#1
Long story short, I been playing for a LONG time, but still stink (on and off for 12 years). I think it's mostly because I never really had a teacher, and just learned some power chords, some drop D stuff, and went from there. I know squat about guitar theory (keys, scales, etc.), which I think is probably a big problem also.

I find myself at times concentrating on playing so hard that I actually hold my breath a bit, and on stuff that really doesn't seem all that hard...but I find if I don't, I don't play as well. Wierd huh?

Anyway, the fundamental stuff that I need to improve on are:

Up-picking

Palm muting - when I'm downpicking, no problem, but if I go upward, there's a wierd harmonic kind of sound sometimes...maybe because i usually mute by laying my right pinky across the strings. Maybe my technique with my pick hand is just awful in general.

Fretting with my pinky

Harmonics/Vibratos (tho admittedly I rarely try to, maybe just need practice)

Well those are the biggest things I can think of. The other thing is, I would like to be able to figure things out on my own in terms of hearing something and then being able to play it. Maybe I was just born with a bad ear for tunings and whatnot and will just have to rely on transcriptions forever

Anyway, thanks in advance to the peeps here that actually know what the hell they are doing that are willing to share some suggestions!
#2
Then improve these things. Stop noodling around. Practice efficiently.

It takes time and effort.
C4C
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#3
The only one who can help you not suck is you. A teacher will point you in the right direction of what to do to not suck, but you still have to help yourself.
#4
look up songs that use these, then, practice them day and night
more advice
-for up-picking on palm mute, try not to move ur muting hand too much, practice this
-vibrato was hard for me too, practice just wammying the strings usingthe similar technique to vibrato
-pinch harmonics are hard for me, try studying guitarists like zakk wyldeand how they do it
-Pinky fretting, just practice using your pinky
I hope i've helped, and have a good day
"How can I be lost when I've got nowhere to go"
- MetallicA
What to do at a metal concert:

#5
Practice properly...it won't be instant, but eventually you'll notice improvements. I know lots of people who don't put the effort in then moan that they suck - it really is just a matter of good practice hours.
#6
Quote by Lame_Pinky
I know squat about guitar theory (keys, scales, etc.), which I think is probably a big problem also.
Freepower's theory vids:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OXv69rcko0&feature=related

Quote by Lame_Pinky
I find myself at times concentrating on playing so hard that I actually hold my breath a bit, and on stuff that really doesn't seem all that hard...but I find if I don't, I don't play as well. Wierd huh?

Anyway, the fundamental stuff that I need to improve on are:

Up-picking

Palm muting - when I'm downpicking, no problem, but if I go upward, there's a wierd harmonic kind of sound sometimes...maybe because i usually mute by laying my right pinky across the strings. Maybe my technique with my pick hand is just awful in general.

Fretting with my pinky
And some more Freep : http://www.youtube.com/user/FreepowerUG#play/user/FA239CA8EF73CEC9/0/nNhhyrnINIU

You know what your weak points are, now all you've gotta do is work on them! If I was you I'd pick one thing to work on for a while, rather than trying to fix everything at once.

Quote by Lame_Pinky
Harmonics/Vibratos (tho admittedly I rarely try to, maybe just need practice)
I wouldnt worry too much about this til you've sorted the rest out. imo vibrato is always going to be hard if you're not confident fretting - once you are comfortably using all your fingers then you'll find you can focus better on embellishments like vibrato

Quote by Lame_Pinky
The other thing is, I would like to be able to figure things out on my own in terms of hearing something and then being able to play it. Maybe I was just born with a bad ear for tunings and whatnot and will just have to rely on transcriptions forever
Practice! Try working out some simple stuff, like happy birthday simple, to gradually get your ear in. Once you are confident doing that try something a bit harder, like pop songs.
#7
Well teachers are expensive (thousands and thousands for me)But the best learning method is to just learn the basics and move on via Youtube and such.Start guitar all over if you have too.If you've playing on/off for 12 years and have trouble palm muting something is wrong.I've been playing for 3 years and I'm advancing to Arpeggios and Sweep Picking.Tasty Riff.com helped me grasp some basics don't buy it though just browse the free things for a bit.

As for working with your pinky (I actually rarely use mine) Try this:

e|------------------------------------------------
B|--------------------------------------------
G|------------------------------------------------
D|-----------------------------------------------
A|----------------------------------------------
E|-----2--3--5--2--4--5--2--3--5--2--4--5

And start at a comfortable pace and go faster and faster.Do this everyday and you'll start using your pinky more often.
Try to practice 1-3 Hours everyday and monitor your progress with a Video Camera.Every week record a video of you showing off your skills and then you'll slowly start to see yourself improve every week.Also if you need improvement on your upstroke try and take a day or two working on it.If you have a problem I'll send you a video of an example of how to practice it if you want.

As for Palm-muting DO NOT USE YOUR PINKY!It might feel comfortable but it will cause problems!Use the bottom of your hand.If you look at a picture of a hand this is what part of the hand http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=30l2jxz&s=3

As for harmonics try LIGHTLY placing your finger on a string DO NOT PRESS DOWN.
As for vibrato just gently while holding down the string move you finger vertically bending it very fast.

Thanks
#8
funny that u said you been playin for 12 years.. what u been playing in that time... cos learning songs will help u develop the essentials skills.. try something hard and stick with it... face it.. cos it will be worth it...
#9
Quote by jemeput
funny that u said you been playin for 12 years.. what u been playing in that time... cos learning songs will help u develop the essentials skills.. try something hard and stick with it... face it.. cos it will be worth it...



Learning songs is not the way to learn He has to learn scales,chords,legato and all of that.But a song will have more than he can handle.
#10
Quote by carnagereap666


As for Palm-muting DO NOT USE YOUR PINKY!It might feel comfortable but it will cause problems!Use the bottom of your hand.If you look at a picture of a hand this is what part of the hand http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=30l2jxz&s=3



but what about when I'm standing up? If I try to use my palm, I have to basically have my guitar perpendicular to my body, and then I can't reach the top of the neck frets very well. Sitting down I do do that already, but standing up is a different animal altogether.
#11
Quote by Lame_Pinky
but what about when I'm standing up? If I try to use my palm, I have to basically have my guitar perpendicular to my body, and then I can't reach the top of the neck frets very well. Sitting down I do do that already, but standing up is a different animal altogether.


When standing up make you have your guitar high up so you can help palm mute.
So your standing up and your strap is set high.Now,take your right hand place it over the E string for example then rotate your hand a little to the left so you have a slight shadow on the body in between the pick ups.Now start strumming,If done correctly you should be palm muting standing up!