#1
Hey all,
Ive been playing electric guitar for about 5 years now, i practice half an hour a day, no exceptions. But i still cannot play well. I cannot improvise (I have guitar lessons and i also use guides on UG and other websites), i cannot play with speed, i cannot add emotion into my playing (It all sounds robotic). This is seriously bothering me, i have friends who have been playing for less time than me, who dont practice as much, who can play the freebird solo in its entirety. I cant even play anything that goes above 'Sweet Child Of Mine' intro speed!
So please, help me to increase my speed and skill, before i put down my pick.
Thankyou for any help,
Russ.
#2
Different people learn at different speeds, and some people grasp techniques quicker than others. Two years ago I was struggling to play American Idiot and now I can play Master of Puppets in it's entirety, including Kirk's solo. I would suggest practicing more, and when you try to learn a difficult part of a song or whatever, sit there and repeat it until you can play it. With speed exercises, find some or make some up and play them at a very slow tempo, slow enough for you to play with NO mistakes. Then speed it up by 10bpm and try again, and keep going until you make a mistake, at which point you practice the exercise at that tempo until you get it perfect, then carry on increasing the tempo. Hope I've given some helpful ideas
#3
practicing for 30 mins seems a little. i could understand practicing for that little when you first start off, but as time goes on you should practice more. i've been playing 3 years and in the beginning of the summer i practiced 7 hours a day now i practice between 4-5 because summer is nearing its end and i wanna go do **** and not lose my mind lol.
#4
Are you playing stuff you want to play... learn a song that you want to play and maybe that might help, yes the theory and excersises can be boring but at least put some songs in there (that you like and want to play) and see if that helps. That worked for me.
#5
+1 to what everyone else said...but... if these suggestions don't work, maybe you should consider if guitar is really the instrument your into. Sometimes people get into guitar and just don't enjoy it too were they have trouble excelling at it. Perhaps you should consider exploring bass, drums, keyboard, any instrument that interest you if you aren't satisfied with guitar. Its really all about enjoying music, not just guitar.

but try to "work things out" with your instrument first before you run off and leave her for bass.....
#6
I can almost guarantee that you don't practice properly. You don't slow stuff down to the point of being painful (which is how you engrain muscle memory) and you probably dink around with the same stuff over and over again. Its ok, we all do it sometimes.....and you are recognizing that your playing isnt where it should be.

Put together a detailed practice plan of stuff you think you should work on. Some suggestions for you that really helped me:
1. Read Fretboard Logic
2. Practice Metal Method stages 1-4
3. Practice Metal Method Speed Kills 1 with Michael Angelo Batio (this will improve your picking accuracy and speed 10 fold)
4. Pick up a used Digitech GNX4 and use it as a drum machine/recorder and start practicing improvising over basic chord progressions.
#7
I've been playing guitar for nearly 3 years and aren't half as good as people who have been playing for way less, yet I still play cause I enjoy it...

If you're not having fun, then don't play...(until you get the urge to pick up the guitar and strum a few chords or something)
#8
The real question is do you still enjoy it. I've been playing over ten years and I hear or see people all the time that have been playing less time and can play certain things better. I don't really care though because I just love to play for my own enjoyment. If you only play 30 min a day and dont really feel it anymore maybe it isn't for you. But if you love it then do it for yourself not to be a speed god or any other silly reason.
#9
I dont care who is better than me, or who i am better than. it dont matter, just play for yourself and what you like. Unless you just dont enjoy it anymore. Just take a break for a while, The urge to play might come back again someday.
#10
Quote by MetalMusicianAl
practicing for 30 mins seems a little. i could understand practicing for that little when you first start off, but as time goes on you should practice more. i've been playing 3 years and in the beginning of the summer i practiced 7 hours a day now i practice between 4-5 because summer is nearing its end and i wanna go do **** and not lose my mind lol.


For some people it's not easy to squeeze in 30 minutes every day! The only way I can be sure of getting that much daily practice is to take my guitar into work, eat my lunch at my desk whilst working, then sneak into the server room and spend my lunch break in there. Usually when I try to practice at home either the gf wants something doing, or my work phone rings or something else will come up.

Don't lose heart! Maybe find some slower stuff you can enjoy playing, and throw in some exercises to build up your speed. Speed is gonna take time, and as said before, everyone picks stuff up at a different pace. I'm nowhere near as fast and accurate as I want to be, but over the last few weeks I've noticed a considerable improvement just by spending a reasonable amount of time practicing some basic exercises my teacher gave me, and working on them with a metronome.

Fingers crossed you stick with it!
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#11
you need to expand your alotted practice time 1/2 hour isn`t even long enough for a warmup.

speed and accuracy comes from starting slow and building up to the right tempo
`robotic`playing, could be your using too much stacatto
vibrato and accurate bending and using sustain will give you the techiques to add emotion but
using space(knowing when and what to play in a song) will give you the feel of emotion.

you need to learn some scales AND how to use them.
#12
Are you having fun playing? If yes then keep playing

if no, then have a break


playing should be all about if you're having fun, not if you're just wanting to learn songs just because

guitar should NEVER be a chore.
#13
Quote by IPlaySchecter
I dont care who is better than me, or who i am better than. it dont matter, just play for yourself and what you like. Unless you just dont enjoy it anymore. Just take a break for a while, The urge to play might come back again someday.


