#1
I've been playing guitar for almost two years now, I'm self-taught for the most part (I get the occasional "lesson" from a friend, which is mostly him just helping me with technique and hanging out), and all that I've really done since I got my first guitar is print tabs and learn them.

To be honest, I don't feel like I've made much progress since last summer, and plateaus suck so I want to make some progress soon. I don't really know what I should do next, because I want to write songs and stuff, and learn by ear, but I think I messed up by teaching myself.
#2
Get a proper teacher.

Nuff Said

Just kidding, well you sound worried......well id get a teacher if your serious about being a guitar player just sit and learn songs if your going to be in a band!
#3
hmm nothing wrong with self-taught. Have you check out some of the lessons on here? learn the major scales and how to build chords. And learn to analyze progression from tabs you learning. Soon you will pick up the idea of why such and such work the way they do, etc.
#4
the situation you are currently in is incredibly common for guitars after 2 years of playing, so do not worry.

Your first option if you want to accelerate things is to find a teacher and have proper reguler lessons.

If you cannot afford that there are some great sites on the internet for learning the guitar which are free and very user friendly, here are some examples.

http://www.justinguitar.com/

http://www.guitarlessons365.com/

I suggest to solve your problems and really move things on you should do your best to learn an equal balance of technique, theory and aural skills (aural skills will help with working things out by ear, especially if you learn theory and fretboard skills to).

For some great theory stuff check this out:

http://lessons.mikedodge.com/

Just go through it all in order. It will only work if you do it in the order its listed but its explained greatly.


Another option is a college, I am currently doing a higher diploma in guitar at ICMP in london and I love it. It will really bring your playing up to the next level. But from what you have said I dont think your quite ready for such an intense course yet.
#5
I would say that 2 years is not really that much time. You can still consider yourself relatively new to guitar, meaning you've got a lot of learning to do, so don't worry if you're not that great yet.

And when you say you've been learning songs, how well have you been learning them? Are you just learning to strum a few chords and calling it a day, or do you really understand everything that's going on in the song including how to play it in your sleep, what key it's in, what's the chord progression type, what scales are used, and what makes that song unique?

What I'm getting at is, when you really rip a song apart...there's a ton of lessons in it. Lessons in technique and lessons in theory. But it's up to you to do the "work" of extracting those lessons if you're self-taught. It's easy to just learn a few chords and move on to the next song, but you won't really get much value out of doing that. If you can't see yourself putting that much effort in, a teacher is probably needed to keep you on track.
#6
I had the exact same situation as you, and I'm still in progress of recovering from the mistakes i've made.

Some of my techniques weren't even proper, so it took me a couple months to fix them.
My tempo was all balony.

i didn't even know how to play a c chord for the first year.
i didn't know any scales for two years.
(because i was too lazy to learn them, which was the wrong way of thinking it).

important thing to do, is to start from basic, no matter how boring it may be.
Gear

Ibanez RG350DX Electric Guitar With DiMarzio Tone Zone
Academy Electric Guitar
BeaverCreek Acoustic Guitar

Roland Micro Cube Amp
Academy 15W Amp
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey Sanpera Footswitch I
#7
a teacher would help if you can find a good one nearby. a good teacher is worth their weight in gold as they say, not to mention the fact that they can usually do a better job than the internet when you get to learning theory. a teacher can also see what you are doing wrong....

although you may have to teach yourself, you know if none of the teachers in your area are anygood or if you can't find one. just remember that even though there are hundreds of people that will say 'm wrong I strongly urge you to get a teacher, since they will help you much more than any internet forum ever could.

also remember that everyone hits plateaus and you will hit another, everytime you make alot of progress you will end it on a plateau. don't get discouraged, just look at what you are doing wrong or look to learn something new, because there is never going to be a point where you run out of things to learn, cuz when you do it will be time to start trying to invent the next thing which is also a crazy learning experience.
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#8
I`d recommend using Guitar pro rather than tab to help get the rythms, and guide you through the tricky parts. I`ve been at it for 3 1/2 years any only just getting able to learn some songs by ear - Like if you`ve played F# a thousand times, you`ll be able to hear F# easily in a song. Challenge yourself a bit, try something that you find hard, and go through it slowly. Also, record yourself on a camera & watch it back in a few months and you will realise you have made progress which you wouldn`t notice day to day. When I`m feeling i`m too long on a plateau I really try to up my determination & focus for a few weeks to try and blast through. If you feels its getting on top of you a bit, take a few days off so you can come back at it with a fresh mind - wierdly I find I quite often progress right after taking a break from it, as I think you can get stuck in a rut trying to get a particular technique down.
I guess I should say get a teacher too, but I`ve never had one myself.
#9
And when you say you've been learning songs, how well have you been learning them? Are you just learning to strum a few chords and calling it a day, or do you really understand everything that's going on in the song including how to play it in your sleep, what key it's in, what's the chord progression type, what scales are used, and what makes that song unique?

I just sort of read the tab, the only scale that I know is the pentatonic scale that starts on the 5th fret of the 6th string. I think I can put a lot of effort into learning, but I really don't know how to go about learning lessons that songs teach.
#10
Quote by no bs johnny
I would say that 2 years is not really that much time. You can still consider yourself relatively new to guitar, meaning you've got a lot of learning to do, so don't worry if you're not that great yet.

