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#1
Hi guys... I've been at the guitar for about a year and a half now. And I just can't seem to learn anything, I'm almost 18, too.

Sometimes I sit down and try to learn easy strumming patterns or chord changes, but it just won't work. Even when I do them really slow. For example, I was trying the strumming pattern for a green day song (Time of your life, DDU UDU) and I still couldn't manage it, even after an hour.

I really don't know what the problem is.. as I said I've tried really slow, and thinking about every move to a bit more natural, but nothing really helps..

If anyone can help me... thanks in advance
#2
When playing: Play more think less.
When not playing: Learn theory. (Watch people playing, learn all the chords and more or less how they sound, scales, LISTEN LOTS AND LOTS OF MUSIC.)

You need to KNOW the song before you can actually pull it out of your guitar.
#3
Okay.. I'll try to play more with feeling
And when I'm not playing I'm either listening to music or watching people play (on youtube,...)
#4
I am able to self teach now because I had a few years of lessons under my belt. A good teacher can go a long way. If that is an option I highly recommend it. Keep at it, anyone with two hands and a lot of effort can play.
#5
Ask around amongst your friends to see if anyone plays guitar well. A little informal instruction can go a long way if your feeling stuck.
#6
Just keep practicing. Don't even think about trying to get better. Don't start learning too many things at once, learn 2 or 3 things at the same time, and switch between them when you get bored of playing one.

Don't do anything you're not enjoying, unless you're trying to reach some sort of goal.

Just keep practicing - it will just 'click' at some point.
#7
Also get a beginners book for guitar, I think they are the best way to progress quickly.

Also, practice these chord changes, one at a time until you can play them well.

1) G G G G

2) G G G G D D D D

3) G G G G D D D D C C C C D D D D G G G G

4) G G G7 G7 C C D D G
#8
^Read through it like 3 times so you dont waste $15 bucks. Learn from a broke persons mistake.
#9
It doesn't really matter which way you strum it. Just do it the way you wanna do it and what seems easiest. It takes time and practice, but as long as you do with what's comfortable for you, you can learn.

If not, maybe your one of the types of people who was just not meant to be a guitarist
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Strike him down with sleight of hand.
And if heaven rides against us
Then God himself must be damned.


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#10
Get some basic lessons to get you started.

Have a dedicated amount of practice time, and during that time practice slowly until you get down basics.

Play with a metronome until you get a good sense of internal rhythm.

When you're strumming, don't use your wrist. Use your elbow to strum, keep everything below it stiff. This will give you a good personal metronome to keep you in time. This was the first thing my teacher taught me, and it has helped immensely.

To practice this, you may feel stupid, but move your arm up and down at the elbow in 4/4 time during class at school, or whenever you're just sitting around with no guitar. Eventually it will become second nature and you won't even have to think about proper rhythm.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
Last edited by Natrone at Sep 30, 2009,
#11
I started when I was 16 and a half. I'm not that far off from you, but I'm quite sufficient now. Just keep on trying! Just mess around on your guitar. It's not always about practicing hard. You learn a lot from just messing around on it.
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#12
1. Learn downstrokes first. Play only downstokes on the proper beat. Slow the song down and play with a metronome/drum machine if you need to.
2. Build until you can play it to speed.
3. Learn the upstrokes. Same way, slow it down, ignore the downstrokes, build speed.
4. Slow the song down once again, and this time try putting them together.

Remember the upstrokes rarely involve strumming every string. Also, you might try an easier piece. Green Day gets a lot of "too simple" hate that isn't really deserved. "simple" is a relative word, it can't be defined without comparison, and what is easy for an expert doesn't equal being easy for a new guy.
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#13
Wow, thanks for all the great advice guys! I will certainly try all of this out (and report back, ofcourse ) About the 4/4 thing... Does that mean I, for example, count to 4 every time, and in that time play 1 chord, and after the count I switch to the next one? Or am I understanding this wrong
#14
Overthinking might be holding you back. When I sit down and say to myself, I WILL learn this song/chord sequence/whatever, I can't do it. As far as the rest, just practice and enjoy playing. Fun is more important than learning songs.

