Hey guys, I'd appreciate it if I could get some help and advice.

I've been playing guitar for nearly a year and a half, and I'm at a loss as to what to learn now or whether or not I'm as good as I should be for the amount of time I've been playing.

So far I know most of the basic chords and I can switch between them pretty easily but I just don't get scales. Every lesson I've looked up seems to give an explanation that's over my head, and I can't find an explanation basic enough for me to get.

I also know playing with a metronome is very important but I don't understand how to properly use one. Are you supposed to hit a note on the guitar every time the metronome hits a beat or what? I've seen a couple of videos of guys playing with metronomes and I still just don't understand how you're supposed to sync what you're playing with the beat of the metronome.

Anyway, I'd like to know where some of you were at a year and a half of playing and some of your abilities and skills at that period of your playing so I can compare them to my own and give me something to work on. I love playing guitar a lot but lately every time I pick mine up I get a feeling of stagnation and despair.

EDIT: I'm also at a loss as to what songs I should be learning to improve my playing. I can only go by the songs I know, and most of the songs I know just won't help that much with my playing if I learn them.

Thanks, I appreciate it.
Last edited by TurtlesNeverDie at Oct 18, 2009,
Comparing to other people = bad
Everyone goes at their own pace.
At a year and a half i could do a blues scale, house of the rising sun, Reptar King of the Ozone and some very basic riffs like Pirates of the Caribbean and Mario. A few months after that i focused on Tremolo picking.

I wasnt very good xD

Scales are part of Music theory and based off of a sequence of Whole (W) and Half (H) steps

they start on whatever note the name of the scale is and proceed as WWHWWWH with 7 different notes in all (THIS is for major scales)
so for example the simplest scale theory wise is
C Major
however there are also Sharps and flats in other scales (C is unique for being all or nothing)
So C# (C Sharp) is

Now, a half step is like a .5 increase.
So if you are playing a
C and you go up one half step then you are now playing an

Now, the musical alphabet is ABCDEFG (H in germany)
B-C and E-F are natural half steps, so if you are playing an
E and go up a half step
you are playing an F, which is the same as an E#, they are enharmonic meaning they are the same note with different name.

What types of music are you into?
If you like Muse then Knights of Cydonia could help with rythm and tremolo picking (the outro would be good for rythm imo)
If you like metal try some stuff by The Devil Wears Prada like
Reptar King of the Ozone, pretty simple but fun to play and you can easily mix the rythm and lead parts to change things around.
Alternatively, try harder stuff to challenge yourself or for rythm honestly i think acoustic songs are much more challening than shredding with an electric.

I cant help with the metronome thing.
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I know that people go at their own pace, but where I live there aren't a lot of other fellow guitarists around for me to converse with so I have no clue at what pace anyone moves at.

All of the stuff you just said involving scales is confusing, but I think I get most of what your saying. So if, say, from D to E is a half step, would that make from D to D# a quarter step? I feel like that's a dumb question. XD See, I really have no clue.

Thanks for the help though, I appreciate it.

I like lots of music but I'm not really all that familiar with the good ol' fashioned rock and roll, so to speak. I know some metallica songs, some RATM songs, Crazy Train, Iron Man, and stuff like that, but a lot of songs I listen to are in odd tunings that I can't tune my guitar to.
Almost! D to E is a whole step (being two semitones)

There are 12 semitones in an octave:

C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# - A - A# - B - C

Moving from any of these notes to the note next door is a semitone.

Notice there are no "black notes" between B and C, or between E and F.

So C to C# is a semitone, D to D# is a semitone, and E to F is a semitone.


Quote by battlespud

Now, the musical alphabet is ABCDEFG (H in germany)

Say what now? Hit me with a H-minor, Wolfgang? What?
Last edited by Johnny_Ibanez at Oct 19, 2009,
the metrenome thing is to me all about the pulse of the song your playing.

so basically every time the metrenome clicks that is one beat, from there you need to know how music fits into this beat, just start with 4/4 so basically with 4/4 there are four beats to each measure(you really have to be able to read music to understand this)

so if you played one note every click you would be playing quarter notes, if you played one note every two clicks you would be playing half notes and if you played one note every four clicks it would be a whole note.

if you play two notes every click are 8th notes and four notes every click are 16th notes.

im sorry if this is way over your head it would really help if you have like a school band you could join even if you didnt play the guitar in it.

it would teach you to read music and understand beats and how to play inside the beat.

i guess to help you understand better you could pick a fairly easy song to play and listen to it and get the beat in your head, and when you get the right beat tap your foot while playing your guitar to that song, it takes time but it should help, then try to get in your head how many notes in each beat(tap of your foot) you are playing.

sorry im not very good at explaining things over the net lol but hey i tried i hope it helps a little bit. but like i said try to get in a school band or somethin honestly i wouldnt have gotten as far as i have on the guitar if i hadnt learned the basics of just music in general in my school band classes.

wait ok so you like the song iron man right? well the bass drum is setting the beat at the very beginning of the song you know that dun dun dun dun bass drum part that starts the song that is the beat so to start off set your metrenome to where it clicks every time the bass drum hits. now tap your foot along with that beat and play that song that should kind of help you understand it a little bit better.

the beat stays the exact same up until about two minutes and twenty four seconds in when the guitar solo starts but that should give you and idea of what "playing to a click" or beat is all about.
Last edited by Jman09 at Oct 19, 2009,
Getting your head around intervals might help scales make more sense - try Freepower's theory vids out. They cover the basics well, and stuff might start to make sense easier then: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=58DA70A2123C71CD&search_query=freepower+ug+theory

Then, when you get to scales, focus on the major scale. You can derive pretty much any other scale you'll ever need from the major scale, so once you understand that you've done all the hard work as far as scales are concerned

As Battlespud said - don't worry about comparing yourself to anybody else. Just make sure you are enjoying playing, and you are happy that you are progressing and learning stuff. If you can do that, then you are progressing just fine Enjoy the journey - its not like there's a finish line

If you feel like you're struggling teaching yourself, I'd seriously consider getting a teacher. It really helps.
Quality and amount of practice is what separates people, regardless of how long they've been playing.

Someone who hardly practices (and when they do, they don't concentrate) might not be as good after playing for 10 years as someone who has been playing for one yet regularly practices and plays the right things.

So don't try and gauge with a time-frame. Just play and practice well and you'll see a rapid improvement.
Thanks a lot for the advice you guys. I think I get the metronome bit better, and I'll try that with Iron Man.

I get the intervals part to and I'll look into those videos. I learned the major scale last night, and I'll see where I can get with it. I'd join the band, but it's my senior year, and I really don't have time for any extra curricular things, and I'd love to get a guitar teacher, but I just don't have the money.

Anyway, I get what you guys have said so far, and thanks for the help.