#1
So I was practicing and then watched a few youtube vids for inspiration/how they play the song I'm playing... And damn. Like I do my best to not get discouraged, as I'm always told by you guys but shittt... I feel like everything about my playing could be improved drastically. I notice little things. Like I'll be playing the same notes someone else is playing, but their sounds brighter, more elegant, feels like it sounds (if that makes sense), vibrato in JUST the right places etc. etc.

I've only been playing 1 year and 10 months so idk how to gauge my progress besides getting a teacher which I actually will like next month, ****it. But did any of you have this problem? How do I break plateaus? I ALWAYS practice a new scale every now and then, I know quite a few actually, but it doesn't help me get A LOT better, because I feel like I rely on the box shapes once I keep using them...

I said before I listen to prog metal a lot, and try and play it... should I just stop? Am I making myself worse? Or just trying something that's way out of my league? I mean I can do a song up until a point where it's just too fast for me to even continue further.

Then there's something like blues... where it's not as hard technically, but I can NOT sound as on point as my idols do.

Lastly (sorry I know this is big) but you guys always say "it'll come with time, keep practicing" not that I'm doubting myself, but will I just wake up one day and be like "damn, i'm the shit now" or something? I just hope I'm going about my playing/practicing to get BETTER the right way.

TL;DR:
1) How does one break plateaus and advance in skill, in many areas?
2) I'm a newb and <3 prog, I want to play it, I practice it, but I cannot do it like the pros do (i'm on a periphery craze), am I shooting for the stars too early, and should I just go try playing other things?
3) Will I wake up one day like "damn, i'm the shit now"?

Been asking a lot of questions lately, like my EARLY days... you guys give good advice though, much appreciated.

EDIT: Excuse my use of "like" all over, I typed as if I was speaking, and I still don't say it that often, but it's late and my mind is here and there... lol just read the TL;DR if the top part was too run-ony... o___O?
Last edited by J2G at Nov 22, 2013,
#2
1) You have to master the art of practicing. When you practice you should do so at a tempo you can play flawlessly. Where your motions are small, relaxed, accurate and your playing clean. This goes for EVERYTHING you practice, from a scale to a prog song or whatever.

I would advice you to look up the 21 Day Challenge that is sticked here in the Guitar Techniques forum. I can't guarantee that it will work for you, but it has worked for me and all of my students, when it's done properly.

It's basically taking a piece you want to learn that is hard for you (hard =/= impossible) and then practicing it at a tempo were you can play it PERFECTLY for 21 days straight, without speeding up. It's a psychological thing, after 21 day thing become a habit for us. So playing something perfectly for 21 days will make playing that piece perfectly a habit, and then it is easier to push the tempo.

2) Yes and no. I would suggest you leave stuff like Periphery and Dream Theater alone at the moment, cause trying to learn it now can do you more harm than good. I would say that you could start looking into some progressive rock, and their easier songs and build from there. Like Rush and such.

3) Yes and no. You won't have a magical day when you suddenly can play much better than the day before, your abilities will grow over time. But by always practicing perfectly you can speed up the process slightly, the key is patience.

That being said, the day you can play the stuff you want to play now you will probably have new stuff you want to concur.

Cheers
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#3
Quote by J2G
So I was practicing and then watched a few youtube vids for inspiration/how they play the song I'm playing, [...] their sounds brighter, more elegant, feels like it sounds (if that makes sense), vibrato in JUST the right places etc. etc.


Have you tried recording yourself and listening to it later?
It happens to me that when I hear someone playing guitar I feel like they play better than me. But I think it's because I'm not able to listen to what I'm playing while I'm playing, at least in the same way I do when I'm not playing. I underestimate my playing while playing.
I don't know if it's the same for everyone but you could give it a try. Record yourself and listen to it as if you were listening to someone on youtube.
I have to say that I've been into Skyharbor and Tesseract lately and I feel the way you're feeling.

Just keep practicing mate!
#4
Quote by J2G
but will I just wake up one day and be like "damn, i'm the shit now" or something? I just hope I'm going about my playing/practicing to get BETTER the right way.


