#1
Everybody keeps saying everyone can play guitar. I'm finding it hard to believe.

I play for over 6 years already. I learned everything on my own or with my cousin, who also learned everything on his own, and basically just learned to play only by tabs.

I don't know exactly how to describe my playing skills... I can play chords, do alternate picking and palm mute, downpick quite fast, even started playing some solos, but I just suck at everything.

Seriously, after more than 6 years I can try playing simple stuff at low speed, I'll eventually make a stupid mistake. Slip the finger off the string on the fretboard, hit the wrong string, hit the wrong fret, play 2 strings instead of one, miss the strings altogether... Everybody says this is supposed to wear off with experience, and I see people with just months of experience playing perfectly smooth and I just can't.

I try to play simple, complex, slow, fast, no matter, I'll eventually make one of those stupid mistakes every 3, 4, 5 notes. Sadly, it's like a reflection of my way of being. This constantly making mistakes things kind of reflects on many other activities I try.

Last month I started guitar lessons to really start learning the right way and with someone who can help me, but I don't feel confident these stupid mistakes will get any better. And I'm paying loads. I feel embarrassed to ask this of my teacher, and realize and bad I am...

Do you believe I can be hopelessly bad at playing guitar?
#2
I make stupid mistakes all the time. Some people seem able to play a thing perfectly once they've practised it enough, other people (like me) still make occasional mistakes.

I'd rather listen to a good player who makes the occasional mistake than someone who's making no mistakes but who's not as good a player.

It'd be worth mentioning to your teacher, he/she's there to help you. It mightn't be as bad as you think, or your teacher might be able to think of something which may help.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#3
Even Steve Vai makes the occasional mistake. Constant and constant practicing will keep you on your game, but unless you keep playing the exact same things constantly, eventually you're gonna get rusty at them, same with things you haven't played enough.
#4
Quote by SamuraiMav
Everybody keeps saying everyone can play guitar. I'm finding it hard to believe.

I play for over 6 years already. I learned everything on my own or with my cousin, who also learned everything on his own, and basically just learned to play only by tabs.

I don't know exactly how to describe my playing skills... I can play chords, do alternate picking and palm mute, downpick quite fast, even started playing some solos, but I just suck at everything.

Seriously, after more than 6 years I can try playing simple stuff at low speed, I'll eventually make a stupid mistake. Slip the finger off the string on the fretboard, hit the wrong string, hit the wrong fret, play 2 strings instead of one, miss the strings altogether... Everybody says this is supposed to wear off with experience, and I see people with just months of experience playing perfectly smooth and I just can't.

I try to play simple, complex, slow, fast, no matter, I'll eventually make one of those stupid mistakes every 3, 4, 5 notes. Sadly, it's like a reflection of my way of being. This constantly making mistakes things kind of reflects on many other activities I try.

Last month I started guitar lessons to really start learning the right way and with someone who can help me, but I don't feel confident these stupid mistakes will get any better. And I'm paying loads. I feel embarrassed to ask this of my teacher, and realize and bad I am...

Do you believe I can be hopelessly bad at playing guitar?


You didnt tell us what your practice routine is.

There is a massive difference between 6 years of random noodling around, and 6 years od disciplined practice.

I have maintained a strict practice regiment for the past 7 months, and I have seen massive improvements.

What I do is this-
Duration 2 hours. 15 mins, warming up by practicing scale runs to a metronome, start at slow speed, gradually speed up.

Next 1 hour- practicing originals, say section A of a song for 15 mins, to metronome, section B for 15, C for 15 and so on, ending with 2 or 3 play throughs after metronome work is done.
Next one hour- practicing stuff that I'm not so good at, ie learning new riffs, practicing riffs slowly, ie so and so sweep picking solo at 1/3rd speed, gradually increasing in 2 bpm increments etc. 6 days a week I follow this, and I take the 7th day off.

What is your practice routine like? If you just play whatever you feel in the mood to play, you really are not going to progress as fast as you would like to.

EDIT: If it helps, back when I was in 12th grade, I had been learning for about 4 years.
I couldn't pull off smells like teen spirit I would quite simply go right off beat, and I wouldnt even notice it. The rest of the band would be belting out the verse, while I was still stuck on the chorus and I would need a prod in the ribs before I noticed it.

