#1
Hey guys,

I've noticed a lot of my students come to me with problems relating to practicing the guitar, be it they don't have effective strategies for getting the most results from their practice time, they spend too much time "playing" instead of practicing, they don't know exactly how and what they should be practicing, or they feel they don't have as much time as the'd like to achieve the results and progress hey want.

So my questions to you are, what are your biggest problems and frustrations as relating to practicing the guitar, achieveing your musical goals, and becoming the player you want to be? Furthermore, how effective do you rate your current practicing methods, and how much time would you estimate that you waste practicing things that are ineffective, or simply "noodling"? Do you consider yourself an efficient practicer, or could you be getting more results if you could make your practicing more effective?

I am greatly interested to hearing your answers, on what seems to be a grey area amongst many guitarists!
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#2
sometimes i hit a wall in my playing where i dont know what to do to improve on my technique

i like to think i have an effective practice method which has worked so far but now its getting harder and harder to see any improvment in my playing


so now im focosing on thoery,reading sheet music and most importatnyl ear training
#3
At first I just practice, all good. Then I jam, then I get stuck with the same riffs over and over and over... so I try some new things, but eventually I get back to the riffs or same progressions I had before.

I'm planning on making an EP of 'em though, could stop me from repeating them.
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#4
I've been playing for 16 years,. and the main issue is time.

Not having enough that is,...

I'm no doubt guilty of spendy most of my practice time noodling, and when i do decide to learn full songs, i've decided to chage my taste in (playing guitar) styles to compensate. .

10 years ago, i would spend hours after hours learning megadeth / metallica, Dokken, Vai, songs and solos, now i learn and play bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Maiden, Glam Rock, because they are easier to get from start to finish.

In summary, i guess i'm not a worse player for it, i've just had to adapt for my love of guitar.

Dont get me wrong, i'm still a riff machine, problem is you cant play a gig by just knowing the intros of all the best songs lol....
#5
Lapsing in practice, amount of practice, getting bored as I run finger exercises or sequence a scale for the billionth time, frustration over lack/speed of improvement.
I don't waste practice time, because when I practice, I practice and do nothing else, as a result I don't always practice everyday.
Learning a song or noodling are things I do aside from practice.
If I'm practicing, then I'm doing exercises. Chromatic finger things, picking things, sequences, running scales, strum pattern stuff, tapping stuff, strumming stuff, yada yada.
Am I effective? When I practice I'm effective when I play Starcraft instead I'm not.
Last edited by C0FF1NCAS3 at Nov 16, 2011,
#6
Interesting answers, everyone
Quote by tubetime86

Nothing compliments a Gibson Les Paul Custom quite like a Fender Frontman 15R

#7
I don't get frustrated, if I find something I can't do then I focus on it more and give it a lot more of my time but I never get agitated. I find that reminding myself that my sucking isn't really my own fault as long as I keep up decent practice is a good ward against a bad mood. Frustration comes from thinking that you should be able to do something you can't and I know that if I can't do something yet I just haven't practiced enough.

I also know that if I really put my mind and time to it I could practice extremely effectively, I just don't have the time to these days.
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#8
i dont practice i play,prob doesnt help my playing but i dont have the time.
#9
I haven't truly practiced technique in probably 3-4 months and as someone thats only been playing for two years it really does hinder my progress. I can tell the difference of a month of practicing for two hours a day and than playing only after im satisfied with building my skill level.

But i do learn new songs completely from beginning to end as often as i can. I'd say even that takes me a whole month, but i'm college so i don't have an infinite amount of time to spend on something i only consider to be a hobby.

I have a few friends who have been playing for a lot longer than me and are simply amazing at guitar, and they say im pretty good for only playing for two years and that i'm better than they were at the two year mark. it does make sense though because i used to practice my ass off all the time.
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Last edited by whyze250f at Nov 17, 2011,
#10
I'd agree with "lack of time". I have a full time job so only get time for about 3-4 hours a day playing if I really try (unless it's the weekend when I either have no time at all or the whole weekend free). Whenever I'm away from my guitar I get twitchy, especially if I start reading stuff that I want to try when I have no access to it.

So I guess my main frustration boils down to this - I don't have as much time to play as I would like, but I want to use the time I can play guitar as productively as possible without it becoming a chore. I'm probably one of the few people that enjoys practicing exercises etc, but there's only so much I can take.

I think the best way around this is probably to have a stricter practice schedule, which obviously sounds much less fun but would actually probably help keep things more interesting. Why? Because a practice schedule can be more of a checklist, you can spend a % of your allocated time doing certain things, and you can force yourself to mix it up a bit (I have a tendency to focus on one thing for too long to the point that I get annoyed with it). Plus it means that you can allocate time for just playing around for fun without it really going anywhere and without feeling guilty that you haven't focused enough on area A or area B.

