#1
Ok, I know the title sounds stupid, but I need to know.

I've been playing guitar for about 6 weeks now, and I can play Garret Evan's (Goliath Guitar) interpretation (fingerstyle) to The A Team (started learning it a week ago) . I can also play "Let Her Go" by Passenger (fingerstyle and strumming) I have a book called "Fingerpicking Beatles," and I can pretty much play any song on there, and some of the harder ones I can get with some more time. I can listen to some songs and figure some of them out, but I'm pretty crummy at it.

I can't play bar chords yet, which bugs me, and I feel like it takes me too long to learn a song. How can I tell if I'm good or not?

EDIT:
Ok thanks to everyone who gave feedback, it's really helpful. On a slightly different note, how long does it take for one to be able to hear a song and be able to play it by ear? And how often should I replace strings? I practice about 2 hours a day, and about 3 on weekends.
Last edited by ruon212 at May 10, 2014,
#3
You are progressing fast and should stick with it! You have a long way to go but if you keep it up you will be good in no time. Learn your chords and barre chords first. Once you have those down then start learning guitar scales. Then move on to music theory and learn how everything ties together.

Great Job so far!
Last edited by guitarscales at May 8, 2014,
#4
Honestly you're not bad, but really the definition of good, is all up to you. Just ask yourself if you're happy with your skills
#6
6 weeks is not long. I remember when I had been learning about that long. I thought I was doing really well.

Objectively I was pretty bad though, like if anyone heard me they would not say that I was a good guitarist. But it was the improvement that kept me excited. I was constantly getting better and it was really noticeable. Just about everyday I would sit down and work on something and could see progression. And the improvement just kept compiling on top of itself.

So my advice would be don't focus so much on how good you are from an objective point of view, focus on how much better you are now than you were six weeks ago.

Best of Luck man!! It's such a great skill to develop and see grow over time.
Si
#7
As everyone else said: Keep going.

Learning songs and stuff CAN take a larger amount of time than what you think is 'normal'. I've heard of people taking months up to a year to learn a single piece (this is mostly complicated classical pieces, but still...). Just keep at it. It's not a contest

Playing guitar isn't difficult, but 'being good' is (more on this in the next paragraph). You'll hit tons of brick walls and become frustrated plenty. It's a journey, but if it's something you enjoy and something that you're passionate about, then you should keep at it. It's a pretty rewarding hobby and there really isn't anything like music. It's an art form that, unlike visual art or literature, can be expressed and shared on the spot.

To answer the thread's title: It's all about perspective. Playing guitar isn't about being 'bad' or 'good'. It's about being expressive and making music people (or person. It can be personal too!) enjoy, and that's oftentimes not about skill but about those undefinable things like 'feel', 'emotion', and 'style'. Those will develop with time. Just keep learning and assimilating new ideas, styles, genres, and techniques and find what you enjoy the most. Again, it's a journey

Personally, I think if after six weeks you can actually get through some actual songs? You're ahead of the curve. Bar chords will come. You have to build up the strength and that takes time. I know I couldn't properly do a bar chord for about 4-6 months and I was trying to do them since week 1.

If there was one thing that I wish someone had told me when I started: It's not a contest. There is no 'Steve Vai is so much better than David Gilmour'. Is any other form of art a contest? Nope. Why should music be? People just like to turn anything they can into a contest. Don't think that way, don't stop learning new things, and don't get frustrated by where you are.

Anyway, good luck on your journey!
#8
define "good" and you will have your answer.
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#10
Quote by mjones1992
As everyone else said: Keep going.

Learning songs and stuff CAN take a larger amount of time than what you think is 'normal'. I've heard of people taking months up to a year to learn a single piece (this is mostly complicated classical pieces, but still...). Just keep at it. It's not a contest

Playing guitar isn't difficult, but 'being good' is (more on this in the next paragraph). You'll hit tons of brick walls and become frustrated plenty. It's a journey, but if it's something you enjoy and something that you're passionate about, then you should keep at it. It's a pretty rewarding hobby and there really isn't anything like music. It's an art form that, unlike visual art or literature, can be expressed and shared on the spot.

To answer the thread's title: It's all about perspective. Playing guitar isn't about being 'bad' or 'good'. It's about being expressive and making music people (or person. It can be personal too!) enjoy, and that's oftentimes not about skill but about those undefinable things like 'feel', 'emotion', and 'style'. Those will develop with time. Just keep learning and assimilating new ideas, styles, genres, and techniques and find what you enjoy the most. Again, it's a journey

Personally, I think if after six weeks you can actually get through some actual songs? You're ahead of the curve. Bar chords will come. You have to build up the strength and that takes time. I know I couldn't properly do a bar chord for about 4-6 months and I was trying to do them since week 1.