And when you say you've been learning songs, how well have you been learning them? Are you just learning to strum a few chords and calling it a day, or do you really understand everything that's going on in the song including how to play it in your sleep, what key it's in, what's the chord progression type, what scales are used, and what makes that song unique?

What I'm getting at is, when you really rip a song apart...there's a ton of lessons in it. Lessons in technique and lessons in theory. But it's up to you to do the "work" of extracting those lessons if you're self-taught. It's easy to just learn a few chords and move on to the next song, but you won't really get much value out of doing that. If you can't see yourself putting that much effort in, a teacher is probably needed to keep you on track.


seems like solid advice to me

I think he means things like...
- the song is in the key of c because it contains the chords C F G and (resolves to C)
- the song has a progression that uses the minor 4th chord (as in a common tool that the beatles used in some of their songs, from what i've read they used a fair amount of parallel keys)

so basically if you are able to break down the song and learn specific elements, you will start to hear parts of songs you like and then perhaps be able to understand why you like it, this is kind of where I am starting to develop as a player. its really hard to just come up with your own unique style without trying understanding the inspiration behind it. just because you are learning a song or trying to play a certain style doesn't mean you will become that person, you will probably learn some of what they use and then put your own unique twist on it
Last edited by openedmind at Apr 15, 2011,
#11
I'm with the rest for the most part...a teacher. Alot of people say that lesons hinder creativity...it's BS. Lessons with the right guy, easpecially one who shares your genre will only help. I do teach...and what I see is alot of well meaning guitarists that develop bad habits just because they were never shown a better way. A good teacher has been down the roads...he can save you the time of heading down paths that will go nowhere because he's been down them once. I'll give you my facebook page if u want, where I post alot of pro-bono stuff that is vitamin material...Of course a guitar teacher is going to say that lessons are key, but it is true and proven.
#12
hey its ok. im in the same string as you. i was trying to get lessons in school but i cant, so i am trying to teach myself. it is hard but you have to beleive in yourself and keep trying. i get picked on by my mom and brothers because i play guitar and that it doesnt suit me. but i will keep trying. i have made a band at the moment which is going ok but the guitar stuff is not going well so i will try. just keeping practicing and practing, practice makes perfect.
#13
There's a cool book by George Leonard called "Mastery" and it talks about the path to mastering a particular skill. The path isn't a slope where you are constantly improving. Instead it's more like this:



You'll spend most of your time on plateaus, not really feeling like you're improving but then suddenly you'll go through a big burst of improvement and reach a new plateau at a higher level.

This has definitely been my experience with learning guitar and with many other skills too. The moral is to stick with it and be persistent.
#15
Quote by openedmind
\

I think he means things like...
- the song is in the key of c because it contains the chords C F G and (resolves to C)
- the song has a progression that uses the minor 4th chord (as in a common tool that the beatles used in some of their songs, from what i've read they used a fair amount of parallel keys)



There's no such thing as a minor 4th?

If you're talking about functional harmony, it would be better to notate it as chord iv or calling it the subdominant, minor 4th is just...wrong.

You wrote F as a major chord in the above progression too? Did you mean Fm?


If I were you TS, I would get a teacher. For the purposes of technique, good posture and theory, the internet isn't the best place to go, lots of the well known websites that are popular and well received are really full of crap when it comes to teaching proper technique that won't give you injuries after years of playing.

Some of those websites are chock full of great creative ideas but otherwise, I wouldn't really use them for much else.

It's hard to find the right teacher but once you do, you'll know they're the right teacher. Also, don't be afraid to rework your entire technique at least once in your guitar playing life, I've had to do it 3 times in the past and now I'm doing it again.
#16
Quote by Green_Ghoul
And when you say you've been learning songs, how well have you been learning them? Are you just learning to strum a few chords and calling it a day, or do you really understand everything that's going on in the song including how to play it in your sleep, what key it's in, what's the chord progression type, what scales are used, and what makes that song unique?

I just sort of read the tab, the only scale that I know is the pentatonic scale that starts on the 5th fret of the 6th string. I think I can put a lot of effort into learning, but I really don't know how to go about learning lessons that songs teach.


This is the thing.

If you want to learn guitar, you can't avoid also learning how to self-teach. You can't. It's better you figure that out now, than a few hundred wasted dollars with a teacher. What I suggest you do is this....

Forget justin guitar.

Go find a song you like, master it. The whole thing. Get to the point where you can play it easily and automatically. That's important. It has to be easy and automatic, or you haven't got it down yet.

Then go to justin guitar, try to read some theory, and go to the song you just mastered and see if you can connect the song to the theory. Meaning, everytime you learn something new in theory, you have to CONNECT IT to a piece of music. Otherwise, it's wasted. You didn't really learn it.

Once you've got that down, next song.

You see, there's nothing to learn guitar. All the lessons you need are in the music you listen to. If you learn it DEEP, you brain will figure everything out.

BIGGEST MISTAKE: Moving on too fast to the next song.