#1
Hey all...

First post here. Was just wondering about your experiences with learning and self-confidence in your ability.

I'd been playing off and on for about 10 years and was what could be called average, at best. I never really practiced, never played very often, went months...even years without picking my guitar up...In the last 6 months, I don't know what's happened but I've become obsessed, and practice at least an hour a day, every day. This weekend I must have put in about 7 solid hours of playing. It's actually hurting to type as my fingers are so sore.

I've been working on one song for about 6 months and have gone from thinking, "maybe one day" to finally having cracked it to the point where 70% of the time, I play it through without mistakes. Often though, I'll mess it up because in my mind, I don't believe I can actually do it. Like, I've been a rubbish player for so long, it's tough to imagine I can play challenging sequences of a song, and so I'll fall over halfway through because in my mind I'm still a crappy player. I'll be looking at myself going, "Is this really me playing this? No way!", almost like an out of body experience. And that's where I fall over.

Has anyone else had this? Where your development is being blocked on an almost mental basis because you don't actually believe you have the talent to be as good as you want to be?
#2
I've been having the same mentality for the past year. I've been playing for 7 years, and I should be better, but I'm not. It was getting me down for a while, but now I just decided there's no reason to think that I suck. Now I have a great attitude towards it and it just feels better. I think that having a great mentality towards playing really helps improve. Like you said, your mind can probably bring your performance down if you let it.
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#4
I think perhaps some of my problem is that I feel like I wasted a lot of years not playing, that now I'm in a hurry to catch up. I keep kicking myself going, "If you'd practiced this much 10 years ago, you'd be playing like fricking Eddie Van Halen by now". So a part of me is kind of still caught in a "You suck, it's too late now" kind of frame of mind. I'm 38. So, I'm not young. But I guess like you, I need to be a little more positive. Have fun with the songs that are within reach now, and keep pushing towards being better. Good to know I'm not the only one who was feeling this. Interested to hear other players' experiences, too.
#5
"I find that I cannot play faster than I can think, for example" - Ha, yeah man. I heard that! I find often that if I don't know the passage in my mind...if I can't "play it in my mind"...that there's no chance of me getting it.
#6
Thinking that you can do it tends to give the motivation to continue practicing even if you sound like shit. Which is what actually lets you learn- guitar playing is not a series of smooth steps. If youre practicing a technique for three days, chances are the first 2 days you sound like sh|t but on the last hour of the third day suddenly things just snap into place and youre playing perfectly. Most learning is in such fits and starts. Believing in yourself gives you motivation to move through the shit phase.
#7
I don't know about believing, but it's a sure thing that ambition can help you improve. I was in a rut with electric guitar, so I decided instead of just drilling technique for months, I'd work on some acoustic stuff. The first song I learnt was Drifting, by Andy Mckee, and the second was Megan's Song, by Matthew Mcghee. Both of them looked very daunting to begin with, but I can now play both of them pretty well. I know a lot of players that look at tough songs and say 'I can't learn that, it's too hard', and they generally don't ever progress much, if at all. Having the ambition to try and learn that ludicrously difficult solo is a gigantic step towards being able to play said ludicrously difficult solo, so I guess if that's what you mean by believing, then it does play a big part in it
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#8
Yeah I'm the same way too. I've been playing for a year and a half, and I would play for at least 4 hours a day, now I play for around 6), and even though I'm writing some pretty decent stuff, I still can't get out of that "I can only play basic songs" phase. Half the time I learn a song I just scroll past the solos because I doubt my ability to do it.
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#9
That's a good point Heretik...and Rylan, take it from me...Ambition can take you really REALLY far. I started off trying to learn one song 6 months ago and I literally could not even touch the solo, it was way too hard. I ended up cutting out the solo and making a loop of it on mp3 that I played over and over and over and over and over and over again. First at 50%, then 60%, then 70% speed. Now I'm pretty clean at 90% and occasionally hit it at full speed. If you invest the time and really put your mind to it, you can make it happen. I guess for me (and you, it sounds like), it's just busting out of that mind set where we doubt ourselves. If I actually look at it objectively, my playing has improved 10 fold in six months, but often we're so critical of our abilities that we don't see that.
#10
I've been playing prolly about 6-7 years and I am struggling to with confidence. I'll listen to a song and be like, wow this is an awesome song, but if theres a solo in it I'll just say whatever, it sounds awesome but theres no way I could do that. For some reason I just haven't been able to learn to solo very good. I can play some solos but nothing thats ridiculously fast or has sweeping or tapping or anything. I think it might be partially due to the fact that I don't even attempt learning many solos. Or if I do attempt them, I'll try the first section or whatever and I'll feel like theres just no way I can do this so I give up. This is definitely the hardest thing for me, confidence in my playing abilities.

