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#1
Hey guys,

It's a bit strange writing this post, I guess I'm quite desperate. I don't really expect that anyone will know the root of my problems, or have any magical solution, but I guess it can't hurt to ask.

I've been playing guitar for 7-8 years now. I bought my first guitar after playing Guitar Hero way too much, I fell in love with guitar and figured I'd be better off putting all those hours of playing into proper practice. There weren't many teachers in my area, so I decided to try to teach myself using the internet. About.com, youtube, UG. I know the chords, I know the major scale all over the neck, some of the pentatonic positions, but let me just get to the point: I suck at most everything. To this day I can't pick up a guitar at any time and just decided to play some piece really well, I /always/ muck something up.

A couple of years ago I came across Jamie Andreas' Guitar Principles, and I realized I had been doing things wrong, kind of employing the muscles of my whole arm all the time, grasping the neck with my palms, and just having way too much tension throughout my body. Since then, I've tried making a habit of learning songs way slower, relaxing my hand between every chord/position change, things like that. I taught myself a couple of songs in this way, Blackbird, Here comes the sun, and sometimes I can play them quite decently, but after the amounts of practice I've put in, it's just really frustrating that 80% of the time I'll miss a couple of notes.

Anyways, I'm rambling here... I guess I just wanted to know if any of you have experienced something similar? Or maybe know someone who's had the same problems? Do some people just not have the coordination required? I really have put in the practice, for a couple of years I would even put in hours most every day. And yet here I am, with just the clumsiest, imprecise fingers.

Sorry for going on, any input would be appreciated.
#2
Do you enjoy playing guitar?

That's what it's all about. The enjoyment of practicing & playing.

If you enjoy it keep doing it. If not quit. Find something else you do enjoy doing.

You most likely will never be a great guitarist. That's probably a given at this point.

But if you enjoy the guitar then keep playing for enjoyment and don't judge yourself all the time. That takes all the fun out of it. It makes it into "work".
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 13, 2015,
#3
i think what would really help is getting a guitar teacher
im not sure where you are butit shouldnt be very difficult to find a proper teacher

and theres a difference between putting in 3 hours of practice and putting in 1 hour of really good practice

maybe youre not practicing properly
if you find yourself still making mistakes maybe youre really tense
when you practice do you seperate the peice into smaller easier to handle parts do you play parts over and over again when your having trouble slowly until you have complete control over every movement

most importantly
do you enjoy what youre doing?
#4
Another thing.

"Practicing hard for years"

Why are you practicing "hard". That does not sound like fun. Practicing "hard".

Try practicing "easy". Seriously. Next time you practice, practice "easy".

Relax. Enjoy. No expectations. No pressure to "get there". There is no "there" to get to.

Otherwise you are better off to take your guitars out in the street and smash them because they are making you miserable.
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 13, 2015,
#5
Sit back RELAX this isn't a test and enjoy it !!! Practice should be enjoyable and going somewhere don't spend hours wasting on doodling and on searching for a magic lesson , DVD
or guru who will turn you into a legend for 200 bucks , learn small stuff but learn it inside out
practise by learning songs you desperately want to play bit at a time you will get better but focus on what YOU want
#6
Quote by Eurotrasher
Hey guys,

It's a bit strange writing this post, I guess I'm quite desperate. I don't really expect that anyone will know the root of my problems, or have any magical solution, but I guess it can't hurt to ask.

I've been playing guitar for 7-8 years now. I bought my first guitar after playing Guitar Hero way too much, I fell in love with guitar and figured I'd be better off putting all those hours of playing into proper practice. There weren't many teachers in my area, so I decided to try to teach myself using the internet. About.com, youtube, UG. I know the chords, I know the major scale all over the neck, some of the pentatonic positions, but let me just get to the point: I suck at most everything. To this day I can't pick up a guitar at any time and just decided to play some piece really well, I /always/ muck something up.

A couple of years ago I came across Jamie Andreas' Guitar Principles, and I realized I had been doing things wrong, kind of employing the muscles of my whole arm all the time, grasping the neck with my palms, and just having way too much tension throughout my body. Since then, I've tried making a habit of learning songs way slower, relaxing my hand between every chord/position change, things like that. I taught myself a couple of songs in this way, Blackbird, Here comes the sun, and sometimes I can play them quite decently, but after the amounts of practice I've put in, it's just really frustrating that 80% of the time I'll miss a couple of notes.

Anyways, I'm rambling here... I guess I just wanted to know if any of you have experienced something similar? Or maybe know someone who's had the same problems? Do some people just not have the coordination required? I really have put in the practice, for a couple of years I would even put in hours most every day. And yet here I am, with just the clumsiest, imprecise fingers.

Sorry for going on, any input would be appreciated.



This is more common than you think, and you're definitely not the only one. A lot of people just don't understand how to practice, and come to think of it a lot of people can't just learn from the same methods that other people can learn from. We're all different you can't really compare yourself to another person because it's just like comparing an apple to an orange which is utterly pointless. Of course there's still hope for you the only thing that will make you skilled in any field that you endeavor is to be "disciplined". Look I can't guide you 100%, but I can definitely give you some advice that can help you get where you want. Learn to study the science behind the instrument.


I know how you're talking about how your fingers are very "imprecise". Well do you understand why your fingers are imprecise? Do you understand the science behind technical practice? Do you understand what muscle memory is, and how it's involved in developing guitar technique? Do you understand how neurons can make a connection, and produce more neurons from practicing?

I'm guessing that you don't, and that's why you're here. There's a whole bunch of things that you just don't understand. Have you ever tried developing your ears by slowing down the record, and figuring each note by listening? Have you ever tried to count the rhythms out in a song or actually take a song apart transcribing it rhythm for, rhythm, and note, for note?


Do you understand the importance of developing a good ear in order to be a good musician? Do you understand how important it is to pay attention to detail, and how a little difference can make a big change? Do you understand what are dynamics?


If not then you have a lot of studying to do. These things don't happen over night mate, and becoming skilled at an instrument isn't easy or everyone would be doing it. My advice to you would be to learn how to be self critical in a very constructive sufficient way. Study the mechanics behind everything! The only way to learn is to question everything you're doing especially if you're self taught.


Analyze your technique, and sound to the fullest learn from people who are technical, and learn from people that are musical understand their way of learning, and how they developed their sense of music or technical abilities. Study them, and convert their methods into your very own.

I wish I could provide you with all the answers to your question honestly, but this a journey for the individual most of these things you have to figure out the answers on your own. Just understand this if there's a will then there's definitely a way all you have to do is look for the answers, and they'll reveal themselves to you.
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 13, 2015,
#7
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I do enjoy playing the guitar. Sometimes I get very frustrated, sure, but that's mostly because of the woes I've already described, just being really sad that all the time I've put in hasn't paid off more. But when I every now and then manage to play something well, I'm really happy about it. I feel like great about myself, hearing nice music come from the guitar, knowing that I'm playing it, it's a special feeling, and it's the reason I've kept playing all these years.

When I say I've practiced hard, it's not because it's been unpleasant, but rather I just had a bit of a rigorous routine. But I did it with pleasure, because I was certain it would pay off. I think that's part of what's so frustrating, that I for once had the motivation to really pour myself into something, but after a long time of it, I realized my playing was still just sloppy.

