#1
Okay as a start I don't know if this is the right forum for this but I think it's roughly right.

The question I'm asking is basically: am I really playing songs that are as hard as I think they are?

Recently I decided I wanted to learn all of the last 3 albums by Iron Maiden, I love Maiden and their work. So far I have managed:

The Wicker Man; Ghost Of The Navigator; Brave New World; Blood Brothers; The Mercenary; Dream Of Mirrors; The Fallen Angel; The Nomad (no solo's); Out Of The Silent Planet; Rainmaker; These Colours Don't Run; The Longest Day; Out Of The Shadows; For The Greater Good of God; The Legacy.

On top of this I can play numerous other songs, I'm a big fan of Avenged Sevenfold too and this is where my problem started. I can do a fair bit of their stuff, like the Seize the day solo and Critical Acclaim. Then I decided to learn the sweep picking from Seize the day (foolishly trying to play it perfect first time, I couldn't and got frustrated - I have't done much sweeping.) This is not my problem, I know that I need to practise sweeping, end of.

However, although I think I'm fairly competent (been playing two years) I worry that I'm getting a false sense of security from playing Maiden. Okay, I can't do some of the solo's perfectly (usually Dave's crazy hammering sessions) but the rest of the song I can do fine. Are Iron Maiden really challenging enough for me though? Could I be doing better?

Also, any suggestions for things I should be playing, I would like it in standard because I can't be bothered changing the tuning (OFR makes tuning annoying).
All help gratefully appeciated
#2
Posting a question is pointless.

Nobody can give you an answer simply based on what you say - we need to hear your playing. There's a big difference between thinking you know how to play something and actually being able to play it well.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Aug 10, 2009,
#3
Well if you can play them live with no mistakes then you're far better than Kirk Hammet
#4
Quote by steven seagull
Posting a question is pointless.

Nobody give you an answer simply based on what you say - we need to hear your playing. There's a big difference between thinking you know how to play something and actually being able to play it well.


yup, +1 all the way. i've heard good renditions of songs and piss poor versions.
#5
A tip for the hammering solos - crank up the distortion or use a compressor. Fast hammer-ons are one of these things you want to relax while doing, too much tension will wear you out quick. Not enough distortion will sound weak, because while relaxed you won't be hitting the fretboard very hard.

As for the difficulty, 2 years is about right. Their stuff isn't very difficult, I would say it's a transitioning process between basic songs by AC/DC or Greenday and more advanced stuff such as Dream Theater or Yngwie Malmsteen.
Last edited by ldragon-slayerl at Aug 10, 2009,
#6
So is your aim to be a virtuoso guitarist and reach the peak of technical ability?

Or to play the music you love to play?

Cause whichever it is, your answer lies there

Iron Maiden, Metallica, whoever's music you choose to learn, there'll always be something more challenging, that's the depth of the music world these days

Also, to be slightly more useful, I'd point out that rather than learn the songs, learn to play them at a high standard too, that kind of thing will pass another 2 or 3 years of time for you
#7
Fair point about needing to hear the playing, sadly I don't have any good recording material else I would post some things
@ Capt. Clarkson - Lol.
@ Dragonslayer - My next step I think would be Synyster Gates level of difficulty, as well as moving on to sweeping more etc, honing technique.
@voodoo - I think both things cross paths at some point, if you're good technically you'll be able to play what you like well. I'd just like to be at a point where I can play some quite technical and difficult stuff well, I think I play the Maiden stuff quite well (thought thats not really for me to judge :P)
#8
Iron Maiden isn't considered as technically challenging as other modern Metal bands.

However, questions like this do go through every guitarist's head as they practice; am I good enough? Is what I'm doing correct? (Questions' intensity that trouble you enough to make a thread about it)

The answer is, if you're asking these questions, you're probably NOT doing it good enough, HOWEVER, that is something very useful and important once you realize. As you realize your mistakes and often even feel that your playing is "worse" than a previous time you've played, you've reached a new level in your playing and instrumental consciousness (Realizing more details of your instrument's reaction along with your playing). After a certain level, this would be when you start to become more critical of your playing than your audience.

