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#1
Hello everyone.

Alright. I know that the golden rule of this stuff is to practice and then practice some more. I know that, while you should practice regularly, you should ideally keep it fun for yourself and/or take breaks. I know that it's not a contest. I know that one should set realistic goals for themselves, instead of striving to achieve the unlikely or outright impossible. I know that, while its necessary to be realistic, it's also pretty important to want to get better in the first place.

..... But despite all of this, I cant help but feel that after three years of playing regularly - for a few hours a day, every day, maybe taking a 3 or 4 day break every couple of weeks, or some similar paradigm, I don't make it a religion (because hey, it's supposed to be fun) - that I should be a little better at this than what I am.

I sound completely awful. Even if I strum away to something relatively simple. I can browse through all the "bad guitar player" videos on YouTube, and whether they are contrived or not I don't sound any better than any of them. Some of them are even better than I am. While, on a positive note, I've made SOME progress over the years, the amount of progress is extremely minimal. I don't want to wallow in my own lack of accomplishment here, but it's disheartening to be aware of the fact that I'm giving something my all and achieving nothing from it.

I never used to be bothered over the audible sound of my terrible playing, but recently I have become self-concious and frankly ashamed of it. I have become bound to wearing headphones, for fear of annoying anyone within the remotest listening distance.

I still want to keep playing, and I still have the desire to get better. But it sucks somewhat to feel like you're not getting anywhere.
Last edited by Raiden1982 at Sep 17, 2010,
#2
Quote by Raiden1982
Hello everyone.

Alright. I know that the golden rule of this stuff is to practice and then practice some more. I know that, while you should practice regularly, you should ideally keep it fun for yourself and/or take breaks. I know that it's not a contest. I know that one should set realistic goals for themselves, instead of striving to achieve the unlikely or outright impossible. I know that, while its necessary to be realistic, it's also pretty important to want to get better in the first place.

..... But despite all of this, I cant help but feel that after three years of playing regularly - for a few hours a day, every day, maybe taking a 3 or 4 day break every couple of weeks, or some similar paradigm, I don't make it a religion (because hey, it's supposed to be fun) - that I should be a little better at this than what I am.

I sound completely awful. Even if I strum away to something relatively simple. I can browse through all the "bad guitar player" videos on YouTube, and whether they are contrived or not I don't sound any better than any of them. Some of them are even better than I am. While, on a positive note, I've made SOME progress over the years, the amount of progress is extremely minimal. I don't want to wallow in my own lack of accomplishment here, but it's disheartening to be aware of the fact that I'm giving something my all and achieving nothing from it.

I never used to be bothered over the audible sound of my terrible playing, but recently I have become self-concious and frankly ashamed of it. I have become bound to wearing headphones, for fear of annoying anyone within the remotest listening distance.

I still want to keep playing, and I still have the desire to get better. But it sucks somewhat to feel like you're not getting anywhere.


Upload a video of yourself playing. Else we cant help you with technique or anything.

I know that one should set realistic goals for themselves, instead of striving to achieve the unlikely or outright impossible. I know that, while its necessary to be realistic, it's also pretty important to want to get better in the first place.

THIS might just be your problem.

Look, when you play, you are going to play at one of the following levels-

a) You can play the song in your sleep. No point practicing this.

b) You can manage it perfectly, but you need to concentrate. OK place to play at.

c) You need to concentrate like hell, and even then its sloppy, you keep making mistakes, your hands hurt. THIS is the place where you have the most progress.

d) You cant play it properly at all. Totally useless this one.


Look, do this. Grab a song that is wildly beyond your abilities, but not so crazy that you cant play it at all. Practice it with a vengeance. Dont bother about it being fun- guitar is only fun once you can actually play properly. Take a particular techniwue you suck at, and practice it the way you do pushups.

Take G to A# chord transition, practice that over and over again.

Suggestion- Listen to Dream Theater's "In The Presence Of Enemies Part 1". Try learning the scale run in the intro. First memorize the notes, then slowly alt pick your way through the intro at like 1 note every 2 seconds. Keep rpacticing. That intro alone will do you a world of good.