Have a look on youtube for a guy called "feetinthewater" (not me), and search for his cover of Peace Is Free by Black Stone Cherry. He gives you a first class tab, and watch his strumming. Very slow, damn near all downstrokes. And plenty of scope to jazz up the strumming.


EDIT:

I'm not too sure about all this 4/4, only downstroke, wrist straight lark (sorry guys!)
When it comes to strumming, go with what feels natural, you'll find the songs rhythm on your own. The wrist bit might be personal preference, I play with a fair bit of wrist action.
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Last edited by Joeval at Oct 1, 2009,
#15
Hey man, I really suggest taking some private lessons. People learn at different rates. A teacher really, really helped me. You never know - take a few and find out for yourself.
#16
Hey relax dude, maybe you're practicing the wrong way? Maybe you could take some lessons, formal lessons from a qualified teacher, or informal ones from friends.
Chances are perhaps your practicing it the wrong way? Or simple not putting enough time into it? Perfecting chord changes takes time.
Remember this, practicing for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, is waaaay better than practicing for 5 hours on a sunday. you have to build what we call muscle memory, and that takes time and regular practice. So if you are busy and can't find really find much time to practice on the weekdays, just spend like maybe 20mins practicing before you sleep, and do it for at least 5 days a week. That usually works better than spending like 10 hours on a sunday.
#17
Thanks all When I get the opportunity I will look around more for a teacher. In the meantime, would someone please explain the 4/4 a bit more? I've read wiki and some other sites but I'm not sure if I'm understanding it correctly
#18
Quote by Spaminator92
Thanks all When I get the opportunity I will look around more for a teacher. In the meantime, would someone please explain the 4/4 a bit more? I've read wiki and some other sites but I'm not sure if I'm understanding it correctly


Don't rely on Wiki use Google. Whether Wiki or something else gives you the info you need do Google searches on anything you want and you will find it: I am sure of it. I got all of my information from Google searches.

Here is a link I found using a Google search.

http://guitarsite.com/hotlicks/about1980.html
#19
4/4 is a time signature. You count out the beats as 1, 2, 3, 4, which equals a measure.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#20
Quote by Natrone
4/4 is a time signature. You count out the beats as 1, 2, 3, 4, which equals a measure.


And after one measure, for example, I switch chords?
#21
For basic practice, yes. When I was working on this I used the strumming patter and chord progression from Good Riddance. D-D-U-U-D-U for the patter, G-G-Cadd9-D for the chords. The way you count out this pattern if 4/4 time is

ONE-TWO-AND-three-AND-FOUR-AND

Bolded parts are where you strum. Another thing that will help you keep time is tap your foot to the beat.

If you need more advice, I'll gladly give it, and I think there are basic strumming lessons somewhere on this site too.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#22
Private lessons will help loads. And maybe even more importantly prevent bad habits that you may have to unlearn and retrain yourself to the proper technique.

You can also try this site,

http://www.justinguitar.com/

Go directly to the beginners course on the left side bar menu.

Good stuff!
Yamaha FG730S
Last edited by NC_Acoustic at Oct 2, 2009,
#24
I concur with the private lessons stuff. Just make sure you find a good teacher that will teach you how to play the instrument, not just how to play covers.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#25
Quote by Spaminator92
And after one measure, for example, I switch chords?



okay buddy, I've been playing a bit less than you have (1 year now). This is my advice.

Pick a few easy/catchy songs you like.

Go to ultimate guitar and find their tabs. BUT get the tabs that have the lyrics and the name of the chord above the lyrics.

Follow along with the song and read the lyrics and play the chords. When you see a new letter appear over a word, switch the to that chord.

IMHO, this is the most simple way to understand chord changes at your stage.
#26
Quote by 1979ckhtt


okay buddy, I've been playing a bit less than you have (1 year now). This is my advice.

Pick a few easy/catchy songs you like.

Go to ultimate guitar and find their tabs. BUT get the tabs that have the lyrics and the name of the chord above the lyrics.

Follow along with the song and read the lyrics and play the chords. When you see a new letter appear over a word, switch the to that chord.

IMHO, this is the most simple way to understand chord changes at your stage.