Also, playing Iron Maiden songs and sticking to them will not perfect your technique. Even if you always practice them very much, you still need to bring into the practice base some very difficult techniques and songs. After you become better on the very difficult songs, you will automatically enhance your playing with the easier materials.

Think of it like an exponentially growing graph, with the start being the peek of the rate of improvement over time. As you improve, the rate begins to flatten along, and eventually you will not be gaining as much improvement as you were when you first started the specific technique. However, when you put in something that is more difficult, yet you manage to practice it and improve, the graph of the rate of your improvement will once again begin to increase significantly.

I think you should start learning more and more technical songs, without directly jumping into the most difficult ones, yet gradually moving towards them.
#9
Hmm fair point, it's not that I feel I'm playing Maiden badly, it's that I can't play other things well. I should admit at this point I am an incredibly impatient person, the sort that wants to pick up a guitar and be as technically skilled as Herman Li after 3 hours. I know it doesn't work that way though lol.

In the case then of varying practising and moving up in the musical difficulty world, has anyone got any suggestions? I have tonnes of music, but I can't be bothered sifting through it (sorry for the laziness :P). Standard tuning is preferable, I recognise though that a lot of modern and harder metal is Drop C / D but generally I'm open to anything. Not Metallica though, I hate them lol.
#10
Quote by Joe_Guitar10
Okay as a start I don't know if this is the right forum for this but I think it's roughly right.

The question I'm asking is basically: am I really playing songs that are as hard as I think they are?


who cares? I mean, do you like playing them? Do you play music because you like it, or because you want to brag to people that you can play something that is "really hard" ?

Quote by Joe_Guitar10
has anyone got any suggestions?


- play some music that you like, and enjoy doing it.

- allow yourself the time it takes to develop as a guitarist.

- stop worrying about how good you are
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 10, 2009,
#11
Quote by GuitarMunky
who cares? I mean, do you like playing them? Do you play music because you like it, or because you want to brag to people that you can play something that is "really hard" ?


I do play music because I like it. I don't want to brag (people who play guitar to show off and not for love of music are insults to true guitarists), I want to be able to know myself that I have reached a high level of technical ability, to be proud. I'm not disappointed with how I am now, but I know there's much I can improve on.
#12
Quote by Joe_Guitar10
I do play music because I like it.


that's good, then just enjoy doing it, and keep practicing. You're bound to get better.

Quote by Joe_Guitar10

I don't want to brag (people who play guitar to show off and not for love of music are insults to true guitarists), I want to be able to know myself that I have reached a high level of technical ability, to be proud.


Your still focused on "how good you are". I would suggest focusing on how good it feels to play music that you love. ALLOW yourself the time it takes to develop. IMO playing to appease your vanity will likely not yield the same (as good) results as playing to enjoy the music will.


Quote by Joe_Guitar10

I'm not disappointed with how I am now, but I know there's much I can improve on.


This will likely never change.

I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep listening, playing, learning....enjoying.

it takes time.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 10, 2009,
#13
Okay all good points and advice, I think with that I guess it's just time to settle down and keep playing :P Thanks for the help everyone
#14
Well, considering Herman Li as an epitome of the technically skilled may not yield you accurate sources of aspiration either.

Starting off I would suggest moving to Lamb of God. They have many songs that are moderately technical, slightly towards the easier spectrum (their older albums are more technical than their newest ones). After learning a number of songs that match the current difficulty, practice techniques separately, just between you, your metronome, and your guitar.

The next suggestion would be to move on to Technical Death Metal. Bands such as Necrophagist are a great source for mastering accurate and fast riffing. It will also greatly develop your right and left hand synchronization. Along with Necrophagist, if you're interested in Neoclassical Metal, you may want to listen and play some of Yngwie Malmsteen. It will develop your pick attack and left hand dexterity at the higher end of the neck as you solo. The nice thing with Malmsteen is that his music can be easy and difficult, so just make sure you are truly challenging yourself.

