Hey everybody,

So I have been playing guitar for probably about the past 8 years, and I am feeling pretty crappy about my guitar playing. I have never played in a band, and I mostly just play for my own recreation. However, in the near future I would really like to get in a band, or just get with some people and jam out. But, I feel as if my guitar playing is just still too crappy to even join a band. I feel as if I can only play songs that most beginners can play. I feel like whenever I practice, I never really get much better.

Most of the time when I play my acoustic guitar, my hand gets incredibly tired after playing one sone that is full of barre chords, and then I quit playing that type of music. Do I just have really weak hands or do I just need to keep on playing through the pain in order to get better with these songs?

Also, my picking speed is still pretty slow. I have tried practicing a little, but I never saw any results so I just never did any speed exercises. One of the biggest examples for me was that triplet riff in Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town". I practiced that for a long time...and I NEVER could play it up to speed. Does anyone know how long it ususally takes to see an improvement in speed? Or does anybody know of some real good exercises?

I am about to graduate college here soon, and one of my main goals is to start a band/or start recording some music. Since I will be moving to a new place and most likely know no one, I would like to devote a lot of my time to getting much better at the guitar. Was anybody in the same boat as me and have these problems associated with them? Sorry, I just see posts about people who have been playing for 2 years and are already light years ahead of me skill wise and it makes me a little depressed....


how often do you practice daily and what type of music do you play?
It really helps to play in a band. Especially a drummer or a second guitarist, and believe it or not even the bass player. Playing with other people forces you to play in time and in key. If one person is off the whole band sounds off. So try playing with other people or play along to your favorite albums.
I'm pretty much the same way, wish I could be better, but I know that I'm not really gonna get much better because I never have time to practice, so its really just a hobby for me. Probably about 8 years for me too. I only get time to practice maybe a half hour once or twice a week. I think the biggest factor is how much time you put into it. If you're not putting in the time, you're not gonna get results.
Schecter Hellraiser C-1
Fernandes Dragonfly
Peavey Valveking 112

If I could write off your murder, I'd save all of my receipts,
because I'd rather you be dead, than lose a tiny shred of what I made this fiscal year - Dethklok
Quote by ironman45
I only get time to practice maybe a half hour once or twice a week.

thats the problem, imo you should be practicing at least half an hour a day.
Seems to me that you just don't practice enough, especially with the bar chords you're talking about. Play songs with lots of bar chords over and over again for a few days and you'll notice your hands getting stronger. It'll give you some MASS carpal tunnel (well, it did with me), but the practice is well worth it.
I've been playing guitar for close to 20 years. I've played in bands (mostly cover bands) a couple of original bands, We played out many, many times. I recently took 2+ years off after my last band broke up, to focus on my technique and it has paid off. Although its never as fast as we want it to go. Hills and valleys y'know? Your idea is good hole up in your space and play play play. Analyze everything, how you hold the pick, your picking technique (alternate picking, sweep picking) even take your time when learning a song and think whats the most effecient way to play this. Efficiency and economy of motion are paramount. Find people to jam with. Dont worry about a "band" right away. Be prepared to meet people way out of your league and dont fear rejection if it doesnt work out, you might not be there yet. eventually you will find people you jive with and then slowly but surely all your diligent homework will slowly come together. use the internet EVERYTHING you could want to know is out there. if i had that starting out I would be "light years" from where I am now. All I had was guitar magazine and friends to learn from. Bang your head against that wall until it crumbles to dust at your feet.

P.s. a steady practice schedule is "muy importante" even if its an hour a day w/ clear goals ( scales, rhythm excersizes, and understand theory)

Good luck gods speed
Quote by rickyj
thats the problem, imo you should be practicing at least half an hour a day.

I know full well, hopefully some day I'll have time to do that (or more obviously lol). right now I don't
Schecter Hellraiser C-1
Fernandes Dragonfly
Peavey Valveking 112

If I could write off your murder, I'd save all of my receipts,
because I'd rather you be dead, than lose a tiny shred of what I made this fiscal year - Dethklok
also tux guitar is killer, slow down tempos and build up to speed. patience is key you have to play ALOT. The more you play the better you get look at the 12 hr workout vai did at berkley. I tried to do that my freshman year at college and now i'm an electrician. HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT!!!! that is the question.
I got 3 kids, a dog, a pet rat, and some fish work full time, commute an hr or more away and I play at least 10 hrs a week. I watch tv with my wife w/ my guitar on and try to solo to commercials. You can find the time if you want it.
For some, including myself, jamming with others or getting in a band is more about mental ability than it is about actual skill level. You'll never be "good enough" to play with other people until you play with other people. The concept is cliche for a reason:

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.

~ C. W. Longenecker ~

It's an internal battle. You have to settle the doubts about yourself before anybody else is going to waste time doing it for you. Let's be honest, most people in the world don't give a damn if you succeed in your desires. The way to get those people to give a damn about you is to start giving a damn about yourself...and that starts with your personal confidence.

Long story short: Who the shit cares if "you're ready?" There's no such thing. Find some amateur musicians, explain to them you just want to jam and get better. They're going to be in the same exact boat; every amateur musician wants to progress in their abilities. And most amateur musicians aren't pricks, especially if you show that you really care. If you go in there, show some passion, take their advice, be open...there's a good chance their response will be open as well. They may be better than you, they may be worse. Most bands have 1-2 guys who are better than the other members. Most bands have a couple members who do the majority of the writing. That's the nature of the game. You don't have to be on equal skill or knowledge level to be in a band or jam.

