I feel as if my guitar skills are lacking for how long I've been playing

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#1
So, I'll have been playing for five years this December. Like most guys (I assume), I first picked up guitar to impress girls (hey, I was 14. Don't judge me lol). I had no such luck, but did find something else: a newfound love for the instrument itself. During the first couple years, I focused mostly on learning rhythm bits for songs; not even trying to learn new techniques or improve my skill. Somewhere in my third year of playing, I started to take interest in the solos to the songs I was learning, but got frustrated and impatient and gave up quickly. When this happened, I told myself I just hadn't been playing long enough and needed more practice before I should attempt it. Then, toward the end of my fourth year, I tried again. I HAD improved enough that I could play simple-ish solos like Stricken by Disturbed or Sad but True by Metallica with some effort. That was just about 5 months ago and I still have some trouble with similar solos and would like to play some of Joe Satriani's or Van Halen's stuff, but find myself unable. So, finally, on to the actual question:

Is it normal to have this much trouble playing simple solos after for four years, or is it just that I haven't practiced those elusive techniques enough?
#3
Not normal. I'd quit before you get too invested.
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#4
Am I really THAT far behind? I love playing guitar and would hate if I had to quit. I couldn't just practice the shit out of the techniques I'm lacking?
#5
I mean, you could, but it won't really help at this stage. If I were you, I'd find a new hobby =[
Gear:
Gibson Faded Flying V

Marshall MG100HDFX
Marshall MA50C

Boss DS-1
Digitech RP50
Digitech Whammy IV
Vox V847 Wah Pedal
#6
Quote by mazturofpuppetz
Am I really THAT far behind? I love playing guitar and would hate if I had to quit. I couldn't just practice the shit out of the techniques I'm lacking?



Use a metronome.

Quote by lagunasunrise
I mean, you could, but it won't really help at this stage. If I were you, I'd find a new hobby =[


Stop.
ayy lmao
#7
Quote by mazturofpuppetz
Is it normal to have this much trouble playing simple solos after for four years, or is it just that I haven't practiced those elusive techniques enough?

It depends. How often did you practice? And I don't mean play your favorite song for the 100th time. I mean, how often did you set a goal musically (like maybe learn the solo to "Sad But True"), make daily/weekly progress on that goal, and then proceed to rinse & repeat. Did you learn techniques, like tapping, tremolo picking, etc.?
It really sounds to me like you just have had a very non-serious view of playing and are now surprised that you're having issues with Van Halen solos or Satriani solos or Vai songs, etc. Point is, what you need to do is set a serious practice regimen if you're going to learn some of the stuff you mentioned. Oh, and l2useametronome; a metronome is your best friend.

Quote by lagunasunrise
I mean, you could, but it won't really help at this stage. If I were you, I'd find a new hobby =[

You're being a douchebag. And that's something coming from me.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 27, 2013,
#8
It sounds like you hit your personal skill ceiling, I don't think simply practicing is enough at this point. Some people just have genetic limitations to how well they can play in terms of coordination and motor skills.
#9
I mean Satriani and Van Halen is a lot to take on, it's going to take some time. I started playing when I was 16 (im 21) so 5 years as well. I basically told my old guitar teacher that I wanted to be able to jam and improvise. I guess it depends what your going for but he taught me the different genres and scales that can compliment them the best. I spent a lot of time just improv soloing to backing/jam tracks. It also doesn't hurt to find other people and play with them (non sexually, or sexually if you'd like) because it gives you a lot of awareness of the neck. Not to mention it helps me in figuring out things by ear. Other than that you could also cover songs but put your own spin on it or play the riffs differently/add licks etc
A bassist is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.

The Pit operates under a pseudo-Murphy’s Law state of mind. You can make a comment and "whatever wrong assumption that can be made about it, will be made about it."
#10
Quote by JackWhiteIsButts
It sounds like you hit your personal skill ceiling, I don't think simply practicing is enough at this point. Some people just have genetic limitations to how well they can play in terms of coordination and motor skills.


+1


To everyone telling me to quit being a douche, quit getting this guy's hopes up.
Gear:
Gibson Faded Flying V

Marshall MG100HDFX
Marshall MA50C

Boss DS-1
Digitech RP50
Digitech Whammy IV
Vox V847 Wah Pedal
#11
Quote by lagunasunrise
+1


To everyone telling me to quit being a douche, quit getting this guy's hopes up.


Fucking stop.