Yeah, I understand that.. But instead of facepalming at me explaining what I think you could explain what I'm saying wrong instead of leaving me in complete doubt. Thanks.
#27
I highly recommend getting a teacher or instruction book. Even if you just take a month or two of lessons, I believe if you have a good teacher you will make good progress. It helps a lot to see and play with good guitarists. It will rub off on you too.
#28
Whatever you do don't give up!
I was absolutely rubbish for the first couple years of my playing... then gradually I got a lot better!

I managed to play Good Riddance (Time of Your Life as you put it) properly after I'd been playing for about 2 years.

So don't worry! I'm sure you're doing fine!
#29
Quote by Spaminator92
Yeah, I understand that.. But instead of facepalming at me explaining what I think you could explain what I'm saying wrong instead of leaving me in complete doubt. Thanks.

hold on now im conused sorry, i wanna help you really, cuz just last week i wanted to quit guitar

heres an idea, have you heard of guitar pro? if not get that or tuxguitar.

Also, if you are playing a steel string, try out a nylon string, might be easier for you
#30
Guys, honestly, the best way to get better fast is to take lessons. Having a teacher show you how to do the basics is the smartest guitar related venture I've ever had
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#33
just keep at it set some short term goals. I didnt read OP so im just going to assume you picked up the guitar yesterday. First of all set some short, medium, long range goals like

Short - Able to do all basic chord changes Fluently at 10-20 BPM faster then your generic tempo (mine is 112, i aimed for 124 to play fluently)

Medium - Get your E, Em, Am and A shape barre chords at 124BPM

Long - I dont think i can really tell you where to go with this one. Mine is to get through stairway to heaven. Or possibly some music theory

Once you reach your first goal move your other to goes up one spot so your Medium becomes your short and your long becomes your medium. then obviously create a new long term.

PS. Im still learning myself im only on my medium range goal got my barre shapes at 112 BPM from any basic chord. **** there were so many times i wanted to snap my guitar in half while trying to get to G-F but i kept at it and im doing pretty good i think. So if anyone has any corrections, correct it


EDIT: i just read your OP and it sounds like you might be either trying to hard or not trying enough, how often do you practice?
Last edited by Hullucinate at Oct 4, 2009,
#34
Recently, I've been busy with school, but I still try to practice an hour a day, at least. I will certainly try those goals
#35
I'm going to reiterate all the guys who have said get a private teacher. A good teacher can help you improve extremely rapidly. To the guy who said he's had 9 teachers, you must have had either 9 completely awful teachers or you're just a ****ty student. I'm willing to bet after 9 teachers, it's the latter.

Also combo the teacher with a LOT of practice.
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meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid

#36
Quote by 3holepunch
To the guy who said he's had 9 teachers, you must have had either 9 completely awful teachers or you're just a ****ty student. I'm willing to bet after 9 teachers, it's the latter.



Nope. I'm a good student I just ended up with ****ty teachers every time who did more showing off then teaching. The 9th teacher I had was AMAZING but retired! It's just my luck really...


Anyway, teachers cost a fortune nowadays. Even students like the first 8 of mine...

I'd recommend maybe a book? There are some good ones out there that come with CD's and show you step by step how to do stuff...
#37
To learn, you have to want to learn. You need to have passion for music and guitar, or you will simply never learn it. It takes LOTS of time and dedication.

Are you dedicated?
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#38
Quote by jo.JAWBREAKER
Nope. I'm a good student I just ended up with ****ty teachers every time who did more showing off then teaching. The 9th teacher I had was AMAZING but retired! It's just my luck really...


Anyway, teachers cost a fortune nowadays. Even students like the first 8 of mine...

I'd recommend maybe a book? There are some good ones out there that come with CD's and show you step by step how to do stuff...


Fair enough, there are certainly plenty of teachers like that out there. Luckily I've only had one bad teacher out of three.
Quote by acjshapiro

Quote by Vrstone87

meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid

#39
Quote by CKYIbanezParker
To learn, you have to want to learn. You need to have passion for music and guitar, or you will simply never learn it. It takes LOTS of time and dedication.

Are you dedicated?


Well yes, I decide solely on my own that I wanted to learn the guitar, and worked myself to buy one. Listening to music is what I'd do all day when I was younger.

Also, noone in my family has musical talent/passion whatsoever.
#40
bro go to nextlevelguitar.com
I learned all the basics in just a couple months!
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