#1
FIRST, THE HISTORY OF MY GUITAR PLAYING FOR SOME PRE-INFO
(if you don't want to read that skip to my issue without the background knowledge)
I know it's probably harder to get really good at guitar the older you start learning, but I'm 16 and I started teaching myself when I was 11. I just hit 5 year "anniversary" this past December. And I still feel like I haven't improved that much, especially seeing those 11 year olds who have played since they were 8 and can now play Eruption perfectly...

I started out being able to play power chord driven songs really well, but my fingers have always been short and are still short (like, abnormally) so even after 5 years I find it harder to play a lot of AC/DC songs than Slayer songs...seems weird to me.

Going off of that...the fastest I can play is 16th notes at ~200 BPM - that is, if I'm just alternate picking on one string. I have to slow to like 150 BPM to alternate strings while alternate picking, maybe even slower. It's like I don't have enough control over my hand after 5 years still.

I've always just read tabs. I played clarinet and bass clarinet for 5 years also (quit this year) but I never bothered to learn to read actual music notes with the guitar. I don't really think that's what's affecting me, but if you think it is, then whatever to you I say.

MY ISSUE
I want to play the solos. The fast, thrash metal and heavy metal solos. One, Set The World Afire, One Shot At Glory, No Remorse, Holy Wars...The Punishment Due, (I want to at least learn the part at 5:20 because that seems simpler, but still sounds awesome.)
I have many major solo goals that I feel like I'll never be able to play and I don't know why, and I don't what part of learning it is in my power.
Would private lessons help?

P.S. I think either my pickups or my amp are also not very good, because I always see people tapping easily and with volume but when I tap it becomes very faint on like the third note, and it's even worse when I'm hammering on.

Anyway, if you read this, thanks, and please advise me.
Originally Posted by Cheeselord
Sanitarium iz by SLAYER DUMBASS!!!!!

SLAYER FAN4LIFE!
Last edited by fradd at Jan 9, 2014,
#2
There's a few issues here so I'll take this in sections.

Quote by fradd
I know it's probably harder to get really good at guitar the older you start learning, but I'm 16 and I started teaching myself when I was 11. I just hit 5 year "anniversary" this past December. And I still feel like I haven't improved that much, especially seeing those 11 year olds who have played since they were 8 and can now play Eruption perfectly...


This has almost nothing to do with skill and nearly everything to do with perception on your part. I've never actually heard anyone who'd been playing for that short a period of time who was really any good; they're usually missing a lot of the fundamental skills that you need to be able to actually sound good. Speed tends to be something they kind of have down reasonably well but not much else.

Also: I didn't even pick up the instrument until I was older than you and I like to think I'm alright. You have to practice the right way as well as just putting in the hours.

Quote by fradd
I started out being able to play power chord driven songs really well, but my fingers have always been short and are still short (like, abnormally) so even after 5 years I find it harder to play a lot of AC/DC songs than Slayer songs...seems weird to me.


Short fingers don't matter. You can't play AC/DC because you haven't spent enough time working on them, pure and simple. You can play what you practice and if you haven't spent enough time practicing you won't be able to play those things.

Guitar isn't like a video game where you can say "Ok, I can do this now so I can do everything 'lesser' than it.". Everything you don't explicitly know how to do yet is something you are going to have to practice in order to do.

Quote by fradd
Going off of that...the fastest I can play is 16th notes at ~200 BPM - that is, if I'm just alternate picking on one string. I have to slow to like 150 BPM to alternate strings while alternate picking, maybe even slower. It's like I don't have enough control over my hand after 5 years still.


So? Does any of that help you musically? Speed is not the important part of what we do; if you make sure you're playing well (relaxed, small movements, good tone) then the speed will take care of itself.

Quote by fradd
I want to play the solos. The fast, thrash metal and heavy metal solos. One, Set The World Afire, One Shot At Glory, No Remorse, Holy Wars...The Punishment Due, (I want to at least learn the part at 5:20 because that seems simpler, but still sounds awesome.)
I have many major solo goals that I feel like I'll never be able to play and I don't know why, and I don't what part of learning it is in my power.