This was about 2 years ago.

Right now, the most technical song I can play through from beginning to end without mistakes/going off time would be Dream Theater's In The Presence Of Enemies Part I
So yeah, regular practice with a metronome works wonders.
Last edited by GS LEAD 5 at Sep 26, 2013,
#5
you're probably just playing with the wrong mindset. you have to be kind of meticulous about it if you want to be consistent. almost every movement is deliberate, and nothing is left up to chance.

a great example is rolling the finger in a sweep picking part. it's really easy to fool yourself into thinking you can do it, but you have to be able to deliberately feel your finger roll over each string, and know which one you intend to play.
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#6
Back then I was getting introduced to Metal and kept playing Metallica with my cousin.

For the last few years I've developed a great interest in Prog Metal, mainly Dream Theater. That's when I realized how bad I was. "If I want to play Prog Metal, I need to have a big luggage of guitar technique and knowledge". I'm a very disorganized person, with some concentration issues (that probably harms my playing too), so I couldn't get my self to self learning anymore, and for that reason I got myself a teacher. He's really a great guitarist, and gave me a direction to follow for me to progress, but I still have my doubts...

Anyway, I start my practice regime, taught by my teacher, with warm up exercises. Alternate picking starting from the lower (pitch) strings, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4... then going down with 5-4-3-2, 5-4-3-2... until I get to 15-14-13-12 on the low E string. I start at 60 BPM, 4 notes per pulsation, and increase by 8 BPM everytime I'm done. The goal is to be able to do the whole exercise, at the specific BPM, getting everything right (or mostly). Today I reached 100 BPM.

Then, it depends. I may either practice this Yngwie Malmsteen exercise, playing 5-8-7-5, 4-7-5-4, 7-10-8-7, 8-12-10-8, 7-10-8-7, 5-8-7-5, 4-7-5-4, 5 on the high E string. practice "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach, play some scales to the metronome or just keep going up on the metronome with the same exercise as the warmup.

And then I also "relax" by playing around some songs I know or want to learn. Today I decided to play Pull Me Under, and I got frustrated that I can't play the super easy intro without making those stupid mistakes, even while playing slow.
#7
Quote by SamuraiMav

Anyway, I start my practice regime, taught by my teacher, with warm up exercises. Alternate picking starting from the lower (pitch) strings, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4... then going down with 5-4-3-2, 5-4-3-2... until I get to 15-14-13-12 on the low E string. I start at 60 BPM, 4 notes per pulsation, and increase by 8 BPM everytime I'm done. The goal is to be able to do the whole exercise, at the specific BPM, getting everything right (or mostly). Today I reached 100 BPM.


Is that really a sensible way to do it? I mean, those exercises are just that- artificial, non-musical exercises to get warmed up and/or improve your dexterity. I'm not sure there's any need to set yourself specific arbitrary goals regarding them (and worse, beat yourself up about it if you don't achieve those goals).
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#8
The increasing BPM goal was set by my teacher. The objective is to both increase my picking speed and dexterity. I also do a similar version of it, but reversed (4-3-2-1, 4-3-2-1...), and with scales.
#9
The guitar is an instrument so why don't you treat it like one. Tabs don't help you. Reading the music, and playing the guitar like you would a violin or piano is a lot better for your playing, rather than reading a tab that probably isn't even correct, and trying to learn from listening to the song.

Some guys never take lessons and are just good. Others spend tons of time practicing to get good, like Steve Vai would do 9 hours a day minimum. Spending each hours doing specific things, including hour long warm ups. You need to make a schedule and commit to practice.

The only place to get mad at your mistakes is when testing yourself. I personally test myself by playing along to songs or playing something in front of someone, like I did back in school.
#10
Quote by SamuraiMav
The increasing BPM goal was set by my teacher. The objective is to both increase my picking speed and dexterity. I also do a similar version of it, but reversed (4-3-2-1, 4-3-2-1...), and with scales.

