#1
Lately, i have been having things go on in my life and feeling the frustrations of guitar playing coming at me really badly and bringing down my confidence. And now i feel like i am at my lowest low and i feel i really need help so i can strive to be the best guitar player i can be.

I have been playing guitar for 3 years self tough. I can play good and have decent technique but i feel i am really lacking at somethings that are really holding me back. One thing i feel bad about is music theory and ear training. I've tried on youtube a ton of times but nothing really seams to really help. Like when i mean theory, i can learn sheet music, but when it comes to things i want to know and understand like modes, scales, key signatures, and whatever is out there in the music world, but I don't know where to start. I only know the very basics. I want to be able to write songs with a full understanding of how music works and how i can get certain ideas out of my head onto the fretboard. Same for ear training.

Also i realize i really need to get better at staying on tempo and listening for the beat and being able to stay in tempo when playing notes at different lengths at a time. Like instead of playing constant quarter notes on a 4/4 time signature and playing 1 note per beat or 4 notes while doing chromatic scale exercises. I wanna play solos, riffs, percussive acoustic stuff and stay on temp.

When it comes to technique, i feel that it's the main thing i have been working on. I have really changed the way i practice, from trying to play fast to playing cleaner and i feel like I'm loosing the speed i once had. But at the same time, my playing has gotten cleaner but its still not as clean as id like it to be. I also find it hard to play when standing up

And my final problem i am facing right now is sticking to things. I barely know any full songs. I just know a ton of riffs and stuff and i feel like its getting me nowhere. Like, i just recently, i decided to give the song Art of Motion by Andy Mckee a try and it was an overwhelming and tiring experience been learning the intro off and on for a while and now i can play the intro but slowly.

I know this was alot of stuff but i really feel i need some help. But I don't wanna take guitar lessons cause i don't wanna pay $20 a session (I can afford it since i have about $1,300 saved up in the bank for no specific reason from working minimum wage at McDonalds since i've started working there in July).

There has been alot mind lately and i really feel like i want to find something to be happy about since im going through some rough times. Like my dad is in the hospital for a brain hemorrhage from bad diabetes, and high blood pressure. And feeling kindof lonely in school and stuff like that.
#2
This may seem way too simplistic, and alot of people can't just do this - but have you thought of writing down how you feel? Maybe the first song you can learn from beginning to end can be one that you wrote?

On another note, I am starting to realize that after playing for 5 years and still not being good, that I should have spent the beginning of my time playing rhythm pieces and getting rock solid timing. Spend your time practicing to be better at your weakness.

You are in high school, and still have a huge future infront of you. I look back on High School as probably the best time of my life so far, and I am 24 (I still feel like a kid though). You really have to put things into perspective. Put in your time in high school, and set yourself up to do something you love to do. If that means being a mechanic, or being a chemical engineer, do it. There is nothing you will regret more than giving up while you are still young.
#3
Music theory is a massive field that's fun to get lost in and discover new facts. But it is so big, your learning process will probably go on forever. Each time you learn something new, you will feel further away from having a full understanding of theory.

I can tell you that your desire to start writing music once you have a full understanding of theory is unfounded. It's not just that you will never have a full understanding, but that you don't need a full understanding. Musical theory will tell you rules and mechanics that you can use to enhance your compositions, but a feel for the music is still the one most important factor to writing better music. The more you connect with the music the better your music will be.

Most importantly, writing music is actually one of the processes by which your understanding of musical theory can be put into practice and develop. What you really need is a sharp mind, because I guarantee there will be hundreds of moments when you create a riff and then you feel stuck, at a loss with where to go next. You need a sharp mind to be able to take that bold step to force your piece into an exciting/meaningful direction, to give your piece some character. The only way you can get better at that is to keep writing!

You should still continue learning about theory. There should be tons of books out there to keep you occupied but even wikipedia can be very informative. Also, have you watched and studied a guitar lesson video series? They're usually really helpful. I recommend "Learn & Master Guitar with Steve Krenz". At first it seems too simple, but I watched every minute and there are gold nuggets of information hidden amongst the stupidly simply stuff. It's meant to be accessible to people who are just starting out but intermediates will learn alot from it too. I got it for free from a friend; I'm sure you should be able to find a copy somehow that won't cost you a penny, if you're on a budget.