No, you won't wake up like that. As you get better, so does your ear, and you'll hear new issues and things to work on. Your tastes will evolve, you'll be interested in new techniques and styles, your idols will change and the standard you hold yourself to will rise. You'll probably wake up some day and realize that some things you previously thought were hard are now easy, but you'll balance that with new things which you think are hard. I guess in the beginning you thought an Fmaj was hard but you probably manage that ok by now...

Get used to practicing, because you'll always be doing it. _what_ you practice will change and improve and advance, but you'll not ever reach a point where you can stop practicing because you've reached the top.

Figure out a good process or cycle of identifying something you want to improve upon, deciding on some exercises or practice routine to address this, then work on developing the discipline to carry those exercises out, and learn to feel happy in simply doing that much. This will keep you going your entire life.

After a few years of this, you won't wake up thinking you're the shit, but you'll notice it's easy to impress beginners.
Last edited by innovine at Nov 22, 2013,
#5
Not to disregard what everyone else has said (because they are all right on the money), but maybe you've "outgrown" the gear you have. It's a possibility worth considering, anyway.

I've been playing pretty religiously since about 1996. From 96 until about 2011 I played pretty crappy gear -- especially my amps.

In 2011 I bought my first tube amp, and it has not only made my tone 1000X better, it has rekindled my passion for playing guitar. I would say that I am twice the player today as I was just three years ago.

So in other words, if you don't like your sound, some of that may be your gear.
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#6
^ yeah. you need to be honest with yourself that you're not buying gear instead of practising- but having nice gear is a pretty good incentive to practise, as well.
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#7
@Sickz great stuff bro, I'm doing the 21 day challenge, I'm positive it'll help. EVERYTHING I do will now be done at the speed I can do it perfectly at. Great advice man, points 1, 2, and 3.

@pucio i have everything to record myself, but i don't do it lol. i will, i know that'll help... i did before and noticed i could play a lot cleaner (the riffs i make for some reason are hard, that was what i was trying to record) thanks buddy.

@innovine i've noticed that... before i was like oh this is good, then i got a little better and i'm like "why does that not sound as good as his/hers?" i pick up on little things that i know could sound better. will hit the practice sessions consistently, thanks boss.

Quote by KailM
Not to disregard what everyone else has said (because they are all right on the money), but maybe you've "outgrown" the gear you have. It's a possibility worth considering, anyway.

I've been playing pretty religiously since about 1996. From 96 until about 2011 I played pretty crappy gear -- especially my amps.

In 2011 I bought my first tube amp, and it has not only made my tone 1000X better, it has rekindled my passion for playing guitar. I would say that I am twice the player today as I was just three years ago.

So in other words, if you don't like your sound, some of that may be your gear.


Quote by Dave_Mc
^ yeah. you need to be honest with yourself that you're not buying gear instead of practising- but having nice gear is a pretty good incentive to practise, as well.


I actually recently upgraded everything, I now have an EC-1000, and podhd500x with yamaha hs50ms... And I laugh everytime because my gear is better than I AM ((.
It sucks knowing you spent that much and not reaching the potential that your gear has to offer.
#8
Yeah, gear can help.

Also it really does take time. I think I was playing guitar for about 5 years before I got to the point where I felt like I was actually pretty good. Although now if I look back at that time I think I could play fast but sloppy and sorta crappy sounding, haha. Your taste will change over time though, like I used to try to be really technical, but now I just worry more about how things sound rather than how hard or impressive they are. My playing style has completely changed from what it was even like 3 years ago.

Try to not put so much pressure on yourself and just enjoy playing guitar. Its good to practice and push yourself, but don't tie your ego to how well you can play. I remember having issues with that a lot, where sometimes I would feel badass and the next minute I would feel like I sucked. In fact don't bring your ego into it at all, you should always be humble and always acknowledge that you have a lot of room to improve and that others are better than you. You should get better at guitar because its fun, not because it makes you cool.
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#9
I also have an ec-1000 and pod 500hd (and dt25). good gear, should last a while.