I am having a ball. My skills are rough but I am getting better. I do have a couple of question for experience players. I have noticed that if I work on a peice for a while (weeks on some songs) I am able to get it, but it takes time. I feel I am able to play the peice because of repatition and remembering what the notes are. Is this normal?

Are experinced gutiar players able to play new songs fairly easily (minimal practice) or do they need to play the song a lot before mastering it.
im not all that experienced, but it depends on the song. some songs, suffice to say, are very hard, and ya cant just pick up your guitar and play em like that. others you can do in one try. it really just depends on the song.
Congratulations, you have finally reached the bottom rung of the ladder.

... I'm on the 2nd.

I've been playing for over a year, and I still find some songs relatively easy and sometimes hard to pick up or learn. It usually depends on the level of playing for the song. I have a small amount of music theory knowledge so I get how notes are played in a "box". Thats usually how people learn songs quickly.
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Once you've been playing a while, you'll probably recognise patterns of notes that're played. For example, if you learn a certain scale, and then play a song with the same pattern of notes, but in a different area of the fretboard, you'll probably pick up how to play it pretty easily, 'cause your hands will 'recognise' it. The wider variety the songs you play, the easier it'll be to pick up new things (in theory).

Everything still needs practice though
I think most people learn songs by remembering the notes and getting a 'feel' for the music. As you practice more, it will be easier to get the feel of new songs. However, my classical instructors have always told me that it is better to practice exercises to get better; they view songs as an application of the exercises. My High School Orchestra director always related music to sports (he was also a gym coach)- Football players don't just play practice game after practice game; they do play practice games, but most of the practice time is spent doing drills, and the actual games are applications of the skills acquired in the drills.
That's how I approach Music, at least
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Ah but its all easy these days. Once upon a time I had to learn a song I'd bootlegged on cassette tape. Try it some time and all the aids we have now will seem such a luxury.
The way you are doing it is the most common and the more you do it, the easier it will become. But after 6 months playing I could just about pick out a few simple Xmas carols so you're doing okay.
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I think it probably comes down to something like there's always a song that is better than you are, you know? Like in 6 more months, those songs will be nothing, but you'll move on to somehting that's more challenging, and someone that's been playing 6 months longer than you will have no problem with. So yes, it's normal (if you're playing something challenging) to take weeks to get a song.
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i've been playing for decades and repetition is the best way i know to learn. when i needed to have the bass down for judas priest's electric eye fast, i played it around 100 times in 2 days and it worked out fine, but i prefer to take my time. i play a song maybe 4 or 5 times on day 1, play it once a couple hours later, once before bed, once on awakening. then i play it 3 times a day for a few days at which point both it's well set in both my muscle memory and my head.
Thanks, all answers I was hoping for. I have found that playing a song a lot in one sitting is not working for me. I have found that playing a song maybe 5-10 times in a sitting, then taking a break for a while helps. I seem to be more focused when I come back to it and I play it a little better. So I have been working on a few songs at the same time and rotate through them while practicing. Seems to work for me
For me, it depends on the song. Most the time I can catch the riff/chord progression easy, and most the time, in the repetition of learning to play it, I manage to memorize it, which is what I like to do on guitar. If it's like a Muse song, I can usually play the riffs and whatnot easy, and remember it after playing it a few times. But if it's something like Pink Floyd, I'll usually sight-read through it, memorizing the riffs, but not the solos...because there's just about no repetition in those. Just depends on the piece for me.

And by the Way...I can memorize stuff easily on guitar, but I can't play anything without the music in front of me for clarinet. Kinda depends on how you learned to play guitar.

Oh yeah, and I've heard that If you're trying to memorize a piece from beginning to end, the easiest way to do so is to start at the end. You see a lot of people play the beginning of stuff, but about halfway through, it gets weaker because a lack of confidence because they're starting to forget it, then by the end they don't have any idea what they're doing anymore.
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Last edited by clayonfire at Jun 27, 2009,