#1
Well, my gear isn't exactly bad, but it could be better. I have an SX SR1 guitar, a MicroCube amp and a Metal Muff pedal. I don't mean to become the best guitarist ever, I just wanna play to chill and maybe join the band that my cousin will be forming. I've been playing for 2 years now, and I haven't been improving much. I know how to play some riffs and a couple of solos but not a complete song. I don't practice every day though. Is it just my technique or could my gear be hurting my progress? I'm leaning more towards the first option but I'm just wondering.
#2
If your guitar is properly set up, regardless of quality, it should not be the reason you can't play. However, better quality guitars are more comfortable to play, and every time I buy a better guitar, I want to play more.

Have you considered getting lessons? Ever practised with a metronome? Ever recorded yourself and pointed out your mistakes? Do you know your theory?

Just some suggestions ^^ bottom line is, have fun with it. The more fun you have, the more you play, and the more you play, the better you get. Just get a teacher to make sure you don't form any bad habits.
Current gear:
Carvin CT6M
TC Electronics Dark Matter distortion
Harley Benton 2x12, with Celestion V30s
Laney Ironheart 60w tube amp
#3
You should be practicing every day. Your gear won't really hurt your playing progress, but like the other guy said you should have your guitar properly setup. As far as your sound goes, yea having bad or inadequate gear will hinder you.
#4
Well I recently upgraded from a Jackson Performer I and a Crate GT212 amp to a Squier Standard Telecaster and Vox AD50VT and I definitly enjoy playing a lot more, but you still have to practise to improve, gear wont make you beter, only more interested/ excited.
#5
You gotta want to play man. When I started 6 years ago I had an ION "Strat" and a 15watt Fender practice amp. That shitty ass guitar never stopped me from getting better. Practice everyday and read/watch instructionals. Learn your favorite songs. Playing guitar has moments of despair; like when you think you can't get any better, any faster, or any more accurate. But no matter what; don't stop jammin! I thought I was in a rut at my two year mark but I just stuck with it. Make sure your guitar is set up properly (a poorly set up guitar is difficult to play) and mess around with your amp's settings. The object is to learn all you can. Also develop some exercises to improve your accuracy, speed, finger strength and reach. Some riffs I play over and over to this day to warm up and continue my technique: The pre chorus to Black Sabbaths "Black Sabbath", the intro to "Crazy Train", The intro to Guns n Roses "Sweet Child of Mine". I also continuously play through all 5 patterns of the Pentatonic Minor scale in the key of F (As it starts on the first fret and runs all the way up the neck).
Guitar Center Tech: We'll replace it if you drop it, run it over, spill beer on it-
Jay (Bass): We spill beer!
Myself: Okay, yeah, I'll do the Gold Coverage.
#6
No, you can never blame the gear!

How do you think people 40 years ago learned to play guitar? They didnt have awesome gear, old blues legends, had the crappiest of crappy guitars.. You can never blame the gear for your progress, only yourself... Anyone can learn on any crappy guitar, if they want to.. it requires hard work and patience regardless..
Current gear:
Fender Road Worn 60's Strat
Hohner SE35
Squier Classic Vibe 50's Tele
Yahama FG730S
Marshall Class 5
#7
Personally I think it can hold u back. Playing guitar should be fun and when you are not happy with the gear you have, it is possible that you are going to lose your motivation and eventually practice less and less and that is what will slow down your progress. I have had the same problem. My guitar goes out of tune like every 15 minutes and my amp sound like pure shit. I didn't play with my amp anymore and started to practice less. I fixed it by just develop an attitude that i will force myself to ignore the gear and focus on techniques. The fun has returned and my progress is going much faster
Schecter C-1 Custom
Ibanez Iceman ICT700
Ibanez Deluxe 59'er model
Peavey Vypyr 30
Boss SD-2 Dual Overdrive pedal
#8
I think it can hold you back by discouraging practice. If you have bad gear, you have a bad sound and thus do not enjoy what you hear when you play. If you have good gear, you'll sound better and that usually rekindles an interest in playing, fueling your practice and creativity.
PRS SE Custom 22
Peavey Vypyr 30


"When you look into the eyes of a man grown old,
wonder about the secrets gone untold.

