#1
I have been playing for 4-5 years. I am not that good....I am so inconsistent!!! There is no way I could play anything live, I would make mistakes for sure. When I record a video for Youtube, I usually end up going through minimum 5 takes to get something right...

My timing is dispicable for a 5 year guitar player. Here is the best part - I have maybe not played guitar a couple dozen days in 5 years.

Of course practice habits are going to be the first question you ask. I only started this month using Guitar Speed trainer, and running through scales. I love playing so much, and I play EVERY DAY!! for a minimum 30-45 minutes. I guess more than anything, I just really don't feel comfortable as the player I have become. If I could start over with new habits and patience I would. The patience I have now is so much lower, because I sometimes need to sit and play the simple things slow just to get them right. I.E Tornado of Souls opening rhythm section....I can't just nail that....it will probably take me a week.

Any words of wisdom or encouragement?
#2
i know exactly what you mean, i usually get really discouraged whenever i watch live videos of any of my favourite guitarists, then play some of their songs. its depressing that im nowhere near like them
however, this used to happen a lot more when i used to play a lot of metal, but now ive switched to playing more traditional rock and blues influenced stuff, and the change of style worked and this suits me a lot better
may not be good for you, but a change of style of playing certainly worked for me
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#3
I was the same way once and then I learned the Glass Prison Arpeggios. Changed my playing.
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#4
I've been playing for 5 years as well, but I can't say I practice or even look at my guitar every day. After two years, I was still awful. But during the next 2 years I took leaps and bounds in my level of skill. I probably doubled my skill-level within the following year. With that said, I still am "just off" the beat at times when my band is playing songs, and I probably make five minor mistakes in each song we go over. I don't feel all that terrible knowing I write a lot of things I hear in my head, and actually have to practice to be able to play them properly. The quicker the tempo the bigger my problems get, but I blame it all on lack of practice. And I do feel like a tool every single time I mess up.

I say you need hours worth of adequate practice, with a metronome (I've never used one once, but they serve their purpose 10-fold) every day. And by practice, I mean practice, not just song playing, which is what I usually do when I "practice." Which is why I tell everyone I'm just a guitar-player-impersonator.
Last edited by acoginthesystem at Jul 26, 2010,
#5
Quote by acoginthesystem
I've been playing for 5 years as well, but I can't say I practice or even look at my guitar every day. After two years, I was still awful. But during the next 2 years I took leaps and bounds in my level of skill. I probably doubled my skill-level within the following year. With that said, I still am "just off" the beat at times when my band is playing songs, and I probably make five minor mistakes in each song we go over. I don't feel all that terrible knowing I write a lot of things I hear in my head, and actually have to practice to be able to play them properly. The quicker the tempo the bigger my problems get, but I blame it all on lack of practice. And I do feel like a tool every single time I mess up.

I say you need hours worth of adequate practice, with a metronome (I've never used one once, but they serve their purpose 10-fold) every day. And by practice, I mean practice, not just song playing, which is what I usually do when I "practice." Which is why I tell everyone I'm just a guitar-player-impersonator.


Well you are brutally honest. Everyone is always trying to prove how good they are, but I am just doing it because I love it...and am not trying to show off or anything at all. I have started using a metronome normally.....but I have 4 years of bad habits...and that is dangerous.

The difference it sounds like between me and you, is I absolutely love playing, and I wish I was great. I want to be able to express how I feel through a guitar....and I can't really do that right now.

As for style change....I do love all types of music...and I am not just saying that. I love Glee (go ahead make fun) and have done a couple covers on Youtube, but at the same time I love playing AC/DC, and the first song I learned was Boston's More Than a Feeling. Megadeth has some ridiculously fun songs to play (well if you can play them properly that is).
Last edited by wy2sl0 at Jul 26, 2010,
#6
i've been playing 3 or 4 years, and i honestly cant play a single song all the way through completely right. i've always just learned the 'cool' riffs from songs, and not the more 'boring' parts so to speak. neither do i know any theory.
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#7
When I get down about my music skills, I practise what I'm good at. to be honest, you dont need to be able to solo to be a good guitarist; I am ****ing sick of seeing guitarists who are so far up thier ass because they can solo; because about 8 in every ten can't hold thier rhythm for shit.

my advise is get a good sense of rhythm: getting accustomed to the fret board is important; learn a 12 bar blues (you probs already have), and learn the E7 in 5 positions, learn the A7 in 5, and the B7 in, well, its a tone from the A7. switch between them, using extended chords and the like. this, will improve your theory and your playing at a rapid rate. for example;

E7.