Finally, move on to pure technical virtuosos, such as Paul Gilbert and Michael Angelo Batio. Some might say that MAB is purely shred and nothing from the soul, however it can't be denied that they are masters of the technical aspects of their instrument in different styles.

Throughout your entire practice time, make sure you have improvisation sessions to develop your phrasing techniques. For that, you may want to look at various music theory for scales and chords (and their progressions). Although these posts may sound technical, remember that with music, you truly have to put your mind and soul into your playing to be able to develop your own style.
#15
Well you could learn some music theory to enable you to play with others. It obvious you're treating a real guitar like a Guitar Hero controller, with the aim of learning different patterns on it. Whilst this is fine, it doesn't further you as a musician, and can affect your playing in the long run if you eventually want to start playing with others or creating original music.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#16
Whats wrong with playing music for what it is, because you like it. This notion that if music isn't complicated to play then it is no good, is everywhere now. Describe what you mean by saying "Could I be doing better?". You say you like Maiden, then learn their songs and enjoy playing it. If you like another band, learn their songs and enjoy playing it etc. Try to judge your standard in guitar by the music you make, not how many solos you can play "perfect". Are you happy with the music you make, if they answer is yes, then good for you, if the answer is no then try to improve upon an area you don't like or unhappy with.
#17
I myself 'am at two years of playing guitar, I have had some band experience and started playing muse, then avenged sevenfold (big leap) However I am very picky about hitting the right notes and getting stuff right, I get stupidly wound up when I get something wrong. So my best advise would be to play everything note for note slow, and speed up over time. If your right hand can pick fast focus on your left hands accuracy Avenged Sevenfold and Maiden are two different things, I find the a7x play style is quite sloppy but thats my opinion. I am in no fact great at guitar, I doubt myself all the time, however i'm being told at two years im very good. So I would suggest doubt yourself as much as possible! or so thats my opinion because then it gives you the drive to get better. Never tell yourself you've achieved the goal say to yourself "im still not doing it right must keep working at it" and eventually you will hit that goal, you will know it when everyone else is like "Man that is perfect!"
Hehe or so thats my opinion again, people can differ from views though.
Good luck dude!
#19
Faisal - I shall do that progression you mentioned, thanks for suggesting the next stepping stones.
Alan - I hate musical theory :'(
Helpy - I do enjoy playing their songs, but it occurs to me that my repertoire is highly limited, and ultimately I can't play the solo's perfectly, which is what matters to be, because I judge the solo's to be a better measure of technical skill than the rest of the song (unless it's a simple solo). I want to be able to play things and think to myself "yeh, that actually sounded pretty good." Although I guess I am hyper critical of myself, and that brings me onto...
graymic - You're right, keep criticisng myself and have aspiration to be better :P However I don't think Avenged are sloppy, I just think Syn has an incredibly unique style and I would be a fool to try match that.
#20
^ I do get where you are coming from by wanting to play your favorite songs well and re-reading my post I sounded like a dick, sorry. I also i'm very critical of my own playing, very rarely am I happy with how I play things because I always find something I could've done better. Basically all i'm saying is try not to fall into the trap of judging music by it's complexity or by how technical it is.

If you are looking to improve your playing then yes playing hard songs can help you to improve. Don't worry about playing hard musc for the sake of it though, no matter what you play, as long as you strive to play it to the best of your ability then you will sound good and improve your technique.
#21
TC you should check out some Cynic, Atheist and At The Gate's first album, The Red In The Skys is Ours. They're all around your level of playing, except some of the Cynic songs. And they really improve alot of your skills, for example Cynic and Atheist both require alot of skill in alt-picking and string skipping, and The Red In The Sky is Ours has a crazy amount of tremolo picking.