#1
Ive been playing for about 5 years. I cant say how serious I was the first couple years. I just wanted to learn a cover or two. I've noticed that im getting better the more I play, but its such a sloooow increase that it hardly exists. Lately ive been looking into music theory, and its just harder than it looks. I know all the basic chords, blues scale, minor pentatonic scale, and the major pentatonic scale. What ive read online when it comes to improving on scales, mostly you just play the scale but as different rhythm's and licks. Ehh simple enough I guess, I manage doing this...sorta. I've had many friends who play guitar a few months, or a couple years...but they end up giving in. "Im just not a guitarist, im nothing like Hendrix, or Kerry King". So I normally reply "Practice, more! It takes time to get that good!". But now, its me whos feeling like giving up. I went on youtube just searching random guitar videos. Its not the guys who've been playing 20 years and can do amazing stuff that de-motivates me. Or even the 14yr old girl thats been "professionally trained" for 6 years. Its the guy whos doing an insane crazy solo that makes Buckethead look like a bitch, when this guy has only been playing for 3 years. Talking in the video information with alot of music theory terminology, and playing behind a backing track and whatnot. I know to some of you this may not sound like a big deal, but ive played so much more than this guy im sure of, yet he can shred a million notes a second all over the fretboard.

How do you guys not just react to people whos way better than you but have only played a year or two? How do you suggest learning the important stuff to someone with a hard time learning music? HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?
#2
What are your goals? Do you want to perform or just play as a hobby? I started playing as a hobby but then started playing at church every week. I've been at it for 4 years, playing in front of people for 3. It's been very important to me that I DO NOT STINK and that keeps me motivated. I also really enjoy playing and pick up my guitar every chance I get. I also don't worry about who's better than me. I just keep pluggin' away learning new stuff. Remember, guitar ain't easy. If it was any knucklehead could do it right away.
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#3
Quote by SGFAN4174
What are your goals? Do you want to perform or just play as a hobby? I started playing as a hobby but then started playing at church every week. I've been at it for 4 years, playing in front of people for 3. It's been very important to me that I DO NOT STINK and that keeps me motivated. I also really enjoy playing and pick up my guitar every chance I get. I also don't worry about who's better than me. I just keep pluggin' away learning new stuff. Remember, guitar ain't easy. If it was any knucklehead could do it right away.

I want to write my own music. Performing would be acceptable, but thats not why I want to play. I want to release a few albums, rather or not I ever make money of off them or anyone listens to them for that matter I dont care. I just want to make something I can be proud of. Ive gotten very close on finishing a song or two, alot of the time the most I can write is a riff. Then all the other sections are non existent until I come up with something later. Performing isnt totally out of the question, but its not what I am after. I normally dont care about who's better than who. But when I see someone whos played for a year or two that makes everything ive ever done look like a wasted effort, thats not exactly very motivating.
#4
How much do you practice? Do you have goals as far as what techniques you want to learn? Learn songs that utilize those techniques.
Everything I say can be fully substantiated by my own opinion
#5
Quote by SGFAN4174
How much do you practice? Do you have goals as far as what techniques you want to learn? Learn songs that utilize those techniques.

Well I pick up the guitar for about an hour a day. Not exactly sure what to practice..maybe thats my problem. Most of what I do is trying to get better at improving on scales. Some of its good, not all is. I just want to be good enough that ALL of my improv and everything I play is decent. Not AMAZING, just good enough that nothing I play sounds like crap. Sometimes to me alot of what I play sounds like random notes, especially when I try to play passed the octave. And playing over backing tracks. KNOWING what to play seems important. How do you know what to play over it? I know scales and chords, just not exactly what im supposed to do with them.
#6
Quote by corporatewaste
How do you guys not just react to people whos way better than you but have only played a year or two?

I say good for them, because I know I haven't been putting in my absolute best. If I've been busting my ass off practicing for hours everyday, and I'm still not as good as them, I'd be pissed off, but I don't. I just take it slow. Guitar isn't a race. You only have to go as fast as you want to.

Quote by corporatewaste
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

I am motivated when I see tangible progress, or however tangible progress can be for something as intangible as "guitar technique". For example, I managed to learn the introduction from In The Presence of Enemies with strict alternate picking, which would have been impossible in the past because I was so used to economy picking, which in my case mostly meant winging it. Being able to do that showed me that whatever effort I put in wasn't wasted.

I ended up getting stuck at a super simple but fast section about 2 minutes into the song, but that just means the effort I've put in is not yet to the point where I can do it cleanly.
#7
Fast doesn't necessarily mean difficult or even good. I'll brag a little and say that I'm one of those that could easily shred out most Buckethead, Paul Gilbert, and almost any solo I wanted to, but I'm not how I want to be exactly.

