Hey all,

I've got a question and I'm really hoping to get some discussion going.

I've played guitar for probably the better part of 10 years. I'm definitely intermediate/advanced, but definitely not an expert, no shredding or ridiculous solos or w/e (not that that's the be-all, end-all, but im sure you know what I mean). I know my way around a guitar, and can usually pick up 90% of what I'm shown, or what I try and play on tabs and what not, so there's not really any lacking in the ability, or at least it's not the bottleneck.

My issue is that I don't know much about scales, or notes, or anything like that. I'm definitely guilty of just taking the lazy way through the last ten years, and playin what I'm told. Over the last couple years, a good buddy's picked up the guitar, and he's only been playin about 2-3 years, maybe more, and he's definitely putting out some solid licks, and when he's soloing or playing leads over my rhythms, his solos/leads seem to flow so much more and it's largely (or completely) because he did the right thing and learnt music/scales and what not.

Im just curious if anyone's been in the same boat and what they were able to do. Any time I try and sit down and learn anything, it's always geared towards newbs who really don't know how to do much right off the hop. I realize you gotta learn to walk to run, so I'm not looking for a quick fix, I definitely understand this stuff takes time, so I'm more curious what sort of resources may be out there? Any extra tips and what not? My buddy's been trying to show stuff to me, but I find it so hard to stay within the certain notes cause I'm so used to just goin off and what not.

I don't know what your financial situation is like, but my word of advice is to find a good teacher and just start taking lessons. Yeah, it's expensive, but nothing beats learning from someone in person. Plus, you have somebody to hold you accountable so that you don't slack off. Find someone that you can get along with and set up a plan and stick with it.

Again, I don't know if this is something you want to shell out the money for, but in my opinion it's the best way. There's no real magic solution for getting better. You just have to sit down and work at it. If lessons aren't for you, then buy some books or DVDs. But make sure that you use them and practice what you learn. Set a timer for a half hour and do nothing but practice a scale, a lick, or whatever you've learned for that entire half hour. If you do that consistently, you're going to get better. I'm not saying to only practice scales for the rest of your life, it's OK to mess around too. But make sure you make room for that half hour of focused practice every day.

Hope that helps.
I don't know if you can, but a really good place to start is by taking a music theory class. I was in your position, I had been playing for years but I couldn't overcome a plateau. After I began taking these classes, it's like my mind was free and I started rapidly picking up where I had lacked before. I even began composing
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Lessons always help, but, my teacher told me that there are blues guitarist that can improvise like god and know jack shit about music theory.
there are many ppl which dont know anything about teory but they know how to put sounds together and it sounds epic... unfortunately you need to be very talented
Theory really helps your ideas come to life. I recommend getting a fairly complete scale book, messing around with every scale in the book, and learning one or two that you particularly like, like the back of your hand. Of course learn more then just that, but... like the back of your hand.

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because that's where you'll find me..."
woah.. your ten years and you still don't know scales? hmmmmm...the truth is we do have the same idea...i mean, if you are talented with these things then it would come to you the natural way...but the point is...we are once in a lifetime...every single moment is essential and critical to be a rockstar else a nice explorer...so keep going for it...image that your guitar is a world...don't let the animals explore you...you have to move ..you have to be curious..how old are you anyways?
thanks for all the input all! I've sorta been putting it on the backburner and never really actually finally said, eff it, i'm buckling down and learning this stuff, so that's clearly gotta be the next step. I never did take lessons, but it does definitely sound like a good idea, though I'd always prided myself on being self taught and getting to where I am now without any formal teaching.