#1
Hi, I played guitar for about 2 years, bur then I quit for another 2 years and now I'm struggling to improve. At the moment, after 2 months, I think my skills had return.
Now I'm finding myself exercising for at least 2 hours per day, but I can't see improvements, neither in speed nor technique/improvisation.
At the moment I can't afford a teacher, but as soon as I get a job I'll be starting to find one.
I would like to know how do you exercise to improve, only with the metronome and building speed or what?
Yesterday I've learned the stairway to heaven solo, even I can manage to play it at 100% tempo it sounds like crap almost as I robot playing it...
Same thing with everything that hasn't got notes equal in time (like 5th caprice, it's easy for me to play it with the metronome), now I'm trying to learn 24th and it's quite difficult because the triplets, the dotted notes.
By the way sorry for my english, I'm not native, hope you understood me!!
#2
That's why I much prefer a drum machine to a metronome, much easier to do triplets (just choose a triplet beat) and tons of stuff in guitar solos doesn't fall right on a beat and it's much easier to play it naturally with drums instead of a metronome.

To improve I'm going through the Blues You Can Use series of books and I and the other people on that website post our renditions of the songs in the books and give each other feedback (and of course try to outdo the other guys). That not only gets me working a bit harder than I normally would but other people point out what I need to work on. And trying to get a good recording of a song makes you practice it a whole lot more than just getting it to the point where you can play through it.

I'm not into exercises really; maybe a small portion of my practice time but most of it is spent learning songs and improvising along with backing tracks I record myself. I should be writing my own songs as well but I'm saving up for a bass and a good PC drum program before I start devoting a lot of time to that.
#3
So how to improve?

For me it is always what I would like to accomplish when it comes to anything in life and that goes for my guitar skills as well.

I have also wanted to learn Far beyond the sun by Yngwie Malmsteen for instance and to do it I go through every bit slowly and build it up to speed. This takes time but I stay with it.

I also practise Speed Mechanics by Troy Stetina as I have never taken that book seriously and by the time of writing this I am at ex 40.

I am also playing the above stuff with a metronome slowly building the accuracy and speed so my hands develop correctly.

Then I try to ad something new every day. To improve and not getting stuck playing the same things. Being home schooled on guitar I never got into scales, theory and so forth so there are lots of things to ad to my guitar playing knowledge.
#4
So you say that you have to slow down until you are good at playing certain licks/parts of a songs?
Is this applied even when there are really fast parts, as far as I know it's muscle memory, the thing is that I want to improve it good, not playing fast but dirty, I don't if I explained myself
And another thing i can do but it sounds a bit bad is legato, usually I exercise in triplets per strings like 5-3-1 and 1-3-5, or just simple 8th notes, the bad part is that it almost sounds like a dotted note+ an 8th.
#5
Quote by dekc
So you say that you have to slow down until you are good at playing certain licks/parts of a songs?
Is this applied even when there are really fast parts, as far as I know it's muscle memory, the thing is that I want to improve it good, not playing fast but dirty, I don't if I explained myself
And another thing i can do but it sounds a bit bad is legato, usually I exercise in triplets per strings like 5-3-1 and 1-3-5, or just simple 8th notes, the bad part is that it almost sounds like a dotted note+ an 8th.


Yes I slow them down or rather build them up to speed. Starting from a point usually 80 bpm with 5 bpm increase. This goes for all things you can play on a guitar depending on the music. Yngwie takes certain skills and time to get that fluid. You do not start out at that level playing like that and Yngwie was obsessed from an early age.

If things sounds bad is usually from the in this case legato not being in time which means your hands struggle playing it. Start slowly and build it up. I did and my legato work sounds very fluid.
#6
My advice is to start learning solos by ear and jamming with the actual album tracks. Pay attention to the nuances and try to recreate the subtleties with the guitar. Try to find things within your speed range or slightly above it.

