#1
Ok I am talking TECHNIQUE wise here.

I used to think that working hard could "make up" for innate talent technique wise, but I am beginning to think it is although, possible, it is very impractical.

I would read interviews on shredders stating their long practice routines and think they were fast due to MOSTLY their dedication to the instrument, but then realized that they have an INCREDIBLE amount of innate talent technique wise, almost to the point where it makes it impractical for most guitarists that do not have this talent to gain equal footing.


Example: Early Videos from People like Malmsteen, Petrucci, Becker, Gilbert Shredding their arses off with ease after only playing a few years. They do emphasize practice, but there are also hints in their interviews if you look deep enough where they say their nervous system just "gets it".

Now my case, and most cases I know from guitarists around me. We can GET to a fast shredder level, but it takes multiple hours a day for YEARS of focused focused practice. And once we get there we have to maintain and this alone takes tremendous effort. In short, its not PRACTICAL.

Ok so, I spent 3 hours a day practicing alternate picking, sweep picking, and legato to the point where I can shred like the masters after 4 years. Ok now I am going to focus on writing instead. Ok shoot, now my technique is going down the toilet because I am spending less time than 3 hours a day on it. Ok now I have to spend 2-4 hours on songwriting, gigging, practicing a day in ADDITION to the 3 hours a day of technique in order to Maintain my playing. not practical.

I know personally when I finally nail down a technique to the point where it feels comfortable and natural, I have to spend at least a half and hour to an hour a day playing that AFTER I nail it, otherwise I lose it. I remember I finally nailed three string alternate picking, breathed a sigh of relief, decided to work on songwriting, and took a few days off from guitar and then came back to it. All gone, had to work my way back up again.
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#2
Talent doesn't not compensate for a lack of drive or passion. The musician that is focused and consistent will always come out on top. I know people who have a natural inclination but don't practice much, or consistently, and they're bad.


Mastering an instrument is hard. There is nothing else to add to it. Being a good player takes hours a day. Being a good writer takes more hours. There's now way around this.
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#3
You know how some people are good at maths, and not so good at just say English.
I feel like some people would be good at music in that sense.
#4
if didnt you noticed alot of these shredders played much more than 3 hours a day(i read somewhere steve day would practice somewhere along 10 hours a day and petrucci even has mention that he loves to practice)
and they played everday all day sure they might have innate talent but i know they all played for more than 3 hours a day everyday and im sure they still do play the guitar pretty much all the time

talent has nothign on dedication if anythign i think the real talent is enjoying the instrument enough to put in the hours to master it
#5
Everyone has talents, and sometimes those talents don't precisely line up with all of your interests. It happens, it sucks, but it doesn't mean you can't try your best and still enjoy the instrument - you may not be the next Steve Vai, but who cares? As long as it is something you want, and something you strive towards, you'll still make music that people want to listen to.
#6
Quote by TieMyRope669
You know how some people are good at maths, and not so good at just say English.
I feel like some people would be good at music in that sense.

But they still work extremely hard. Hemingway and Joyce worked at their writing for years. They developed their skill through practice, work, and diligence.


Music is the same way. All the people with a natural inclination to music I know are also the people that practice every day for hours and push themselves to improve.
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#7
Quote by psychosylocibin

Example: Early Videos from People like Malmsteen, Petrucci, Becker, Gilbert Shredding their arses off with ease after only playing a few years. They do emphasize practice, but there are also hints in their interviews if you look deep enough where they say their nervous system just "gets it".

This is where your argument completely falls to pieces. You caught the bit about practicing a lot, but you missed the second half of the equation: practicing well. Quantity of practice is inferior to quality of practice in every case.

Now my case, and most cases I know from guitarists around me. We can GET to a fast shredder level, but it takes multiple hours a day for YEARS of focused focused practice. And once we get there we have to maintain and this alone takes tremendous effort. In short, its not PRACTICAL.