Maybe I should be more easy on myself, but so long as my playing doesn't get tighter, I just know I could never play with a band and actually keep up with proper musicians. But I will try to take your advice, Virgman and Chromemutt,of maybe chilling out a little when practicing, not putting too much pressure on myself.

Also, a teacher would probably be a good idea, I guess I just worry that after all this time, I've developed so many bad habits that I'd somehow be a more challenging student to work with than an actual beginner, you know? I suppose I could contact some local teachers, and ask them if they have experience with people like me.

And Black_devils, yes, I have actually taken the time to look into many of the things you mentioned. Learning by ear... I recently taught myself a relatively difficult solo on my own, because I couldn't find any tabs. I think I did a decent job, but the problem is still that most every time I try to play it I get a few notes wrong. I also know about muscle memory. I try to practice things slow, get it all right, but then when it comes to just playing it, my fingers will miss the the string by a few millimeters, you know? It just seems like the connection between my brain and my fingers isn't very good.

Maybe I've just been too impatient in my practicing, not perfecting things enough before moving on, and yet... Supersac asked if I separated the songs into little pieces till I feel like I have full control over the movements, and maybe I haven't really done that, but it kind of feels like I never have full control of the movements. Like every time I try to move a finger from one place to another, it's a struggle to make sure it hits the strings like it's supposed to.

Maybe that's just what it comes down to, slowing down even more, and spending like an hour on a 5 note passage every day... It just feels like it shouldn't be this hard, I have so many friends who play flawlessly, with so little practice. Sorry guys, I'm whining here, I guess I just needed to vent a little. Either way, thank you so much for the replies. I do enjoy playing guitar, but I feel like it could be a whole lot more enjoyable :P
#8
Quote by Eurotrasher


, but the problem is still that most every time I try to play it I get a few notes wrong. I also know about muscle memory. I try to practice things slow, get it all right, but then when it comes to just playing it, my fingers will miss the the string by a few millimeters, you know? It just seems like the connection between my brain and my fingers isn't very good.

Maybe I've just been too impatient in my practicing, not perfecting things enough before moving on,



I don't think you understand muscle memory or you wouldn't be having that problem. By the way it sounds like you have flying fingers syndrome.. Which is a really bad habit to have i'm pretty sure this should correct it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ok8lj6eJ78


In many ways just from reading your post it seems like you have a lot of bad habits. It seems like you just rush things which in my opinion is just impractical, and counter productive when it comes to practicing. Becoming good at the guitar doesn't happen over night it takes a lot of patience, and focusing. That's why people seem to have these type of problems which are similar to yours. Like I've stated in my previous post your problems not rare it's all too "common".

Your friends probably don't barely practice they most likely understand quality over quantity. It's not who practices the most hours that gets the best results it's all about who uses their hours wisely.. Think about it what's the point of practicing for 5+ hours a day if you're not even focused on what you're doing? When a person who understands the principle behind how the quality of practice is all that matters.. They can practice for 2 hours, and actually get results pertaining toward their goal... Honestly you still have a long way to go, and I'd like to recommend you a course to follow it might just be a game changer for you because it seems like you're rushing.


http://justinguitar.com/en/BC-000-BeginnersCourse.php


Remember that guitar isn't a race it's a marathon. There's no point in sprinting just to gas yourself out when you need to conserve that energy to finish the whole length of the race.

This course should help you understand how to practice because like I said in many ways you seem like a beginner..
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 13, 2015,
#9
Thanks, I used that exercise some years ago, been a fan of Justin's for a long time. Also tried to go through the beginner's course, learned a couple of things, but didn't have much an effect on the overall quality of my playing. Even today I'm practicing simple chord changes really slowly with a metronome, but when it gets to a certain speed, I just start messing up :/

Also, yeah, I may not have a natural instinct for practice. When I first did that flying fingers exercise, I remember I'd try my best to hold the fingers in position, keeping them as close to the string as possible. What Justin doesn't mention is that ideally you shouldn't be tensing your fingers to keep them down, he just tells you to keep them as close as possible. So I just tightened my fingers up for that exercise, don't think that did me much good. But eventually I found Jamie Andreas' guitar principles, and that helped quite a bit, my flying fingers are pretty much gone.
But I'm still very imprecise, unfortunately

I'm currently trying to learn the Wish you were here solo in the intro, I guess I'll try to take it slower than ever before.
#10
It's hard to say without watching you, but practicing hard isn't really enough. I mean, they say practice makes perfect, but really practice only makes better, and only as much as you practiced correctly.

Ultimately guitar should be fun, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't put hard work into it. Hard work can make you a lot better, and then it's a lot more fun.

The thing is, how you practice and what you're practicing is important. You could practice the wrong thing over and over and never improve. It's hard to know sometimes whether you need to keep doing what you're doing and you'll get better, or if you need to change your fundamental approach.

A teacher could help you out with this. I never had a teacher but this was definitely a difficulty for me, and there were a few times were I realized I had to abandon what I was doing and change my technique because what I was comfortable doing before could only get me so far.

There is also a good technique to really power through exercises tailored for what you are trying to do, to speed through it as quick as you can. It's a bit difficult to explain it/show you on a forum post though.

It's like a sport. If you want to be a runner, you could run everyday, and you'll improve. But if you really want to run fast, you'll want to hit the gym for some conditioning.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Mar 13, 2015,
#11
I've been playing for 10 years, and I almost never play anything 100% clean all the through. Not many do, actually. In a big loud show setting, you get away with missing notes because of the energy, and because the crowd often doesn't even notice. In the studio, you can do a ton of takes, and even mix n match bits and pieces to make it perfect. Extremely common.

I'm not saying to not aspire to improve. You definitely should, and I certainly do. Just don't get down on yourself for not playing entire pieces of music flawlessly. As long as you're making progress in general with your grasp of the techniques you use, you're doin alright.
Guitars
Schecter Hellraiser C-1FR, C-1 Classic, Hellraiser Hybrid Solo-II, Special Edition E-1FR-S
Orange Rockerverb 50 212
Basses
Yamaha RBX374 and Washburn MB-6
#12
Regarding missing notes or hitting 'bum' notes, for me at least it's much more important that a song locks into a groove and keeps this going, more so than hitting every note cleanly. Obviously if every fourth note is buzzing I need to practice more, but a couple of bum notes over a song doesn't count for much.

I'd much rather listen to someone who really get into a tune and gives off a great energy, misfiring a couple of notes, than someone who plays every note perfectly with no groove/energy.
#13
Quote by Quavers
Regarding missing notes or hitting 'bum' notes, for me at least it's much more important that a song locks into a groove and keeps this going, more so than hitting every note cleanly. Obviously if every fourth note is buzzing I need to practice more, but a couple of bum notes over a song doesn't count for much.


Right, nobody is perfect, and you might hit a couple duds on a playthrough, but I think there is a difference with just a slight misfire, and a misfire because you need more practice. For instance if you consistently misfire doing the same move, or the same interval, or the same chord change, then you need to practice that to get it clean. If you just happen to make a little mistake and not get something you can do as clean as you wanted, then it's not such a big deal, unless you're recording, then you do have to redo that part.

Quote by Quavers
I'd much rather listen to someone who really get into a tune and gives off a great energy, misfiring a couple of notes, than someone who plays every note perfectly with no groove/energy.


