#1
I am in my third year of learning and I am finally starting to learn complete songs. I'm learning very slowly.
I want to get some advice about how to handle the last ten percent of learning a song. The particular song is Everlong - Foo Fighters - and I can mash my way through the whole thing but I don't play it clean yet. I am confident that I could still improve, but I wonder if it would be more efficient to use my time learning something else?

It seems to me that any reasonably competent player would be able to nail an easy song like Everlong, but for me it might take days or weeks. And what would be the purpose? I'm not preparing for a performance.

But it also seems that there'd be at least some value in working on learning to play clean. Playing clean is also a skill to be learned is it not?

So what's the better use of my time? Learn new techniques with a new song, or attempt to perfect the techniques that I just learned?
I'm leaning toward a mix, but not an even mix. Mostly toward learning new stuff.
#2
Quote by paul.housley.7
I am in my third year of learning and I am finally starting to learn complete songs. I'm learning very slowly.
I want to get some advice about how to handle the last ten percent of learning a song. The particular song is Everlong - Foo Fighters - and I can mash my way through the whole thing but I don't play it clean yet. I am confident that I could still improve, but I wonder if it would be more efficient to use my time learning something else?

It seems to me that any reasonably competent player would be able to nail an easy song like Everlong, but for me it might take days or weeks. And what would be the purpose? I'm not preparing for a performance.

But it also seems that there'd be at least some value in working on learning to play clean. Playing clean is also a skill to be learned is it not?

So what's the better use of my time? Learn new techniques with a new song, or attempt to perfect the techniques that I just learned?
I'm leaning toward a mix, but not an even mix. Mostly toward learning new stuff.


what you need to do is to work on your actual guitar playing skills. it's never about one song. when you possess the skills needed you can play the song. sounds like you have a bit more than 10% to go on this. examine what exactly is giving you problems and determine what techniques are used. improve those and the song will come easier to you. nailing songs even ones that are perceived as "easy" isn't always as simple as it looks on paper. keep in mind that there are things about that song that made you want to learn it. chances are it's not as easy as you think.
#3
Set this one on the back burner for a while and dig into something new. Sometimes just a little time makes things click better. I like having several songs on my plate at once and work through them in bits and pieces. I put them together once I have all the parts down.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#4
Yes, 10% is probably optimistic. I don't suppose that percentages are the proper way to evaluate expertise, eh?

But yeah, I think I asked it awkwardly but I guess I'm aware that I still don't really know how to play guitar. Slopping my way through a song or two isn't the same as knowing how to play, is it?

Does grinding and trying to perfect Everlong teach me more about playing guitar, or does it just improve a selection of.song-specific techniques?
#5
Quote by paul.housley.7
Yes, 10% is probably optimistic. I don't suppose that percentages are the proper way to evaluate expertise, eh?

But yeah, I think I asked it awkwardly but I guess I'm aware that I still don't really know how to play guitar. Slopping my way through a song or two isn't the same as knowing how to play, is it?

Does grinding and trying to perfect Everlong teach me more about playing guitar, or does it just improve a selection of.song-specific techniques?

It lets you fine tune the techniques, but I think the bigger takeaway is the discipline you get from doing this.

I suggest learning other songs, work on other techniques, then come back and (almost certainly) find out that you can play it easily now.

You don't improve only double picking when you practice it. It bleeds into your other techniques like alternate picking, general hand synchronization, etc.
Last edited by triface at Jul 26, 2015,
#6
I tried to learn eruption when I had been playing for 3 years. Obviously, that was very optimistic, and I was stumped almost instantly. There's a pinch harmonic in the first few seconds, and I had no idea what that was (the tab indicated the pinch harmonic). So I googled it. Spent the next few weeks really nailing it. I was kinda procrastinating going back to eruption, so I decided to learn another technique. Alternate picking. I read somewhere that it's a necessity for shredders, so I learnt it. Spent a good few months learning, and getting my fretting hand faster. Then I learnt tapping. I spent 2 years picking up techniques, and in this time I learnt no songs. When I finally remembered I was trying eruption, I went back to it, got the tab, and nailed it. Killed it. I tuned down, played the song, played the tapping solo. Learnt it all in a week, which was how long it took me to nail a nirvana song before all that practice. I could also suddenly play my favourite metallica, judas priest and Guns n roses solos. What I guess I'm trying to say is, ditch the song for 2 years and go on a technical learning rampage. Also, being overly optimistic can be good. Unless you're playing live.
#7
I spent 30 minutes investigating this mystery of "pinch harmonics" - got nowhere with it.

But I think I understand what you guys are saying. I appreciate the advice.
#8
Quote by paul.housley.7
I spent 30 minutes investigating this mystery of "pinch harmonics" - got nowhere with it.

But I think I understand what you guys are saying. I appreciate the advice.


Pinch harmonics are one of those techniques you just have to practice over and over and over and fail all the time. Occasionally you'll hit a harmonic though, and then you try and figure out what you did differently that time, then fail 100 more times, then hit another, then keep failing some more. As discouraging as it is initially, you do in fact make progress.
#9
do you tend to practice lazily?
i practiced lazy quite a lot but found a big difference when i took the guitar outside the other day, stood up and put a lot of energy into what i was doing
its gonna take a newbie a lot of energy to be able to do what an expert will appear to do effortlessly, so you need to make sure you're employing the necessary energy to make your playing effective
i found that pressing the notes harder (or should i say with more energy and determination) helped a lot, since i was used to pressing them far too casually. i practiced almost always with my amp off and with a focus on finger speed/muscle memory rather than getting a clear sound. since the amp was off i didnt really notice just how bad it sounded until i turned the amp on

- total newb who can't play a single song fyi
#10
I have an attention problem, so most of the time I'm struggling to keep my mind properly focused. I can keep it on the task, but I often find myself thinking back to the chord that I just played - and didn't quite play cleanly.
I know that I sound best when I'm thinking a few seconds ahead and playing relaxed. I've got videos of myself that prove that.

But I don't have a clue what you mean when you say "play with energy".
#11
Quote by paul.housley.7
I have an attention problem, so most of the time I'm struggling to keep my mind properly focused. I can keep it on the task, but I often find myself thinking back to the chord that I just played - and didn't quite play cleanly.
I know that I sound best when I'm thinking a few seconds ahead and playing relaxed. I've got videos of myself that prove that.

But I don't have a clue what you mean when you say "play with energy".


if you can't stay focused then that is what you need to work on. dude guitar playing has a great deal to do with discipline and it is work make no mistake on that. there is no short cuts or "easy" way to really learn to play. you also can't expect to learn and nail a song immediately either. it may take you months to get it down (provided you have the skil to play it to begin with). although tabs are a great thing they can only show you what notes to play and where on the neck to do so. the skill needed to pull it off has to come from you. only way to get those skills is to practice and try to stay focused. start simple and work your way up. although an actual easy song may not be exciting it will give you some success which counts for more in the long run. i learned nirvana's Smells Like Teen spirit in about a half hour a few years back so i could play in a school talent show backing a neighbors kid who sang. i had the skills needed to play the song without really having to think about it. the song itself is not an awesome showcase for guitar but so what. just sayin
#12
I work on focus all the time. I would trade all of my guitars and never pick up an instrument again if someone ever convinced me it would help me to improve my focus. Focusing is my #1 hobby. But yeah, I still suck at it.