Ultimately great skills are 99% pain. If you treat it like a game, you wont go anywhere.

I was in a similar state. Could barely play a few simple intro's like "Wake Me Up When September Ends". Now I can play all of Dream Theater's "Constant Motion" (minus the solo), the intro to CoB's "Blooddrunk", afore mentioned song till just before the shredding bit etc etc etc. Why? One fine day I decided enough was enough, and tried ;earning a song that was way beyond my abilities. Through sheer brute will I improved.
Last edited by GS LEAD 5 at Sep 17, 2010,
#3
Practice as much as you can and do it on your down time. Don't completely leave your social life but keep it so that you practice every day. As I've noticed, taking breaks kind of takes all the hard work you did and backs you down again so it became a waste of time (for me at least). And if you want to become really really good, then you probably have to make this your "religion" and after a while it will be fun once you get it and feel that rush of improvement.

Also influences contribute to a huge part in how you play. Look up lessons from your favorite guitarist and practice what they do and eventually you will learn from them. I too have been playing for around 3 years and I'm able to keep up with some insane music for how long I've been playing.

But just know that everybody learns at different paces. The overall thing to know is that you will improve with time and practice.
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#4
Yeah upload a video & I'll try to give you some tips. Try to make it a good quality video too, because I'll need to be able to see your fingers properly etc
Rock [James] Roll
#6
try to do things that looks impossible to do. Try do search some technique tutorial videos on youtube. My first three years were also a pain and then came Iron Maiden and eversince i got to learn new techniques. And practicing 20 minutes everyday is better then 5 hours on One day.
Cross / kros /: a thing they nail people to
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#7
Quote by GS LEAD 5
Edited my post.


Listen to technically advanced players like John Petrucci, Tosin Abbassi, SRV, Joe Satriani etc. You wont get anywhere if you listen to Blink 182.

This kind of.... I don't like the fact that your telling him what to listen to but let him build up into those players. I started off with AC/DC and system of a down and after 3 years I led up to playing racer x and all that technical stuff.

Start off with what you like and eventually you will evolve into finding new players like the super technical ones. As you understand music, guitar, and theory you will find technical music to be really enjoyable.
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#9
Quote by bfredder92
This kind of.... I don't like the fact that your telling him what to listen to but let him build up into those players. I started off with AC/DC and system of a down and after 3 years I led up to playing racer x and all that technical stuff.

Start off with what you like and eventually you will evolve into finding new players like the super technical ones. As you understand music, guitar, and theory you will find technical music to be really enjoyable.



Wanna know how I started off?

1) Linkin Park (cringes)
2) Iron Maiden (Oh yeah!) and Joe Sat
3) Arch Enemy
4) In Flames
5) Children of Bodom
6) Amon Amarth
7) Loads of Power Metal
8) Death
9) KSE
10) Dream Theater
11) Meshuggah, any form of tech metal.

ATM still at 10 and 11.
Last edited by GS LEAD 5 at Sep 17, 2010,
#10
Can I suggest recording yourself, listening to yourself, then working out what sounds crap? Such things like is your timing out, or chords not ringing cleanly, can your strumming technique be improved? Are you muting unwanted strings?

Give yourself a critique, and be honest. Then work on the things that YOU have identified that could be better. Then you'll feel better about the whole thing and have more of target to aim for. Small improvements can make a big difference to the overall sound.

Saying all that, I bet you aren't as bad as you think, and I would say to never compare yourself with others. There is no set point of progress for a 3 year player, so don't worry about it. Just enjoy it, there really is no need to put pressure on yourself.

Also, why are you browsing all the 'bad' payers on youtube? Why not browse to someone you think is brilliant and try to play like them instead?

Well I don't think I've been much help in this post, but good luck and I'm sure you'll find your groove soon enough!

Paul
#11
Quote by GS LEAD 5
Wanna know how I started off?

1) Linkin Park (cringes)
2) Iron Maiden (Oh yeah!) and Joe Sat
3) Arch Enemy
4) In Flames
5) Children of Bodom
6) Amon Amarth
7) Loads of Power Metal
8) Death
9) KSE
10) Dream Theater
11) Meshuggah, any form of tech metal.