Ok, this may seem like a stupid question but how much time have you actually put in to learning these things? There's some seriously hard playing in there and it's really easy to get scared off just by virtue of how it sounds but you can't play these things if you don't put in the effort.

I get the impression that if you have tried you've assumed that because you can play at whatever speed you can and that you have a background in other instruments then you feel like you should be able to and when you can't you just give up.

Quote by fradd
Would private lessons help?


Probably, assuming you can find a good teacher. I always say to anyone that if you can afford it and find a good teacher then lessons will almost certainly help. Hell, if I had the time and money I'd still be taking lessons and I've been playing for nigh-on a decade now.

Quote by fradd
P.S. I think either my pickups or my amp are also not very good, because I always see people tapping easily and with volume but when I tap it becomes very faint on like the third note, and it's even worse when I'm hammering on.


It's your technique. Unless you're playing on something you picked up for $10 in a pawn shop it's always going to be your technique that stops you from doing something.

Edit:

Here's an interesting little academic exercise that might make you feel better:

Flip your guitar so you're playing it the opposite way you normally do. So if you're a right-handed player, flip it over and play southpaw for a few minutes.

That's how you were when you started.

Isn't it fucking AMAZING how far you've come? Doesn't that kind of progress just feel GREAT!?

Take a look back at what you do know and just appreciate that for a minute because if nothing else you can take this away: you are now better at guitar than a lot of people will ever be at anything they ever do.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Jan 9, 2014,
#3
Quote by fradd
the fastest I can play is 16th notes at ~200 BPM - that is, if I'm just alternate picking on one string. I have to slow to like 150 BPM to alternate strings while alternate picking, maybe even slower. It's like I don't have enough control over my hand after 5 years still.


I expect to hear a beginner say this kind of thing. It saddens me to see someone say this after playing 5 years. What bpm you can play means literally nothing and wont help you musically.
#4
Pick a solo you'd like to play (be a bit realistic), learn the tabs, slow it down using audicity or even windows media player, and then get going. It sounds dead simple but it works. Just try to pay attention to every single flaw in your playing - that way you can isolate the things that you need to work on.

On a side note, it'd be helpful if you could just shoot a video of yourself playing so we could point out the general plays in your playing, like picking movement, excess tension, posture, etcetera.. Don't be affraid of criticism, we're here to help you.
baab
#5
Quote by vayne92
I expect to hear a beginner say this kind of thing. It saddens me to see someone say this after playing 5 years. What bpm you can play means literally nothing and wont help you musically.


I only mentioned my speed because I like to play faster music, so it DOES matter. How would that NOT matter when almost all I play is heavy and thrash metal? If I can't move my hand fast enough for certain things, then I can't play those things. I just put it in terms of BPM so you could get an idea. It's not just something a beginner worries about...

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Ok, this may seem like a stupid question but how much time have you actually put in to learning these things? There's some seriously hard playing in there and it's really easy to get scared off just by virtue of how it sounds but you can't play these things if you don't put in the effort.

I get the impression that if you have tried you've assumed that because you can play at whatever speed you can and that you have a background in other instruments then you feel like you should be able to and when you can't you just give up.


I play these songs a lot, and whenever I get to the solo, I give an attempt at doing, but the speed at which it's played, and the patterns my fingers would have to move in are just beyond me. It's not that I don't try. It's that I have tried multiple times and still can't get it.

Let me say this: I have practiced the main, or rhythm guitar riffs or these songs for 5 years, and now I have that down for the most part. I have also practiced the guitar solos for 5 years, and I still can't really get them down. You should be able to see where I'm coming from having said that.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Short fingers don't matter. You can't play AC/DC because you haven't spent enough time working on them, pure and simple. You can play what you practice and if you haven't spent enough time practicing you won't be able to play those things.


What if I told you that I first started to practice a huge amount of the songs I still practice at the same time. I probably tried learning the AC/DC songs at the exact same time as Slayer songs, and many other things. But, AC/DC shouldn't be hard technically, but for me it's hard to reach across the fretboard to play the chords. How is that not a problem? Just like with speed - if I can't do it, I can't do it. My fingers will not go farther. AC/DC is just an example by the way, there are plenty of songs which require my fingers to stretch farther than they do.
Originally Posted by Cheeselord
Sanitarium iz by SLAYER DUMBASS!!!!!