If there was one thing that I wish someone had told me when I started: It's not a contest. There is no 'Steve Vai is so much better than David Gilmour'. Is any other form of art a contest? Nope. Why should music be? People just like to turn anything they can into a contest. Don't think that way, don't stop learning new things, and don't get frustrated by where you are.

Anyway, good luck on your journey!

Thanks! I just get really jealous when I see videos of Sungha Jung and other people who make it seem effortless when they play. And I don't ever think that I'll be good enough, but I guess that it's the process of learning that's most of it.
#11
You've been playing 6 weeks.

You'll be shit, same any one else would be when they'd barely started playing. Also your standards for being "able to play" a song are likely far more forgiving than a more experienced guitarist's would be. Listing stuff you can play means nothing, I've met people who told me they could play lots of things, but in realit they were often very bad at them and at times had even learned something completely wrong. The only way to get worthwhile criticism is to post a video of your playing, but honestly at just 6 weeks it's not really worth the effort.
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#12
Quote by ruon212
Thanks! I just get really jealous when I see videos of Sungha Jung and other people who make it seem effortless when they play. And I don't ever think that I'll be good enough, but I guess that it's the process of learning that's most of it.

Don't compare yourself to Sungha Jung or anyone like him. Compare yourself to how well you could play last week.
Si
#13
Quote by 20Tigers
Objectively I was pretty bad though, like if anyone heard me they would not say that I was a good guitarist. But it was the improvement that kept me excited. I was constantly getting better and it was really noticeable. Just about everyday I would sit down and work on something and could see progression. And the improvement just kept compiling on top of itself.


This is absolutely key. I think for me personally, the longer you play the longer it takes to see more improvement. So enjoy the beginning years because I feel like those are the ones where you see the most progress.
#14
Quote by Hardlycore
This is absolutely key. I think for me personally, the longer you play the longer it takes to see more improvement. So enjoy the beginning years because I feel like those are the ones where you see the most progress.

I've noticed that too.

I've been playing for 11 years, and the area where I feel like I'm (slowly) improving the most now is composition. Not that I don't still practice techniques on guitar; it's just that it takes a greater amount of time now to learn new techniques. Composition is an area where I can see tangible results right now. I can write music, then record a very basic track, and hear whether it sounds "good".


Of course, by no means have I mastered all guitar techniques. (There's way too much to work on to do that in anything short of a lifetime.) It's just that I don't see a ton of progress in guitar technique anymore.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 9, 2014,
#15
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
I've noticed that too.


diminishing returns apply in most things. I imagine that's it. you'll be a far better guitar player after two years of playing versus before you even started learning, but after 4 years versus 2, not so much.

also you could possibly make an argument that you should maybe think in terms of percentages rather than numbers, too. For example, how much better I get after 2 years versus 1 year is 100% more playing time. To get the same improvement again you might have to go from 2 years to 4 years (also 100%), rather than from 2 years to 3 years (which is only 50%).

that might be overthinking it, though. or just plain BS. diminishing returns might be all you need to explain it.
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#16
I can play a lot of things and I still think I suck. That is because my focus is on composing/improvising. The only reason I learn and analyze tons of songs is to learn things from them to use in my own compositions. And well, sometimes it is a lot of fun.
#17
As a guitar teacher I can tell you that as long as you work hard and you work efficiently (ie don't practice mistakes) you will be a good player in a year or two.

It takes TIME to get good at guitar. There is no way around it. Don't worry about talent either, if you work hard you can be a really good player regardless of talent. the key is Commitment and Consistency.

Remember, lay your foundation really well and carefully; find a teacher that can play the way you want too, or has an excellent reputation, this will speed up your progress and is worth the money.

- Technique
- Chords
- Time and rhythm => ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL; practice with a metronome and learn to read rhythms
- Songs
- Rudiments; Notes on the neck, scales, arpeggios etc.

Remember to be patient. Spending time on the basic things may not show up right away, but down the line it will pay off exponentially.
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Last edited by British_Steal at May 9, 2014,
#18
Quote by ruon212
Ok, I know the title sounds stupid, but I need to know.