This is true for every guitarist, including guys like Petrucci and Malmsteen. The difference between them and you is that they are professionals and it's their job to be at that level. If they don't stay at that level, they don't get paid. It's impractical for non-professionals to practice as much and as hard as they do, but it's not a matter of talent, just simple economics.

If you can't maintain your technique, let alone improve, with three hours a day of practice, then your practice habits are shit. It's not that the professionals are "talented". They just learned a long time ago how to best capitalize on their practice time instead of moping about.
#8
do people really practice for 3 hours a day? that takes some motivation. I can barely manage an hour before getting bored. That's probably why I suck tbh
#9
There have already been tons of threads like this before, and every time it turns into a mess of arguments. It is sort of like religion you can choose to believe what you want but in reality what happens is going to happen no matter what you choose to believe, and no matter how much you may believe its inherent skill to play the guitar you still need to practice.
#10
Quote by redd9
do people really practice for 3 hours a day? that takes some motivation. I can barely manage an hour before getting bored. That's probably why I suck tbh


I recall hearing that Steve Vai would spend 10 hours a day practicing - still does, perhaps.

Yes, if you want to be that good, prepare for your social life to meet a fiery end.
#11
Easiest analogy here is football:

Take Messi, arguably the best player in the world today. Now there's no doubt that he's spent an incredible amount of time training to get to that level. But what about the millions of other people around the world who also spent so many hours practicing? Why aren't they as good?

Talent, obviously.

It's hard to accept, but sometimes we are just not as good at things as we'd like to be. Even if I spent many hours training, I'd never be a good footballer. I'm not fast enough, strong enough, tall enough for the position I play (being 5'7 is tough) and I don't have the temperament for it. No amount of training would ever make me good enough in them areas to be professional.

Same with guitar. Some people might not have the dexterity in their fingers. Others won't be able to move their hands fast enough. I'm fortunate in that I do have a natural talent on the guitar.

So no, no amount of playing is ever going to take you to Vai/Satch/Gilbert level. But you don't need to be to be a musician. It's not like football where it's all talent. Because it's art, you can be an awful guitarist yet if you've got the passion the only people who are going to give a damn are people like Vai who'll hate you for making more money than them. Talent means very little in music when it comes to guitar.

Songwriting however is a different story and one that I don't want to go in to as I'll inevitably upset half the forum.
#12
Yea I bet people have a gene for fine motor dexterity. I bet Malmsteen can type 100 wpm and would probably a natural at knitting. Maybe Vai could have been a good surgeon.
#13
I think the only thing that comes naturally is the motivation to improve. Yes, there are things that can make you feel motivated, but, metaphorically speaking, the embers were already there, all it took was something to turn it into a flame. Yes, some people learn faster or have a knack for something or their bodies are better equipped, but if somebody is more motivated they'll surpass any talented person. Maybe not in everything, but they can become better in one area than somebody else is in another. Talent just makes it easier at the start because it only goes so far. A receiver can't be a linebacker, but if he works hard enough he can play his position better than a linebacker can play his respective position.
Last edited by socrfb at Jul 3, 2013,
#14
Quote by Andalus
Easiest analogy here is football:

Take Messi, arguably the best player in the world today. Now there's no doubt that he's spent an incredible amount of time training to get to that level. But what about the millions of other people around the world who also spent so many hours practicing? Why aren't they as good?

Talent, obviously.

It's hard to accept, but sometimes we are just not as good at things as we'd like to be. Even if I spent many hours training, I'd never be a good footballer. I'm not fast enough, strong enough, tall enough for the position I play (being 5'7 is tough) and I don't have the temperament for it. No amount of training would ever make me good enough in them areas to be professional.

Same with guitar. Some people might not have the dexterity in their fingers. Others won't be able to move their hands fast enough. I'm fortunate in that I do have a natural talent on the guitar.