020130
xx2434
x7675x
x76777 (9th)
x7678x (#9)
x7676x (b9) other option is a G#dim, google the chords, note that a dim chord can be rooted on any of its notes, regardless of pitch; a G#dim is identical to an A#dim, just rooted differently, and that they repeat every 1.5 tones.
x79797
12,11,12,11,12,x (9th)
x,x,12,11,9,12 (9th)
12,14,12,13,12,12
x79897 (maj7)
12,x,13,13,12,12 (maj7)
12,x,13,14,12 (maj7sus)
x,12,11,10,10,10 (E+[aug])

just practise switching between shapes. it sounds awkward to do, but i was stuck in a rut, and doing this dramatically improved my skill and knowledge of the fretboard.

also, i get the feeling you may not be aware of how good you are; its good to criticize yourself, but not the point of destruction (something i was told by my teacher a long time ago). also, to really improve, learn arpeggios to those chords.
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Last edited by Banjocal at Jul 26, 2010,
#8
I think you are right. I practice solo's alot, and my timing has suffered very much. I know that is one of my weak points...and I hate it. I would trade my ability to play easy solo's "ok" to be able to play rhythm well. Who really cares about a couple fast sections?

Anytime I want to sing a song and play, I cant - my timing and rhythm sucks.

Jamming? Bad...can't keep groove too well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjGYMdzv7d0

That solo was hard for me to play 100% properly...and I am still off on timing....

I haven't done the 12 bar thing, I have no idea what you are saying TBH. Could you elaborate slightly please? What about the chord changes do you mean? Is there a site I could visit to learn these properly? By arpeggios do you mean sweeps of them?

Thanks everyone for posting.
Last edited by wy2sl0 at Jul 26, 2010,
#9
If it makes you feel any better, I hate my playing, and every time I play, it makes me just want to put the guitar down and quit, but I love playing to much, and have no other hobbies (well, I want to get into building LEGO, but I can't afford to buy any bricks ). I would say take a short break, and then come back after a few days/a week, and work your ass off.
#10
Have patience. Practice technique, at least as a warm-up. Play as fast as you can but without messing up! If you're making mistakes, it's because you're playing too fast for your current skill level. Spend 15-20 minutes practicing with full focus on what your hands are doing, then take a 5-10 minute break. I, and several people I know, find this more effective than playing for hours straight. Your nervous system needs time to rest to absorb the new skills. It will only get easier. Imagine trying to learn a new language. At first, it will be difficult, because most of the words are new. But, as you get used to it, you will start using the same words over and over. Music is similar. As you advance, you will start to see the same patterns repeated in different songs. I also recommend learning basic theory, at least so that you know the notes on the fretboard. Here's a good lesson for that: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/how_to_memorize_the_fretboard.html

Here's one on the 12-bar Blues: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/music_styles/basic_blues_part_1_-_12-bar_blues_form.html
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#11
Don't be discouraged. I'm never discouraged anymore; when I come across something that might be discouraging, I'm encouraged to do better instead.
#12
What about learning to play drums? Do you think that would help with rhythm at all? I kind of find an electric kit intriguing.

Or Piano/Keyboard?
Last edited by wy2sl0 at Jul 26, 2010,
#13
Drums might help with rhythm, but I think keyboards might be pushing it. Having a piano/keyboard will help with understanding theory, but, other than that, it's just another thing to learn. In a way, piano is more difficult than guitar, because it requires more dexterity in both hands. The pianists I know have almost trained themselves to be ambidextrous. Of course, it wouldn't be too hard to just learn chords and scales. That would be arguably easier than guitar.

From the reviews that I've read, most low-end electric drum kits break too easily; only kits in the $1000+ range will last any significant amount of time. There is one low-end kit that I know of that has good reviews and is manufactured by a company called Ion, I think. Again, this is only going by reviews; I haven't really tested out different electric kits.
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#14
Honestly, the best way in my mind to make yourself more confident and a better player in general is to play with other people. It doesn't matter how you compare to them; I heard once that "you always want to be the worst player in the room."