ATM still at 10 and 11.


Nobody cares what you started off with or when you got into technical music.
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#12
Quote by Sleaze Disease
Nobody cares what you started off with or when you got into technical music.



Merely showing progression. One fellow suggested slowly building up to technical artists. Merely supporting his point.
#13
We require a video so advice can be given.
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THIS SIG IS TO GRAB YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS POST OF UTTER GENIUS
#14
Quote by GS LEAD 5
Upload a video of yourself playing. Else we cant help you with technique or anything.

I know that one should set realistic goals for themselves, instead of striving to achieve the unlikely or outright impossible. I know that, while its necessary to be realistic, it's also pretty important to want to get better in the first place.

THIS might just be your problem.

Look, when you play, you are going to play at one of the following levels-

a) You can play the song in your sleep. No point practicing this.

b) You can manage it perfectly, but you need to concentrate. OK place to play at.

c) You need to concentrate like hell, and even then its sloppy, you keep making mistakes, your hands hurt. THIS is the place where you have the most progress.

d) You cant play it properly at all. Totally useless this one.


Look, do this. Grab a song that is wildly beyond your abilities, but not so crazy that you cant play it at all. Practice it with a vengeance. Dont bother about it being fun- guitar is only fun once you can actually play properly. Take a particular techniwue you suck at, and practice it the way you do pushups.

Take G to A# chord transition, practice that over and over again.

Suggestion- Listen to Dream Theater's "In The Presence Of Enemies Part 1". Try learning the scale run in the intro. First memorize the notes, then slowly alt pick your way through the intro at like 1 note every 2 seconds. Keep rpacticing. That intro alone will do you a world of good.

Ultimately great skills are 99% pain. If you treat it like a game, you wont go anywhere.

I was in a similar state. Could barely play a few simple intro's like "Wake Me Up When September Ends". Now I can play all of Dream Theater's "Constant Motion" (minus the solo), the intro to CoB's "Blooddrunk", afore mentioned song till just before the shredding bit etc etc etc. Why? One fine day I decided enough was enough, and tried ;earning a song that was way beyond my abilities. Through sheer brute will I improved.



Personally, I think that's a bad idea. But it's just my opinion.

They don't start Classical Pianists playing Chopin and they don't start sax players on John Coltrane. I recommend beginners start off learning solos which they can wrap themselves around. Weezer is a great group for that.

If a beginner tries to play stuff like Dream Theater and Paul Gilbert, they are going to get frustrated very fast. Just like if someone who had been playing violin three years tried to do Shostakovitch.
#15
Reading your post, I gather you don't have a teacher?
I think you should consider getting one.
This is the part where you are supposed to be amazed by the awesomeness of my sig.
#16
Speedy, plentiful and helpful responses! Thanks everyone.

Progressive metal isn't really my cup of tea. As far as metal goes I generally like doom, sludge, death (good death metal, not that deathcore nonsense or whatever its called), thrash, groove and a dose of traditional stuff (my musical taste as a whole is pretty eclectic, though, some of which doesn't belong anywhere near a guitar forum :p). However, after checking out the recommendations above, there's certainly some fantastic work going on. Definitely inspiring to see it done properly, regardless of my personal preferences.

I started out with simple stuff, much like what people here seem to be advising. Pop rock stuff that I don't have a lot of time for, but it was an easy place to start. Lately I've been trying to wrap my head (and fingers) around some Crowbar riffs. Not the most technically demanding guitar work, at least to a layman's ears. But difficult enough to challenge me, and certainly challenging enough to frustrate me.

As for the request for a video. Until my sound card died, I used to play my guitar through my PC. But I no longer have a means of recording myself playing. With a strictly limited budget, there's little chance of me finding a way of being able to show you all how I in fact sound for the foreseeable future .
Last edited by Raiden1982 at Sep 17, 2010,
#17
Quote by MarauderNL
Reading your post, I gather you don't have a teacher?
I think you should consider getting one.