So no, no amount of playing is ever going to take you to Vai/Satch/Gilbert level. But you don't need to be to be a musician. It's not like football where it's all talent. Because it's art, you can be an awful guitarist yet if you've got the passion the only people who are going to give a damn are people like Vai who'll hate you for making more money than them. Talent means very little in music when it comes to guitar.

Songwriting however is a different story and one that I don't want to go in to as I'll inevitably upset half the forum.

Yeah and Messi is a once in a generation player, and he's also worked his bollocks off to get to the top of his profession. Football is littered with gifted individuals oh never came close to fulfilling their potential because they didn't have the work ethic to match their natural ability...Matthew Le Tissier I'm looking at you, if you've never heard of him look up his goals on youtube. It doesn't matter which one, they're all gobsmacking. Then look at David Beckham who isn't a particularly talented player but worked damned hard to make the absolute best of what he had and ended up being one of the most successful players in the world.

Cases like Messi are the exception not the rule, and guitar is no different. There's very few prodigies out there, the truth hurts but you have to accept that the reason you suck is because you didn't do enough of the right kind of practice - I made peace with that fact a long time ago
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#15
There is no versus here...talent alone without tons of hard word gets your nowhere.Even someone who is "labeled" or labeling himself talentless can acheive anything through hard work..
Look at those guys you mentioned....we all see the end result but i assure you there were many years literally when they would sleep with a guitar in their hands.Pure and raw dedication.For those people the guitar was their toy, and their passion, their...girlfriend their main thought during the day.I can assure you they didnt count the hours they practised...cause for them it wasnt practise...it was a need.They didnt even think they sacrificed stuff to get there cause they were having too much fun.

So if you find yourself counting hours of practise,wondering about the talent of the other guy,making excuses about why you cant do a certain thing etc etc etc you are not dedicated enough or you dont want it that bad .
#16
Quote by psychosylocibin
Example: Early Videos from People like Malmsteen, Petrucci, Becker, Gilbert Shredding their arses off with ease after only playing a few years.


By the time anyone had heard of any of these guys they'd already been playing for 7-8 years. Given that they all have talked at length about how much they would practice all the time that's definitely long enough to get the kind of technical skill they have.

Malmsteen picked up guitar at the age of 7, Becker at 5, Gilbert at 8, Petrucci at 8. Guthrie Govan (praise be to his name) first picked up a guitar, as much as he could at least, at the age of 3; even if you are the minimum age for joining UG (13) that still means that by the time he was your age he'd been playing for ten years. Picking up the instrument at that kind of age isn't 100% crucial for getting their chops but if all you have to do is go to school and play guitar it's not hard to see how they can clock up the practice hours quicker than someone like me who has a degree to do or someone like Steven Seagull who I'm sure has a job.

Now, far be it for me to blow my own horn but people tend to tell me I'm pretty good. I'm not massively fast over all but definitely fast enough to be impressive if I'm trying to... if you knew the kind of hours it took me to get to where I am you would never claim it's talent that makes people shred. I used to spend upwards of 8 hours a day practicing and playing when I was unemployed and not a student and I did that for well over a year.

On the subject of maintaining technique while doing other things: if you're not using the technique you have while you're writing and performing, why do you have it?


Practice better. Suck it up and stop whining. You suck because you don't practice well enough, not because there's some magical ingredient that makes other people better.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Jul 3, 2013,
#17
I think a great point made was that guys like Petrucci, Vai and Satriani all have to stay at the level they are because thats their job! And to do their job they have to be able to play at that level.

Realistically most of us have jobs, kids and other things to do in life and I know I certainly can't and wouldn't want to practice 10 hours a day.

Practice is obviously important but I am beginning to think that there definitely is a limit to how far someone will be able to take their speed and technique through sheer practice alone.

By the way, is there any tips on practicing better and more effectively? I hear it said a lot but it's never really explained well.
#18
Quote by LTaces
By the way, is there any tips on practicing better and more effectively? I hear it said a lot but it's never really explained well.