Kinda reminds me of uni student vs. having a job. When I was at uni I had a lot more unstructured time. Technically I could do whatever I wanted with that time, as none of it was allocated as being free or designated for work. What it ultimately meant was that I'd probably do less work than I should, but I felt guilty that I wasn't working whenever I started doing something else (watching TV, playing video games etc). Then, when I finished University and got a job, suddenly my time was structured. I had 9-5 allocated for work, BUT it meant that any time outside of that was fair game to do whatever I wanted - I didn't feel guilty as I'd done my work for the day.
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#11
+1 to pretty much everything in here.

Lately, I've been going back and revisiting old riffs/songs/solos that I sloppily, incorrectly learned when I started out. There's no worse feeling than missing a note. I can feel my face kind of get hot and I feel the frustration rising. I've been able to make it a habit to take a deep breath, stop, and realize that I haven't practiced it enough and that I'm rushing myself. I learned it wrong the first time, my ears and skills have grown since then and I need to refine. I remind myself that I haven't even been playing for four years, maybe a year or so "seriously" (committing to proper practice, realigning myself as a musician and a student of music theory, not just a guitarist), and that these fast licks/riffs were composed by guys with a lot more experience and practice under their belt. At the same time, it reminds me why I started playing in the first place, and it allows me to slow down, and start practicing again with a positive attitude, or put the guitar down for a few minutes until I feel like less of an ass. The good news is that even though I don't see huge improvement often, I can from a day to day basis gauge whether or not I'm getting better at certain licks (if I've practiced them well) and that helps me.


I've been 'working' on some solos for more than a year. Nothing virtuoso-esque, but sixteenth notes at 150 bpm are still tough for me. It comes down to the same problems: I didn't practice it right to begin with, and don't practice it consistently. I'm trying to turn that around. My improvisation has come so far in the past year from a musical standpoint, but my lead improv technique hasn't progressed at nearly the same level. Fixing old bad habits sucks, but it'll be worth it. Learning to remove the mental blocks of "I can't do it" and pushing out of my comfort zone have been immensely helpful.


Whenever I'm away from my guitar I get twitchy, especially if I start reading stuff that I want to try when I have no access to it.


This is the worst thing ever. I strive to practice for about 4-5 hours daily. Sometimes, because of classes, I can only eek in an hour or so, and if that's the case I'll work on songs that I can sing and play at the same time, because they're more fun for me than correcting minute movements in my hands. While it's certainly still practice, rhythm and singing are not where I feel my priorities should lie right now and I feel guilty for lost time, even though I practice much more than the average hobbyist.

I totally feel you on that quote though, I compulsively do air guitar in my pockets. If I'm in a boring lecture I'll start writing out unfamiliar scales in my notebook, starting with the scale degrees, the diatonic 7th chords, progressions, derive modal pentatonics, etc. I loathe not playing, and even reading articles on UG or other sites is just a quick fix. No use for all that cerebral theory if I can't start trying stuff out right then and there.
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#12
Quote by The Thresher

Dont get me wrong, i'm still a riff machine, problem is you cant play a gig by just knowing the intros of all the best songs lol....


hear that, i went through a phase where i was forcing myself to learn full songs and made leaps and bounds (cover band). lately its back to noodling and the usual intro riffs while tweaking my "sound". This forum helps to find new stuff to work on, new practicing techniques, etc, but really its a motivation issue for me - the stuff if is out there if im willing to put the time in.
#13
harmonic minor...... i just cant stop playing it -_-

i think people (including myself) forget how fun it was to learn a song from start to finish and the effort that pays off in the end...


i need to join a band
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#14
Quote by EspTro
harmonic minor...... i just cant stop playing it -_-

i think people (including myself) forget how fun it was to learn a song from start to finish and the effort that pays off in the end...


i need to join a band


Basically, this. All of it.
Except me and my friend are going to start and acoustic band after exams are finished.
I find practicing with a metronome irritating sometimes. Granted that I was practicing with one for like...a while...today. Speed development stuff and whatnot.
#15
Quote by UnmagicMushroom
Basically, this. All of it.
Except me and my friend are going to start and acoustic band after exams are finished.
I find practicing with a metronome irritating sometimes. Granted that I was practicing with one for like...a while...today. Speed development stuff and whatnot.

Use a drum machine instead, it's much less annoying. I use one called "Monkey Machine" which just runs in your web browser.
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#16
Nothing really, except not practice related problems like having infinite time or not being able to crank the volume up at nights.. or picks wearing off.. i swear it takes me 3 days to flatten a pick..


