Been playing guitar for about 6 years, starting to get decent technique, and can improvise over most things. But the problem is. I actually have no idea what I'm doing. I just go by what sounds good. I can name you some basic chords and thats about it.
After reading guide after guide after guide on theory and scales, chords, modes, whatever, I just don't get it. I keep getting to feeling I'm meant to have memorised every chord and scale before I read these things.
Where am I meant to start?
My advice is that approach your guitarins systematically. This kind of a problem occurs when one does not apply what he has learnt. For ex - If you have learnt a couple of basic shapes in sweep picking and played a couple of songs which involve sweeping arpeggios don't think the job's fininshed. Try to compose a song which involves those arpeggios. Try to apply some new lick, some new idea you have learnt.

I sometimes go in a slump. Without any ideas, without any inspiration. All I do is pick up a song any pop song and try to add my colour to it. Like I was really bored last week and I made a metal version of Backstreet Boys's song Get Another Boyfriend. It's fun, and you get to do all this cool stuff with the song. Try this and see if it helps.
Hey, Its good to be able to "play" and after six years, yeah, you should be able to hear what sounds good. But, after six years you're telling me that you didn't pick up on the names of notes, or that you can't tell me what power chord you're playing? Just learn the notes on the A and low E string and memorize the rest of the fretboard using octaves. SIX YEARS!!!
I felt the exact same way 2 years ago, then I went to college to study music and it has guided me in the right direction.
You should start with learning intervals, once you understand that you will be able to understand how the major & minor scales are built. After that you should learn all the key signatures by learning the circle of fifths. with that things will start to make sense and you can then kind of branch out into different concepts (building chords, scales, modes, progressions, etc). I hope that helps!
Last edited by TrasherFromHell at Oct 18, 2009,
Scales are basically a set of notes you use to make like a solo or a riff for instance, different scales give you different 'sounds' and 'moods' so say if you wanted to do a happy piece you'd write the song in a Major scale and if you wanted a sad piece you'd write something in the Minor scale. There's loads of variations too but i'd stick with those if i was you.
Szek, for whats important I guess for me would be that when I'm about town in jam sessions and studios, to not cower in fear when anyone asks me... anything really.

Heminator, so basicly, learn something, use it, compose with it, memorise it, move on? Eh. Read it, tried it failed. However, will try again. >_>

Dimarzio, well, the thing is up until now I've never really had a problem. I'm composed many interesting pieces, been able to go up on stage and jame with other folk I've never seen, never had to read or write music. But now I'm at the point where I'm just not going to improve if I don't learn my stuff. I've tried before and failed and wasn't too bothered. I could tell you the name of the note I'm playing but unless it's an obious one it can take a bit of time... Yes yes six years, hush, I feel bad as it is.

Trasher, I've done the whole, well, tried to do the whole circle of fifths stuff, but I just.. can't remember anything.
(On another note, yes I do actually have memory problems which.. doesn't help >_>
Try and try again to understand theory. If you're reading books and guides and are not getting it, something's wrong. You're probably reading the wrong stuff or you've got no one teaching it to you in a way you would understand. I would say come to central Florida and enroll in my guitar program so I can teach you, but that's not possible. I'd say go to a guitar shop, find a teacher, and start taking lessons. Obviously learning on your own isn't working out for you. It doesn't work for everyone.
" When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."-Jimi Hendrix
Last edited by Warheart1188 at Oct 18, 2009,

Use the lessons, and start at the beginning. Great lessons which are very basic.
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Warheart, I've considered getting a teacher, but first, I must get another job haha.

Stona, read like, the first two paragraphs of that thing. Well. I think this may just be what I'm looking for. Hopefully I'm not proved wrong. If I'm not, well, I may be forced to fly to where you live and hug you for providing that link.
my suggestion,may seem weird.
learn piano. then learn the theory for that and then pick up the guitar and apply keyboard to that.
may take some time, but it is layed out differently and maybe esier.
that piano idea is good. But hey if you're good at doing what sounds good, just learn some scales (now in gonna get flame) and use them as "guidelines". But as long as you know what to do when somebody asks you "make some mystique/flamenco/rock/metal" you're good enough.

Best advice is probably: start composing.