I've been playing guitar for about 6 weeks now, and I can play Garret Evan's (Goliath Guitar) interpretation (fingerstyle) to The A Team (started learning it a week ago) . I can also play "Let Her Go" by Passenger (fingerstyle and strumming) I have a book called "Fingerpicking Beatles," and I can pretty much play any song on there, and some of the harder ones I can get with some more time. I can listen to some songs and figure some of them out, but I'm pretty crummy at it.

I can't play bar chords yet, which bugs me, and I feel like it takes me too long to learn a song. How can I tell if I'm good or not?


No offense but I don't think any person could competently play the entire "Fingerpicking for beatles book", or the finger-style part of Let her go after 6 weeks of playing. Maybe a half ass version... bits and pieces kinda.


I'd say don't worry about it. It's not a competition. Play guitar, enjoy it... get better naturally. It takes time..... more than 6 weeks. And they'll always be more to learn, and people that can play stuff that you can't..... something you have to get over.
#19
Quote by British_Steal
As a guitar teacher I can tell you that as long as you work hard and you work efficiently (ie don't practice mistakes) you will be a good player in a year or two.

It takes TIME to get good at guitar. There is no way around it. Don't worry about talent either, if you work hard you can be a really good player regardless of talent. the key is Commitment and Consistency.

Remember, lay your foundation really well and carefully; find a teacher that can play the way you want too, or has an excellent reputation, this will speed up your progress and is worth the money.

- Technique
- Chords
- Time and rhythm => ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL; practice with a metronome and learn to read rhythms
- Songs
- Rudiments; Notes on the neck, scales, arpeggios etc.

Remember to be patient. Spending time on the basic things may not show up right away, but down the line it will pay off exponentially.

I played piano for 9 years already (I'm 14) and I know how to read time and rhythm. I know all scales and a lot of theory, but its kind of different on guitar. What do you mean exactly by technique? Finger picking skills? Thanks
#20
^^^ Guitar "technique" is the physical aspect of playing guitar.

It's great that you think you're doing well, just continue on with learning. If you constantly seek assurance from us that you, at 6 weeks, are a good guitar player, you will not come away happy. Give it more time, perhaps 3 years or so.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#21
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Guitar "technique" is the physical aspect of playing guitar.

It's great that you think you're doing well, just continue on with learning. If you constantly seek assurance from us that you, at 6 weeks, are a good guitar player, you will not come away happy. Give it more time, perhaps 3 years or so.

Yeah, that's the thing. 6 weeks is not really enough time to judge if you're good or not.

You may have natural talent, but that doesn't necessarily make you "good" at guitar. It just gives you an edge that you ride, so to speak, as you keep learning. But, really, a bunch of strangers on the internet can't judge your talent after 6 weeks anyway.


Guitar, like any instrument, isn't something that you can become good at overnight. The good news is, you have a leg-up on some beginning guitar players -- because you have previous exposure to music due to your piano playing years. (Myself, I had no musical knowledge prior to being given my first guitar at age 14.) So, you should have an easier time of it, my friend.
#22
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
But, really, a bunch of strangers on the internet can't judge your talent after 6 weeks anyway.


Sure we can. But we'll inform the player that it sounds like they've only been playing for 6 weeks.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#23
Quote by AlanHB
Sure we can. But we'll inform the player that it sounds like they've only been playing for 6 weeks.

Well...yes. But that's probably not a very satisfying answer.

Edit:
Or, I should say, what we've told TS about how he should keep playing is probably more useful to him.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 9, 2014,
#24
Quote by ruon212
I played piano for 9 years already (I'm 14) and I know how to read time and rhythm. I know all scales and a lot of theory, but its kind of different on guitar. What do you mean exactly by technique? Finger picking skills? Thanks

If you really know your theory, you should be easily be able to transfer the knowledge from piano to guitar. It is exactly THE SAME for all instruments.

I played guitar for 4-5 years and learned a lot of theory on the way. Now I've been playing piano for a little less than a year and only (my lack of) technique is slowing me down, because I know a lot of theory already.
#25


EDIT:
Ok thanks to everyone who gave feedback, it's really helpful. On a slightly different note, how long does it take for one to be able to hear a song and be able to play it by ear? And how often should I replace strings? I practice about 2 hours a day, and about 3 on weekends.



Man it varries. Me, after 4-5 times of slaving over a song i can play it by ear. And as of strings, after 40-60 playing hours. ......Or until they break (if your cheap like me and dont have money to throw around). :P