#1
I learn a song, i can play it, but i can't feel that my overall technique/accuracy has improved.
It just feels that i memorized where to press stuff and what to do and that's it, it's only for that song.
Well Obviously it feels that i moved away from the beginner stuff like being able to press a barre chord down so it sounds clean, but other than all of those beginner stuff it doesn't feel like anything is improving.
Could this be because mostly all i do is play songs and i don't do any chromatic exercises or similar stuff?
#3
Songs help A LOT. maybe you're just learning to easy of songs?
Chromatics have their place, but you shouldn't spend all your time fooling with them. If you know it and can play it cleanly, good enough.
You might wanna introduce improvisation into your playing so you can start making stuff and not just press where you know to press

EDIT- ^ and yes, definitely use a metronome always.
#4
yes. But it's not just about doing the exercises, it's about finding a way to track your progress with playing the exercises. When you do exercises, use a metronome to measure the speed you can do them at, but make sure that it's at a pace that you can do as cleanly as possible. Using the bpm measure will give you a visible sign of progress for speed. The cleaness is tougher to measure, which is why it's important to not sacrifice accuracy for speed when doing these exercises
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#5
Play harder songs. I was in the same boat you are in about 2-3 weeks ago. Since then, I've been playing harder songs that require practicing more and learning better finger positions. Loop the crap out of a song and play it til you get better.
#6
Play music you enjoy listening to.
Listent to new music, etc.
Just have fun really. I don't practice scales and stuff like that, because I don't find it fun.
I play songs I love and that's what's fun in my mind.
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#7
That's exactly it. I rarely learn an entire song unless I'm going to play it for a show. Picking exercises both chromatic and diatonic will help your technique and even timing if done with a metronome or drum machine. You can do similar exercises for your rhythm playing as well drilling different finger picking patterns or learning new chord forms, even ones you might never use, to increase your dexterity. By practicing skills instead of songs you'll become a better overall guitarist and be able to learn songs faster when you do learn them. It's important to have fun too, but making your self work on skills will pay off in the end.
#8
Well i always use a metronome, and the songs that i play aren't that easy. Currently I'm finishing up Tears in Heaven and Harvester of Sorrow, they don't look THAT easy ( at least to me ). But it still feels like I'm not improving, well maybe it does but just not by an amount that i could notice, or I'm blind ( also a valid reason )
Last edited by Shinami at Dec 31, 2009,
#9
A good way to build up your own personal technique is to jam on guitar and try not to play other songs. Write your own stuff and just play.

If that doesn't work for you (maybe it's just me it works for) then you could try looking up some guitar technique exercises by steve vai, paul gilbert, marty friedman, yngwie malmsteen, jeff beck etc.
#10
Learning/playing other peoples songs is great practice, and gets you right out of your comfort zone - the musicians that wrote them have different strengths/tendencies than you, so learning their stuff and adding it to your bag of tricks is a great way to improve. The ideal combo is to pick something just a bit too difficult for you (not way too difficult - you want there to be a few areas you need to focus on, not 6 or 7!), and supplement it with some exercises that focus specifically on the skills that are lacking. The other piece of the puzzle is spending time jamming/improvising/composing/working on your own sh*t. That's where you learn to apply all of that stuff you are learning with the covers and the exercises.
#11
Same situation for me here....

But I think... we wont see the little changes that we earned from our daily exercises and trainings...

I think in years... we can see a very obvious difference... ahaha that is just my theory... hopefully its true...
#12
Quote by prsrulz91
yes. But it's not just about doing the exercises, it's about finding a way to track your progress with playing the exercises. When you do exercises, use a metronome to measure the speed you can do them at, but make sure that it's at a pace that you can do as cleanly as possible. Using the bpm measure will give you a visible sign of progress for speed. The cleaness is tougher to measure, which is why it's important to not sacrifice accuracy for speed when doing these exercises

The obsession with "measuring" is one of the biggest problems with the modern guitarist. Let's get this straight, there is NOTHING to measure, or that needs measuring. Guitar is an art, not a sport, there's no absolutes, no best or worst. Every player and every piece of music they play is judged on it's own merits.

Sure, speed can be measured...but it's the only aspect of guitar playing you can attribute a numerical value to. And it's certainly not the only thing that matters when playing, but you can't measure accuracy, note choice, or rhythm, pick attack, cleanliness, or any if the other myriad factors that define "good" guitar playing. Therefore it's utterly pointless and plain counter-productive to fixate on the one thing that happens to be quantifiable in some way simply because of some misguided desire to somehow measure or "rate" your skill. Improvement rarely happens at the speed we want, and the more you look for it the less you'll see. It's better to try and forget about it and instead look back over the last few months and see how far you've come. However simply knowing you've improved is enough, there's little to be gained from trying to quantify "how much" you've improved.

A metronome exists for one purpose...to keep time. It's not a speedo or some kind of progress meter. The moment you start treating it as such is the moment you lose sight of what's truly important in guitar playing.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Dec 31, 2009,
#13
Quote by steven seagull
The obsession with "measuring" is one of the biggest problems with the modern guitarist. Let's get this straight, there is NOTHING to measure, or that needs measuring. Guitar is an art, not a sport, there's no absolutes, no best or worst. Every player and every piece of music they play is judged on it's own merits.