When you look into the eyes of a young child,
marvel at the innocence running wild."
#9
I blamed my gear for years man! It's not your gear unless your guitar intonation is completely whacked because of neck warping but that's unlikely. I hate to say it but it's probably you just like it was me. It is true that higher quality gear is more comfortable to play and sometimes has better tone (tone though is mostly generated by you---not my words listen to Steve Vai on that one) but that's not what's stopping you. As has been said you should be practicing everyday and in particular practice those things that you have the most trouble with and practice them until you are just exhausted of it, rinse then repeat!! While practicing it's very important to pay 100% attention to what you are doing. Play with a metronome! And only increase the tempo when you can play a piece extremely cleanly. The thing you're fighting against is yourself my friend. You are your worst enemy.
____________________________________________
GEAR:

Ibanez SGT520VS Sage Series Acoustic
Yamaha FG720S-12 12 String Acoustic
Schecter C-1 Classic
Crate Flexwave FW65 Combo Amp
#10
It isn't a big deal as long as it all works right and the guitar stays in tune and has good intonation. If your guitar was made in the last decade and is a name brand it's probably going to have decent intonation.


I started with what I think (memory is fuzzy) was a marshall m series. It was given to me. I just looked up the amps now and it was probably the mg30fx. It was missing the effects knob so I couldn't use any of the effects. And when I had it on the OD channel it would often cut out the OD and go back to clean by itself. And if I pressed on any of the knobs too hard it would short out. I still learned just fine on it.

I didn't replace it until I had blown the speaker (I think). It wouldn't go into OD channel anymore. And I had to crank the gain and volume all the way up to barely hear the notes. Yea time to upgrade.

I'm actually glad that the OD channel rarely worked. It forced me to play clean in the beginning stages. So I was very aware of dynamics. Playing loudly or softly and most important, consistently. Had I just shredded away with distortion that would be something I would not have learned right away.

Worry about gear when:
-You are playing gigs or jamming regularly.
-Recording.
-In a slump, buying something new (even just a pedal) can motivate you to play more.
-Something breaks and is unusable.
Last edited by BlackVoid at Jan 6, 2012,
#11
I started of w/ a piece of shit 25$ peavey and a shrill 15 Watt amp. I made myself work my way up before I started getting progressively better equip. 4000 hours of practice later~Now I use a Petrucci Music Man and a 75 Wat. I'm flat broke, but I earned this equipment. Earn it and PROVE to yourself that you deserve to be using nice equipment.
-Thats just my take on the issue
#12
Sometimes very poor quality gear can hold you back. eg, if your neck is all off, or if your action way too high. Certainly, I hate the distortion on my amp and as I result I work a lot more on my clean stuff than on my distorted stuff.

That being said, 9 times out of 10 the problem for someone in your situation is poor practice habits. It's not only just not practicing every day - although that's almost certainly a factor - but it's also that you clearly lack discipline in your practice given that you haven't learned any full songs.

If you haven't taken lessons, I strongly encourage you to do so. Or at the very least, take on some sort of structured lesson program either from a book or one of the well-regarded lesson sites like Jamplay. Well, I'd hit up the best free lesson sites first - go through everything on JustinGuitar.com.

But at the end of the day, you've got to make it a commitment. "Okay, I'm going to learn this song," then learn it. Then learn another one. Then another one. Better gear can make you more excited to practice, but if you're not motivated to begin with I suspect your gear isn't the problem.
#13
Of course it can hold you back. But whether it holds you back is another matter. If you can get your instrument set up reasonably well and if it doesn't always fall out of tune, and if it does what you want... it's not going to hold you back much in the beginning. But if you can't make your instrument solid, then yes, it will hold you back. Definitely.

An artist is only as good as their tools. A person can do some really amazing things with the most basic or lowest quality tools, but I doubt that's the type of avant-garde music you want to play. For example, my first guitar didn't have 24 frets, which I required, and that held me back quite a bit, unable to play the music I wanted to. Or my current crappy keyboard! Not enough keys, bad sound quality, terrible electronics, and rarely a key won't sound. Total improvement block.
Ibanez RG2228 w/ EMG808Xs | Line 6 POD HD500 | Mackie HD1221
#14
Quote by Dayn

An artist is only as good as their tools. A person can do some really amazing things with the most basic or lowest quality tools, but I doubt that's the type of avant-garde music you want to play. For example, my first guitar didn't have 24 frets, which I required, and that held me back quite a bit, unable to play the music I wanted to. Or my current crappy keyboard! Not enough keys, bad sound quality, terrible electronics, and rarely a key won't sound. Total improvement block.


I can't help but think of some of the early bluesmen, making their own guitars so they could learn how to play, using chicken wire or piano strings ...

We're spoiled, I tell you.
#15
Quote by SlickMofo
Well, my gear isn't exactly bad, but it could be better. I have an SX SR1 guitar, a MicroCube amp and a Metal Muff pedal.


You have better gear than I did when I started playing. Didn't stop me, shouldn't stop you.

Your gear isn't the issue. Practice more.
#16
You have to be motivated to play and practice. Whatever gets you going really. If new gear will make you want to play more then get new gear. Just remember that new gear will not improve your skills. It might make you sound a bit better since it's higher quality, and in some cases easier to play, but you still have to work at it.

Get motivated!