I decided to learn the guitar recently and have gotten my first guitar and amp. After learning some of the basics like commonly used chords, tuning/maintenance, alternate picking, I am not sure what to learn in order to progress.

The reason why I am learning to play guitar is because of the influence of people/bands like Paul Gilbert (including Racer X) , Iron Maiden, Metallica, Van Halen etc. I would like to be able to play songs that they wrote, including solos.

These artists mostly play super complex songs and solos which are out of my ability currently. I do not know what to learn and play while building up my skills in the mean time.

Shredders and rock/metal guitarists, what would your advice be?
Speed comes with time. Don't rush into playing stuff way beyond your ability because it will only create bad habits and discourage you. Challenges are good, but there are some challenges that are just too hard and should be set as long term goals. Playing Racer X for instance. You've just started guitar, give it AT LEAST a few years before you even think of touching their stuff because if you try it now sure you might improve a little but you will never be able to play it. Practice it 3 months straight and you still wont be able to play it. I don't mean to be discouraging but I'm trying to give you realistic advice because i was once like you. Some things you just need to recognize and accept that you can not play.

As for advice.. I guess the best advice i can offer is practice what you love. It's what i did. Even though i was bad i played my favourite songs regardless. They sounded awful and i usually had to ignore the hard parts and create my own dumbed down version of them but it was still fun in a weird juvenile way. Even just learning an easy riff or two from your favourite artists is satisfying.
Learn easier songs by your favourite band. You say you like Metallica for instance.. Don't make your first song something like the solo from One, start trying something significantly easier that you'll be able to play with some sense of satisfaction such as Sad But True.
Also play things slow. I know we all want to immediately play things at blistering speeds when we start out but Speed comes with accuracy. Accuracy comes with time.

I'm also gonna give you some weird advice that others may disagree with but me personally i think it's helped me as my own form of encouragement..
Start a Youtube channel and try to cover songs you learn. I first started this six months into my playing and they were AWFUL recordings. I actually have them set to private so only i can see them haha BUT... It's a really good way to track your progress.. I look at my video's from 4 years ago and look at the ones now and the improvement is phenomenal.

TLDR; Play what you love but recognize that there are some things you can not play.
Everything that Vayne said.

It's really easy to go on the internet and get stuck in exercises promising to increase your speed.

When it really comes down to it though you're gonna end up losing your joy for the guitar because instead of playing music your practice comes down to chasing the metronome.

I made the same mistake that you did when I first started off and although it worked for awhile, I eventually had to go back and break all the bad habits that I had developed. I'm going to tell you right now that the process has been enough to make me depressed a good portion of my guitar playing.

The main goal of your guitar practice should be to do what inspires you to play. The reason being is because that's whats gonna motivate you to come back to the instrument. Learn music, join a band, make your own songs, you don't have to be able to read music.

As long as you're enjoying what you're playing at the moment and make it an effort to practice challenging songs that are WITHIN YOUR REACH then you will be just fine.

By within your reach I mean don't try to play Cliffs Of Dover by Eric Johnson while you're in your beginner stage. Start off with bands that are only a little bit above your skill level that way you can learn the songs faster and build a good repertoire.

You're doing what I like to call starting at the end which is ultimately detrimental to your joy of the instrument since you will find that playing the guitar is a journey.
Mate first off all learning guitar is a process and you have to go through stages(you cant skip a few stages just because...).You say you wanna play "shred stuff" and thats cool but before you even go there and since you are a begginer there are some things that have more priority and are absolutely essential like....

Rhythm guitar:Yes you have to learn rhythm guitar first along with a good healty dose of theory to compliment it.Get a complete method like for example the troy stetina series of books( for both rhythm and lead) especially if you dont start with a teacher. So rhythm guitar is a must and has to be first priority along with some relatively easy songs to apply it.

As for lead in your current state and for the moment practice crucial,basic but very important techniques first like bending and vibrato.Those are actually that define the great players from the noobs(even those who play "shred stuff" ).Get them down to perfection.Then as you progress and have the basics down you can start worrying about the "shred stuff" and following books like "speed mechanics for lead guitar" that teach you those too.

So my recommendation is...get a teacher or if you cant...get actual methods with logical progression like the stetina books i mentioned and no random advices and exercises ecpecially starting out .
Last edited by Dreamdancer11 at Aug 30, 2013,
There are no corners to cut along the way. Take your time learning everything, even though you might not think it will be relevant with your end goal (epic shredding)

You need ROCK SOLID PERFECT rhythm and melody. You can try playing racer x now, just slow it down as much as you need to play it perfectly. Keep in mind that might mean slowing it down so much you hardly recognize the song anymore. :p

I'd recommend finding some easier songs that you like to learn to play. Try some chili peppers or some other not too complicated rock stuff to get you going. Make sure you are actually enjoying the learning process or you will never be able to play EVH or Gilbert.

Watch Justin Sandercoe on youtube (all UGers will probably agree) and Marty Schwartz

Remember, if you can't play it perfect, you shouldn't try playing it. Slow everything down when you are learning, then bring it up to speed when you are comfortable.

Good luck
just start playing as fast as possible when you practice or jam out or whatever and eventually it will just come naturally
Quote by a5t0n3d1
just start playing as fast as possible when you practice or jam out or whatever and eventually it will just come naturally

Rofl. Your jam partners will be so delighted if you do that.
Last edited by Facecut at Sep 8, 2013,
Quote by a5t0n3d1
just start playing as fast as possible when you practice or jam out or whatever and eventually it will just come naturally

I've seen some shit advice in my time, and this is shit.

Quote by a5t0n3d1
I need free drum recordings to jam to and maybe record some stuff. I dont know how to play guitar but i jam out. I'll take anything that sounds cool.

Okay, confirmed for troll. Good job bro, wrong forum for trolling. I think you're looking for The Pit
Last edited by vayne92 at Sep 8, 2013,
A good thing to do is check out their influences - Paul Gilbert loved 70s rock bands, try "All Right Now" by Free. This way you learn lots of fun (more attainable!) tunes while still moving towards learning the music you initially wanted to.

Another thing is that there are a few easier songs and riffs by the artists you've mentioned although they might be a year away if you're a complete beginner. It won't be too long till you're playing The Trooper and grinning like a maniac. ^^

I'd also heartily recommend finding a good teacher if you can.
Learn to crawl before you learn to stand, learn to stand before you learn to walk, learn to walk before you learn to jog, learn to jog before you learn to run etc.

I think you catch my drift just by me saying that. Guitar is a process and as said by dreamdancer you have different stages you have to go through. There is no way to cheat on guitar, cause the only one you're fooling is yourself, and it's going to bite you in the ass later on.

Find music you like that is possible for you to learn. As Freepower said, Paul got a lot of inspiration from 70's rock bands, maybe check out some of them and see if you like it. And then learn it.

I also want to second Vayne's statement, Speed comes with accuracy. Accuracy comes with time. If you follow that statement you might even be able to tackle the stuff you like earlier than usual. You won't believe how many people i've met (not only guitar players either) that have gone way over their heads and for example started out learning yngwie malmsteen and paul gilbert, and they sound like garbage. They have no stable foundation at all and their technique is terrible, they just wanted to play fast shred and forgot to play music.

So back to my original advice. Learn to play simple stuff. REALLY simple stuff REALLY well. Then move up a notch and repeat.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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