#1
I've only been playing guitar for about a year, so I'm still a beginner. I started learning power chords the past few months, and after a bit of a struggle I felt like I mastered the fingering. I could blast through "Beat On the Brat" and it felt so good!

The past few weeks I've been really committed to practicing every day. I'm trying to learn as much as possible, from reading music and learning open chords, to learning punk songs played with power chords. The past few days though, I've noticed I'm getting WORSE. My fingers just aren't working the same way as they were last week.

When I was at my personal peak playing songs like "Beat On the Brat" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," my third and fourth fingers stayed together and moved up and down the fretboard together no problem. Now all of a sudden I've noticed they don't want to stay together anymore. They're kind of bowing apart and it's a struggle to keep them together. Also, my first finger doesn't want to do what it's supposed to either. I'm so frustrated, today I honestly was about to just swing my guitar over my head and smash it, just out of pure anger and disappointment at myself.

What's going on? Are the muscles in my hands strengthening, causing them to behave differently than I'm used to? Is it a bad idea to be trying to learn open chords at the same time as I'm trying to learn power chords? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. I really feel like the more I practice, the worse I'm getting, and it's driving me nuts.
#2
just keep going and keep playing, have a line between playing songs and practicing. And make sure you enjoy playing that is the main thing
#3
There's nothing wrong with taking a break. If you've been playing for some time and you're getting tired (mentally or physically) it's just fine to put the guitar down for a little while and come back to it when you're fresher.
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#4
Try doing hand stretching exercises, you can search a few on google. It might just be your hand is overworked, maybe try laying off the guitar for 2 days or so. When you come back, begin doing proper drills to increase coordination. If you want good ideas for drills, you can PM me.
#5
Quote by HeartSick
I'm so frustrated, today I honestly was about to just swing my guitar over my head and smash it, just out of pure anger and disappointment at myself.


That's terrible
We all feel like we suck sometimes, but you need to stay calm no matter what. If you can't nail something, just take a deep breath, relax your hands and try again.

And I could be wrong, but it seems that you are trying to play faster than you can.
This is something that every musician learns sooner or later: you MUST practice extremely slowly. Take all the time you need to change chords, but do it correctly (avoid unwanted string noise and all that shit). After doing it several times it will feel natural and your fingers will do all the work by themselves, then you can speed it up

And it would be a good to start learning open chords. Start with C, D, E and G and learn them SLOWLY as I said before.

I agree with everything posted before too

Good luck!
#6
Quote by siskoX
And it would be a good to start learning open chords. Start with C, D, E and G and learn them SLOWLY as I said before.

Freaking G chord nearly made me set my guitar on fire with gas
but it is only $100
so i wouldn't have missed out on much
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#7
Quote by HeartSick
a my third and fourth fingers stayed together and moved up and down the fretboard together no problem. Now all of a sudden I've noticed they don't want to stay together anymore.


Wait, are you saying you're using your ring and pinky fingers to fret power chords? You should use your index and ring finger.
#8
from what you say, you`ve been reading a lot about techniqe. What might be hapenning is your brain is grasping at what it needs to tell your fingers to do faster than your fingers learning to do it. This happens because the developement of a skill tends to go idea (knowing what to do), concept (how to do it), and finally developing muscle memory (being able to consistently perform the skill). What id suggest is to just work on what you know until you can do it cnsistently. This way, you focus better.
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#9
Quote by Joshua1207
Wait, are you saying you're using your ring and pinky fingers to fret power chords? You should use your index and ring finger.

I'm sure he/she is talking about using the pinky to get the octave in the power chord.
Root-5th-octave = index-ring-pinky.
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#10
ignorance is bliss?
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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#11
I'm going through exactly the same thing. I want to smash my guitar through the window at the moment. Im going to give it a break for a couple of days because i'm losing my temper and it's making me play worse. Stay strong and take a break if you need 2.
#12
i know man. The thing is that I've realized is... Don't FORCE yourself to practice. It won't be fun if it feels like a job. Do take a break once in a while. There was an article a few days back about the importance of rest and relaxation. Just don't let your guitar gather dust, and don't give up. But, theres nothing wrong with taking a day off imo, as long as you make up for it in a good, productive practice session.
#13
If your playing worst than your probabley playing too fast for your own good and developing some slightly bad technique

Slow it down
#14
i have many times, the best thing to do is actually take a break for a few days than play again and you will sound so much better.
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#15
Quote by Sleaze Disease
I'm sure he/she is talking about using the pinky to get the octave in the power chord.
Root-5th-octave = index-ring-pinky.


Oh, usually I don't add the octave on power chords, though I do do a lot of plain octave chords leaving out the 5th. But when I do add the octave I usually just barre it with my ring finger.
Last edited by Joshua1207 at Jun 17, 2010,
#16
Quote by Joshua1207
Wait, are you saying you're using your ring and pinky fingers to fret power chords? You should use your index and ring finger.


He should actually at some point chord legato technique and learn to hammer down with his ring and pinky even power chords in drop. Ive started practicing and trying to play power chords solely with ring and pinky just to build their strength.

And I could be wrong, but it seems that you are trying to play faster than you can. This is something that every musician learns sooner or later: you MUST practice extremely slowly. Take all the time you need to change chords, but do it correctly (avoid unwanted string noise and all that shit). After doing it several times it will feel natural and your fingers will do all the work by themselves, then you can speed it up


Yep i was gonna say exactly that. slow it down. I know exactly what you mean Its happened to me before so if a song is at 240bpm half that number twice and play it until you can play it flawlessly (correct tones and watch string noise). Do this for about 5-10 minutes for a couple of days. I wouldnt really practice that much more than that for now which brings me to my next point.

Im 25 and i started playing when i was 17/ I used to really suck at guitar and i still think i suck but I am the best I have ever been after taking a 3 year break of not even owning one. Now for the past six months ive been practicing daily. My point is During that break from guitar I wanted to play so bad I though about playing guitar. I listened to the songs and imagined how they would be played. I never touched one for a long ass time. Since the break I believe just thinking about being better seriously helped me. So take it easy. Dont over practice and taking a break can actually make you better. good luck.
#17
Thanks for the advice guys. I've been taking a break and I'm feeling better. One thing that people seemed to overlook from my original post is that last week I COULD play these songs at full speed and it sounded great. It's only the past week that I've gone from being able to play powerchords to my fingers not working right.

Has anyone found that the more they practice, the more it strengthens the muscles in their hands, causing them to work differently than they did previously?