence uses a practice that is extremely tedious. I can do it no problem... but you're saying I need to keep on practicing in that manner to make each finger strong and independent. Is that really necessary?


Just gonna add on here...
Basically I'm now looking back on my guitar playing and realizing that my "practices" aren't really practices. My method for improving has been to just learn how to play songs. So while I'm learning things like "Eruption" by Van Halen, "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC, and "Those Who Wait" by Tommy Emmanuel to improve my skills, it seems to me that simply learning songs isn't going to cut it to really improve. I feel that I need to isolate skill sets and improve upon them outside of the context of an actual song. And that requires practice, since I suck at practice I was just hoping you all could give me some ideas on what to work on, how to work on it, and so on.

(Just a redefining of what I want out of this thread)
Thanks everyone.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
Last edited by Yeti60 at Mar 15, 2009,
#15
Freepower, I looked at your posture video (cause someone here mentioned I may have bad posture) and you said to not anchor... I know its not good, but is it really that bad? I find it comfortable and it keeps the bending in the wrist not in the elbow.


"That bad" depends on how much pressure you're anchoring with. Carefully evaluate how much force you use to keep your fingers on the guitar - if it's anything more than "just touching so lightly they can still move" then you need to slack off the pressure.

Your video on finger interdependence uses a practice that is extremely tedious. I can do it no problem... but you're saying I need to keep on practicing in that manner to make each finger strong and independent. Is that really necessary?


It's a fun way to practice if you have the focus for it. It's not necessary unless you plan to start develop faultless finger independence as quickly as possible- nothing's "necessary"!

Practice what you need to in order to play the music you want.

If you find that kind of practice dull just because of the music involved, write something that's fun to play at those speeds and make it a creative challenge.

If you just can't concentrate, try and develop the ability to.
#16
Ok thats good about the anchoring thing... All I do is lay my forearm on the corner of the guitar... about 4-5 inches from my elbow. Sounds reasonable.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#18
Hey guys I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice, you've inspired me and just today I've done some cool stuff.

I was improvising a chord progression song. I started off with some broken open chords with lots of muting and syncopation... I played around with that, it kinda sounded a little reggae or Hawaiin (spelling?) and then I smoothly transitioned into a bar chord thing sorta in the style of Jack Johnson... and I was finally able to close that out in nicely. And then threw in a closing blues lick just for the hell of it.

So yes, I know this has little to do with practicing technique, yet I just want to say that I pulled that off because I felt inspired by all your advice UG, so thanks... and keep it coming.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#19
Anyone have any good techniques for memorizing the notes on the fretboard? I can get them, but I want to know them so well that I can instantly point to a fret (or think of a fret and a string) and say, "Thats a F#" or whatever.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#20
I tend to remember the names of the fret I use frequently in songs I play. Maybe it's just me, but I HAVE to know what note it is that sounds so awesome at that particular moment in the song.

So maybe stop yourself randomly in songs, then figure out what note you're playing, or the root note of the chord you are playing and which strings have the root note.

Not sure that would really help with ALL the frets though. Playing scales and doing the same random stopping all over the fretboard could possibly be a good drill. I'm sure after a week or two of this you'd remember a lot more notes than you did before.

[EDIT] Or do whatever Freepower will tell you to do whenever he bestows his awesome wisdom upon thee.
(: Happily E-Married to Nizzi <3 (:
Quote by Myfirstpubes
Then you get your bathroom door kicked in by some dude in a leather thong and a cape saying, "THIS IS SPARTA!"

Quote by shanethestoner
hard work. and inspiration... or marijuana

My MySpace
Last edited by SuperKoolKid at Mar 17, 2009,
#22
Quote by Freepower
Check my music theory vids, if you know certain things about the fretboard then you can severely cut down the amount of work it takes to learn every note.


Already done... and I understand them... but I'm still not to the point where I can instantly point to a fret and declare what it is. I think if I was able to do that I would be able to solo and improvise much easier on the fly.

I've also tried memorizing the marked frets in order to cut down on time. Yet over time it doesn't seem to stick. It's ridiculous I know.

And superkoolkid... I thinks topping during a song is a good idea to figuring out notes. I'll have to try that out instead of simply chugging through a phrase.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
Last edited by Yeti60 at Mar 18, 2009,
#24
By scale shapes, do you mean locations on the fretboard where I can play a certain scale?
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#25
Yep - play around with them, get the feel of them under your fingers, memorise them, memorise what notes are where and how they sound over different chords...

And before you know it you'll have a few melodies here and there, a few lead licks, and lots of motivation for learning how and why to expand that knowledge all over the fretboard.
#26
Quote by Freepower
Yep - play around with them, get the feel of them under your fingers, memorise them, memorise what notes are where and how they sound over different chords...

And before you know it you'll have a few melodies here and there, a few lead licks, and lots of motivation for learning how and why to expand that knowledge all over the fretboard.


Sounds good... you are a good motivational .... typer (?) I just finished playing some guitar... So I probably won't do that now, but I'll pick up my acoustic later today and work on that.

I've been learning bits to Little Wing today, which is definitely helping me with my rhythm playing and stuff like that. I also was improvising some solos off of that which sounded pretty sweet. So I feel like I've been making progress.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards
#28
Hey Man,

Jumping in on this kind of late, but anyways. What helped me immensely with getting the fretboard memorized was studying the relationships between the strings. For example, once I had the low E string memorized, the 4th string was a lot easier because it had the same notes as the 6th string, just one octave higher, and physically 2 frets further up the neck. That was close enough that I almost got the 4th string for free just from having the 6th.

About the whole clean versus distorted thing. I think splitting your time between playing both distorted and clean and unplugged is best. Playing unplugged is great because it is really easy to hear if your picking is lacking attack, if your picking isn't synchronized with your fretting and so on.

However, sometimes distortion highlights some mistakes too. Like if your muting is not good enough yet, and you are getting too much string noise, you will definately hear that more when you are playing with distortion.

About tedious exercises, like FP's finger independance stuff. I usually use anything I consider tedious but a good technique builder as my warm up. I know I cant rush right into playing the fun stuff fast without a warm up, so I use that time (usually about 10-15 mins) for the tedious stuff.

Finally, about ruts - whenever you get stuck in one, keep in mind that even though they are frustrating, it's a normal part of your development as a guitarist. People don't learn into one smooth gradual curve. Learning guitar is more like - improve rapidly. Get stuck. Figure out how to get unstuck. Improve rapidly. Get stuck again. Figure out how to get unstuck again. And so on, pretty much forever!

Anyway, best of luck with it all!
#29
Thank you much fellas...

With some of that slow practice my fretting fingers and pick have been getting increasingly synchronized for faster licks. Also I'm playing more diverse stuff. So I'd say I don't feel as stuck as before.
AROUND THE WORLD



Click here if you like the Washington Wizards