It's true, too. Playing by yourself with a recording is nothing like playing with real people. There's some "give and take" with rhythm in a live situation and personally I have a much easier time staying on beat when I'm playing with others. You learn a lot too, me and the other guitarist in the worship band I play in seem to leapfrog each other in skill. He'll learn something new and I'll pick it up from seeing him do it, and then I learn something and he figures it out, and so on.

It also boosts your confidence. Last September was the first time I had ever played live for a group of people, and yeah, I was pretty nervous. Made a lot of mistakes. Still make some, but not as many, and I'm not nervous any more. The more you do something the better you get at it--basically, the same rule that applies to guitar techniques also applies to playing live.

And really, you notice your mistakes a lot more than others. Especially in a situation where you aren't the only player. Many times I've played some songs and thought I did terrible and then had people compliment me on my playing. Your average audience member just doesn't have an ear for it like you do, and one little mistake here and there really isn't going to matter much.

Anyway, hope that helps. Basically, you just really need to find some friends to play with, it's a lot of fun just jamming with others and you'll improve a lot as a result.
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#15
Try expanding into different genres. I've been playing for about 3 years, but when I had been playing for... I don't know, 1.5, maybe two years I had major problems with Tornado of Souls. I got the rhythm parts alright after just spending far too long on it but the solo just ruined me, it was a total waste of time where I could have been practicing something else. After that I went to playing Jazz, Blues and classical with some hard rock on the side for about a year and now, coming back to it, I found I was able to pick up the solo straight away. You learn some different techniques that may not seem relevant straight away, but you may come back later and find that something you learned for something else gave you the practice you needed to nail another song. Constant practice with a metronome, as well as going back over the basics really helps with getting your timing right. Also try to move with the music, especially in a band situation. My rhythm skyrocketed once I started really getting into the groove.

EDIT: Try some Pink Floyd, just tap and really move with the music. They've got some tricky little rhythm things, but they're pretty easy to get the hang of. It's just learning when to wait a tiny bit to play. It's great practise and they've got some great rhythms to get into.
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Last edited by kLinic at Jul 27, 2010,
#16
Playing with other people is a great idea. Whenever I feel like I'm sick of hashing over the same old licks, I call some of my friends up and get a jam session going. They think I sound great, I think they sound great and we all swap ideas and get a cool groove going and have a couple of brews too It's good to get out of the vacuum, so to speak.
#17
I never get discouraged - i just look at my guitar hero's and get inspired, knowing that if i keep practicing i'll someday reach a level somewhere near them.
#18
I tend to try and think about it in the opposite direction.

If I see or hear someone play something that I can't, it just means that I need to pick apart my playing and practice more again to improve.

Use it to spur you on, not discourage you.
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#19
There are a few things that you should keep in mind as you try to get back on the right track:

1. Ease up on yourself. Getting discouraged means you're getting impatient, and impatience will ruin your practice sessions. It will also suck all the fun out of playing.
2. Understand what your practice goal is for a given session. For instance, in your post you mention that you're inconsistent, but also that you're practicing for speed. Those two things don't go together very well. If you want to practice for accuracy you need to slow down and focus on getting all the notes and rhythms right. If you're going to practice for speed you'll give up some accuracy temporarily as you push your physical boundaries.
3. Alway remember that "fast is slow and slow is fast." In other words, if you try to short-circuit the learning process and get impatient you will only get in your own way and it will take longer to learn a new skill/technique than if you take it slow. Take your time, enjoy the learning process and you will start improving as a result.

I've got free lessons on my website that you may be interested in as well. They are designed specifically for players who are getting discouraged. Just go to www.whyisuckatguitar.com... there are 5 lessons so far.
#20
As a quick post, I played for like 4 years, and 2 to 3 of those four years I tried soloing day and night and just COULD NOT get it. Suddenly in the 5th year my skills just suddenly jumped up and now I'm working on getting 200 bpm arpeggios down. I can shred down any scale...

Basicially my point is: Just keep playing, it took me 5 years because I didnt practice for 20 minutes each day, nor with a metronome. It would take like 3 months to become comfortable with something.

Do the 21 day challenge. Seriously.
#21
Slow the tempo down and play it at a manageable pace and then move forward. I am currently learning the Ride the Lightning solo and for the tricky parts I sometimes slow the tempo all the way down to 25% until I can play the part fluidly and then I move up to 50% and then to 75%, etc. TuxGuitar and GuitarPro both have speed trainers (press f9) and you can set the tempo and work on specific segments of the song. They're a great learning tool.
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