SLAYER FAN4LIFE!
#6
Quote by fradd
Let me say this: I have practiced the main, or rhythm guitar riffs or these songs for 5 years, and now I have that down for the most part. I have also practiced the guitar solos for 5 years, and I still can't really get them down. You should be able to see where I'm coming from having said that.

What if I told you that I first started to practice a huge amount of the songs I still practice at the same time. I probably tried learning the AC/DC songs at the exact same time as Slayer songs, and many other things. But, AC/DC shouldn't be hard technically, but for me it's hard to reach across the fretboard to play the chords. How is that not a problem? Just like with speed - if I can't do it, I can't do it. My fingers will not go farther. AC/DC is just an example by the way, there are plenty of songs which require my fingers to stretch farther than they do.


1 - Finger length is still largely irrelevant. Shawn Lane had tiny hands and played some of the most ridiculous stretch licks and chords anyone has ever seen.

2 - Then you're not practicing correctly. Brute force time isn't enough, you need to make sure your whole body is relaxed and that you're making small motions. I'm sure if you search back through my posts you'll find an explanation about how to do that but if it's still not enough I'll type one up in the morning anyway.

Being absolutely realistic, we need to see you play in order to give the best possible advice; without that anything we say will be very general and based on assumptions about how you play.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Jan 9, 2014,
#7
Find a good teacher who can observe your technique and tell you what you're doing wrong. You probably won't even need to take many lessons to get it figured out.
#8
Just take some time to practice a hard section of a song at a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed. By gradually I don't mean going from 60 bpm to full speed in one sitting, just pick a tempo, play it at that speed till you can get it down perfectly and consistently, then push yourself a bit and then take a break. You need to let time for you muscle memory to adapt and over time you'll be able to play harder stuff.
#9
Quote by GuerillaGorilla
Just take some time to practice a hard section of a song at a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed. By gradually I don't mean going from 60 bpm to full speed in one sitting, just pick a tempo, play it at that speed till you can get it down perfectly and consistently, then push yourself a bit and then take a break. You need to let time for you muscle memory to adapt and over time you'll be able to play harder stuff.


This. Is the sole golden rule of almost anything on guitar or other instruments for that matter. You say you wanna play the solos, but all you say about how you approach them is:

Quote by fradd
whenever I get to the solo, I give an attempt at doing, but the speed at which it's played, and the patterns my fingers would have to move in are just beyond me. It's not that I don't try. It's that I have tried multiple times and still can't get it.


So you're playing the song at original speed, which is very fast, and try to do it on the run? You should do it at slower speeds and really gradually maneuver up to the original speed... The kids who play Eruption at 11? Since they're so young, they probably can't make their own practice regimen, so you can bet other people are teaching them. Method of teaching? Slow down first, to half speed, quarter speed, 1% speed, doesn't matter, as long as it's a speed they do it perfectly on. Then? Speed up a little bit. Practice until that's perfect too. Rinse and repeat until you're up to speed. That's why the kids did it, because they were taught to do it the right way. They didn't look at the tabs and go all full speed ahead on it.

And the AC/DC chords? You'll just have to stop telling yourself that you can't do it or wonder where the magic pill/trick is. If your fingers aren't stretchy enough, you'll have to stretch them. Exercise them. Unless your fingers are so small it's physically impossible, which I highly doubt. You can also play different voicings of the chords elsewhere on the fretboard, or play them as different inversions (or "slash chords"). You don't have to stick to the same voicing those guys use. I have short fingers too, but I don't have trouble fingering complicated chords... I simply did my homework and that's it.

Last... try playing a slower song. Learn a few slower songs. Even the thrash guys make those. Fade to Black and similar ones come to mind. You'll focus your mind on something that is simpler at the time and you will also gain more perspective on music and playing. Unless you only play for yourself, you will want to know some slow stuff to perform amidst the blazing speed that is thrash. And while learning that, do the solos to the other stuff SLOOOWLYYY. So yeah, you have stuff to work on.