Break your practice down into segments that are 15-20 minutes of focusing on just one thing. That song/solo you're trying to learn? 15 minutes. Trying to memorize your Am scales in each shape? 15 minutes. Trying to improve your legato? 15 minutes of exercises. Need to improve your knowledge of chord construction of various chords your know? 15 minutes. Right there is an hour of practice and by breaking it up into small chunks it'll go by faster. If you need to, practice for 45 minutes then take a 15 minute break, then practice for another 45 minutes and take another break.

It doesn't matter how much time you have, what matters is making sure your practice is focused. Turn off your cell phone (unless you're using it as a timer/metronome/some other tool), close your Facebook/Twitter or shut down your computer if you're not using it, put the remote on the top shelf of your closet, whatever you gotta do to eliminate potential distractions. Whatever you are practicing, stay on that subject. Teaching people how to do something helps reinforce it in your mind, so talk to your cat/dog/toddler/yourself as if you're teaching them how to do something (just don't start having conversations with yourself in an audible voice or else people will think you're crazy).

Also, a rather interesting thing about your brain is that it will retain information better if you sleep soon after learning something new, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to work on learning something new before going to sleep at night.
Last edited by socrfb at Jul 3, 2013,
#19
Innate talents can surely be beneficial but only if a person with innate abilities puts in the necessary amount of practice and dedication needed to become a proficient player. No one is just going to pick up the guitar and instantly be a great, even if they have natural talents that apply to the instrument.

Personally, I've been lucky to have some of those "gifts" when it comes to being a guitarist. For instance, a lot of folks have some issues with alternate picking, but for me that technique came completely naturally. I guess it just "made sense" to me from the instant I started playing guitar. I've also noticed that compared to many guitarists I have a nice instinctual feel for time and an ear for being "musical" (or tasteful) in my playing. That all being said, I've had to put countless hours of practice in to the instrument to take advantage of those abilities that have came naturally to me.

So in a nutshell, people do have natural abilities, traits, and talents that can help them to become a better guitarist, but to really capitalize on those they have to have to practice, be focused, and dedicated to the instrument.
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#21
Quote by steven seagull
Yeah and Messi is a once in a generation player, and he's also worked his bollocks off to get to the top of his profession. Football is littered with gifted individuals oh never came close to fulfilling their potential because they didn't have the work ethic to match their natural ability...Matthew Le Tissier I'm looking at you, if you've never heard of him look up his goals on youtube. It doesn't matter which one, they're all gobsmacking. Then look at David Beckham who isn't a particularly talented player but worked damned hard to make the absolute best of what he had and ended up being one of the most successful players in the world.

Cases like Messi are the exception not the rule, and guitar is no different. There's very few prodigies out there, the truth hurts but you have to accept that the reason you suck is because you didn't do enough of the right kind of practice - I made peace with that fact a long time ago

This. I've played one instrument (alto sax) for about 10 years now. Formal instruction, played everyday at school, read music fluently with it. But I'm a pretty bad alto player. I never put the effort in to it. I had the ability and resources to be an All State player every year it was available to me and go on to college for it. I simply didn't have the drive. Just like I don't have the drive to practice, and practice well, multiple hours every day at one instrument.
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#22
Having innate talent doesn't mean a damn thing if you don't work hard to develop it. That goes for anything really. Michael Jordan wouldn't have won all those championships and scoring titles if he hadn't worked his ass off to develop his skills (in fact he failed to make his high school team when he first tried out). Tolkien wouldn't have been able to write anything of any significance if he did not study language and literature endlessly. Steven Hawking would be a nobody if he hadn't spent long hours in the library face deep in a physics book. Captain K'nuckles wouldn't have made it into the VIP section of the Candy Barrel if he hadn't worked long and hard, just like the rest of the people in there.
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#23
Quote by BladeSlinger
I simply didn't have the drive. Just like I don't have the drive to practice, and practice well, multiple hours every day at one instrument.


I feel the same.

I really do wanna get good but I just get bored, overwhelmed and just cant be bothered after a few days decent practice.

