#1
Hello, I was gonna see if anyone could help me find out how I can progress as a guitarist.

I am 14 and have been playing for about 5 years.

I seem to have hit a wall in my guitar playing.

I have a strong knowledge of music theory,
I know all the modes of the major scale, I know how chords are formed I know what chords can go together in a progression.
I am progressing at sight sight reading, but I still have a lot of room to progress in that area. I am good at sight reading jazz chords, but the melodies are a little troubling for me.

I practice a lot up/down picking, string skipping, sweeping, scale pattern excercises. But my technique is mostly where I have seemed to hit a wall, no matter how much I practice I don't seem to be getting much better.

I have lately been practicing different styles of music, such as blues and jazz(I am mostly a prog, rock, easy listening, melodic player. But I want to get better at improvising solos for blues and jazz, blues soloing right now is pretty good for me I got my pentatonic chops down, but I need to just spice up my soloing a bit, make my own a little more. And jazz improvising is really difficult for me espially with all the key changes.I don't know know where to go with jazz soloing.

I lately have been writing a lot of music, which reminds me I need to record and put them on my profile(the one on my profile now is really old) but that seems to bbe going well, just writing solos is hard for me, any solo writing tips would be nice. I'm in a rock band, school percussion ensomble, school jazz band.

I have a feeling music is what I wanna do with my life, so I'm trying to get to know as many people as I can and play with as many people I can.
If anyone could give me advice that would be great.


Just if any one could giv
#2
Get a band outside of school.

Get some grades under your belt. Most music schools (in Aus anyway) require almost top level exam grades in both prac and theory.

If you are trying to get into the jazz scene a little more, learn a bit more theory. Things like chord substitution modal changes and things like that will really help to spice up your impro.

If music is what you want to do, try composing some things and give them to the bands at school. I started off by arranging well known things like the Jaws theme, and giving it out to my school concert band. It's a really great experience to have to write all those different parts.
Last edited by mdwallin at Jan 3, 2010,
#4
Fourteen? You most likely have not hit the wall. On another thread, I talked about hitting a wall on speed(notes/minute), but there are so many aspects to playing, I doubt you've exhausted them. I really could not get any faster, but I explored the other elements that go into being a guitarist. I'm old and I still keep learning new things all the time. You can give up, or push on through.

If you think music is your life, how can you give up? Just remember, if this stuff was easy, we'd all be rich and famous.
#5
To be blunt, forget about your dreams of becoming famous and rich and successful (I'm not saying it won't happen but it's not a very realistic path), and start focusing on just getting better, listening to more and more varied music, and playing with as many people as possible. Don't worry about your career path just yet.
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#6
Kid, you're doing far better than me at aspiring to be a great musician, I can tell you that much for sure. I've written on this very forum on a thread similar to yours, you seem well off too might I add. Okay in highschool I know I matured a lot and so has my music, my music evolved a lot too, so I'd say expect your music to evolve. Notice that I use evolve and not change because you still may like your old styles, but also include new styles. Yes people say that you might not make much money and stuff or not become successful but do not let that sway you. If you are willing to accept the fact and you really love your music go ahead. You are still young though... I am grade 11 I know some people who wanted to go into music also, but when they hit their senior years and start to mature they see it as a childhood dream. I really love my music too, but if you are passionate I believe you will do good. I can't give much advice because I am not as wise as the older people, but look into some post-secondary education? It may help (if you have the money). Knowledge is power! So keep doing what you love to do kid, you are on your way for sure, who knows, we are maybe on the same boat, but I can be sure that right now you are better than a lot of people like me ;P. (imagines playing jazz) Surely you're doing something right! You'll see things a lot clearer trust me. Take it one day at a time.
Quote from TGM "We're all musicians, we should protect our ears like we protect our dicks."
#8
Quote by JSX
I have a feeling music is what I wanna do with my life, so I'm trying to get to know as many people as I can and play with as many people I can.
If anyone could give me advice that would be great.


Okay.... so this is your goal. With what you have said here ^ you're on the right track.


Quote by JSX

I practice a lot up/down picking, string skipping, sweeping, scale pattern excercises. But my technique is mostly where I have seemed to hit a wall, no matter how much I practice I don't seem to be getting much better.


Only shred-head guitarists really care about this ^.

Be able to play a diverse range of styles. Being able to shred a little is nice, but it really won't get you near as many jobs as being dependable, well-connected, versatile, tasteful, knowledgeable, humble, and business-minded will.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
First off, major "hats-off" to you - you are only 14 and you've already come so far. I was 21 before I even started playing, though I've been at it for almost 18 years since then.
I've been thinking about plateaus myself a lot over the last 24 hours. Most of it is due to a post by Sean0913 where he mentioned them in a positive sense. I had always looked at plateaus as very frustrating periods where no matter how hard you work on stuff, it just seems like you will never get where you want to go as a guitarist. Some thoughts about plateaus for you:
1) They are normal. Your progress as a guitarist is never going to be a straight line from A to B. There will be periods where you progress slowly, and other periods where you leap ahead literally over just a couple of weeks.
2) They are necessary. This was the part of my thinking about this that Sean0913's post triggered for me. The times I've plateaud have been the times I've dug the deepest trying to understand where the problems in my playing are, trying to understand what is holding me back. The learning that comes from that guitar soul searching is what you use to make your next jump forward. Also, a plateau is an opportunity to say "to hell with improving (for a while), I'm just going to take something I can play with my current ability and play it really well, and enjoy playing it". That's a necessary break you need from time to time.
3) You are not progressing as slowly as you think you are. Do you keep a practice log? If so, go back a month and have a read. If not, start one.

The only other suggestion I have if you feel like your progress has slowed down on the technical aspect is to mix up your practice a bit. Put some new exercises in there, learn some more material. I always get a bit of a bump when I change things up - just because I'm attacking the old problems from a different angle.
#10
Quote by JSX


I have lately been practicing different styles of music, such as blues and jazz(I am mostly a prog, rock, easy listening, melodic player. But I want to get better at improvising solos for blues and jazz, blues soloing right now is pretty good for me I got my pentatonic chops down, but I need to just spice up my soloing a bit, make my own a little more. And jazz improvising is really difficult for me espially with all the key changes.I don't know know where to go with jazz soloing.

I lately have been writing a lot of music, which reminds me I need to record and put them on my profile(the one on my profile now is really old) but that seems to bbe going well, just writing solos is hard for me, any solo writing tips would be nice. I'm in a rock band, school percussion ensomble, school jazz band.


Study and learn some Robben Ford material, and even some Kenny Burrell, these guys have the Jazz Blues thing down tight. Analyse the leads, since you have a strong knowledge of theory, you should be able to analyze the chords and the notes played against them. Are they diatonic, suggesting altDom's etc.? Simply blowing across the chords with "chops" works for a while but eventually you want to start getting inside the chords. Can you play through the changes, without sounding like one arp after another, for example?

You sound like you are on the right track, but as an Instructor I think what is happening is you are trying to do too much at once. Take a couple of things that you want to do well, and focus on those - I call it a music sabbatical when it comes to that point with our students.

For example some of our Academy students take off and go back into the origins of the blues, studying the three Kings, and classics of Blues players, slowing it way down, getting "inside" whats going on. When you slow down and realize life's not a race but a journey, you start to listen better, hear better and play better.

Best,

Sean
#11
Sweet advice guys, I learned a lot from this thread!