People like Chris Broderick, Jeff Loomis and Steve Vai would practice 16 hours a day to get to where they are now. Quit trying to make people feel like shit.
ayy lmao
Last edited by chookiecookie at Mar 27, 2013,
#13
I'd accept that you're gonna have to stick to songs you can play at your current skill level and give up these pipe dreams. Wonderwall is still a classic.
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#15
Its neither abnormal nor normal. I think ur problem, is tbh, u havent been practicing WELL. There is no right or wrong way to practice, but its good to always have a variety. I kinda took the opposite approach of u (we have similar experience (I started at 7, but didnt get serious til 12ish, im 18 now), i focused more on technique, and theory, (Not like CRAZY hard theory, but getting to know the notes and how they function) and then i mixed learning that with learning a few songs here and there. After a few years of that, i found i could more or less learn any song i wanted. I also worked on developing my ear. do u have any recordings of u playing? It would be a lot easier to give u advice if i could see u play. AND so u dont just think im some A**hole who cant play, this is me, Im BY FAR not a pro, but i think i do ok, and that i might be able to help u. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C87I54D0Ovc

Message me if u want me to help u, id be willing to maybe try and give u a few lessons if u think u could gain anything from me.
Last edited by awesomo41894 at Mar 27, 2013,
#16
Well, now that I think about it, I don't really practice that much; I, like you said, will usually sit down and play the same songs over and over again. And I have learned a few techniques here & there (tapping, pinch harmonics, tremolo picking, etc.), but nothing too advanced. And also, you're right, I've never really taken my playing seriously, but I'm going to start NOW. Thank you for your input, it's much appreciated.
#17
I think you should get some lessons from a good teacher.
Even if just for a few months so you can learn how to properly practice and fix bad habbits
#18
The problem isn't how long you been playing guitar, its how long you been trying to play solos/advance techniques. You stated you tried to play solos but quit then picked it up a year later. So I'm just assuming you only been trying to play solos for around 6 months of your playing which isn't very long. Guys/girls that can just shred on guitar have been practicing solos for years while you are only playing rhythm for years. There's nothing wrong with playing rhyme, but since your wanting to play advance solos keep practicing for a few months (get a new practicing routine that helps builds advance techniques) and you'll see huge improvement in your playing. Don't give up so early man.
you're never as free as when you are lost
#19
S'all about practice.

Protip: NEVER stop. NO excuses. You need to be disciplined. It does a lot of damage to neglect practice, and trust me, once you find yourself slipping, finding the motivation to get your chops back up to standard is hard work.
#20
Quote by Vermintide
S'all about practice.

Protip: NEVER stop. NO excuses. You need to be disciplined. It does a lot of damage to neglect practice, and trust me, once you find yourself slipping, finding the motivation to get your chops back up to standard is hard work.


^^^ pretty much this is the best way to go about it.
A bassist is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.

The Pit operates under a pseudo-Murphy’s Law state of mind. You can make a comment and "whatever wrong assumption that can be made about it, will be made about it."
#21
Quote by awesomo41894
[snip]

Message me if u want me to help u, id be willing to maybe try and give u a few lessons if u think u could gain anything from me.

That read more like an ad than anything else, which is against the rules.

Quote by Vermintide
S'all about practice.

Protip: NEVER stop. NO excuses. You need to be disciplined. It does a lot of damage to neglect practice, and trust me, once you find yourself slipping, finding the motivation to get your chops back up to standard is hard work.

This is good advice.
#22
Getting formal lessons would really help. i know this dude, started just 17. 5 years later he joined the national guitar ensemble , orchestra and plays alot of jazz and metal. back to my point, having a teacher would really improve your skills at much faster rate.
#23
Dude you need to practice! There is no way of getting any better. That means if you are having trouble learning a solo, slow it down, then speed up when you feel more comfortable. It's all about practice not how long you have been playing! At four years of playing I could play Megadeth and Metallica songs from start to finish. I could play Metallica solos by sight reading Guitar pro tabs on my 5th year of guitar. To get better all you got to do is TRY AND PRACTICE! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!!!! THERE IS NO OTHER WAY AROUND!
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#24
Don't expect to be jamming to Van Halen solos after 4 years. Don't beat yourself about that. Take this advice any way you want: But maybe smoke some pot? It's been known to help (some) people focus.
#25
awesomo41894, had a good laugh, ty
Quote by lagunasunrise
To everyone telling me to quit being a douche, quit getting this guy's hopes up.

if you're being serious, i'm pretty sure people are telling you you're a douche cause you're saying "give up your hobby" and whatnot without any actual information as to what the guy's done beyond a simple "i've played for four years"

it sounds to me like he never sat down to practice seriously for more than about 15 minutes or whatever, which has lots more influence on the situation than the vague amount of time in which he's played guitar in some fashion or another

if he'd been practicing seriously for hours a day and was still at this stage your opinion might be something other than awful, but it's not
Quote by Redsectoreh
Take this advice any way you want: But maybe smoke some pot? It's been known to help (some) people focus.

how'd you actually manage to surpass lagunasunrise in the "completely useless input" department, bravo
#27
Quote by Redsectoreh
What is so useless about it?