So would I, but still, at the end of the day, the goal is to do both. I find that's one of the big differences between the really pro guitarists and the more amateur ones. For one it is the songwriting, but also, you will find lots of covers of lots of pieces that great guitarists play but there is not a very large percentage of those which are played as cleanly as the original.

That's part of what makes guitar so difficult. There is a lot of muting and precision, and power that is required more playing a lot of intricate things cleanly.

But sure, Tommy emmanuel isn't always clean, nobody is. But he does do a LOT of very difficult things cleanly like 99.9% of the time.

I think striving for clean is what will get you to develop the muscles and techniques you need, in the most efficient way possible. It can be hard work sometimes, and can sometimes take years even, but it is that work that is causing the great improvements.

If you are easily satisfied, then you might not make as much progress.

It depends what you want also. It depends on what you want to get out of guitar and how much work you want to put into it. How good you want to try and become.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Mar 14, 2015,
#14
Quote by Eurotrasher

But I'm still very imprecise, unfortunately

I'm currently trying to learn the Wish you were here solo in the intro, I guess I'll try to take it slower than ever before.



You've got to listen or in this case read. I've listed all the answers, but you're just not understanding them you don't have to guess. By the way maybe you should take a deep more meaningful look, and analyze your playing or better yet yourself.
#15
I haven't read the entirety of this thread, but I think your original post gives some good insight into what the problem may be.

You said that as you learned a few songs using a better technique, which was to play with a lighter touch, you found that you are better at playing these songs than you are the others. So already here is a good indication that playing with that lighter touch is an improvement. You definitely shouldn't be playing with any tension in your arm or body.

Now, I don't know how long you've spent practicing those new songs but if your technique was wrong for years then it's inevitable that it may take a few months to break the habit and learn to play properly - so keep at it, it will probably get better. I spent 3 months or more on one song and I thought I'd never be able to play it cleanly. Now it's no problem and sounds awesome!

Lastly, and I know you said you do, but for the parts you can't get down properly, play it slower than you even think you should. A quarter of the speed or less! And repeat it over and over until you can literally feel your muscles play it for you. You shouldn't have to really think about playing it at all - it's hard to explain but you'll know when it happens/clicks. Then begin to bring the speed up. When playing like this you should feel the tension melt away and you'll only need the lightest of touch. After that you'll need to work it into the song which may require slowing down the part before and after too. This methodology has helped me play pieces I never thought I could surmount. It really has been a game changer for me.

My 2c. Take it or leave it.
#16
Maybe you should make some recordings of yourself and post them online, and ask for feedback. That's the only way anyone can give you any specific advice. Oh sure it's hard to put your stuff out there and have it criticized, but it's also one of the best ways to really learn. Saying you "miss a couple of notes" and wouldn't be able to keep up with real musicians in a band doesn't tell people what they need to know in order to give you anything but the most general and generic advice.

And in that general and generic category, if you can't play a song well at full tempo, slow it down to the point where you can play it well. Then gradually, over the course of weeks or even months, increase the speed. All that repetition of playing it correctly at slow tempo really pays off. On the other hand hand playing it sloppily at full tempo just ingrains those mistakes. Sure you might fix some of them as time goes by, but playing it slowly and correctly and then gradually working up the speed is much more efficient. And it's a lot more fun to play it well at a slower tempo than than to constantly be frustrated at full tempo.
Last edited by Jack Strat at Mar 17, 2015,
#17
I had similar problem. I reached some level and couldn't progress much lately, didn't know what was wrong, until I was told that my picking hand movement is not efficient. With bad technique there's the point of skill level where you stop to progress, or progress very slowly. Your left hand should do minimal movement (not lifting fingers too much away from fretboard), while your right hand should do wrist movement up and down without rotating and stuff. It's all form the wrist, you're only moving your elbow a little bit, as you change the strings, to adjust hand position. And as you pick the notes it should all be picked the same way, without changing index finger, and thumb positing. It's all in the efficient movement, where you can do much with minimum effort. And the way you're going to correct your techinque is by observing your motions, and play really slow, without mistakes. If you make mistakes, slow down. That way, your brain is creating motor program for movement. If you speed up and your technique movement change, the brain will recognize it as different movement, and will start to create another motor program, and that way you won't progress. Movement should be all very similar to each other, if not the same. When you start to feel comfortable at certain speed, speed up a little bit, and so on. When you practice with a lot of mistakes, your brain learn the mistakes, and you're just wasting your time.There's just no point in pushing it. I'm corecting years of bad technique myself, and high mental focus is required. Good luck, don't give up if you love to play.
#18
first thing i'll mention is "Guitar Hero". when is was teaching regularily i had to give the GH speach to new players that started because they were good at the game. bottom line not the same and not about instant gratification. guitar playing is work and it can be hard a frustrating. ok speach over

some people are "natural" players and some are not. i definitely fall into the 2nd catagory. progress was slow and for certain things still not even close to there even after 35 years of playing. i started in the late 70s and did the band thing in the mid to late 80s. at that time you had to be a shredder or you weren't shit. as hard as i tried steve vai, yngwie etc just wasn't flowing from my fingers. this of course led to frustration and being stuck as the 2nd guitar player in bands (rhythm and some leads and fills). well of course who doesn't want to be the star. ( eventually in hindsight i realized i was actually pretty good in that role and should have been happier)

eventually i started to look at what did naturally come out playing wise which helped a great deal. i found that more blues based licks came far easier to me and that i played much more like the guys i grew up with in the 70s than the 80s shred crowd. once i went more in that direction i was a happer player. now of course you should work on things you aren't good at. i've come to terms with the notion that i will never be a guitar hero but i still plug away. if you step back and really look at your playing you'll find you made progress just not what you think it should have been.
#20
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I think this thread has helped a bit, not just from your tips, but in a way also just venting a little myself. Like gweddle said, there was some indication in my first post. The latest songs I've learned when using a new technique do sound far better than songs I've learned before I had this realization of how crappy my playing really was.

I think I'm gonna have to keep trying to learn new stuff with the new super slow approach. Like kimi_page said, correcting years of bad technique requires a lot of focus, but I'm trying to get there. The thing is, whenever I try to play stuff I learned a long time ago, a lot of the old mistakes reappear, but I guess that should be a surprise, it's just the same old muscle memory. So I think I'm gonna just try to avoid playing too much of that stuff, and whenever I do, just try as hard as I can to play it so slow that I won't make any mistakes. No more reinforcing poor playing.

It's not very pleasant to admit to your own ignorance, but I feel a little ridiculous looking back at how I used to practice. I would just practice bits at whatever speed felt somewhat comfortable, and if I made a mistake, I just tried again, without actually thinking of what had went wrong. I thought practice makes perfect meant that you just had to try something as often as possible, and eventually you'd just nail it. Obviously, that isn't the case. I think it was in one of Justin Sandercoe's videos that he said that that saying should actually be practice makes permanent. Poor practice = poor playing. So obvious now, but I was young and stupid.

Kind of continuing my general rambling here, I definitely think some people definitely have more of a natural affinity for guitar/instruments. I think part of it is just being in touch with your body, having control of it, like with sports. I realized that I was not one of these people after reading the Guitar Principles book, and holding a wine glass or something. I realized I was holding it like a girl (Sorry if that's sexist, you guys know what I mean). I was holding the glass with two-three fingers, but the other two fingers were tensed up pointing in different directions, for no good reason. I think that's what's called sympathetic tension, like when you're pressing down a fret with one of your fingers, but it tenses up the surrounding ones as well. It's clearly always been an issue for me, and whenever I look at people who are really good at playing, their hands look totally relaxed and in control. Clearly I need to aim for something like that.