Other than that I have come to love every friggin aspect of practicing , every excercise, every little nuance.. i must be demented but the things that would scare away 95% of the people because of how boring they are, actually entertain me for hours :P
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 17, 2011,
#17
Quote by Slashiepie
Other than that I have come to love every friggin aspect of practicing , every excercise, every little nuance.. i must be demented but the things that would scare away 95% of the people because of how boring they are, actually entertain me for hours :P


There is another...
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#18
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I don't get frustrated...... I know that if I can't do something yet I just haven't practiced enough.....


This man speaks the truth
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#19
Does anyone else hate feeling like you should be practicing when you aren't practicing?
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#20
My improvising. It's shit. I can come up with a cool rhythm part quite often on the spot, but ask me to come up with a solo over the top and there's no chance. I just never learn licks or anything
#21
Quote by llBlackenedll
Use a drum machine instead, it's much less annoying. I use one called "Monkey Machine" which just runs in your web browser.


This is a good idea, I'll have to check out Monkey Machine.. not heard of it before
Quote by tubetime86

Nothing compliments a Gibson Les Paul Custom quite like a Fender Frontman 15R

#22
I was going to quote WholeLottaIzzy.... but um... now Ive got a dry mouth and half a mongrel...
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
#23
My biggest frustrations is finger pain and dexterity.

My fingertips have been hurting like a MOFO lately. I'm working higher up the fret-board that I usually do, and working on a lot of bends. It hurts like s*** whenever I have to hold my whole finger over strings too. I guess this just comes with more practise though.

My dexterity lets me down. It doesn't really help that the songs I want to learn are crazy-fast. :P But I am ALWAYS motivated when I learn something just above my current playing level. Working in baby steps is the way to go, and really feeling proud when something new is mastered. If you feel proud of your goal, you can just spend a whole day blaring out your new song / riff / solo / whatever it may be and indulge in what you have learnt.

I think that's fantastic for learning. Don't actually move on too soon after something new has been learnt. Indulge in it for a while so you can properly perfect it and feel awesome.
#24
My greatest frustration when I practice is working on my finger picking since I'm more of a strummer but lately i've switched it up a bit so the songs I do pick can be better and I can be more versatile. But being that I already practice the basics and I 'm an intermediate, I just get frustrated when I have to go back because it makes me feel like a beginner.

However I do it anyway because I really want to get to that advanced level.
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#25
Quote by lfcagger
Does anyone else hate feeling like you should be practicing when you aren't practicing?


All the time !! That's the annoying side of self discipline! Hahaha
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#26
I've been practising solos a lot lately, and the one thing that really bums me out is that my guitar has only 22 frets. In my own solos, I never use the 24th fret, but it's so annoying when you're almost done learning an entire solo and they start sweeptapping the 24th fret..
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#27
When I practice I like to mix it up. It's still practice in the true sense of the word. If I'm developing a new technique from scratch then I start off with the textbook application with my metronome. This I feel is important.

But then I've recently been gravitating towards putting my practice time doing those things (finger exercises, picking, scales, legato, etc etc) around songs I find that include them instead of say, practicing scales in sequence up and down over and over.

It keeps it kind of fresh for me and stops me getting bogged down, or feel like I'm going through the repeated up and down motions.

The only part I hate about practice time is that I don't get enough practice time the older I get. Life just gets more demanding
#29
My biggest frustration is what to practice. My practice has literally become me noodling and writing songs and sometimes I write things that are just slightly out of my ability. It does kill me that there has been two distinct stages of my growth as a guitarist. Explosive, and not
#30
My biggest frustrations are:

1) Not having privacy. When I buy a house in a few months, that'll no longer be an issue. I simply cannot play the guitar when others are in earshot.

2) Being able to play something perfectly, repeatedly, and then losing that ability five minutes later. I then have to turn the metronome down and work my way back up to normal speed again. Not sure why this happens, but it happens often.

3) Getting bored / depressed. Totally kills all ambition. I don't recommend it to anyone.


Technique-wise, if I continually screw up, I know that I am not yet ready for what I am trying to play. For instance, I was trying to play a Jeff Loomis solo- practiced for weeks among other things. Just couldn't get it. I took a step back and realized my alternate/econo picking needed serious work. Three weeks later I feel like I can play SO much better now.
#31
C....C#....D....d#.....d# and 1/4......d#and 3/4........****
Quote by kangaxxter
The only real answer to the SG vs Les Paul debate is to get a Flying V and laugh at all the suckers who don't have one.


Quote by Blompcube

if you embrace inaccurate intonation it can be quite arousing.


I <3 TWEED