You forgot to mention that pot also makes it hard for others to focus, which is why it could potentially be useless to TS. Not to mention, that paying for pot every week or whatever is certainly not as well spent as paying for a guitar lesson every week, seeing as how the lesson is probably guaranteed to help him.
#28
But I put "some" in brackets! I thought that would have done the trick. I only say this because of personal experiences, wasn't aware I was gonna get attacked for it. But that's the pit!
#29
Quote by Redsectoreh
But I put "some" in brackets! I thought that would have done the trick. I only say this because of personal experiences, wasn't aware I was gonna get attacked for it. But that's the pit!

You're not getting "attacked", but people are correcting your incorrect logic.
#31
i wasn't attacking you

it's just that for improving at anything that requires focus, "guess i should smoke some pot" is generally less effective than "guess it's time for me to focus because this is important to me"

people have a tendency to go searching the cosmos for mystical plants and divine inspiration as a way to avoid just sitting down and putting some work into something
#33
Quote by megaluisdeth
Dude you need to practice! There is no way of getting any better. That means if you are having trouble learning a solo, slow it down, then speed up when you feel more comfortable. It's all about practice not how long you have been playing! At four years of playing I could play Megadeth and Metallica songs from start to finish. I could play Metallica solos by sight reading Guitar pro tabs on my 5th year of guitar. To get better all you got to do is TRY AND PRACTICE! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!!!! THERE IS NO OTHER WAY AROUND!


this guy knows how the world works
#34
Quote by :-D
i wasn't attacking you

it's just that for improving at anything that requires focus, "guess i should smoke some pot" is generally less effective than "guess it's time for me to focus because this is important to me"

people have a tendency to go searching the cosmos for mystical plants and divine inspiration as a way to avoid just sitting down and putting some work into something

The funny thing is that all major religions (or at least, all major religious books/philosophies) advocate hard work.
#35
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
The funny thing is that all major religions (or at least, all major religious books/philosophies) advocate hard work.

i guess that doesn't make for as good a story as smoking pot and being transported to magical places full of creativity and flowing melodies though
#37
Quote by :-D
i guess that doesn't make for as good a story as smoking pot and being transported to magical places full of creativity and flowing melodies though

no need to criticize, sir. Hath thou ever smoketh the pot and played thy guitar simultaneously? I suspect not, young wanderer!

Seriously though. I can play guitar and write music when I'm both sober and high on marijuana. Though I'll admit, the experience is a lot cooler on weed. But I love both, don't get me wrong


Anyways, to the topic starter, only keep playing if you're having fun with the guitar. Don't force it dude. If you aren't having fun, throw away the hobby!
#38
Practice your vibrato instead of worrying about speed and you need to learn to walk before you can run.
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#39
Quote by mazturofpuppetz
Well, now that I think about it, I don't really practice that much; I, like you said, will usually sit down and play the same songs over and over again. And I have learned a few techniques here & there (tapping, pinch harmonics, tremolo picking, etc.), but nothing too advanced. And also, you're right, I've never really taken my playing seriously, but I'm going to start NOW. Thank you for your input, it's much appreciated.

Seems as though you have answered your own question here sweetie....but a little advice, and I don't know if you are doing this or not, but get to know your scales and play them RELIGIOUSLY every single day WITH a metronome an everytime you can play a full scale perfectly 3 times in a row, speed up your metronome and continue from there. It can seem a bit tedious at times, but I promise you it will help your playing...not to mention knowing your scales is a great place to start if you are wanting to play solos..alot of solos are based around scales
#40
TS, whatcha need to do is deliberate practice.
Quote by Prof K. Anders Ericsson
People believe that because expert performance is qualitatively different from normal performance the expert performer must be endowed with characteristics qualitatively different from those of normal adults." "We agree that expert performance is qualitatively different from normal performance and even that expert performers have characteristics and abilities that are qualitatively different from or at least outside the range of those of normal adults. However, we deny that these differences are immutable, that is, due to innate talent. Only a few exceptions, most notably height, are genetically prescribed. Instead, we argue that the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.


This essentially means that you are no more or less genetically equipped for music than anyone else. The only factor relevant in most cases is the amount of time invested practising and the quality of that practice.
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