Don't spend all your time practicing exercises - only spend a quarter of your practice/playing time on that, or less. If all you do is practice exercises, you will sound like a robot.
#7
I'd echo reverb66 but change the backing track

Once you know a scale pattern you have to stop 'playing the pattern' and start improvising with it. Pick one pattern position and improvise with it until the pattern 'disappears' and all is left is the 'dots'. Do this with a backing track, really try to make it sound good, and play cleanly. Slow things down, speed them up, add vibrato and bends in lots of combinations, change up the rhythms your using (how many different rhythms can you make with the same notes of a 5 second section of Stairway to Heaven solo?). Build your own licks in your chosen pattern by changing the one's you already know, and repeat the new lick until you know it as well as the original lick, so now its yours. Don't go to a different pattern until you have mastered the one, even if it takes weeks (!). Everyone is impatient and tries to do too much at once. *Master* one thing at a time. No one will criticize you if your 'only using one pattern' if you sound awesome!

Stevie Ray Vaughn could play a live 2 minute solo in a 5 fret part of the neck and never repeat a lick exactly. He was a master of note economy.
#8
I'd try switching it up a bit. If you've always played metal, try some rock or funk. It lets you come at the instrument from a different perspective and can show you new things to add into your paying
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#9
Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I really like the "build your own licks on the patterns of a solo" and yes even changing music genre is a thing that I've thought doing.
If it's not too much i'll be uploading these days an attempt at STH solo, because i think that a more trained ear could tell what am I doing wrong.
#10
You say you don't notice any improvement in your playing - you could try recording yourself when you start working on something then after practising it for a few weeks or a month record yourself again and listen back to them to compare the two.

Sometimes you don't feel like you are getting better but in fact you are it's just gradual and hard to notice.
#12
Ok I know it's not good at all, but can someone point me in wich way I can get it done better?
Thanks.
#13
No one wants to download an arbitrary RAR file dude. Soundcloud or youtube it.
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#14
Practice the things you're not so good at/don't know as oppose to the things you already know.
#15
The best way to improve is to practice with other people. If you don't know anyone that you can play with then get Rocksmith 2014 and use Session Mode.
#16
I just started, too. I had a few months were I learned a lot, then I felt like I stopped making any progress. Then, I started analyzing HOW I practiced, and I found out that I was actually practicing very little and doing a lot of screwing around. Then, I started to focus on practicing one thing at a time, then moving on to the next thing without getting off track. Maybe that's your problem.
#17
I realize what a shitty player I am, then I analyze *HOW* I'm such a shitty player and rectify that.
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#18
Quote by maddog61
I just started, too. I had a few months were I learned a lot, then I felt like I stopped making any progress. Then, I started analyzing HOW I practiced, and I found out that I was actually practicing very little and doing a lot of screwing around. Then, I started to focus on practicing one thing at a time, then moving on to the next thing without getting off track. Maybe that's your problem.

Yep, I found myself fooling around after a bit a practicing, i should concentrate more.

Anyway, I've uploaded to soundcloud.

https://soundcloud.com/dekc-1/sets/test-stair/s-YTQyL
#19
One very important thing I forgot to mention earlier is this - record yourself. The chances are that you are improving but a lot of the time this improvement happens gradually. Record yourself, keep practicing then record yourself again a month or so down the line and compare the recordings. You probably have improved without realising it.

Edit: Another very important thing when soloing is to sing the solo before you start playing it. If you can sing in time to the song you'll be able to play in time to the song and you'll be more aware of what notes to play. This will not only improve your timing but also provides excellent ear training.
Last edited by arv1971 at Jul 15, 2014,
#20
the main thing missing after listing to your soundcloud track is ... timing. Your getting around on the fretboard OK.

The way to get timing is to practice with a drummer/drum machine/metronome *all the time*. Then the next task is to man-up to how fast you can actually play a piece error-free and set the click to that speed until you master it (it feels really easy, even the hard parts, and your in-the-groove the whole time), then inch it up a notch.

If you practice a piece faster than you can play it error-free, then you end up practicing the errors, and they will stick like glue to your muscle memory and can be really hard to get rid of, thus slowing progress.

Timing is actually the hardest technique of all to learn. I can tell where a band is 'at' on that alone, a few bars go by and I know if I want to pay the cover charge, or go on to the next club, before I've heard the guitar solo.