What's up UG? So I was thinking about the pros and cons of taking the time to learn a song flawlessly as opposed to simply knowing how it's played and playing it once or twice with a few mistakes, and was interested in seeing what you guys think. I mean this for purposes of practice, not gigs or recording. Would you say one is better than the other? If so, why?

I personally feel that it's very fulfilling to learn a song perfectly from start to finish, especially if it's a tough song. But I also want your perspective from a technical point of view, not just psychological fulfillment. What do you think?
Well it depends, because if you can't play along with a song, then you need to practice it, even if it's just simple chords and rhythms but if you're learning a technically challenging song, like by Randy Rhoads or something that will take some practice, you shouldn't just play it until you get the hang of it, you should strive to play it flawlessly, in the sense that you understand how it's phrased, where it starts and begins and how to really just pull the same sounds out of your guitar. You can learn a song note for note and it could still not sound entirely like the song. I like really studying songs until my playing becomes the song, where I can feel it, the way the notes where played and the way the gripped the strings and the guitar and the amount of force they used.

I once got to a point (three separate times) where I was studying Hendrix and Rhoads and Bernard Sumner and my playing just sounded like them, I mean really sounded exactly like them, and it was incredible. I had to put in the same amount of practice to pull of and sound like Randy Rhoads and Jimi Hendrix just as much as I did to sound like Bernard Sumner, someone who's playing is way less technically demanding.

It's important to do your best job either way. Life's is too short to give a half-effort.

EDIT: I mean, mistakes are mistakes, and people are going to make them, but I really just like putting a record on and playing along with it, but if I'm going to perform I want to know the song in and out, not for security necessarily but so that I can add to or take away from it as I please
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
Last edited by TDKshorty at Jul 9, 2013,
I believe perfection is having sound the way you want it to sound precisely. All practice should be a means to this end and the song shouldn't be performed till it has reached this level.