The point is you'll never progress if you hold yourself back. I know that's stating the absurdly obvious, but people hear it so often that they just blow it off as nonsense. When in reality it's probably the most important aspect of playing music...or doing anything at all.

Finally, stop comparing yourself to other people. There will always be someone who is better than you.

Enough with the pep talk

Buy, download, or go to library: http://www.guitarprinciples.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1

Play along to Guitar Pro or recorded tracks for songs you want to learn. If you can't learn something, slow it down and keep playing it. If you still can't play it, slow it down and keep playing it. If that doesn't work, slow it down and keep playing it. Hopefully you get the point.

It is beyond important that you practice every single day. Two or three times a week isn't going to cut it. At the very least, sitting down for 15-20 a day is way better than sitting down for an hour once or twice a week. You have to play every day.

Practice with a metronome. One of the hardest things to do is play in time. If you want to build confidence, the best thing you can do when walking into a jam session is know how to play in time with the drummer.
Last edited by RockInPeaceDime at May 3, 2011,
Thanks for all of your advice guys...it means alot to me. And yeah, I usually play guitar almost every day. Since I am busy with my college schedule, it is kind of sporadic. I might play for 2 hours one day and then not touch the guitar for the next 2 days. But over the summer when I had a job I would play for probably about an hour a day.

And yeah I would really like to jam around with people. The thing that I noticed is that the way i practice is I will just find a song that I like and play certain riffs in it. I really don't play through entire songs, so whenever I wanna play a song with some people, I have a tough time working through the different transitions of the song.

I definitely think jamming with other people would help my skills. I find I have more motivation to learn a song an entire way through, and just more motivation to play much better when other people are relying on me to do my part. And I agree with the whole "not join a band immediately". I really don't want to go out there and join something that the main objective is to just "go out and perform". I would rather just like to find some people that I can mess around with creatively, and if we get comfortable enough to play some shows then we do.

Does anybody know of any good ways to find random people to jam with? I am kind of scared to post on craigslist just cause I have never done something like that before and I am unsure of what to expect.
I restarted playing after 5 years of playing like you do. It helps a lot if you have a friend or more to jam with - it keeps your motivation up.
- Switch between acoustic/electric when you feel like you're not getting anywhere.
- Make your everyday practice a routine - After a while you will be drawn to the guitar automatically
- Choose an album you like and learn to play ALL the songs on that album with solos and everything. Figure out effects and try to get all the parts working. Stand up and play through the whole album.
- When you hear a song you like grab your guitar and try to play along.
- Start to think like a guitarist -what am I going to do today that relates to guitar? Research on some theory, look at some scales, visit a guitar store even if you just look around, get some picks, do I need to change strings? maybe I will try a new gauge next week.. go to concerts regularly. Tell someone how you started playing seriously - anyone, your friends your sister, mom. It will cement that idea in your head. Ask if they know someone who plays and hook up with them. Could be your 60 yrold neighbour is an awesome fingerpicker, or your friends 10 yro sister just started playing a year ago - doesn't matter, grab your guitar and visit them.
I know Lucifer so well I call him by his first name...I say, "Hey Lou!"
Last edited by jrakus at May 4, 2011,
i was in the same boat but after alot more years than u things fell into place and actually started to jam with a friend of a friend,best thing i ever did and it improved my playing so much,i actually bacame the main contributer to all the songs we were working on,i finally thought i was good at what i did
I'm pretty much the same. I've played guitar pretty much everyday since I was 16 (23 now so 7 years roughly) and I don't think i'm any good, I see kids that have been playing for 3 years rip the shit out of me.

The problem was that, while I played all the time, I never practiced (or at least not efficiently anyway). I would play the same songs over and over, at the same unplayable tempo, and never make any real progress, i'd get better at playing sloppily and nothing else; I never practiced any exercises either and I knew nothing about theory, it was all just power chords tremelo picking.

I changed my practice plan around 2 years ago, I tried to break my routine up so I did at least 15-20 minutes of ACTUAL practice instead of noodling, it took a while but things did start to improve, I managed to increase the amount of practice I do too and so things only got better after.

I have improved my ability in many areas (though I still have some of my old bad habits; not sticking with my schedule, trying to learn too fast etc). If I had practiced better in those 7 years I played I would be a much better player, but I didn't, and so I have to start from scratch, and if I can improve then I believe that ANYONE can learn to do anything, you just need to have the right plan, the determination, and discipline.

That all being said, this is the best advice I have for learning songs, solos, techniques, or anything else.

1. Repetition and precision at a playable tempo - Slow things down. Slow things down so far that you have time to really think about what you're doing, at no point should you be lost or unsure of where your hand is going. "This note is an upstroke, this note is a downstroke, now i'm moving my pinky over the B, two downstrokes with an upstoke at the end" etc. Do this do a metronome to keep the music in time, gradually build up over time (may take hours, days, weeks, there's no other way around it so you just have to be disciplined).

2. Break it into smaller parts - Learn parts of songs/solos in small, manageable, chunks. If it's a 16 bars then just focus on the first 4, if that's too much then do the first 2, it will all become easier and you'll remember it better.
Dont worry, be happy. Just because you cant play flashy stuff doesnt mean you suck, just keep at it. Turn your negative feelings about it into motivation to improve.

And remember, as youve seen in this thread, although there are a ton of guys who make themselves very visible on the internet who have brilliant chops (bedroom guitarists mostly) there are many more people in the exact same situation as you.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at May 4, 2011,
good things come to those who practise correctly..
and kids are kids, they probably have parents who are already know quite a lot about guitar/ rich family, so don't, think about those bloody kids, your more of a chance of being in a band getting big than them atm ! so no rush yeah?