Its a shame really but work takes all my energy!!
#25
Quote by wiggedy
What do you make of this?


Props to that kid, but by the looks of it he's been around decent musicians for pretty much his whole life- that kind of exposure has to rub off on him in a really good way.

Of course that's not all there is going on here, but I'm sure being around more musically inclined people from day 1 has a pretty big effect on things like this.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the grey-haired dude (third playing) was his dad- that's the big assumption I'm going on here. One of his parents- or someone else he has lived his whole life with- is a musician with some skills.
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#26
Just to demonstrate how freakishly talented Le Tissier was...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwKGF6pbihY

He had a long career but crucially never played much for England and never won anything. Why? Because he didn't have the drive and ambition to push him towards the very top of his profession. So whilst he was content to coast on his ability, train only as much as he was told to and be a big fish in a little pond at lowly Southampton, someone like David Beckham spent hours working on those free kicks and went on to captain England, played for some of the greates clubs in the world and won league titles in 4 different countries.

When you're talking about people like Satriani and Vai you're talking about the best of the best, incredibly talented, incredibly hard-working individuals who have made it to the absolute top of their game. And don't get me wrong, there's always a certain element of luck and being in the right place at the right time when it comes to success but the important thing is they were ready and prepared to make the most of any opportunities that came their way. And in order to be prepared they made a lot of sacrifices, and that in itself is a gamble, a leap of faith.

It's ironic that you said this...
Quote by psychosylocibin
Now my case, and most cases I know from guitarists around me. We can GET to a fast shredder level, but it takes multiple hours a day for YEARS of focused focused practice. And once we get there we have to maintain and this alone takes tremendous effort. In short, its not PRACTICAL.

because that's EXACTLY what they did. And you're right, it's not practical at all. It's not practical to spend all that time indoors and possibly compromise on things like your education, social life, even eating, but they did it anyway.

If you can spend 8 hours a day practicing, and practicing well then yes, you canl reach their level of ability - that's still no guarantee of success though. And don't believe for one second that those guys don't continue to work just as hard to stay at the level they've reached - they have to, it's their job after all.
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#27
Quote by steven seagull

If you can spend 8 hours a day practicing, and practicing well then yes, you canl reach their level of ability - that's still no guarantee of success though. And don't believe for one second that those guys don't continue to work just as hard to stay at the level they've reached - they have to, it's their job after all.

This^

I know this thread is intended to be based on "techniques" and how natural talents apply, but it's worth mentioning that if you want music to pay your bills then having innate people skills and some business sense is also a gift that comes in handy.
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#28
"innate talent" is something lazy whiners complain about to justify their sucky playing. Nobody who's actually good chalks it up to natural talent, they work their asses off to build and maintain their abilities.
#29
Quote by cdgraves
"innate talent" is something lazy whiners complain about to justify their sucky playing. Nobody who's actually good chalks it up to natural talent, they work their asses off to build and maintain their abilities.


Reminds me of an interview with SRV. He talks about a dream where he was visited by the ghost of Jimi Hendrix. I don't remember the details, but when SRV woke up he grabbed his Guitar and expected to be a much better player, but he wasn't. That's when he realised it was gonna take a lot of work to get good....
#30
I read an interesting comment on a YouTube vid of a Guthrie Govan video (funnily enough) and it read:

"I'm sure he would be the best at anything he put his mind to. Some people are just THAT good."

Bare in mind he's actually an extremely academic guy (Oxford University).

Also, when you're young the learning capacity of the mind and body is different.

It's easier to pick things up, like shred, since that's what we're talking about here, because the muscle memory will already be "in there" well before you start getting older.

It's just like in Asia where they have kids sight reading fluently by the age of 5 They're trained to get it in them when they're young.

Some people are just good. You know, like you must've known someone at school who was just good at EVERY single subject, top class, group 1 for everything, 11 A*'s at GCSE and all that...