Anyways, yeah. it sure has been a while Guitar Hero first came out, geez. When I got a proper guitar, I knew that it wouldn't be /as/ easy, but surely it couldn't be that hard. And here I am, 8 years down the line, feeling like I've yet to master the easy difficulty level :P

Anyways, once again, thanks for all the advice and encouraging words, I'm actually feeling pretty hopeful about my playing!
#21
I hear ya man, I still suck too but I really just enjoy practicing and learning. If it isnt fun anymore then whats the point? I see if you have aspirations of playing live but just dont ever lose sight of why you starting playing in the first place. Hang in there man
#22
Quote by Eurotrasher
Hey guys,


I definitely think some people definitely have more of a natural affinity for guitar/instruments. I think part of it is just being in touch with your body, having control of it, like with sports. I realized that I was not one of these people after reading the Guitar Principles book, and holding a wine glass or something. I realized I was holding it like a girl (Sorry if that's sexist, you guys know what I mean). I was holding the glass with two-three fingers, but the other two fingers were tensed up pointing in different directions, for no good reason. I think that's what's called sympathetic tension, like when you're pressing down a fret with one of your fingers, but it tenses up the surrounding ones as well. It's clearly always been an issue for me, and whenever I look at people who are really good at playing, their hands look totally relaxed and in control. Clearly I need to aim for something like that.




Another piece of advice for you. Don't limit yourself by believing that other other people have more "natural ability" they don't have natural ability what they have is self discipline. That's why they've reached the level of playing that they're at by hours of quality practice. No one just gets it like that no ones born with a guitar in their hand. They have to start just like everyone else. A lot of folks tend to fail at realizing that learning an instrument isn't even that physical if anything it's more on the mental side of things. I'd say overall it's 90% mental, and 10% physical.

It takes a lot of focus, and determination to get to whatever skill level you want to be at and it doesn't happen over night. Don't think about years think about the quality hours you're putting in that's all that matters because you can't really check how your progressing by the years. The only way you can check is by hours. Some folks make more progress in a year than some folks make in 10 years. Why you ask?


They understand how to practice, and are disciplined and now how to approach things differently when learning. Not to mention they're constantly getting out of their comfort zone pushing themselves. Don't make any excuses just realize what it's about you can teach yourself how to be more relaxed it's all just mental at the end of the day.

#23
Well, maybe that's my point, some people don't need to be taught how to be relaxed. So maybe I should say some people have more of a natural affinity for learning instruments. You could say it's all mental, but that doesn't mean they actually put any thought into it. I've asked several of my friends how it is that they play so smoothly, they don't really have an answer. They just say that the practice the thing a little, and that's it. They may have a different mental attitude than I do, but it's not something they've achieved through meditation and becoming some guitar zen master.

You can say this is me making excuses, but I genuinely don't believe everyone is born with the same abilities, and that includes coordination.
#24
Quote by Eurotrasher
Well, maybe that's my point, some people don't need to be taught how to be relaxed. So maybe I should say some people have more of a natural affinity for learning instruments. You could say it's all mental, but that doesn't mean they actually put any thought into it. I've asked several of my friends how it is that they play so smoothly, they don't really have an answer. They just say that the practice the thing a little, and that's it. They may have a different mental attitude than I do, but it's not something they've achieved through meditation and becoming some guitar zen master.

You can say this is me making excuses, but I genuinely don't believe everyone is born with the same abilities, and that includes coordination.



How can someone not put any thought into learning? That makes absolutely no sense.. I'm pretty sure they didn't magically learn how to form a chord without putting thought into it. Stop comparing yourself to others it's a really bad habit.


Discipline is what gets results. You could beat around the bush, and try to convince yourself that others have a more natural aptitude for learning the guitar, but if that were true a lot of people wouldn't suck. I've never met an actual good musician who didn't put in the work or thought into what they were learning or practicing.
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 18, 2015,
#25
What I mean is thinking about the underlying principles and how to approach practice, how to avoid tension, whatever. Learning a chord is pretty simple, same goes for learning a tab.
My point is that I have friends who haven't ever read any articles on how to practice efficiently, they don't practice at any regular schedule, and generally don't think that much of it. I on the other hand have spent months straight playing for hours every day, exercises, scales, songs. I've speculated, read, and thought about guitar playing endlessly. They didn't. They didn't, because they didn't need to.

I'm not comparing myself to anyone else, this isn't to make myself feel better. I just said it for the sake of discussion, because I think it's a commonly held belief that everything is just about practice. I don't agree with that notion, I believe there is a thing such as talent.
#26
Quote by Eurotrasher
What I mean is thinking about the underlying principles and how to approach practice, how to avoid tension, whatever. Learning a chord is pretty simple, same goes for learning a tab.


My point is that I have friends who haven't ever read any articles on how to practice efficiently, they don't practice at any regular schedule, and generally don't think that much of it. I on the other hand have spent months straight playing for hours every day, exercises, scales, songs. I've speculated, read, and thought about guitar playing endlessly. They didn't. They didn't, because they didn't need to.

I don't agree with that notion, I believe there is a thing such as talent.


I kind of laugh at people that learn songs by tab. I couldn't disagree more tabs don't really help you to learn songs where's the rhythm in tabs? Where's the accent describing how the notes are articulated?

There's so much more you have to have a detailed ear in order to make something actually sound nearly even close to what has originally been played, and that's an art in it self.

There's plenty of people that have posted covers on Youtube that have completely butchered songs learning to play from tab. Then there's individuals who make the song they're covering their own work of art. I really don't think you understand what music is about mate. There's just too much contradictions in your post. You go from saying somethings easy, but if it were really easy would you be struggling with the things you've been having trouble with for years?

By the way how can you be so sure that your friends have put in virtually no work into the guitar without being there to witness them practice? There's a lot of people that lie, and learning the guitar isn't something that comes naturally for Pete's sake it's a piece of wood with strings on it. You're just over complicating things much more than they need to be honestly.


If you want to learn how to avoid tension then I've pretty much posted a whole stock pile of advice in my other post including videos. I've seen some good advice from other forum members here too about picking from the wrist, and what not.


It just seems like to me that you keep ignoring them, and making excuses on why you can't do what you really want to do. It's no wonder you've been stagnant with your playing for years! Today might be the change that can lead you to more progress then you've ever gained in the wrong years of practicing if you accept the truth of course.

Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 18, 2015,
#27
Jesus, I suppose you're trying to help here, but you are being wildly annoying and condescending while doing so. I really don't think you understand what music is about mate. Who the fudge says that?

No, I don't monitor my mates' practice schedules, and I know they do put practice in, but just trust me, not as much as I did. They're close friends of mine, I know.

And yes, you posted a video. I saw it years ago, practiced it every day for a long time, just as he said. Yes, my fingers were closer to the board after, but it didn't magically make my fingers more precise, neither did Justin's intro course.

And the picking hand really isn't much of an issue for me, I'm surprisingly decent at that, the problem lies far more in an imprecise left hand. The fact is, you haven't given me much advice at all. You just say I overthink things, that guitar is 90% mental, and that tabs are shit, yada yada. Where's the rhythm? It's called a metronome, geez.

