#1
Hello!

I have been playing for about seven months, and I feel like I am in a rut. I seem to be doing the same thing every day, and the feeling has made me not quite motivated to play as I once had. I am a self taught player and I'm not really sure what to do.

I bought some note for note transcription books from guns n roses and some other bands but they are too hard. However I have a fake book and unless I'm doing something wrong, and not utilizing the fake book, I am finding it quite easy. I want to be able to play note for note songs by the time my first year anniversary comes around but quite frankly I feel like it won't happen since I'm in this rut.

My routine includes 20 minutes of eighth note finger exercises at 160-180 bpm and string skipping exercises at 130-145 bpm. Then I practice a minor and major scale for 15 minutes. After I play finger style playing for 45 minutes and then play songs from my fake book and my guitar tab app splitting my time between sight reading new songs and playing my favorite songs. Unless there is a 'next step' i am missing, it seems like a steep step to playing actual songs you could play publicly.

If I'm completely naive and out to lunch please tell me.
#3
Quote by 6stringstudent
Hello!

I have been playing for about seven months, and I feel like I am in a rut. I seem to be doing the same thing every day, and the feeling has made me not quite motivated to play as I once had. I am a self taught player and I'm not really sure what to do.

I bought some note for note transcription books from guns n roses and some other bands but they are too hard. However I have a fake book and unless I'm doing something wrong, and not utilizing the fake book, I am finding it quite easy. I want to be able to play note for note songs by the time my first year anniversary comes around but quite frankly I feel like it won't happen since I'm in this rut.

My routine includes 20 minutes of eighth note finger exercises at 160-180 bpm and string skipping exercises at 130-145 bpm. Then I practice a minor and major scale for 15 minutes. After I play finger style playing for 45 minutes and then play songs from my fake book and my guitar tab app splitting my time between sight reading new songs and playing my favorite songs. Unless there is a 'next step' i am missing, it seems like a steep step to playing actual songs you could play publicly.

If I'm completely naive and out to lunch please tell me.

It takes practice to be able to play that stuff.
I remember starting out and I had a tab book and was trying to play Clapton's rendition of the Big Bill Broonzy number "Hey Hey".

I would play the tab and play the right notes but it just didn't sound at all like the song. I kept at it and kept practicing the notes until my fingers knew them automatically and all of a sudden it all clicked into place. It took a lot of practice but when it happened it was almost instant - like one minute it didn't sound anything like the song and then everything fell into place and it was perfect. - it was such a great feeling. (it doesn't always happen like this though)

I also wanted to learn Mr Brownstone. I just couldn't get the notes to sound like what I was hearing when I listened to the song. I kept practicing and this time it didn't come together all at once but started to come together bit by bit until the whole thing came together.

This happened all the time when I started out and as I got better it happened more rapidly.

The reason that beginners are usually given beginner songs is so that they can see progress and achievement sooner. This is an encouraging feeling. Harder songs tend to make tougher going and can be frustrating and demoralizing because it's going to take you a lot longer to get there.

It can be a steep hill to climb when you choose a more challenging song as a beginner. There's so much you have to learn that it can be frustrating and cause you to lose spirit, but if you stick at it and continue to practice the difficult passages regularly you will get it. Just try to focus on the small gains you make each week rather than being disappointed with what you haven't yet achieved.

Make sure you incorporate some easier songs as well so that you can see those wins more clearly.
Si
#4
It sounds like you're getting a bit ahead of yourself and trying stuff that's a bit out of your reach. Also you probably want to focus less on the exercises and in particular stop worrying so much about how fast you're doing them. 6 months from never having played the guitar is very different to 6 months with a years experience under your belt. In the first 6 months you spend most of that time simply getting used to the feel of the guitar.

Sadly guitar isn't particularly influenced by desire or force of will...you can't simply "make stuff happen". If you've been pretty much trying to play Guns N Roses songs note for note since you started it'll probably never happen, or if it does it's going to take a disproportionately long time. You need to build a foundation of the basics then build on that, and that does mean sucking up a healthy dose of realism and working on some simpler stuff first.

At the moment you're kind of missing the middle ground, a fake book gives you the basic chord structure of a song to allow you to quickly get the basics down so you can "fake" your way through a performance, so even if they're complex songs you're only getting simplified versions of them. However the songs you're trying to learn from transcriptions are too difficult for them to be a realistic goal right now. Just because you know where all the notes are doesn't automatically mean you'll be able to play it no matter how much effort you put in. Not all songs are created equally, just because you can play one song note for note has no bearing necessarily on whether you'll be able to play something else. You could probably have something like Wild Thing nailed and good enough to perform publicly in a couple of weeks...if you tried to do the same with One by Metallica you could still be trying to perfect it a year from now. The first thing you need to do is forget about your one year timeframe, if you start placing those kind of expectations on yourself your only ever going to disappoint yourself - it's counterproductive when it comes to trying to stay motivated.

Working from tabs is fine, but you need to aim a bit more realistically and attempt some songs that you actually have a chance of tackling in a sensible time frame. Maybe try House of the Rising Sun - The Animals, All Right Now- Free or Highway To Hell - AC/DC, early Beatles stuff and Creedence Clearwater Revival are also good choices. Like 20Tigers said you need to get some quick wins under your belt, at the moment it sounds like you're suffering a bit from tunnel vision. Instead of wasting all your effort trying to scramble up an unclimbable mountain you need to change tactics and instead focus your energies on building some stairs.
Actually called Mark!

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#5
Everyone who plays a musical instrument finds themselves in a rut on a daily basis. You have to mix things up from time to time (and listen to different musicians/styles). I've played electric and classical guitar off/on last 30 yrs.

Have you studied any theory? Do you know what "color tones", "passing tones" are? Which notes define what makes a minor chord/scale "minor" and vice versa? What diminished/augmented, relative major/minor mean? Circle of 4ths and 5ths? Study a little bit of this stuff and it opens up a lot. You can start to experiment. Just ran across this natural-harmonic-melodic minor page yesterday - http://www.idiotsguides.com/static/quickguides/musicperformingarts/music-theory-101-natural-harmonic-and-melodic-scales.html

Have you learned any ballads like "Just like a woman" (Billy Joel) for guitar? Nice chord changes. My teacher taught me things like that plus chord progressions for "Stormy Monday". "Josie" (Steely Dan). Colorful chords. Plus things like "Double Vision" (Foreigner), Aint talkin bout love (VH), Machinehead (DP), Smokin (Boston), etc. You start to learn short-cuts for bar chords with some of these songs (and make playing more efficient).

Practice any drone exercises (ie. melody accompanied with a repetitive note(s))?
Of course, learning modal scales opens up a lot of areas.

I try to work on hand-strengthening and finger independence exercises (while keeping correct hand position/technique) every day and try to work out songs by ear.

Checkout Jeff Loomis's instruction DVD - he shows you several 5, 6, 7 note scales which are pretty clever (diminished scales, etc.). He can base an entire tune just around a 5-note scale. And his key changes are very clever.

Let us know how things are going.
Last edited by cool09 at Aug 20, 2014,
#6
Quote by cool09
"Just like a woman" (Billy Joel) for guitar? Nice chord changes. My teacher taught me things like that...


Just Like a Woman is Bob Dylan bro, not Billy Joel.
Si