EDIT:
Quote by Ace_1973
That's a good point Heretik...and Rylan, take it from me...Ambition can take you really REALLY far. I started off trying to learn one song 6 months ago and I literally could not even touch the solo, it was way too hard. I ended up cutting out the solo and making a loop of it on mp3 that I played over and over and over and over and over and over again. First at 50%, then 60%, then 70% speed. Now I'm pretty clean at 90% and occasionally hit it at full speed. If you invest the time and really put your mind to it, you can make it happen. I guess for me (and you, it sounds like), it's just busting out of that mind set where we doubt ourselves. If I actually look at it objectively, my playing has improved 10 fold in six months, but often we're so critical of our abilities that we don't see that.


I completely agree!! This is my problem, getting out of that mindset.
Last edited by TeamMM3 at Jan 31, 2012,
#11
TeamMM3...I guess in my case it helps that I'm a huge fan of Ace Frehley (pretty obvious from my screen name) and really, to be able to play his hardest solo is still probably ten times easier than the lightning fast sweep stuff that a lot of you guys are into. I'm kind of glad I'm not a fan, coz I'd be getting depressed really fast if I tried to pull off those finger twisting, wrist wrecking solos! Even Jimmy Page is pretty much out of my league at the moment. One thing I always say to myself after practice is: "I may not be amazing yet, but I'm better than I was yesterday and tomorrow I'll be better than I was today." Sounds a bit wanky, new age bullshit...but it works for me. So I guess, just keep on trying to get where you want to get, no matter if you find yourself stumbling along the way. Hopefully, we'll reach the level we want one day! :-)
#12
I've experienced this as well. But from a more technical viewpoint, you SHOULDN'T have to think about what you're playing and you SHOULD be able to play faster than you think. That's all where muscle memory comes into play. You stop thinking in terms of playing individual notes and start just thinking about playing a riff, and your body just does it. Practice enough and you will be able to zone out while shredding.
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#13
Quote by Ace_1973
TeamMM3...I guess in my case it helps that I'm a huge fan of Ace Frehley (pretty obvious from my screen name) and really, to be able to play his hardest solo is still probably ten times easier than the lightning fast sweep stuff that a lot of you guys are into. I'm kind of glad I'm not a fan, coz I'd be getting depressed really fast if I tried to pull off those finger twisting, wrist wrecking solos! Even Jimmy Page is pretty much out of my league at the moment. One thing I always say to myself after practice is: "I may not be amazing yet, but I'm better than I was yesterday and tomorrow I'll be better than I was today." Sounds a bit wanky, new age bullshit...but it works for me. So I guess, just keep on trying to get where you want to get, no matter if you find yourself stumbling along the way. Hopefully, we'll reach the level we want one day! :-)


That's such a good way to think of it, and actually I'll have days where I am like, "wow, if I think about it I've gotten so much better than I was even a few months ago" I think it helps also to record yourself and listen to it back a few months later and you'll probably notice an improvement. I used to always record myself and looking back at recordings I did over the summer, its cool to see how much I've improved.

But yea, I think maybe I try to attempt solos that are just too hard, I guess I just don't listen to music that has a whole lot of simple solos, if any at all.
#14
My favorite solo's and tracks aren't particularly hard- my `guitar goal` (long term) is sweet child of mine solo, and stairway to heaven, which obviously aren't that hard- still some way off for me, but I can look at them, see how my practice is working towards them with scales and technique, and it really motivates me to practice.

I'm glad I'm not in to stupidly fast metal... it looks allot harder!
Thankfully, for the most part I can't stand it.
#15
I'm with you Evilllamas. If I can play Stairway and some KISS and Guns n' Roses tracks, then I'm pretty happy, really. Luckily, most of the stuff I want is fairly acheivable. I cannot believe some of the mental shredding you see on YouTube vids. I could never play like that in a million years. Luckily, I don't really want to.
#16
Yes, exactly. All it is is motivation. Ok sure, some people find it easier to pick up things than others, but at the end of the day it all comes down to dedication. For example, Angus Young from acdc used to wear his guitar like it was a shirt, like he'd walk around the house with it strapped on all the time. That's how much he wanted to practice.

I do believe people can be born with talent but I also think if you're lucky enough to be born with the passion, that's what makes you good at something. The natural talent helps but the passion is what gets you there
#18
I know I do.
I'll play through a song perfectly all the way up to the solo, and then the solo comes and I play through the first part and then think "Damn, am I realy doing this?" and then because I've taken my mind of what I'm playing, it goes wrong.

It sucks, but eventually you end up knowing the solo so well that you could play it upside down, hanging out of a plane by your leg, etc.

Once you know it that well, it's harder to play it wrong than right because you know it so well. Thats what happens with me anyway :P