I don't necessarily need what I play to sound identical to the original material, but actually hitting most of the notes would be a good start. And for crying out loud, I've already said that I /am/ taking the advice of slowing down and trying to avoid tension. I haven't made any excuses.

Sorry for getting upset, everyone, thanks again for your advice. Except for Black_devils, to you I say thanks for nothing, mate.
#28
I don't understand why you would get upset over my posts, and yes I am actually trying to help. I didn't intend to come off as Condescending, but it's no surprise to me because text is misinterpreted all the time.

Like I said don't take it personal, but from what I've gained from analyzing your post you do seem to make a lot of excuses. Ignoring my advice, and also other folks here. You take little from it if all you can take from everyone's advice is to slow down then you haven't learned much.

I advise you to actually look through all these posts here maybe you'll learn something. You're not even learning right, and i'm just being honest you say you know how to do this, and that but if you did you wouldn't be here asking these questions. That's just my 2 cents I'll stop commenting on this thread it's not worth my time or effort.
#29
Quote by Eurotrasher
...I definitely think some people definitely have more of a natural affinity for guitar/instruments. I think part of it is just being in touch with your body, having control of it, like with sports. I realized that I was not one of these people after reading the Guitar Principles book, and holding a wine glass or something. I realized I was holding it like a girl (Sorry if that's sexist, you guys know what I mean). I was holding the glass with two-three fingers, but the other two fingers were tensed up pointing in different directions, for no good reason. I think that's what's called sympathetic tension, like when you're pressing down a fret with one of your fingers, but it tenses up the surrounding ones as well. It's clearly always been an issue for me, and whenever I look at people who are really good at playing, their hands look totally relaxed and in control. Clearly I need to aim for something like that.


You're not wrong, some of it is like sports, and some of it is sense of rhythm. But sympathetic tension is not that.

Great players don't look like they are playing so easily because of their genes. It's because they put a lot of practice into it. I used to have sympathetic tension in my last 3 fingers quite a lot, but now I have a lot more control over every finger independently. That was just practice.

EDIT: You're right, there is talent, and some of that is also realizing how to practice as well. It is good you want to slow down, but what you want to do is go as slow as you need to go in order to get perfect timing, and then ramp it up. Music might very well be a lot easier for some of your friends, they might practice less, but everyone does practice, and if you practice correctly, you will be able to get your body to do very difficult things effortlessly. Timing, and groove is different, feel can make things a lot easier.

Not comparing yourself to others is good. Just enjoy music to enjoy it, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment when you improve. Sure other people might have more talent, and you might never be one of the greatest guitarists in the world, but looking at sports again, there are always some players on every team which are exceptional. Hard work really goes a long way, and without it, even the most talented musicians will also never become exceptional. You could probably surpass some those that seem more talented and that seem to do things effortlessly. Because they might not grind it out. If you do, you could be on a whole other skill level.

So, ya, talent exists, but practice, and how you practice is important also. The legendary players are those that had both. There are all kinds of other careers for other levels of musicians that either got where they are because of talent, or hard work, and all sorts of combinations of both. You just need to figure out what you want from guitar, what you want to get out of it, and how much work you want to put into it. Do you want a career? Do you want to do it for fun? And maybe you could get a teacher. If you showed me a piece you were playing, I would be able to show you how to practice it in order to conquer it in the shortest amount of time possible.

Just going slow, and just repetition is not exactly it. There is a lot out there you can learn.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Mar 19, 2015,
#30
There exists natural talent, but practice will overcome all but the most genetically gifted people. And those people will never be any good without practice. Just because you aren't born with a guitar in your hand, doesn't mean you aren't born with a better ear, better shaped hands and fingers, or higher peak potential for hand eye coordination, etc. But all that means nothing without practice and is generally very minor variable when compared to practice. Proper practice, not mindless wanking and guitar pro downloading. Be honest with yourself when it comes to your practice habits.

And also, I don't know many, if any, great guitar players who didn't go through a time in their life when they sat down with their instrument for 10-12 hours day. Now, this isn't practical for most people, but be honest when comparing your guitar practice up against your time spent watching TV or playing video games.
#31
1) never - ever! - move on to the next part when you haven't mastered the first part - this applies for every song and solo and is really the biggest problem with sloppy players. Impatience is not well rewarded on guitar. You should play difficult or trouble spots on a loop until you get them. learn songs in tiny clusters. Repetition is the key. You need to become OCD about the whole thing really.

2)If you aren't practicing 2 to 4 hours per day, or more, then you are not " practicing hard" . There 's a tendency on this site for people to really give bad advice about the time you should be putting in to be great at guitar. The answer is : a ton of time! If you've never really done this then it makes sense that you aren't yet a good player.

3) Unless you have a natural timing issue ( this is very rare, but I've seen it), then there is no reason why you can't be great at guitar.
#32
Quote by Black_devils
I don't understand why you would get upset over my posts, and yes I am actually trying to help. I didn't intend to come off as Condescending, but it's no surprise to me because text is misinterpreted all the time.

Like I said don't take it personal, but from what I've gained from analyzing your post you do seem to make a lot of excuses. Ignoring my advice, and also other folks here. You take little from it if all you can take from everyone's advice is to slow down then you haven't learned much.

I advise you to actually look through all these posts here maybe you'll learn something. You're not even learning right, and i'm just being honest you say you know how to do this, and that but if you did you wouldn't be here asking these questions. That's just my 2 cents I'll stop commenting on this thread it's not worth my time or effort.


dude you are condescending and more than a little full of yourself. everyone does learn different ways and that is the one correct thing you stated. i've been playing far longer than you've been alive so if nothing else i'd hope i might have a little insight here. i totally disagree with the idea that no one has "natural talent". ever here of a prodigy? not many kids under 10 that have put in years of 10 hour a day practice times and yet some can pick up a guitar, viloin, piano etc and just play. certainly practice is important but not everyone has a talent for it. by your way of thinking everyone should be able to paint the Mona Lisa if they just try hard. promise you it ain't happening. music is no different.

slowing down is a really good idea. to many people try to hard to go to fast and then get discouraged. not having unreasonable expectations is the best idea. finger memory is built up over time so give the guy a break. you have some solid advice but your people skills suck big time. the boards are meant to help people.
#33
Quote by monwobobbo
dude you are condescending and more than a little full of yourself. everyone does learn different ways and that is the one correct thing you stated. i've been playing far longer than you've been alive so if nothing else i'd hope i might have a little insight here. i totally disagree with the idea that no one has "natural talent". ever here of a prodigy? not many kids under 10 that have put in years of 10 hour a day practice times and yet some can pick up a guitar, viloin, piano etc and just play. certainly practice is important but not everyone has a talent for it. by your way of thinking everyone should be able to paint the Mona Lisa if they just try hard. promise you it ain't happening. music is no different.

slowing down is a really good idea. to many people try to hard to go to fast and then get discouraged. not having unreasonable expectations is the best idea. finger memory is built up over time so give the guy a break. you have some solid advice but your people skills suck big time. the boards are meant to help people.