A good example is with triface's post. I am used to picking as it suits me, and never really bothered learning alternate picking, which made certain runs for me next to impossible, while at the same time, I could sweep Robert Marcello's "Old School" with relative ease. I struggle with certain techniques, and even things I feel like I'm good at, I don't play anywhere near as cleanly as I'd like.

As long as I'm still amazed (or a similar suitable word) at certain solos, I'll work hard to get to that level, but not stop, I'll keep going and try to rethink my way around things to turn it into my own creation. Take others' work as motivation, regardless of skill level or difficulty, don't forget to think about it musically as well.
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#8
I think the point to take away from the other replies is determining tangible goals. And if self-teaching isn't getting you there get a teacher who's doing what you want to be doing. So you want to learn to write and to improvise? Learn that. Learn the theory and get a teacher to help you.

And when I see people on youtube playing all that crazy shit I'll never be able to play I don't even care. That's not what I'm trying to do, and unless your goal is to become a virtuoso you shouldn't let it bother you either.

My goal is to have a band and become as successful as possible as a performer and songwriter. What keeps me motivated is like what triface said, I see the results of my work and realize it's just a matter of continuing to work on it and progressing.

For me it can be discouraging to other local bands pop up and become twice as successful in half the time, but that's just an opportunity to learn something. There's a reason to someone's success. I don't like that tendancy for people to just say "it's because they worked harder", that's not fair, you can work as hard as you want but if you're doing something wrong it might not help.

So to sum up my rant: determine your goals, learn the theory and practice what you need to do to get the skills to achieve them, and do your homework. Something you could do is go to the "Original Recordings" forum and find someone who's making great music on there and get some insight as to how they learned to write like that. Just get focused and get obsessed! I'm thinking about music and my band's future all the time.
#9
Quote by guitarmaniac88
Fast doesn't necessarily mean difficult or even good. I'll brag a little and say that I'm one of those that could easily shred out most Buckethead, Paul Gilbert, and almost any solo I wanted to, but I'm not how I want to be exactly.

A good example is with triface's post. I am used to picking as it suits me, and never really bothered learning alternate picking, which made certain runs for me next to impossible, while at the same time, I could sweep Robert Marcello's "Old School" with relative ease. I struggle with certain techniques, and even things I feel like I'm good at, I don't play anywhere near as cleanly as I'd like.

As long as I'm still amazed (or a similar suitable word) at certain solos, I'll work hard to get to that level, but not stop, I'll keep going and try to rethink my way around things to turn it into my own creation. Take others' work as motivation, regardless of skill level or difficulty, don't forget to think about it musically as well.


I will be making a topic later at some time asking what I technique's I should be learning, and how I should be practicing. But you, were already here. Could you tell me how you got to playing so good? How did you start? How did you get better, and with what kind of practice? What techniques do you often use and recommend?
#10
The people that have great skill on guitar after a couple years most likely either had EXCELLENT teachers, or knew exactly what to practice the most effective way for their own purposes. If they say they do not know theory or anything about music is PURE BULLSHIT. As crazy and epic a solo can sound...it can be broken down into basic divisions of time and of course your various triplets/tuplets. This time in the most basic sense is a 4/4 beat.



I have had a lot of problems over the years and I have found that the key to playing better and actually understanding what you are playing is to understand basic theory and the ability to understand different rhythmic groupings such as 16th notes , triplets, quintuplets, etc. Knowing how to displace rhythmic ideas and maneuver time. It sounds hard but all it is is division of time into even numbers in the most basic sense. When you get into triplets and different tuplets things start to change a little bit.

Most generic cliche guitar players will play 8th notes, 16ths, 32nds, 8th note triplets, and 16th note triplets, although to the untrained ear it can sound like a complete frenzy...such as eddie van halens eruption solo.

So I advise you to learn how to count rhythms and understand TIME. That is the ticket...TIME. If it has been 5 years and you see no progress you are gonna have to take a more academic route to understanding music. You also need to know WHAT to play and WHEN to play it. This is where theory comes in.
#11
Quote by corporatewaste
Sometimes to me alot of what I play sounds like random notes, especially when I try to play passed the octave. And playing over backing tracks. KNOWING what to play seems important. How do you know what to play over it? I know scales and chords, just not exactly what im supposed to do with them.


I had the same problem. It sounds like random notes because you are not listening to what you are playing, and you ear is very poor most likely. You need to know and understand INTERVALS. That is the key, INTERVALS. You need to understand tension and resolution.

