So my general goal is to become a competent guitarist with both rhythm and lead, but most importantly be able to write my own interesting material. I've been trying to get into guitar for years now, but I always end up putting it down as my gaze is fixed too far in the distance...how will I EVER be able to play as soulfully as Gilmour? How will I have the songwriting ability of Mikael Akerfeldt? Short goals like 'achieving a certain speed' or 'mastering a song' seem unrewarding to me. The rewarding elements lie in creating my own music, but I feel I really lack the technical ability to do so. Is it simply a case of 'suck it up'? I find myself doing finger exercises that are meant to improve 'x', but not really knowing why I'm doing it. I know I probably need a guitar teacher, but I live far from any towns and I have horrible social anxiety that locks me up when performing. Should I write out to myself weekly goals on what to achieve? I need a bit of guidance here..I feel like I'm in the dark here with my own progression and ideas on how I should be progressing.
Also, I invested in a £450 guitar (chapman ml-2) that arrives in February which is a good motivator I think. I don't want to lose touch with playing guitar, I bought my electric when I was 12 (7 years ago) and didn't touch it until a good year ago, and it has been on and off since then.
Playing and writing like those guys is something that takes years of experience and practice.

One of the key things in learning to write is building up a body of work, of any kind. You need to keep going and plowing through when you think it's terrible because it's only by doing it over and over again that you will get better at it. Writing is a skill that needs practice like anything else, it's just particularly hard right now because you have all this expectation and good taste and you're not producing anything that lives up to that.

You will if you keep at it though, you just need to have the balls to carry on.

Also: never do exercises if you don't know why you should be doing them, there's nothing more disheartening than doing something without having any idea why you're doing it.
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So you reckon I should practice songwriting alongside technique development? Whenever I come up with a melody, I always seem to get stuck with it and can't develop it further or progress it. I guess it's just down to practice.
Yeah its good that you have that long term goal of being an excellent musician; keep that goal always on the horizon. But that is far in the distance, look right in front of you; start developing your technique when transitioning from chord to chord, learn entire scales not just boxes. Find another guitar player who is better than you are and learn and play with them. Also, when I first started learning this helped me out alot: go to any guitar website that will display for you an entire scale on the guitar fretboard. Here's one - http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php?scch=G&scchnam=Major&get2=Get&t=0&choice=1

All the notes are revealed to you, now start messing around with the notes to make up melodies and riffs. Then start using your fingers and make your own chord "shapes". For example in the G major scale in standard tuning you could make several shapes on the E A and D strings like: E - 3, A - 2, D - 4. This is a Gmaj7 chord. Start experimenting alot and you'll find what you like.
Quote by tobinobin
So you reckon I should practice songwriting alongside technique development? Whenever I come up with a melody, I always seem to get stuck with it and can't develop it further or progress it. I guess it's just down to practice.

Well, I say this from personal experience, that whether or not you get stuck with the melody, write it up somewhere that you do not forget it. Then look at it again on the next day and see if you can progress with it further.

You shouldn't really take much pressure of songwriting skills though. They come with time, as your technique processes and the way you understand music gets further and how you hear music as well. I've noticed that I enjoy music in general much more now after nearly 3 years of playing guitar really actively than before I had played actively.

I also had a starter guitar when I was 13, but pretty much just abandoned it. Didn't abandon music though. Then I picked up this hobby again when I was 18 and it has been really rewarding so far. I kind of regret giving it up, but I guess it's never too late to start over or start in general.

To add, I don't really have much knowledge of music theory and I can barely read notes, but I've still come with a lot of melodies and riffs that some others have liked than just myself. That really proves to me that it isn't 100% required to know theory. I've heard that lots of great players don't know theory much, thought it's just talk, but now I understand that experience is a key factor as well. However, combine nice theory knowledge and experience... Who knows what you'll end with.
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Last edited by Sakke at Oct 1, 2012,
I'm in the same situation as you Sakke. I regret that a great deal, but what's done is done I guess! I'm a great lover of music of many genres, and would love to delve into creating my own. I'll continue practicing and writing, I won't make the same mistake again