And how can I forget my favourite guitar theory website all-guitar-chords dot com. Seriously good website It's not just for chords, there are scales and much more. See the tabs at the top of the homepage; loads of 'em. Have a browse through each one cuz they're all helpful.
Last edited by BadBanshee at Oct 27, 2011,
#4
If it helps, I'm starting out too (6 months) and I started learning loads of random riffs that made me feel like I'm getting nowhere too.

Now I'm building up a repertoire of lead guitar songs. I only really learn rhythm anymore if I am going to sing at the same time (which is hella fun!)

Lead guitar songs I've learnt so far:
Joe Satriani - Always with me always with you
Metallica - Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Mega Man 3 Intro Theme Tune

I can't play those well but I'm practising everyday so one day I hope I can play it start to finish at the right speed without stopping or making a mistake.

Next on my list is the solo on Daftpunk's Digital Love.

These 3 songs I know make me feel like a guitar player with substance, which I'm really happy about!

I'm picky about what lead guitar songs I learn. I don't want to learn really short solos (most of Led Zeppelin is out on that one, even though I love them), and I don't want to learn something too simple, and I don't really want to learn something I don't like, obviously (unless I strongly feel like it would be good practice). I like long lead guitar songs with challenging/shred parts to it.

However, I'm more into my dance music than my metal/rock music XD
Last edited by BadBanshee at Oct 27, 2011,
#5
Whenever a topic like this comes up, I immediately feel sympathetic for the person writing, because I know what its like to want to learn so bad, and to be hungry for knowledge and to understand and to be overwhelmed with the weight of it all.

And what I am about to write, let me warn you, isnt going to be easy to have to read, and I do acknowledge that you are having a hard time in life, with your Dad in the hospital and all, but I am gearing this towards you and your mindset. You say you are frustrated about your guitar playing, and what you say you "want". And, I'm really writing this to truly help you, so keep that in mind, sometimes, people need to be shaken to wake them up.

So I read what you had to say. Only to realize that you arent really any of those things. You know you have a problem, but you want to set your own limitations?

(I dont want lessons)

Well good, so you dont want to really do anything that will help you then.

How has that been working out for you?

You arent saving up for a kidney or anything of real importance, yet you dont want to loosen that fist of yours to actually make progress. So, you wanna call out the wah-mbulance, because you're lazy, greedy and set meaningless limitations that only add to your problem? From the looks of it, you are your own worst enemy to progress, and the problem, here are the choices you're making.

I'll never understand people who say I have a problem...and then follow up with "But I don't wanna do x y z"

So, fine, live with your problem, until such time that you get hungry and tired enough to remove your "wont do's", and you're lost enough to allow yourself to be led.

I hope you feel beat about the head now. I'm not trying to be a jerk. It's called tough love.

You need to change and re-calibrate your mind set. If you have money, and lessons can help, and you want this bad enough, and are willing to apply yourself, you can make amazing progress in a short time. Not only that, but you could probably use some positive progress in your life to build confidence and restore some hope, am I right?

I say this, because I help people like you all the time. I know. You simply wouldn't believe what I could do with a guy like you in 8 weeks, as long as you followed what I showed you.

So, its not your guitar playing that needs help, its your own willingness to dig deep and do what it takes; as long as you are hungry enough, there are options out there. Good luck. I hope this post helps to wake you up. You don't have to stay where you are at.

Best,

Sean

PS I also do free mentoring, if you're willing to open your mind, and loosen up on your own limitations, so if you need some guidance feel free to contact me.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Oct 27, 2011,
#6
Quote by Sean0913
Whenever a topic like this comes up, I immediately feel sympathetic for the person writing, because I know what its like to want to learn so bad, and to be hungry for knowledge and to understand and to be overwhelmed with the weight of it all.