Sure, speed can be measured...but it's the only aspect of guitar playing you can attribute a numerical value to. And it's certainly not the only thing that matters when playing, but you can't measure accuracy, note choice, or rhythm, pick attack, cleanliness, or any if the other myriad factors that define "good" guitar playing. Therefore it's utterly pointless and plain counter-productive to fixate on the one thing that happens to be quantifiable in some way simply because of some misguided desire to somehow measure or "rate" your skill. Improvement rarely happens at the speed we want, and the more you look for it the less you'll see. It's better to try and forget about it and instead look back over the last few months and see how far you've come. However simply knowing you've improved is enough, there's little to be gained from trying to quantify "how much" you've improved.

A metronome exists for one purpose...to keep time. It's not a speedo or some kind of progress meter. The moment you start treating it as such is the moment you lose sight of what's truly important in guitar playing.

I've been reading these forums for over a year now and i've never seen anyone more helpful or insightful than steven seagull. He deserves to be paid for his advice.
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#14
try a different genre. I use to play alot of punk rock like blink 182 to the point where I can perfect a song in one sitting. But then I tried playing a jazz version of let it snow and learned so much more and I really feel like i improved.
#15
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#17
Fantastic post, Mark/Steven.
Overly focusing on the speed aspect rather than letting it develop over time is, I think, one of the things that will hold you back considerably from developing as quickly as you might otherwise as a guitarist.

But it's not stupid or foolish for a person to do this (not that Mark/Steven said this), it is a VERY easy mistake to make. Suppose you are working on a piece, either your own, or a cover. Either you want to perform it live, or for friends, or just be able to play along with the CD. There are a few exceptions, for example Paginnini's 5th will sound awesome without approaching the 168 bpm that Yngwie covered it at, but otherwise there's a tempo you need to hit. If you are any kind of intermediate level guitarist - ie. good enough to learn the piece, keep time, get your fingers where they need to go, not make too many mistakes, then almost guaranteed the number one problem you will have is getting it up to that goal tempo.
Let's say the piece is at 150 bpm. After learning it well, you can play it at 120 bpm. Determined to nail it, you bust your butt for several months working on it, and you can now play it at 135 bpm. Your halfway there, right? This sounds absoultely logical. Like I said, it is a very easy assumption to make.

Except it doesn't quite work like that. Here is my theory and observations about how it does. For any given piece you are trying to play, there's a maximum potential speed that you can play it at within the limitations of your technique as it currently stands. If you work hard on the piece, playing it over and over with gradually increasing tempos, you will get closer and closer to the maximum speed, but you will not necessarily be increasing that max potential speed. So in the case above the imaginary guitarist who can now play the piece at 135 bpm may not be halfway there at all. He might be 95% of the way to exhausting how much he can progress on the piece, and may really be very little closer to being able to play the piece at 150 bpm, the goal tempo.

So, if the imaginary guitarist was already at 140 bpm instead of 120 bpm at the point where he had the piece learned, it would probably make sense to bust butt and chase the speedometer, um, I mean metronome a bit. Starting out that close to the goal tempo, his max speed for the piece is probably over the 150 bpm, and it's just a matter of working on the piece some more to get it to that speed.

But if that's not the case, what do you do if your max potential speed isn't sufficient to play the piece at tempo? Well, first thing you have to figure out is that is indeed the case. Plenty of practice and frustration required just to reach that point! Then you have to go about increasing your max potential speed. And the way you do that is to find out what it is about your technique that is limiting you to that speed, and work on improving those things. That you mean different material to attack the problem areas from a different angle, or busting out some exercises that isolate on the problem area.

When you are fixing these problem areas, this is where the tempation to play as fast as you can is most harmful. Fixing stuff is down to performing a great number of repetitions of an action with good technique until the muscle memory is so strong that it doesn't break down when you do it really fast. If you do this repition too fast you won't be able to perform the action perfectly and you'll be learning this imperfect version instead. Analogy - if you are building a bomb shelter, you don't need to build it while you are being bombed in order for it to be strong enough to withstand a blast!

In my opinion, this principle totally explains how you can walk away from a problematic piece for several months, then come back to it and be able to play it much better and closer to tempo without even having practiced it. The core techniques, and therefore the max potential speed, have improved in the meantime.

Quote by steven seagull
The obsession with "measuring" is one of the biggest problems with the modern guitarist. Let's get this straight, there is NOTHING to measure, or that needs measuring. Guitar is an art, not a sport, there's no absolutes, no best or worst. Every player and every piece of music they play is judged on it's own merits.


This was the only bit of your post that I, lets say 80% agreed with. You do need to be "measuring" in a sense, but it is way more subtle than basically this graph of max speed over time. If I play a piece easily today at a tempo that I mangled it at a year ago, then definately something good has happened with my playing over that time. That's valuable feedback - it means the way I have been practicing has been working well for improving technique. That feedback is very important because you do need to be evaluating whether how you are practicing is effective. A lot of the "measurements" are way more subtle than tempo. How's my timing - am I hitting the beat more precisely than I was a few months ago? How does it feel to play? Am I relaxed? Am I enjoying playing the piece? Does it sound good (duh - very important one to be paying attention to!)? Does my bicep burn if I play Master of Puppets with all downpicking - and if so, is it burning more or less than a month ago? Really, there are dozens of things you need to be "measuring" in a sense, so that you can make all the little course corrections you need to in how you practice so that you can keep developing towards being the musician you want to be. They're just a bunch harder to measure than speed - you have to use your ear, your awareness of how your body feels, your awareness of what you are doing.
#18
That's what I was angling at, you can easily tell if you've gotten better at something but there's no way to quantify it - but just because you can't assign a number to something doesn't mean it doesn't improve.
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