... but they never had to REVISE, right?
Last edited by mdc at Jul 6, 2013,
#31
Out of curiosity I'm interested to know your views (particularly Zaphod's) about his mentioning of how to develop speed...

"make sure every note sounds good, if you play it enough times with every note sounding good, then one day you can rely on your technical ability to be there when you need it."

He never used a metronome.

I know he's God and everything, but I find it hard to believe that this was his method when growing up. Especially when I watch this video...

... it is quite incredible

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVmiIt13P8s
Last edited by mdc at Jul 6, 2013,
#32
Quote by mdc
Out of curiosity I'm interested to know your views (particularly Zaphod's) about his mentioning of how to develop speed...

"make sure every note sounds good, if you play it enough times with every note sounding good, then one day you can rely on your technical ability to be there when you need it."

He never used a metronome.

I know he's God and everything, but I find it hard to believe that this was his method when growing up. Especially when I watch this video...

... it is quite incredible


Well firstly... Guthrie picked up the guitar when he was 3. He doesn't even remember this. There is literally no point in his life he can remember when he didn't at least have access to a guitar and I can't find the exact clip now but there's an interview where he says at the age of about 10 he was playing along with Joe Pass records. For him playing guitar is as much a part of his life as walking and talking are.

Given this... take some of what he says with a pinch of salt; he's generally a brilliant teacher and it's wonderful to listen to him talk about music but he can be... unclear sometimes.

I'm generally of the belief that when he says "sounds good" that's short-hand for "sounds good, feels good, relaxed, economic movements." He's talked about what makes good technique elsewhere and said as much from what I can remember.

I do believe, and I feel like I may be seriously attacked for saying this, that you don't need a metronome to develop good technique and to work on speed and such. What a metronome does is give you a systematic way of keeping track of where you were when you stopped last time. You don't need that to keep practicing good technique, it's just a nice consistent benchmark for what you've achieved so far.

Incidentally I think I heard Rusty Cooley also say he's never used a metronome for practice.
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#33
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Incidentally I think I heard Rusty Cooley also say he's never used a metronome for practice.

I can confirm that he has said he did not.
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#34
Cheers for the response, Zaph. Yeah, I get what you say.

I went to a clinic I think last year or the year before, even. I had so many questions to ask him, but knew that in those clinics you're only limited to probably just one or two, coupled with the fact he might not pick your hand amongst the audience.

I never got a chance and no one else had my question, either.

It was so annoying to hear some ppl ask rubbish questions like, "urgh, can you do some of yer slap stuff?"
#35
Given this... take some of what he says with a pinch of salt; he's generally a brilliant teacher and it's wonderful to listen to him talk about music but he can be... unclear sometimes.

Really? I guess to each his own interpretation, but one of the biggest reasons I love Guthrie as a teacher is because I feel like he communicates the concepts in the lessons in a way that I understand everything.


I do believe, and I feel like I may be seriously attacked for saying this, that you don't need a metronome to develop good technique and to work on speed and such.


I completely agree! To be honest, I've rarely used a metronome when practicing. I've always had a good sense of time and placement. Plus, I guess I've been lucky enough to play with drummers and a full band for much of my development as a guitarist, which is an advantage I've enjoyed that I'm guessing many people didn't have the opportunity to do.

Speaking from experience, I've always preferred playing along with well made backing tracks than using a metronome. I feel that approach forces you to think musically while incorporating technical aspects of playing.

I see and understand the benefits of practicing with a metronome, especially when attempting to build technique and speed, but it's just never been something I made a habit of. I think the use of a metronome, while it has it's merits, is vastly overrated by some. Likewise, playing to a jam track, I feel, is an underrated tool that many players could really benefit from.
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#36
Metronomes are great for developing an internal beat. My band director had us listen to a metronome beat with our eyes closed, then play our music without opening our eyes. We had it memorized but we were so used to sheet music being in front of us. We did some other exercises with our eyes closed and the metronome going. It was ridiculous how much our timing improved.