And what I am about to write, let me warn you, isnt going to be easy to have to read, and I do acknowledge that you are having a hard time in life, with your Dad in the hospital and all, but I am gearing this towards you and your mindset. You say you are frustrated about your guitar playing, and what you say you "want". And, I'm really writing this to truly help you, so keep that in mind, sometimes, people need to be shaken to wake them up.

So I read what you had to say. Only to realize that you arent really any of those things. You know you have a problem, but you want to set your own limitations?

(I dont want lessons)

Well good, so you dont want to really do anything that will help you then.

How has that been working out for you?

You arent saving up for a kidney or anything of real importance, yet you dont want to loosen that fist of yours to actually make progress. So, you wanna call out the wah-mbulance, because you're lazy, greedy and set meaningless limitations that only add to your problem? From the looks of it, you are your own worst enemy to progress, and the problem, here are the choices you're making.

I'll never understand people who say I have a problem...and then follow up with "But I don't wanna do x y z"

So, fine, live with your problem, until such time that you get hungry and tired enough to remove your "wont do's", and you're lost enough to allow yourself to be led.

I hope you feel beat about the head now. I'm not trying to be a jerk. It's called tough love.

You need to change and re-calibrate your mind set. If you have money, and lessons can help, and you want this bad enough, and are willing to apply yourself, you can make amazing progress in a short time. Not only that, but you could probably use some positive progress in your life to build confidence and restore some hope, am I right?

I say this, because I help people like you all the time. I know. You simply wouldn't believe what I could do with a guy like you in 8 weeks, as long as you followed what I showed you.

So, its not your guitar playing that needs help, its your own willingness to dig deep and do what it takes; as long as you are hungry enough, there are options out there. Good luck. I hope this post helps to wake you up. You don't have to stay where you are at.

Best,

Sean

PS I also do free mentoring, if you're willing to open your mind, and loosen up on your own limitations, so if you need some guidance feel free to contact me.


This guy, right here. This guy. Sums up almost everything I was going to say. I've been playing on and off for 5 years. In those five years, I've developed no substance as a guitarist. Why? My mindset was skewed, I limited myself. I tried too hard, wanted it to badly. Learning music theory, that takes focus. Playing guitar, in tempo, without getting frustrated, and having substance at the same time. That takes extreme focus and dedication, not on the goal but the journey. Your frustrated, yeah? Write a song about frustration, play hard and fast and just give 'er. Don't pay attention to what it sounds like and let your hands do the work for you. Shut off the brain will ya? You're in high school man, don't worry about how long it takes you to learn something or play it effortlessly. Enjoy the ride.
#7
I can relate to you, OP. Sean hit the nail on the head with this

So, its not your guitar playing that needs help, its your own willingness to dig deep and do what it takes; as long as you are hungry enough, there are options out there


There really are no limits to what you can do (cheesy I know), but you won't get anywhere if you're not willing to work at it. And I mean REALLY work at it.

If you want to get better playing standing up then just play standing up. Don't play standing up for 10 minutes and say it's too hard and sit back down. If something is too hard to play then find something easier, don't think you're above playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - if you have to start all over again then do it.

If you want to learn theory then learn it. Go to teoria.com or musictheory.net and go through the lessons from the start. Don't just read the articles, learn them! It doesn't matter if you know the dorian mode has two flat notes, how are you gonna use that? Learn and apply.

If your timing isn't up to scratch then play with a metronome. Start at a tempo you can manage and gradually increase the speed. Don't stick to 4/4 time either, try and learn different timings.

Above all, I would say get a teacher. I played for 9 years without tuition without making any real progress, now i'm playing better than ever after just 8 weeks of lessons. It is seriously worth the £20.
#8
I went through almost all of the same issues recently.

I've been playing 3.5 years, self taught, and started getting into a lot of slumps where playing wasn't fun anymore.

The biggest thing is to remember to just enjoy playing. Learn songs you actually like, and not just songs that sound cool. Don't worry so much about how fast you can play, speed is dependent on accuracy. And if you don't differentiate long-term, and short-term goals, you'll just make yourself miserable.