#1
Hi guys,

Been playing for a number of years now, but up until about 12 months ago i was just a strummer. I decided last year to learn how to shred (or attempt to anyway). For the last 12 months i have been taking lessons and have a rigorous practice plan that i follow religiously.

I am progressing really well, although i guess i had a leg up considering i knew basic theory and tguitar basics when i started.

Problem is i am struggling to take the next step. For example i play all my exercises and am building a really good technique. Fingers are stronger, i am playing faster and i am building some good accuracy...when i play exercises.

When i go to apply those techniques built from exercises into playing a piece of music, i struggle. Any advice on taking that next step?
#2
Songwriting. I had the same problem, decent skills but couldn't put them to the test, yet. There are some lessons on this but the best way to write a song is to write a song.
#3
less excersizes, more music. in general (imo) , you shouldn't spend more then 15 minutes (at most 20) on excersizes, and you shouldn't spend more then 1/4 your practice time on technique.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
#4
Is there some reason that your guitar teacher is not implementing applications and improvisation into your lesson path? That seems odd to me. From the first day of lead guitar our (both online and in-person) Guitar Academy students have playing assignments for that very reason.

Have you discussed this situation with your instructor? That would get frustrating in a hurry, I'd imagine.

Best,

Sean
#5
Thanks guys.

@Sean0913, we have started doing some improvising using a heap of backing tracks. I've expanded that and gone and found some more free (& legal) backing tracks online as well. I am a singer and i'm always songwriting so to be honest as far as playing in key and building melody, i don't have too many issues.

Its more the application of the actual techniques i am working on when i am improvising/writing. At the moment i am almost thinking too much, for example i'll be improvising and all of a sudden think "oh i should throw a sweep in now", i will then do 2 or 3 sweeps in a row and then back to noodling. I'm not naturally applying and combining the techniques into my melodies. I'll sweep for a few bars, then a few bars later do some tapping, then some legato...the end result sounds contrived as opposed to sounding like a fluent piece of music.

I suppose i am looking to more naturally apply the techniques i have learned into my writing. I have a lesson in 3 days so intend on bringing this up, just thought i'd get some ideas on here first.
Last edited by Camo1902 at Mar 25, 2011,
#6
Quote by Camo1902
Thanks guys.

@Sean0913, we have started doing some improvising using a heap of backing tracks. I've expanded that and gone and found some more free (& legal) backing tracks online as well. I am a singer and i'm always songwriting so to be honest as far as playing in key and building melody, i don't have too many issues.

Its more the application of the actual techniques i am working on when i am improvising/writing. At the moment i am almost thinking too much, for example i'll be improvising and all of a sudden think "oh i should throw a sweep in now", i will then do 2 or 3 sweeps in a row and then back to noodling. I'm not naturally applying and combining the techniques into my melodies. I'll sweep for a few bars, then a few bars later do some tapping, then some legato...the end result sounds contrived as opposed to sounding like a fluent piece of music.

I suppose i am looking to more naturally apply the techniques i have learned into my writing. I have a lesson in 3 days so intend on bringing this up, just thought i'd get some ideas on here first.


How often do you play slow and listen to what you are playing? I understand that technique can quickly get in the way of making music, and whatever you use you should use it having something to say.

Think of this, listen to a slow backing track, imagine a line in your head, without the guitar in hand. Sing it out loud, find what emotional hook it conveys, repeat it and then pick up the guitar and see if you can play it. Ultimately thats what you want to be able to do, is play what you hear, what you feel, inside your head, exploring the pitch collections is great but at some point a sweep is a sweep is a sweep, it's been done, but what are you saying with it...? Look at me look I can do this too...or are you making something musical. Look at your motivations...are they so people think youre cool, or does the sweep serve as a means to make a certain vibe of music that you feel/hear inside?

Best,

Sean
#8
Sean's hit the nail on the head - you're kind of expecting that the exercises you've done will suddenly enable you to play and it doesn't quite work like that. You've been working on technique which isn't a bad thing in itself but you seem to be approaching the actual act of playing the guitar in a very mechanical, cookie- cutter way.

The techniques shouldn't be your focus, they're merely a means to an end, different way of moving between notes that give a different sound and feel. That means before you even think about how you're going to play something you need to first decide what the something is!

You don't drive a car by saying "Right, I will press the pedals a bit and turn the wheel here, then change gear and move the wheel a bit the other way, the move the wheel a bit further and put the wipers on...". Individually those are all core components of driving a car, but when you get into a car your first thought is always "Right, where do I want to go?", and any of the physical actions you perform are made with the aim of getting you there. You may be going somewhere you don't know and take a wring turn, in which case you'll usually have to rethink things to get back on track or stop and look at a map.

Guitar is EXACTLY the same, a car (not a taxi lol) won't choose a destination for you or take you there and simply knowing the mechanics of how to drive isn't enough to get you. Likewise a guitar isn't going to play itself, and just stringing together a bunch of techniques isn't going to magically create music, and all the technical ability in the world is useless if you don't have anything to say with your instrument.

You need to choose your destination before you worry about how to get there
Actually called Mark!

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