#1
First off, I just want to say sorry if this isn't the right forum to put this in.

I've been playing for about a year but only started practicing seriously for a couple of months. I've been learning songs (One, Fade to Black, The Trooper etc.) but then I realized that I should probably stop focusing on songs because they haven't really been helping me get better.

I've been practicing chord changes and barres but I don't really see any improvement. Should I stick with learning the basics of chords and rhythm guitar first or should I go straight to scales, soloing and technique?(In particular, I know I need to start learning alternate picking during solos).

If I should stick with chords for now, is there any advice you guys can give me for getting barres down and switching between chords?

Any help would be appreciated!
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#2
Why should it be an either/or? Do both.
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#3
You should be studying all of those things and work on what you already know less than what you need to work on. You should work on theory (scales, constructing chords intervals etc.) and also work on technique (alt. picking, sweep picking, legato, string skipping etc.). Learning chords is important but if you want to learn how to construct chords then you need to learn scales. Whatever practice time you have to should be split between theory, technique, ear training and improvising. A good thing to look at is Steve Vai's 10 hour guitar workout.

As far as getting better at playing chords the only thing you can really do is practice and find comfortable fingerings. Maybe try practicing chord changes to a metrenome?
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#4
Just so you know, this forum is for talk about guitars themselves, how they work, different components and sounds etc, the right forum for what you're asking is Guitar Techniques

I would say get chord changes down first, it's something that you'll regret glossing over. Lead guitar and soloing and scales is a whole other world and there's so much to explore there that you may leave the barre chords and other such things unmastered.

EDIT:

Quote by jpgilbert701
You should be studying all of those things and work on what you already know less than what you need to work on. You should work on theory (scales, constructing chords intervals etc.) and also work on technique (alt. picking, sweep picking, legato, string skipping etc.). Learning chords is important but if you want to learn how to construct chords then you need to learn scales. Whatever practice time you have to should be split between theory, technique, ear training and improvising. A good thing to look at is Steve Vai's 10 hour guitar workout.

As far as getting better at playing chords the only thing you can really do is practice and find comfortable fingerings. Maybe try practicing chord changes to a metrenome?


Thanks for the mandatory 'do everything' post, but I don't think that's what the threadstarter is looking for. String skipping? Sweep picking? maidenfan15, these are things that'll come with time, you don't need to worry about them right now. Trying to do everything at once will not help much in the long run.
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Last edited by duncang at Jul 24, 2009,
#5
Yeah, scale runs are probably more up your alley with the bands you enjoy. But don't neglect any part of your playing unless you can help it.
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#6
I will give you massive credit for one thing, and that is recognizing that you can't just practice songs to get better when you are new. The most tremendous advances I made were when I started practicing a bit of theory. Go get the book Fretboard Logic. The answer to your question is yes.....practice all of it.

Spend 20 minutes practicing strumming chords, switching chords, and playing different strumming patterns. Spend another 20 minutes doing arpeggios on those chords (picking individual notes out of the chords). Practice the 5 forms of the minor pentatonic scale.

Start with those three things religiously for several months, and of course, also throw a few songs in there to keep things interesting.
#7
Dude, do everything. Practice your chords for a few minutes, then do some scales, then play a song or two, and do it all over again! No need to do only one thing...
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#8
Quote by duncang
Just so you know, this forum is for talk about guitars themselves, how they work, different components and sounds etc, the right forum for what you're asking is Guitar Techniques

I would say get chord changes down first, it's something that you'll regret glossing over. Lead guitar and soloing and scales is a whole other world and there's so much to explore there that you may leave the barre chords and other such things unmastered.

EDIT:


Thanks for the mandatory 'do everything' post, but I don't think that's what the threadstarter is looking for. String skipping? Sweep picking? maidenfan15, these are things that'll come with time, you don't need to worry about them right now. Trying to do everything at once will not help much in the long run.



I wasn't expecting him to jump into everything at once. Obviously if he's just beginning then there's no way that he's going to be able to master all of those techniques. That's pretty common sense. The reason why I told him to practice these things is because he asked what he should practice and any good practice regimen doesn't neglect any part of your playing. If he researched techniques such as string skipping and sweep picking, it would be clear that they are advanced techniques but at least he becomes aware of what they are and can start practicing slowly to get to that level. This will prevent him from asking what he should practice later on once he gets basic techniques such as alternate picking down.
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#9
Thanks a lot guys. I'll make sure I start practicing everything a little bit.
Chinese Democracy is a great album, people need to get over Slash.

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#10
Every time you find two chords that you have a hard time switching between, make note of it and do this drill every day after normal guitar practice.

Get a timer or a clock and see how many times you can switch back and forth between those chords and get a clean strum in one minute. Say your doing G and C. Start the clock, strum G, strum C, strum G... when you get back to G the first time that's one. Nxt time is two. Record how many clean strums you can get in one minute. This will speed up your changes pretty quick and let you see how your developing. Once the two chords are easy for you, find some other ones and move onto something harder like switching between a barre chord and an open chord. I used to do about 15 different chord changes for 1 minute every day til I had it down pat. Every once in a while when I'm having trouble with a weird voicing I still go back to this.

Other than that, it's probably best to devote about half your guitar playing time to chords and half to scales. When you can progress from these and are proficient at them I'd reccomend throwing in ear training and trying to transcribe your own tabs for songs and other harder techniques.

Also, never run through a scale without alternate picking. Bad habits become hard to break, so just never do them.
#11
Make sure you still devote a little time to just jamming on songs. Even though it doesn't do much to improve your skill, it's fun and keeps it interesting. You'll also be able to see improvement in your song-playing ability because of the theory you're learning. This boosts the motivation and enjoyment level even more.

If all you do is play songs, you won't improve much. If all you do is study theory and technique, you'll get bored with it. It's all about moderation.