Well lets agree to disagree. I respect that people have their different perceptions on certain things, and your post is a good example of that fact. By the way I've never really heard of a child prodigy not putting in the work. Child prodigy's usually tend to start playing an instrument through child hood, and children do have a tendency to learn faster than fully developed adults or even teenagers.

I'm a firm believer in the mentality of if you can put your mind to it then you can do it. If someone really wanted be a maestro in painting then they could accomplish it with the right mind set of course. Oh, and also i'm far from full of myself i'm a realist at heart a very neutral person per se.


No matter how much knowledge or skills you have you can always develop more. No matter what current level you're at you could be 10x's better.

Also of course developing muscle memory takes time that's why i'm always preaching about the fact of slowing down, and being critical and analyzing your technique. So you can make sure you're developing right, but if all OP is taking from the numerous amounts of post on this thread about "slowing down'.

Then he hasn't really been taking in the insight that the other forum members have given. It's just a fact there's way more to just slowing down. You have to be focused with absolutely no distractions in order to get the full benefit out of a practice session.

Anyone can sit down, and run scales up and down for hours a day, and practice songs but it doesn't matter if they're not focused on what they're doing. Anyone can say they practice for a certain amount of hours a day, but it wouldn't matter if they don't understand the concept behind practicing, and developing that concept turning it into a skill.

By the way I understand that people learn in different ways. Not everyone can learn from the same method that you can. You can only take from others, and transform their methods into your methods. If you look at the beginning of the thread I even stated that "not everyone learns the same way so you have to find out what works best for you. Always learn from everyone you can turning their methods into your own".

Anyways If you want my 2 cents I feel as if you guys are making this more personal then it has to be. This thread wasn't that big of a deal, and neither were my posts. I laid down my tips, and multiple other forum members laid down theirs. If it came off as me being condescending, and full of myself then I can't help that. You can't really perceive emotions through text.

If anything when I type my posts i'm calm, and relaxed thinking of all the best possible way I can word my advice, but if that's how you perceive my writing to be then that's not my problem mate.

EDIT- Don't take my post personal I have no intentions of quarreling with anyone especially over the internet. It'd be best if everyone just moved on to helping the next person that asks a question in a new thread of course.
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 20, 2015,
#34
You can't really perceive emotions through text.


Except you can. You were being condescending. The guy gets it. You have to slow down and make it perfect in order to make progress. But everyone's brain is different. It's biology. That information is processed in his brain in a completely different way than yours. Everyone who hears that advice (which is basically everyone who asks how to get better at guitar) must translate that information into their muscles. There is nobody standing there with the OP physically holding his fingers and explaining exactly how each finger should move at every possible permutation in his playing. Clearly he is having trouble translating this advice into his playing, and no amount of "You're not listening! Play slow!" is going to change that. He knows to play slow, he just needs those epiphany moments that will build proper schema and develop correct habits.

Eurotrasher, the Principle of Correct Practice method is infinitely valuable. I suggest you revisit it, read the book, take notes of parts you feel apply to you, watch the movie, and just generally try to internalize all of its information. The "no tempo practice" in particular was a big turning point for me. I don't care how fast you think you can play and still play perfect, you will never reach that level of true effortless perfection until you've spent at least a month practicing notes with 5 to 10 second pauses in between EVERY. SINGLE. NOTE. We're talking ludicrous levels of SLOW DOWN. Absolutely INSANELY SLOW. Doing this will give your brain the time to process the intricate, delicate, economical movements that you must master before you can ever dream of playing beautiful clean notes at normal tempos. Remember the concept of sympathetic tension. Each finger must move independently of each other. It doesn't take hardly any pressure at all to fret a note, so it kind of feels like a twitch motion in your finger. When you hold your hand out (without a guitar) and just twitch ome finger, it tends to move without any movement from the other fingers. This is the kind of feeling you want when fretting a note. Just twitch the finger down and use a miniscule amount of tension in the finger to sustain the note. Also remember to use gravity to do a lot of the fretting work for you, kind of like if you were to just hang a clothes hanger on the neck of the guitar. The weight of your relaxed arm will pull down to help you fret the note. All of these things are very precise, very delicate movements that do not come naturally. This is exactly why you must do "no tempo practice" for an extended period of time. You're hammering out all of those imperfect playing habits, and it will require dedication. Total relaxation is key, so you might want to think of it as a meditative experience. You are mastering your mind and body. Now go forth and rock!
#35
Quote by Eurotrasher
Thanks for the replies, everyone.


And Black_devils, yes, memory. I try to practice things slow, get it all right, but then when it comes to just playing it, my fingers will miss the the string by a few millimeters, you know? It just seems like the connection between my brain and my fingers isn't very good.

Maybe I've just been too impatient in my practicing, not perfecting things enough before moving on, and yet... Supersac asked if I separated the songs into little pieces till I feel like I have full control over the movements, and maybe I haven't really done that, but it kind of feels like I never have full control of the movements. Like every time I try to move a finger from one place to another, it's a struggle to make sure it hits the strings like it's supposed to.




@Sample246 you guys aren't really getting to the root of the problem. It's obvious that OP has been practicing things slowly for a while. The guys even mentioned he's been playing for a numerous amount of years. In one of his previous posts he even mentions that he's having a problem with his left hand, but his picking hand seems to be decent. He lacks a connection between both hands. That's why I keep telling him to go back, and re read my posts, and re watch the videos I posted.

That's the main thing that i'm trying to say it's not that he needs to slow down even more to correct his problem. It seems like a completely different issue here that's been recurring for years at a time. If anything I feel like the OP doesn't really have a firm foundation built which are the basics of playing.

There's no way someone could of been using correct learning methods, and end up with this same problem over, and over again. I'm not being hard on the guy, i'm just being truthful maybe he needs to start from the basics. If he's having this much trouble with his left hand he might not even be strumming or fretting chords correctly. On top of that we don't really know how his techniques look for all we know he could be picking from his forearm instead of his wrist. That's a high possibility OP has a lot of bad habits that need to be corrected, and that can only be fixed by mastering the basics which seems like the root of the problem.


Who knows he always says that he has been impatience, and rushes a lot so he could of rushed through the basics moving on to more advanced things he's not ready for. All i'm saying is that no one with a strong foundation of the basics would be struggling with this.


EDIT- If OP wants to really solve his problems he needs to post a video of his playing other than that no one could really know how to correct his problem. Leading this thread to a mere guessing game. It's the only real way anyone would be able to get down to the root of his problems.
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 21, 2015,
#36
Quote by Sample246
Total relaxation is key, so you might want to think of it as a meditative experience. You are mastering your mind and body. Now go forth and rock!


There's something I can agree on. By the way weren't you the guy I gave picking advice to a long while ago? If so hows the advice holding up. I think you corrected the problem If I can recall a while back... About the "no tempo" practice advice I think you were talking about that a while back in an old thread. How exactly does it work?
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 21, 2015,
#37
Quote by Sample246
Except you can. You were being condescending. The guy gets it. You have to slow down and make it perfect in order to make progress. But everyone's brain is different. It's biology. That information is processed in his brain in a completely different way than yours. Everyone who hears that advice (which is basically everyone who asks how to get better at guitar) must translate that information into their muscles. There is nobody standing there with the OP physically holding his fingers and explaining exactly how each finger should move at every possible permutation in his playing. Clearly he is having trouble translating this advice into his playing, and no amount of "You're not listening! Play slow!" is going to change that. He knows to play slow, he just needs those epiphany moments that will build proper schema and develop correct habits.