I have been playing for 38 years. To my ears, I still suck. My younger cousin (by 11 years) who I taught the basics, plays far better than I ever will. Watching him makes me try harder.

If you want to improve, that means change. Consider getting lessons, upping your playing time, and playing with others. When I play, its for at least an hour, but usually 3-4 hours. If my cousin is with me, it could be all day.

That being said, IPlaySchecter is absolutely right. Play because you love it and for yourself. You are not in competition with your friends (and shouldn't be). If you feel tired of playing, loosen the strings, put the guitar in the case and give it a break. Otherwise, keep playing what you like and how you like. FYI: I put my guitars away for 12 years and came back.

One last thing. When I came back, the first thing a bought was a Tascam MP-GT1 Guitar Trainer. I loaded it with my favorite MP3s and started playing like crazy. Its a great tool for learning songs. Look into it.
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Last edited by Auriemma at Aug 19, 2009,
#14
Quote by DMX2
Hey all,
Ive been playing electric guitar for about 5 years now, i practice half an hour a day, no exceptions. But i still cannot play well. I cannot improvise (I have guitar lessons and i also use guides on UG and other websites), i cannot play with speed, i cannot add emotion into my playing (It all sounds robotic). This is seriously bothering me, i have friends who have been playing for less time than me, who dont practice as much, who can play the freebird solo in its entirety. I cant even play anything that goes above 'Sweet Child Of Mine' intro speed!
So please, help me to increase my speed and skill, before i put down my pick.
Thankyou for any help,
Russ.

You know, I've heard this type of thing before and got to thinking about it. Sure the above advice is really good (particularly the part about various exercises and doing things painfully slow while gradually increasing the pace), but there's something else that might answer your questions.

Were you ever in band as a kid in school? If so, how long? I know for me when I picked up the guitar my biggest problem was having all the "feeling" but not being able to express it with the instrument. But as I improve I'm able to express things more and more.

Back to the question about being in band; I bring it up because after years of playing music (I played trombone), learning music theory (much of which I never understood or forgot), listening to others, being critiqued, etc. I had a totally different starting point than others. Not saying it's better or worse, but certainly different.

When a group of us got RockBand and started playing I was able to sing on Expert before I could do any instrument on Medium. Why? Because I could tell if notes were sharp/flat and I could hear the pitch and knew where notes were. So maybe some of your friends have a background you don't and they're able to feed off it, where you can't.

Do you sing/hum in the shower? I absolutely do -- and I envision colorful melodies, solos, rhythm sections, etc. while I'm humming/singing. Maybe you don't/can't (yet) but your friends can.

Without any further data I'd check about getting lessons, but not just general lessons. Something like a guitar school class would be best. The idea would be to learn fundamentals that you can use EVERYWHERE, not just specific songs. For instance, if you got lessons/took a class on Blues you would be taught the fundamentals of that style. You could then learn to play your favorite blues tunes easily. But you could also use those fundamentals when it came time to play rock, classic rock, country, etc.

As for the fun part, I can totally understand it not being fun if it's frustrating. I picked up the guitar about 15 years ago and tried playing it off and on for quite a while -- and had nothing but failures with it. I have it up and just recently picked it up again. The lessons I took each had a fundamental, an exercise and then a fun thing (song) in them. So every lesson had those 3 things (the first 2 [fundamental & exercise] were typically joined) and I've been able to use them still. Unfortunately I ran out of dough for lessons and am now searching for exercises I can do to improve my playing.

Maybe something like that would work for you?

Good luck!
Richard

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#15
Have a go at Acoustic guitar, I've been playing electric guitar for about 7 years and still cant improvise. I can write riffs, solos and lyrics with alot of effort but i find nothing more relaxing AND fun than picking up the acoustic and jamming out some chords. Simples..

And dont settle for an electric guitar amped out for acoustic, try a real acoustic, the sound is alot more soothing and obviously natural.. might get you back into enjoying to play.
#16
Have you been playing songs you like? What do you listen to? Do you give bands you normally wouldn't listen to big chances to grow on you? Do you practice what you know you can't play? These are all questions that need answering.
Always tin your strings.

_____

Don't be afraid to be honest.
#17
eh, i've been playing for 4 yrs and im no better then u. i dont worry about it, it'll all come over in time. i dont really practice though, so thats probably why. i kinda just play for the fun of it. if u want to learn how to play fast, start playing harder parts at a much slower speed. once u nail it, speed it up a bit, and repeat.
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#18
That's going to happen if you only practice for thirty minutes.
I recommend practicing at least an hour to three it just depends how dedicated you are to the instrument.
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#20
Here's another tip: If you want to play fast rhythm sections use worn down picks. It worked for me and I didn't even know it for a while, I just used what I had but it made it easier. New picks = Single notes, Worn down picks = Rhythm.
Always tin your strings.

_____

Don't be afraid to be honest.