ive been playing for like a year now and i want to get really good/be a shredder. the guitar gods practiced for like 8 hours a day. i have that time, i don't go out much. but when i practice, i just kind of stop when i run out of riffs from songs i know. when i try to "improvise" with a scale it just sounds boring, uninteresting.
i have the same problem. i just play some songs i know, then i try to learn something new and get frustrated because i cant do it. interested in hearing what advice people have.
1) make the distinction between practicing and playing songs. if you're playing riffs from songs you know, you're not necessarily practicing technique. focus more on technique.

2) that's because you're not really "improvising". improvising involves more than running the notes in a scale. it's about the notes you choose, and the usage/treatment of a melody you created on the spot. you need a good, well-trained ear to be a great improviser, but there's even more to it than that.

guitarists are infamous for biting off more than they can chew too quickly, and then having their lack of familiarity with the fundamentals screw them over. take it slowly, and start learning some theory. it'll help you analyze and understand whatever you're playing.
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yeah i've been playing for almost 1 year, or about so, still i really got focuss few months ago.
i want to be a good shredder too, i'm bit lazy about the scales, but there's a thing that i got and really sounds nice, i take part of solos by hear, i just love malmsteen stuff, but when i'm improvising solos, there are few times that i really love it, but most of the times, sound empty... so i have pretty much same problem
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i have the same problem. i just play some songs i know, then i try to something new and get frustrated because i cant do it. interested in hearing what advice people have.

i get so frustrated too. especially when i'm trying to learn an awesome solo or something by ear because i cant find a tab for it. then i feel like i suck lol
I have been playing for 3 years and made the most gains in the first year. E.g I was a good Shredder after 1 year. I didn't play anywhere near 8 hours aday. These days I mostly run scales and sweep when I play, I wouldn't say I have practiced a day in my life.

I guess to get better find a lick/song/solo that is too had for you to play and practice until you can play it well. You won't get better without pushing yourself.
Learning by ear is the way to go. I have been relearning things from my childhood by ear lately (old chrono trigger songs, the sports center theme, its all good for your ear) and it has been paying off big time in my improvisation and soloing.
This sir is called writer's block. When you feel like you're at your limit and can't get any better, and the perfect treatment for it is theory. Go learn some theory (plenty of it on UG) and read multiple sides of the same topic and you'll find plenty of stuff to keep you busy for at least a week.

As said above improvising is a lot more than you think it is, and for an improv to really sound good it's best to get a buddy that's fine with jammin some chords or something for you. Whenever I get in a rut like yours I try to learn a new song that isn't too advanced in technique but still has something to offer, e.g. a catchy riff or a technique you've never used.

If you have nobody to play with a fun thing I like to do is write my own solos for songs, it gets me good at noticing modal changes, emphasis of notes, keeping time, it's all around good. Combine songs with other songs, write your own songs that imitate popular songs, train your ear.

Honestly there is so much to do on your 6 strings that if you find yourself unable to keep yourself busy you're just not looking hard enough.
I have this problem frequently. What I like to do when i feel like I've hit a wall or dug a hole for myself:

I like to learn a song that's outside of my comfort zone either in being a little too advanced for me or just something that's a completely different style than I'm used to. Either way I learn more things such as new scales and techniques.

It gets me motivated because it feels damn good to learn something new. Usually I'm good for a few weeks after this.


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Trust me learn some music theory if you want to be a shredder! You'll need it when it comes to making solos and harmonizing! Use a metronome or a drum machine help you build up speed.
Learn about keys,modes,scales,arpeggios. Learn the notes on the fret board. This will help you to navigate around the fret board a lot. I learn arpeggios from hell so quick because I knew what kind of scales and arpeggios he was using. Just take the time to understand the guitar and you won't regret it! I'll recommend learning the notes on the fret board first.
Get creative with scales don't just run up and down the scales,bring life to it!

Hope this helps cause it sured helped me a lot with my shredding! Don't cut corners!
theres a difference between picking up your guitar and playing a lot, and actual PRACTICING..

imo the best way is to listen to a song you really like, and push yourself to learn all of, really good...

i usually feel a lot better when i can play a complete song good, tahn little parts of songs or solos....
I know that the drums and a completly different instrument but this always works for me..

Take 1 day off.. Do something completly different. Doing something too often can sort of get you trapped by this 'writers' block..

Take 1 day away or even 2 or 3 and just do something else.

You will come back and most likely find the block has gone!

Works for me anyway! After a while playing flamadiddles and double dragadiddles gets boring and I end up feeling abit peeved and come back 2 days later and thrash the hell out ma drums :P It feels GURD!!

The break gives your brain time to forget and relax. I know this is odd but.. Forgeting is sometimes a good think. Atleast consiously. Subconsiously its all still there!

Last edited by Aappleyard at Aug 1, 2011,
I agree with the taking a break thing. I know most "shredders", etc., swear by practicing every single day, without missing a day. But when I am in a rut, taking 2 or 3 days away from instruments (or guitar at least) helps me get regain focus and after a few days I am really missing my guitar.

During these few days, I would suggest writing up a practice routine to play through and pinning it to your wall where you play. An example would be something like:

-Warm up exercises-

-List of the songs you already know (your repertoire)-

-List of songs you're learning-

-Work on your own material/improvisation-

That's just my 2 pennies.