Thank you for this as well as the rest of the post, and monwobobbo as well, for realizing I'm not a complete fool, in spite of my difficulties. I realize it's not "just slowing down". But like Sample246 says, I genuinely have trouble translating what I'm sure is good advice into my actual playing. And Black_devils, your whole idea of everyone having the potential for greatness, given the right amount of time and effort I don't mind that. But I just don't think it's as black and white as you see it. I refuse to believe that in your lifetime you haven't noticed that some people have just been way better at some things than you? And vice versa? And some people need more help getting there. Trust me, I'm all about putting the work in, and learning. That's why I'm here, that's why I've watched the video you posted, that's why I've gone over Justin's course (As much as I love Justin, in the material you presented, he doesn't really go in depth about practice technique, tension, etc). That's why I found your tone somewhat condescending, because I've put years into this, and I'm openly admitting to having made mistakes, being ignorant, but I'm still wanting to improve. And you just come here saying that I just don't have an understanding for music, that I don't get it. You also say that music is 90% mental, not physical, and yet I'm overthinking it.

Anyways, I'm sorry for making this personal, obviously we should try to be civilized here. I know you mean well, but like someone said, your people skills could use a little work. And if you're just willing to listen to what we're telling you here, and put in proper practice, you might actually learn. Sorry, couldn't resist that :P

Anyways, with that little piece of internet drama out of the way, I'm working on uploading a couple of videos. I guess in some way it's a little unfortunate that neither of them contains any major mistakes, but at least you guys can see if there's anything glaringly wrong about my technique.

So, addressing some things people have said in the last posts:

Even though natural talent is a thing, practice is required regardless. I absolutely agree, and I am willing to put it in, to the extent that I can. Like I said, I used to put in 3-5 hours just about every day, for months, if not years. I was a little obsessed. Sadly I don't have quite the same amount of free time by now, but still 30-60 minutes per day, I can do.
And I have no plans of becoming a professional musician, but I would be thrilled to be on that stage just below, you know? I don't need to to any shredding. But I would like to play intermediate things very smoothly. I'd like to be able to pick up the guitar in front of people, play some songs that sound cool, just beyond simple strumming and have people think "This guy can play the guitar", instead of "Ugh, another one of those guys who can't resist the urge to pick up the guitar, even if he can't play anything thoroughly".

Sample246, about The Principles, maybe you're right, and I ought to revisit the book. Slowing things down to a few seconds between each note. I'm still doing exercises like the butterfly and the latter, and the others, can't remember the names. And I can kind of do it, as you'll see in the video, but my fingers still get shaky while moving down the fretboard, and I still can only do the exercises kind of high up on the neck. When I try to move down beyond say, the 5th fret with my index finger, there's a lot of stretching going on, and it makes everything very tense. I think that's why I kind of moved on from The Principles, I felt like I ran into a wall at a certain point. Even when moving really slowly, there was some tension left, it seemed impossible to get rid of, but maybe it's time I go try again.

Okay, sorry for my long posts, but I'm just gonna kind of voice a thought I had. I think that early on in my playing, I was somewhat afraid of pushing down on the strings with the tips of my fingers, especially for chords. Probably just because I found it a little painful at the time. So, more or less unconsciously, I think I may have had a tendency to miss the strings as I changed chords, to avoid that pain. And even though I don't feel the pain anymore, I still sometimes feel like my fingers just before hitting the string, reflexively move a tiny bit. So maybe that's some deeply ingrained muscle memory that goes way back, that I need to overcome. I don't really know if anyone has any thoughts on this, maybe I'm just venting to myself here.

Either way, here are two videos. The first one is me doing some boring Principles exercises. Finger flapping, string push downs, Butterfly/Ladder. For anyone unaware, they're generally for practicing relaxation and finger independence. And I end up with a little scale playing. Sorry, the video gets weird a couple of times, but this should give you an idea of the exercises I do to start off my practice session.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6KtYPxPfZg

Second video is me playing through the Wish You Were Here solo. I'm not using a metronome here, and the timing could probably use some work. I barely knew the song before starting to learn the solo. Obviously you can criticize the timing, but my primary concern is definitely just hitting the damn notes. Anyway, any tips on how to keep practicing this would be appreciated.

After that, I do a couple of chord changes, this time with metronome. The first one is the chords to Free Falling (One version of it, anyway). Second one is the verse of Wonderful, by Stone Temple Pilots. I find those chord changes kind of challenging, especially changing between the upstroke and the downstroke.

After that I just play a bit of Blackbird and Here Comes the Sun. I guess I don't do a terrible job of these two. I wasn't really sure what to upload, so I just went with a shortened version of my current practice routine, plus those last two songs. Maybe I should've gone with something where I make more errors, but oh well!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dMDkpeDyNk

Thanks once more to everyone for chiming in
#38
Quote by Black_devils
Well lets agree to disagree. I respect that people have their different perceptions on certain things, and your post is a good example of that fact. By the way I've never really heard of a child prodigy not putting in the work. Child prodigy's usually tend to start playing an instrument through child hood, and children do have a tendency to learn faster than fully developed adults or even teenagers.

I'm a firm believer in the mentality of if you can put your mind to it then you can do it. If someone really wanted be a maestro in painting then they could accomplish it with the right mind set of course. Oh, and also i'm far from full of myself i'm a realist at heart a very neutral person per se.


No matter how much knowledge or skills you have you can always develop more. No matter what current level you're at you could be 10x's better.

Also of course developing muscle memory takes time that's why i'm always preaching about the fact of slowing down, and being critical and analyzing your technique. So you can make sure you're developing right, but if all OP is taking from the numerous amounts of post on this thread about "slowing down'.

Then he hasn't really been taking in the insight that the other forum members have given. It's just a fact there's way more to just slowing down. You have to be focused with absolutely no distractions in order to get the full benefit out of a practice session.

Anyone can sit down, and run scales up and down for hours a day, and practice songs but it doesn't matter if they're not focused on what they're doing. Anyone can say they practice for a certain amount of hours a day, but it wouldn't matter if they don't understand the concept behind practicing, and developing that concept turning it into a skill.

By the way I understand that people learn in different ways. Not everyone can learn from the same method that you can. You can only take from others, and transform their methods into your methods. If you look at the beginning of the thread I even stated that "not everyone learns the same way so you have to find out what works best for you. Always learn from everyone you can turning their methods into your own".

Anyways If you want my 2 cents I feel as if you guys are making this more personal then it has to be. This thread wasn't that big of a deal, and neither were my posts. I laid down my tips, and multiple other forum members laid down theirs. If it came off as me being condescending, and full of myself then I can't help that. You can't really perceive emotions through text.

If anything when I type my posts i'm calm, and relaxed thinking of all the best possible way I can word my advice, but if that's how you perceive my writing to be then that's not my problem mate.

