Hi guys!

I'm turning twenty in early March. In about a month, I'm about to move out of my parent's house into an apartment with a couple of good, reliable friends and restart my failed college career. I've decided that this is going to be a positive turning point in my life. So I wanted to begin with a problem that has been ailing me for years - my electric guitar technique and skill

I started playing guitar as a freshman in high school on a dinky little Epiphone Special II, but I eventually upgraded to an Ibanez GRG170DX. I added Seymour Duncan Blackout active pickups for an aggressive meaty tone I want to pick up a new guitar once I prove to myself I can advance my playing to a new level.

Let me tell you briefly of my guitar inspirations/favorite bands.

- Veil of Maya - Marc Okubo is a complete beast, and his finger dexterity and usage of dissonant chords is so intriguing to me; I met him at one of his shows and I was at a loss for words at his skill.

- Animals as Leaders - Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes are amazing guitars that I wish to imitate and learn from, but they are lightyears beyond my current skill level.

- Periphery - Misha Mansoor, Adam "Nolly" Getgood, Mark Holcomb, and Jake Bowen

- Meshuggah - legends.

- Volumes

- Tesseract

- Polyphia - probably the exact kind of music I would like to produce

- Dream Theater, A Day To Remember, Issues

...You get the point.

My whole problem with this is that, no matter seemingly how much practice I put into a song, I can't perfectly play a song with the amount of accuracy and precision that these guitarists put in. I have never been formally trained in music. I have DVD sets from the Rockhousemethod I have tried but I never really put the work into really learn the material.

I am not looking for an excuse. But is there something that I need to have in order to truly raise my level of playing? I am not looking for fame or fortune. Playing guitar and contributing great music for people is one of the things I need to do.

Consistent practice is obviously the key, but I always make mistakes during my practice. Do I need a greater knowledge of tempos, measures, and note durations to make playing to a metronome more effective, especially when learning fast-paced metal songs? Why am I so inaccurate when I play, even when I practice for hours on end? How/where can I learn classical music and apply it the progressive metal style I'm aiming for?

Excuse me if this sounds like I am whining, I am just frustrated with my lack of progress these past few years. I'm going to post this and look for similar threads to this, maybe I won't need many replies, but thank you so much if you can help me!!
Quote by ChrisBurnsRed
Consistent practice is obviously the key, but I always make mistakes during my practice.

Stop doing that. Slow down until that doesn't happen any more.
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Quote by johnturner9
The simple question first:

Are you playing with the song when you practice?

I do play with the song when I practice enough that I feel that I can play along with it. I use TuxGuitar to slow down certain tabs, but not all tabs are up on the songs I like (obviously). Another weakness is that I really suck at learning things by ear :/

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Stop doing that. Slow down until that doesn't happen any more.

Noted chief. Is there a certain way I should have my hand anchored on the bridge so that my picking technique is flawless? My fretting hand is pretty amazing, it's when the two hands don't synchronize well that I make mistakes the most really...
Anchoring your hand to the guitar is a bad idea. It might seem more comfortable at first and you might be more accurate, but you will probably notice that it has its limits and will eventually only hinder your progress and overall ability.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Really? I'll give a try boss. Thanks for your reply, I know these questions must have been answered more times than Smoke On The Water riff has been played :P
The problem is you're aiming to play incredibly complex, technical music when you're nowhere near good enough. At this stage in your development curve no amount of practicing those songs is going to help you get close to playing them properly.

First thing you need to do is get yourself in the habit of learning things properly, so work on some more straightforward pieces but make a point of nailing them. Dont half-arse them, really put the work in and make sure you can play them all the way through, accurately and cleanly.

First thing to do is memorise the song, you'll never be able to play any song fluidly if you don't actually know what all the bits are supposed to sound like. It's like karaoke, anyone can stand up there and sing with the words on a screen but remembering the words takes more work. However you can always tell the difference between the people that need to read the words and the people that know the song inside out.

Break songs into sections and practice them at slow tempos until you've perfected the motions and eliminated mistakes, but most of all listen. Listen to your note articulation, your dynamics, your pick attack. Make sure you're doing everything you can to make each note sound as good as you can make it...earn your sound. When you've got it down at a slower temp you can look at gradually speeding up over time but don't rush. Things take as long as they take, you can't simply tell yourself "I'm going to increase the tempo I can play this by 30bpm in the next 20 minutes" because it's not going to happen. If it takes that long all good, but if it takes hours or even days then so be it.
Actually called Mark!

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Definitely take into account what Steven said. You're trying to play progressive metal, which is typically an extremely technically demanding genre. You're getting a bit ahead of yourself in my opinion. Those songs will take a lifetime to do justice to the original.
Thanks for the advice guys. I've been slowing down my practice much more and I've been getting results. My technique is getting better. I really think the problem was just myself being frustrated with how much I wasn't improving that I was causing my errors, trying to live up to some of my other guitar buddies standards. Oh well, I'm gonna become as good as I can be, thanks guys!