Then that's why you're not getting better - because you're not spending enough time actually playing the guitar. You're also focussing on the wrong things, your goal is not to get better at exercises, your goal is to play music on the guitar. That being the case, you should be judging yourself and setting goals based on music, not exercises. Increasing the speed at which you can play chromatic exercises doesn't constitute progress if your playing isn't improving as a result - it's also a red flag that you're focussing on the wrong things.

Ditch the chromatics, stop setting "goals" for your practice regime and start focussing on the end product. I hate to be the one to tell you but your teacher sounds pretty shit, the stuff he's giving you to work on isn't going to help you deal with the fundamental issues you have.
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#11
The chromatics are just warmup exercises. I was not told to keep playing them to try to get better at them, just to try everyday during the warmup to play it a little faster and correctly. I admit I may be putting too much effort in those exercises myself.

And I'm not sure I understood what you meant by setting goals based on music. That's what I've been doing these past 6 years - pick a song, try to learn it. Rinse and repeat. Eventually I couldn't progress further and stop making constant mistakes.

And I'm actually learning and playing that Bach song I was told to learn. He says it may be boring, but it makes me work a lot on alternate picking and left hand dexterity on several different strings.
#12
^ how many mistakes are you making? do you have any clips of your playing? Maybe it's not as bad as you think.

Quote by RyanStorm13
The guitar is an instrument so why don't you treat it like one. Tabs don't help you. Reading the music, and playing the guitar like you would a violin or piano is a lot better for your playing, rather than reading a tab that probably isn't even correct, and trying to learn from listening to the song.


I'm not sure it's that necessary to be able to sight read "proper music notation" for guitar- it is if you want to play the types of music which require it (classical, jazz etc.), but it's not so important if you don't. You can certainly get "good" without being able to do that- and tabs are definitely helpful if you can't sight-read proper music (though as you said, you always have to be aware that tabs, especially internet ones, can be incorrect, and use them as a rough guide rather than gospel truth).

Quote by steven seagull
Then that's why you're not getting better - because you're not spending enough time actually playing the guitar. You're also focussing on the wrong things, your goal is not to get better at exercises, your goal is to play music on the guitar. That being the case, you should be judging yourself and setting goals based on music, not exercises. Increasing the speed at which you can play chromatic exercises doesn't constitute progress if your playing isn't improving as a result - it's also a red flag that you're focussing on the wrong things.

Ditch the chromatics, stop setting "goals" for your practice regime and start focussing on the end product. I hate to be the one to tell you but your teacher sounds pretty shit, the stuff he's giving you to work on isn't going to help you deal with the fundamental issues you have.


yeah that's what i meant
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#13
I have only been playing for 42 days, but even in that time I've noticed a huge difference depending on how long I practice and what I practice.

The first week I was very diligent about practicing the minor pentatonic scale and the chord changes. I improved rapidly at chord change exercises, but I knew about as many songs on day 7 as I did on day 1.

Not knowing any songs made it difficult to enjoy the practice. I started making it shorter and I even skipped a day. I was starting to get frustrated already. I made a decision that was tough for me and I decided that I was going to find some ridiculously easy song and learn to play it. I found "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" by Sting, and aside from a few passages it's pretty flippin' easy. I learned to play about 85% of that and then I realized the fun had returned.

Now my practice routine consists of Blackbird, the intro to Thunderstruck, "Still the Same" by Bob Seger, and various others.
Blackbird is making me stretch my pinky and practice fingerstyle. Thunderstruck is basically just a speed and precision exercise. The Bob Seger song is my best song. I can play it through with just some minor mistakes. I'm not too clean when I try to play the F chord but it's coming along. I like it because it has a lot of different chords. CMaj7, C, Cadd9, Em, G, E, Am, Dm, G7, G6 and F but they're usually pretty easy to switch between.

Since I'm having more fun with it I find myself walking around the house with the guitar instead of pulling it out of the case at the designated time. More fun, more practice, more improvement.
I think that if your instructor is giving you boring exercises then you might as well look for a new instructor. There's gotta be a fun song you can play that could teach you the same skill.
#14
I think you are stressing too much over it. You might perform better if care less and feel it more. I shut my mind off when I work on boring exercises like scales and crap. Then when I learn a song or make something up, I feel the song and fall in love with the sounds.