#1
So I've been going to this guitar instructed for about a month and a half now. All he is having me practice is these three progressions (i think thats what they are called):

G-C-G-D
G-C-G-D
G

E-A7-E-B7
E-A7-E-B7
E

C-F-C-G
C-F-C-G
C


Ive been playing those over and over for the last month. I've gotten pretty good at them but could use some improvement still. I'm just curious if I continue to do just these, if I'll make any sort of progress. I mean, its getting kinda boring just playing these three things. Am I too early into playing that I shouldn't be doing anything else? Or should I be doing more?

I want to practice for like 3-4 hours a day because I have a TON of free time. I just can't see myself playing those three things for three hours.

Any advice? I just want to make sure I am practicing effectively. I'm trying to learn all the basics right now instead of learning songs that way once I am ready to learn songs, it will be easier.
#2
If you do this you will only get better at doing this. Which is playing a few chords. What you need to do is find your path and then set goals for yourself.

By finding your own path I mean... Think about what you want to do with your guitar. I'll use myself as an example: I play rock and metal on guitar, so naturally I will strive to improve the techniques that are common in rock and metal. Fast and accurate soloing, rhythm, muting unwanted noise, that kind of stuff.

Once you know that, you should set goals for yourself. Try and write down a list of techniques, that you'll need the most and look up exercises for those techniques. Find some songs that arent too difficult and try to learn them (it's never too early to play songs, just pick something that isnt too difficult for you!), look up on how to practice CORRECTLY. You can put in 10 hours a day, but if it wont be correct practice, it will be utterly pointless. Your instructor (if he/she is decent) will be able to help you with that.

It would be more useful if you could tell us what kind of guitar you're playing (electric/acoustic?), what genres are you interested in, whether you want to improvise in the future or just play covers.
#4
It's basic stuff, but it's very important. How do you sound playing these things? Can you play them so they feel and sound natural? Can you play them accurately with a metronome?

The rule with simple music is that it demands very precise, intentional execution. Take the time to make sure you're using your best technique and really internalizing those sounds.
#5
This is great information. I wonder if I were to start a thread with very specific goals that I have in mind if someone could lay out what they think my practice should look like, a schedule, emphasis' on what concepts, etc.
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#6
Quote by Killsocket
This is great information. I wonder if I were to start a thread with very specific goals that I have in mind if someone could lay out what they think my practice should look like, a schedule, emphasis' on what concepts, etc.


I'm sure you would get a lot of replies. To be honest though the best practice schedule is the one that motivates you the most. The one that excites you and makes you want to wake up in the morning.

There may be schedules that are faster and more efficient but why make a goal if you're not going to enjoy yourself on the way there?
#7
I'm not your instructor and not there to listen to your progress, but if you're showing persistence and making progress, I'd be adding two or three new chords each week. He should also start working with you on learning lead/solo. Usually after a month, I begin introducing scales and their application to lead/solo work. This is where most students eye's light up.
#8
I think, tell your instructor about how much you want to and can practice each day and go back and see if he gives you more to do, but make sure you ask him how to split up your time best, so that you don't practice one thing too much and let others slip, you don't wanna try too much too soon, because you can end up getting sloppy with all of it to overcompensate.

For now keep at it, you said you could use improvement still, so improve until you can't get better. Then when you do talk to your teacher, you can show him that you are willing to apply yourself and he'll maybe see that it's worth putting a little more load on your plate

Just my two cents!
#9
Thanks for all the replies!

As for what I want to play, honestly I want to be able to play as many different genres as I can. Rock, Funk, Bluegrass, Blues, Folk, Jazz, etc.

My goals with music are to just be able to go into a studio and create my own stuff. Somedays I might want to play some Funk, others I might want to lay down an acoustic folk song. Somedays I might want to cover a muddy waters song, other days I'll want to go in and have a long grateful dead style jam sesh. I realize this will take YEARS and YEARS to be able to do but I want to put the time in.

I'm just trying to figure out the basics that will carry over into all genres and then work on everything else from there. I honestly don't know where to begin though.

Anyone know any good books that will help me with this?
#10
I question the point of practising these 3 progressions for more than a month. As mentioned above, I would have added maybe 1 to 2 new chords as and when you seem like you're making good progress. If you're not clearly having trouble with these chords, I'm of the opinion that your instructor's kind of taking the chance to have to do less work.