Try this...

Have a droning low E note play in the background. Now play the minor or major scale over it. The root, third, and fifth are the most stable tones, they are the MOST IMPORTANT TONES you can possibly play. Now play the minor 7th interval against the droning E...you will hear it sort of want to pull back to the root. Try playing the minor 6th...it want to resolve to the fifth. This is the idea of tension and resolution and is CRITICAL to understand and hear.

You have to start simple and train your ears against ONE droning note and hear how the intervals behave over the droning note.
Last edited by Unreal T at Jun 19, 2013,
#12
Quote by Unreal T
The people that have great skill on guitar after a couple years most likely either had EXCELLENT teachers, or knew exactly what to practice the most effective way for their own purposes. If they say they do not know theory or anything about music is PURE BULLSHIT. As crazy and epic a solo can sound...it can be broken down into basic divisions of time and of course your various triplets/tuplets. This time in the most basic sense is a 4/4 beat.



I have had a lot of problems over the years and I have found that the key to playing better and actually understanding what you are playing is to understand basic theory and the ability to understand different rhythmic groupings such as 16th notes , triplets, quintuplets, etc. Knowing how to displace rhythmic ideas and maneuver time. It sounds hard but all it is is division of time into even numbers in the most basic sense. When you get into triplets and different tuplets things start to change a little bit.

Most generic cliche guitar players will play 8th notes, 16ths, 32nds, 8th note triplets, and 16th note triplets, although to the untrained ear it can sound like a complete frenzy...such as eddie van halens eruption solo.

So I advise you to learn how to count rhythms and understand TIME. That is the ticket...TIME. If it has been 5 years and you see no progress you are gonna have to take a more academic route to understanding music. You also need to know WHAT to play and WHEN to play it. This is where theory comes in.

Great! Now where do I start? How do I find the appropriate resources?
#14
Stop looking at the other videos and comparing yourself to them. That's the easiest way to get discouraged. There's always going to be someone better than you - that's just the way it is.

Define your goals and build your practice session around them. Me? I play lead guitar at church, so my practice sessions focus on lead playing with some rhythm playing to keep those skills fresh. I also work on note recognition every day. Got to keep those skills fresh. I also want to be able to play piano, so I also spend time there.

That's what you need to do. Then, keep it real... Realize that you're probably not the next Satchmo and don't let it get you down. Realize that progress comes slower the further you go. When you achieve a goal, drink in the elation that comes with hitting your mark, but move on and aim for the next goal. As you get better and better, the motivation ramps up. Just have to keep focussed.
#15
Because I just try to be me, I have my own style with influences that are evident. At the end of the day with many aspects of life, you realize there will always be someone better at you in something. You can't get hung up on that, just do it if it makes you happy, and learn to love how far you've gotten now. The future holds better things if you stick with it.
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#16
Okay well thanks everyone. Im going to be looking further into music theory and hopefully ill find out why my playing is only slowly improving.
#18
Ok, there's a lot here so I'm going to try and deal with it in chunks.

Quote by corporatewaste
Ive been playing for about 5 years. I cant say how serious I was the first couple years. I just wanted to learn a cover or two. I've noticed that im getting better the more I play, but its such a sloooow increase that it hardly exists.


It seems slower than it is because you're there every step of the way; you know how long it's taken and how many hours it's been so you have a slightly twisted perspective on it. If someone else could see you, say 6 months ago and then jump straight to now they would probably be amazed at how much progress you've made. That's why it's a good idea to periodically record yourself (like tappooh said) and every so often go back over your old recordings and see how far you've really come in a certain period of time.

Quote by corporatewaste
Lately ive been looking into music theory, and its just harder than it looks. I know all the basic chords, blues scale, minor pentatonic scale, and the major pentatonic scale. What ive read online when it comes to improving on scales, mostly you just play the scale but as different rhythm's and licks. Ehh simple enough I guess, I manage doing this...sorta.


It both is and isn't that simple. Knowing the shapes and notes and all that is all very well and good but if you're just noodling then it's pretty obvious. What you need to do is learn the scales and learn how they sound in context. When you're playing you need to always been listening and be aware of what you're doing. If you're mindful of what things sound like then you can know why certain notes sound a certain way in context and you can reproduce that when you want. It's a long process but that's what you should be aiming for in the end; you want to know, at any time, what the next note you want to play should sound like and where it is on the instrument. That's the ideal, it takes a lot of work and time though.

Quote by corporatewaste
I've had many friends who play guitar a few months, or a couple years...but they end up giving in. "Im just not a guitarist, im nothing like Hendrix, or Kerry King". So I normally reply "Practice, more! It takes time to get that good!".