I have a decent sense of time without a metronome but I was in band from 12 to 18 then community band in college every spring. An individual sense of tempo is really needed with so many members. You have to lock in more than something like a five piece rock band.
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#37
Quote by sjones
Really? I guess to each his own interpretation, but one of the biggest reasons I love Guthrie as a teacher is because I feel like he communicates the concepts in the lessons in a way that I understand everything.


Perhaps I should have said "unclear to a beginner" or something like that instead, haha, by the sounds of things you're quite an experienced musician so for you understanding what he's talking about is easy but as I said, I think with some of the things he says you really have to read between the lines and that requires some experience and knowledge.

I definitely stand behind most of his lessons as being fantastic for people of almost any level but you always have to be careful with these things and try not to take everything you see at face value without questioning any of it.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
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#38
I've had great success adhering just to basic practices in "traditional" music education. Things like establishing a practice routine, mastering the absolute basics, reading/writing music, ear training, technique maintenance... Creativity should always be a goal, but you need other skills to really express it.

A lot of people are afraid of institutional music because it sounds unoriginal or something, but it's really made of extraordinarily effective ways to develop your musicianship. Imposing some sort of method and gradual skill building on your music gives you the skills you need as a professional musician.

For that reason I tend to be skeptical of oddball advice. I mean, good for whomever for finding success through a non-traditional method, but when you look a the number of professional musicians with education/training vs those without, it's pretty clear which methods are more likely to pay your bills.

That said, if you don't desire to play music a high level, do whatever you want, just have fun.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 10, 2013,
#39
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Perhaps I should have said "unclear to a beginner" or something like that instead, haha, by the sounds of things you're quite an experienced musician so for you understanding what he's talking about is easy but as I said, I think with some of the things he says you really have to read between the lines and that requires some experience and knowledge.

Ah, good point. I guess I don't generally associate Guthrie lessons and beginning guitarists because I can't imagine too many guitarists just starting out are really familiar with Guthrie. You've probably got a point, though, that less experienced guitarists could be a bit baffled by some of his lessons.

I've had great success adhering just to basic practices in "traditional" music education. Things like establishing a practice routine, mastering the absolute basics, reading/writing music, ear training, technique maintenance... Creativity should always be a goal, but you need other skills to really express it.

A lot of people are afraid of institutional music because it sounds unoriginal or something, but it's really made of extraordinarily effective ways to develop your musicianship. Imposing some sort of method and gradual skill building on your music gives you the skills you need as a professional musician.

For that reason I tend to be skeptical of oddball advice. I mean, good for whomever for finding success through a non-traditional method, but when you look a the number of professional musicians with education/training vs those without, it's pretty clear which methods are more likely to pay your bills.

That said, if you don't desire to play music a high level, do whatever you want, just have fun.


Really good post. I think you hit on two big things. First, that a guitarist needs to have a certain level of proficiency to be able to properly express their ideas. It's the great challenge of translating what you hear in your head to your hands.

I think your post (especially the last sentence) hits on the all important fact that some people seem to discard altogether, which is the fact that different people will use the guitar to achieve a variety of goals. Some people want to be highly technical proficient and put together a fusion band, and others just want to learn cover songs to play with their friends. Depending on your goals as a guitarist, there is a certain amount of practice and dedication that will be required to achieve them, no matter how big or small. In the end, it kind of boils down to "different strokes for different folks".
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
#40
It's reassuring reading a thread like this. I get frustrated cuz I see guitarists who are just so incredible and I am no way near the level I want to be. I don't think I'm that good. I have my moments and sometimes think "damn, where'd that come from?" but that's once in a blue moon. However, I have more determination and more drive than anyone I know. And I know I can be amazing if I just practise the right stuff. So I may be a bit shit now but give it another five years and I know if I carry on the way I am I'll be shit hot.

You only get what you put in. You can be better than Hendrix if you want. You just have to have the determination (and time) to do it.