If I could, I would. Money (or lack of) being the dominating factor.
#18
Man, I suck after seven years! Guitar playing is a long journey. Practice is the key, obviously.
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#19
this will be stupid but... how can u suck after seven year or even 3 years? you must be able to play clean simple songs and they dont sound awful
#20
I forget who said it originally but I believe the saying goes: We all suck. We just all suck at different things.
#21
Being sucky can actually be a good thing, as long as you suck you know you need to practice and develop your skills. If you'd think you were good, you probably wouldn't have the same motivation and urge for developing

So, the more and further you think you suck, as long as you practice, the better!


This is a ****ed up post
#22
Quote by examon
this will be stupid but... how can u suck after seven year or even 3 years? you must be able to play clean simple songs and they dont sound awful

I have high standards.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#23
Quote by jogogonne
Personally, I think that's a bad idea. But it's just my opinion.

They don't start Classical Pianists playing Chopin and they don't start sax players on John Coltrane. I recommend beginners start off learning solos which they can wrap themselves around. Weezer is a great group for that.

If a beginner tries to play stuff like Dream Theater and Paul Gilbert, they are going to get frustrated very fast. Just like if someone who had been playing violin three years tried to do Shostakovitch.


Depends on whether they try learning the whole song in a week :P

Took me a lot of time just to get the intro of ITPOE down. But it made a lot of difference to my picking and fretting technique......

Mind, DT IS a little excessive......maybe Iron Maiden?
#24
Take lessons!
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#26
^^^^^

This x1000.

Everyone had a mentor, especially some of your favorite guitar players. Hendrix had huge mentors he constantly looked up to.
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#27
dont feel down. I got my first guitar when i was in middle school so like 11 years old. Im 25 now and I still cant play a single song all the way through. It has taken me about 3 months just to learn to cleanly play all of the solos in metallicas orion.
#28
Lessons will help understand everything. I got my kick start from lessons. I took lessons for the first year and a half then my teacher had to move and give lessons further away. But they helped my get a booster shot of understanding all this stuff. And for the next 2 years I was self taught.
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Line 6 Spider 3
Peavey Vypyr 75 watt
#29
Challenge yourself and try your hand at a new style for a few months. The obstacles you're running into can be easily bypassed by... get this... walking around them.

My biggest gains were periods of 4-6 months after I started learning theory, again when I took up blues, and now I'm starting jazz after 10 years and noticing rapid improvement again. Whenever I get stuck, it seems that stopping, changing direction, and going back to basics always connects a few dots that I was originally missing. The best part of this approach is that it leads to a well-rounded playing style that makes you a more versatile player.

Also, "sucking" is very subjective. I don't consider myself a very accomplished player, but I've been getting a lot of compliments lately and it's helped to validate my playing.

It's not a contest, three years is not a lot of time. Just be patient.
#30
I kind of have the same problem... I know I've made good progress the 4 years I've been playing but I've been trying to play my dream song, Scarified by Racer X and the arpeggios in the chorus are so hard for me i have to seriously concentrate and 99% of the time its pretty sloppy and by the end of the chorus i usually cant finish it because my fretting hand is all cramped up and tired. I've been working on this song for months and have been using a metronome at low tempos but I think I've hit a peak in my playing ability or something...
#31
Are you challenging yourself? I find personally if I practice what I'm already good at, I won't get much better. Instead of that, I usually try to look for songs that are beyond what I can do at the moment. Not totally impossible for my level (i.e a beginner trying to play dream theater) but enough to make me sit down and practice the harder bits of the song. Then as I'm practicing the hard parts, I keep an eye out for things that are hindering me in some way and work on them.
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#32
Quote by reincarnator
I find personally if I practice what I'm already good at, I won't get much better


Conversely, I think going back and trying a song you struggled with a few months ago is a real eye opener. You thought you had it nailed back then, but the improvement you show playing an older piece can be really satisfying and make you realise that you have progressed a lot.
#33
Quote by NorthernPaul
Conversely, I think going back and trying a song you struggled with a few months ago is a real eye opener. You thought you had it nailed back then, but the improvement you show playing an older piece can be really satisfying and make you realise that you have progressed a lot.