It doesn't just take time, you need the right kind of practice. It needs to be focused and directed; you need to know what you want to do and how to do it. More often than not it's the "how" that's the real stumbling block for people.

The real thing I want you to take from this is that you can't just plug away at it and suddenly you become good once you've reached a certain number of hours; you have to work smart as well as hard.

Quote by corporatewaste
But now, its me whos feeling like giving up. I went on youtube just searching random guitar videos. Its not the guys who've been playing 20 years and can do amazing stuff that de-motivates me. Or even the 14yr old girl thats been "professionally trained" for 6 years. Its the guy whos doing an insane crazy solo that makes Buckethead look like a bitch, when this guy has only been playing for 3 years. Talking in the video information with alot of music theory terminology, and playing behind a backing track and whatnot. I know to some of you this may not sound like a big deal, but ive played so much more than this guy im sure of, yet he can shred a million notes a second all over the fretboard.


How do you guys not just react to people whos way better than you but have only played a year or two? How do you suggest learning the important stuff to someone with a hard time learning music?

There's something I've come to realise over a long time watching people on youtube: you can generally tell when someone hasn't actually been playing a particularly long time. Especially if they've been playing for a handful of years (let's say less than 5) and they've flying all over the fretboard. There's almost always an immaturity to their phrasing and also they, almost without fail, have horrible vibrato. They're fast but their playing would never stand up to actual audience expectations because they have no hand tone.

I'm not going to be one of these people who says that tone is all in the hands, gear plays a massive role, but once you've heard enough weekend warriors, GC heroes and bedroom shredders... you can really tell who's actually been putting in the hours of practice they need to get good and not just fast.

Usually I try and remove myself from threads, it's not about me, but I can say with some confidence: there is no one who's been playing for 3 years who's better than me because I've spent the time and energy in making sure I sound good rather than just being fast.

Quote by corporatewaste
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?


This is definitely not something I have any real experience with; I count myself lucky in that I've never had an issue with keeping on at the instrument. Every time I hear someone that good it's just fuel for the fire

Quote by corporatewaste
I want to write my own music. Performing would be acceptable, but thats not why I want to play. I want to release a few albums, rather or not I ever make money of off them or anyone listens to them for that matter I dont care. I just want to make something I can be proud of. Ive gotten very close on finishing a song or two, alot of the time the most I can write is a riff. Then all the other sections are non existent until I come up with something later. Performing isnt totally out of the question, but its not what I am after. I normally dont care about who's better than who. But when I see someone whos played for a year or two that makes everything ive ever done look like a wasted effort, thats not exactly very motivating.


Something no one seems to want to tell new artists, of any kind, is that creativity is a skill just like any other. It needs to be practiced and cultivated with time and effort just like the physical skills needed to produce/play the material do.

Also I think this is one of the most important quotes you can possibly see as an aspiring artist:



Hopefully I've been of some help, if you need anything else don't been afraid to ask; we're nicer around here than some people seem to think.

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#19
Let me start off by saying that I'm only a play around the house, jam at friends from time to time kind of person. I enjoy just having a guitar in my hands, I like tinkering with them all and all but never had any real aspirations of making a living at music. I have taken college level theory courses and all that. But I think what makes a good musician esp a guitarists is just playing with a fluidity and smoothness. You can shred at 500bpm per minute if that's your thing but I love when players can glide through notes. No break in the sounds, it's hard for me to explain I guess. But playing a simple scale buttery smooth and being completely comfortable with it. For myself it was the simple A minor Pentatonic, and for years now I've worked on it all positions etc. and just gliding up and down the fret board is what kept me motivated. I knew the sound I wanted. It's helped a lot with other things too. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
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#20
I was actually thinking about this the other day. I just started teaching a friend how to play guitar and it reminded me of when I was learning. I'd see videos of these people making sounds with a guitar I couldn't even understand, and while some people find that motivating, I found it extremely demoralizing. I'd just think "well I'm never gonna be able to do that, so why bother".

I think the answer is you need to really want to play guitar. Not that you need to really want to be good, but you need to genuinely enjoy it. You aren't trying to rush through learning, you want to enjoy every part of it. Ignore the 14 year old who's infinitely better than you, he has nothing to do with you. I guess what I'm saying is just have fun with it and **** everyone else. If you're struggling to learn a foo fighters song, feel accomplished when you're done with it, and enjoy playing it when you play it...the fact that 90% of the guitarists on this forum could learn a foo fighters song in 20 seconds is completely irrelevant to you.