EDIT- Don't take my post personal I have no intentions of quarreling with anyone especially over the internet. It'd be best if everyone just moved on to helping the next person that asks a question in a new thread of course.


ok we aren't gonna see eye to ey on this and that's fine. you wouldn't make a good teacher though as you seem to be very hardcore and unbending on the if you want it bad enough thing. some people will lack the needed co-ordination to be a shred king and sorry but you can't totally beat nature with desire. anyways much of your actual advice technique wise is good you just need to work on presentaion and understanding why you got called out on your presentation.
#39
Euro buddy first piece of advice i have for you is turn off the metronome. untl you get to the point where you can play the scales with confidence and reasonably smoothly it serves no purpose. you currently are struggling and have to really think about it. the same goes for your Wish You Were Here. you have the right idea and it didn't sound so bad i couldn't have told what it was if you hadn't said already. takes time.

i would suggest that you work on chords as songs are for the most part made of them. learn barre chords. the leads come latter. don't try to bite off more than you can chew. knowing what you are doing and why will help way more than many give credit to.

as for black_devil he is only 20 so not a ton of life experience. he's a dedicated guy and seems for the most part to know what he's talking about. presentation isn't his strong suit.
#40
Quote by Eurotrasher

Anyways, I'm sorry for making this personal, obviously we should try to be civilized here. I know you mean well, but like someone said, your people skills could use a little work. And if you're just willing to listen to what we're telling you here, and put in proper practice, you might actually learn. Sorry, couldn't resist that :P

Anyways, with that little piece of internet drama out of the way, I'm working on uploading a couple of videos. I guess in some way it's a little unfortunate that neither of them contains any major mistakes, but at least you guys can see if there's anything glaringly wrong about my technique.

So, addressing some things people have said in the last posts:

Even though natural talent is a thing, practice is required regardless. I absolutely agree, and I am willing to put it in, to the extent that I can. Like I said, I used to put in 3-5 hours just about every day, for months, if not years. I was a little obsessed. Sadly I don't have quite the same amount of free time by now, but still 30-60 minutes per day, I can do.
And I have no plans of becoming a professional musician, but I would be thrilled to be on that stage just below, you know? I don't need to to any shredding. But I would like to play intermediate things very smoothly. I'd like to be able to pick up the guitar in front of people, play some songs that sound cool, just beyond simple strumming and have people think "This guy can play the guitar", instead of "Ugh, another one of those guys who can't resist the urge to pick up the guitar, even if he can't play anything thoroughly".

Sample246, about The Principles, maybe you're right, and I ought to revisit the book. Slowing things down to a few seconds between each note. I'm still doing exercises like the butterfly and the latter, and the others, can't remember the names. And I can kind of do it, as you'll see in the video, but my fingers still get shaky while moving down the fretboard, and I still can only do the exercises kind of high up on the neck. When I try to move down beyond say, the 5th fret with my index finger, there's a lot of stretching going on, and it makes everything very tense. I think that's why I kind of moved on from The Principles, I felt like I ran into a wall at a certain point. Even when moving really slowly, there was some tension left, it seemed impossible to get rid of, but maybe it's time I go try again.

Okay, sorry for my long posts, but I'm just gonna kind of voice a thought I had. I think that early on in my playing, I was somewhat afraid of pushing down on the strings with the tips of my fingers, especially for chords. Probably just because I found it a little painful at the time. So, more or less unconsciously, I think I may have had a tendency to miss the strings as I changed chords, to avoid that pain. And even though I don't feel the pain anymore, I still sometimes feel like my fingers just before hitting the string, reflexively move a tiny bit. So maybe that's some deeply ingrained muscle memory that goes way back, that I need to overcome. I don't really know if anyone has any thoughts on this, maybe I'm just venting to myself here.

Either way, here are two videos. The first one is me doing some boring Principles exercises. Finger flapping, string push downs, Butterfly/Ladder. For anyone unaware, they're generally for practicing relaxation and finger independence. And I end up with a little scale playing. Sorry, the video gets weird a couple of times, but this should give you an idea of the exercises I do to start off my practice session.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6KtYPxPfZg

Second video is me playing through the Wish You Were Here solo. I'm not using a metronome here, and the timing could probably use some work. I barely knew the song before starting to learn the solo. Obviously you can criticize the timing, but my primary concern is definitely just hitting the damn notes. Anyway, any tips on how to keep practicing this would be appreciated.

After that, I do a couple of chord changes, this time with metronome. The first one is the chords to Free Falling (One version of it, anyway). Second one is the verse of Wonderful, by Stone Temple Pilots. I find those chord changes kind of challenging, especially changing between the upstroke and the downstroke.

After that I just play a bit of Blackbird and Here Comes the Sun. I guess I don't do a terrible job of these two. I wasn't really sure what to upload, so I just went with a shortened version of my current practice routine, plus those last two songs. Maybe I should've gone with something where I make more errors, but oh well!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dMDkpeDyNk

Thanks once more to everyone for chiming in



I just watched both videos, and I have to admit you're not half bad at finger style. Anyways what I concluded from watching the video, and don't take this personally. I'm just giving a little constructive criticism. Just from watching your picking technique I can see that you understand the basic mechanics a little. You're picking from your wrist which is good, but from what I've seen you don't really angle the pick you let it lie down flat especially with the down picks. Your up picks are a little bit angled, and I have no idea if you're doing it intentionally, but when picking if you want to be more relaxed, and have to think less about it.

Learn to angle the pick consciously a lot of people tend to angle their alternative picking at a 90 degree angle for both the down, and up picks. I tends to do my angle at a 30-45 degree angle. It's whatever works best for you, but if you learn how to angle the pick you'll slice through the strings with ease. I can recommend you some picking exercises to help you out with that.

I have an old thread that I can post, and you can read through it which has a lot of videos explaining this. Also I could hear a little bit of fret buzz when forming a chord, and while strumming. Try to fret the chords a little bit harder when making the chord formations to stop this from happening. Hold the chords down hard, but not too hard. Your guitar action for acoustic doesn't seem that high so it really shouldn't be a problem


Another thing is from what I've noticed from your strumming technique is you don't really seem to be relaxed. You seem really tense especially with the up strums, and it doesn't really seem like your strumming from your wrist that much. It's more that you're strumming from your elbow, and forearm more.


If you want I can yet again post another old thread with videos that explains how to strum more relaxed, and efficiently. It also includes exercises that can help you to train your strumming hand to be more relaxed, and articulate. Anyhow I can understand from your previous post in this thread about how it's hard for you to relax your fingers because you do seem really tense when you're playing.

Your finger style technique on the other hand seems very relaxed, and fluid which is the main reason why it sounded pretty decent to my ears. I see that you have more control over your finger picking technique than anything. Maybe you're just a more natural finger picker than using a pick? Anyways that doesn't really matter because you can train yourself if you practice the right things. By the way it also seems like you have a decent handling at the basics, but still the basic techniques need to be more refined if you want to make a decent amount of improvement.


I know from your previous post that you said you don't really care about going pro, and that you just want to reach an intermediate level. That goal can definitely be accomplished with the amount of time practicing as you said you only had 45 minutes- 60 minutes a day to practice.


My question to you is can you explain your goals in a more detailed manner? Where do you really want to go from here, and what styles are you mainly looking to play? Also can you explain to me your basic practice schedule; Listing the exercises that you use because that ladder exercise just seems like a basic 1,4 pattern ascending, and descending up the strings to me.

I can also see that you understand how to use a metronome, and the process of slowing down to get things right, but it's just that you have a minimal amount of bad habits from what I've seen from the video which can be easily fixed with the right methods.


Just found the thread about alternative picking. Anon, and I lay down some pretty decent tips about picking.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1658082
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 21, 2015,
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