Yep, this is a great idea. Matter of fact, I just went back to the song "Numbered Days" by Killswitch Engage and nailed it after struggling with it for a very long time.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#34
You are getting better for sure, even if you don't notice. Sounds like you are at about 1000 hrs now if you really play 3 hrs a day, so that's when a breakthrough should come....well maybe not, but keep at it.

3000 hrs you should be pretty damn good, 5000 probably excellent, 10,000 -you'll be old.
#35
just a thought from a non technichal pov... how goods you guitar and amp, i used to think i was good, but when i played along to a song it sounded shit. I tried playing to the same sound on a friends amp and guitar, (the amp was about £250 second hand ) and i sounded exactly like it.
#36
Obviously I'm guessing at what the problem is here. I agree totally about getting a good guitar teacher, for one. But perhaps the problem is this:

One of the more popular sayings is "Practice makes perfect." I totally disagree. It should read "Perfect practice makes perfect". Whatever the quality of your practicing, it will be reflected in your playing. In my experience, when someone sounds bad when playing, I can trace it right back to their practice habits.

That's the only way I can see someone still sounding bad after 3 years of putting in regular practice. Could be wrong, and it's just a guess, but do make sure your practice is high quality. If you practice it sloppily or wrong over and over, you'll just get better at playing sloppily and wrong. Slow it down until you can play it correctly, and practice it as if people are listening to you play. Try and bring out the beauty in everything you play, even if it's just scale practice.

Hope that helps!
"Whaddya mean DYNAMICS?! I'm playing as loud as I can!"
#37
couldn't agree more with grep. Sometimes I find it better to do bursts of half an hour practice where I'm REALLY concentrating on what i'm doing. Slowing things down will get you playing perfect. I sometimes find if I try and practice for any longer my mind sometimes drift and I end up playing sloppy and not even noticing. BAD BAD BAD!!!! I came back off hoilday on friday and hadn't had my guitar for a week when I started playing everything sounded awful. Songs I could play with my eyes shut I was struggling to get in time and my chord changes were sloppy. I slowed it down, right down now I've got it back. Good luck my friend. Helen x
#38
I can only offer one piece of alternative advice that worked for me and hasn't been said yet. I got discouraged playing other people's songs. Memory isn't my strong suit. I had to start with the basics and play my own music before I was able to play other people's music. Now, I have an ear for keys and notes in different octaves and a good grasp on my different kind of scales. I can now play songs from the radio I hear without memorizing notes. It took a long time but I think it made me a better player in the long run and I no longer have to spend countless hours, memorizing other peoples songs. I hear it and know how to get there on my own.

Just another option, it worked for me. The other ways didn't and made me frustrated, wanting to quit.
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#39
Quote by tepperboner
Challenge yourself and try your hand at a new style for a few months. The obstacles you're running into can be easily bypassed by... get this... walking around them.

My biggest gains were periods of 4-6 months after I started learning theory, again when I took up blues, and now I'm starting jazz after 10 years and noticing rapid improvement again. Whenever I get stuck, it seems that stopping, changing direction, and going back to basics always connects a few dots that I was originally missing. The best part of this approach is that it leads to a well-rounded playing style that makes you a more versatile player.

Also, "sucking" is very subjective. I don't consider myself a very accomplished player, but I've been getting a lot of compliments lately and it's helped to validate my playing.

It's not a contest, three years is not a lot of time. Just be patient.


^ has a point. I consider myself mediocre. I know a couple of guys who recently got a recording deal with Sony. They think I'm good- the bassist even went to the extent of berating me about poor choice in band mates.

#40
Quote by slipknot_420
Take lessons!

This this this.


TS, I seriously suggest learning some exercises (scale patterns, run them up and down with both alternate picking and legato) and getting a metronome. Metronomes are EXTREMELY useful for building up your skills. Start slow, and once you get the patterns down going up and down with both legato and alternate picking, speed up. That is the ONLY way you will get to what you consider decent.
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