With that said, you can start exploring new chords by yourself if he's not introducing them to you (although at this point I'd like to bring your attention to the fact that you're paying him to do that). I'd start with all the open chords (both major and minor), then onto the dominant seventh chords. At any time you feel you're ready, start exploring barre chords, which will really open up what chords you can play.
#11
^ I agree with triface. I kind of see learning on the guitar as being a mixture of breadth and depth - ie. breadth: learning lots of things, and just playing it as well as your current abilities will allow, depth: take one thing and really drill it until it's perfect. You've got to have both in your approach to learning. The thing is about breadth is that everything you practice on the guitar affects everything else. Say you work on progression A, get it as good as you can, but it's still not really perfect. If you move on to B and then C, then you will automatically get better at A since all the skills are linked. So spending too much time beating A into the ground, especially as a beginner, may not be the most productive use of your practice time. What you are doing now, is a bit too much "depth" for the stage you are at.

Some next steps you could start working on:
- Add more open chords to your repetoire, particularly the common open minor chords, such as Em, Am, Dm, etc.
- Start learning the basic major and minor barre chords. There are two shapes of each that are real common, one starting on the 5th string and the other on the 6th.
- Start learning the Em pentatonic scale (the form of the pentatonic that works in the open position).
- Start learning the names of the notes all over the fretboard (in stages)

This stuff is foundational stuff that will help prepare you for playing in any genre that you gravitate towards later.

Hope this helps! Good luck with your playing!
#12
^ I also agree with triface (and your good point about "breadth and depth").
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#13
Quote by triface
I question the point of practising these 3 progressions for more than a month.


Most musicians, both amateurs and professionals, will spend at least 90% of their time dealing with very basic progressions. These I-IV-V type things need to be second nature. Like automatic, eyes closed, ears plugged, just able to play it.

And at the novice level, there is a whole universe of technique to dig into. Brushing this stuff off as "easy" because it's musically simple is just shortsighted. If the music's easy, then put effort into the technique.

Fun exercise: try playing these progressions with different feels - make it sound really dramatic, or really laid back. Try to make them sound rock, or country, or reggae, or whatever. How many different sounds can you get out of those basic chord progressions just by changing the way you play them?

Now, there's something to be said for adding some variety, but any decent teacher knows that the lesson is not simply the material on its face. The lesson is what you learn in mastering even the simplest assignment. The chords aren't going to sound any more musical just because you can do them in multiple keys, but if you focus on making even the most basic things sound really musical, you'll have a head starts when you get to doing them up and down the neck.

Let the musical complexity come when complexity is the lesson. You will get there, and sooner if you concentrate your focus on what lessons you have at the moment.
#14
Wow, thank you guys very much! Lots of very helpful info in here!

Thank you!
#15
Quote by cdgraves
Most musicians, both amateurs and professionals, will spend at least 90% of their time dealing with very basic progressions. These I-IV-V type things need to be second nature. Like automatic, eyes closed, ears plugged, just able to play it.

And at the novice level, there is a whole universe of technique to dig into. Brushing this stuff off as "easy" because it's musically simple is just shortsighted. If the music's easy, then put effort into the technique.

Fun exercise: try playing these progressions with different feels - make it sound really dramatic, or really laid back. Try to make them sound rock, or country, or reggae, or whatever. How many different sounds can you get out of those basic chord progressions just by changing the way you play them?

Now, there's something to be said for adding some variety, but any decent teacher knows that the lesson is not simply the material on its face. The lesson is what you learn in mastering even the simplest assignment. The chords aren't going to sound any more musical just because you can do them in multiple keys, but if you focus on making even the most basic things sound really musical, you'll have a head starts when you get to doing them up and down the neck.

Let the musical complexity come when complexity is the lesson. You will get there, and sooner if you concentrate your focus on what lessons you have at the moment.

You misunderstand. I recognize the importance of simple progressions. I just don't see the point of keeping at something for more than a month, especially for chordwork that's not as technical. I find that having a bit more variety helps to inject a lot more enjoyment into the practicing, while still helping to improve on a particular skill, which in this case refers to the specific chord changes.

I understand that we need to get to a point where muscle memory can take over, but I think we should keep it within reasonable means. Practicing a progression over and over for extended periods of time seems to be taking it to extremes a little.
#16
OP - start learning actual songs that you like and that use those chords now. Don't wait to learn songs, you will bore yourself to death. If you're at the point where you can play those progressions, you're ready to play a song.