#1
Pretty much as the title says. Lets say I wanted to play something like, and this is totally hypothetical *cough*, the solo to Domination by Pantera.

I am very aware that this solo is WAY too fast and difficult for me to play completely up to speed. But is there any benefit to practicing this solo at all?

I'm obviously not talking about practicing As I am by Dream Theater ( though I have been listening to tons of that lately) but it still is pretty tough. Thanks in advance.

TL;DR Help me justify practicing a solo that's too hard for me.
#4
Quote by Tony Done
yes, challenging yourself is how you improve.


agree. as long as you understand that it will be a challenge and there is great potential for frustration then you are good to go.
#5
I'd say don't concentrate heavily on songs that are beyond your level of ability, but do tinker with them some.

Concentrate more on songs a little above your ability, those will be a reasonable goal to reach for, and your ability will improve as you get them closer to completion. Meanwhile, still work a little with things that are out of your reach, but don't obsess about them.

In other words, don't set unreachable goals. In time you may (or may not) be able to play like Eric Johnson. But in the very near future, forget it.

Learning songs for the band I'm in I just learn whatever is on our current list, regardless of difficulty. If it's going to be a tough one, we know it and give it some time but we still try it now and then at practice. We don't spend a lot of time on those, but we do try them at least once every practice. The ones that are easily within our reach we'll go over for about 20 minutes or so then move on to something else, then usually come back to that one later on and try it a couple more times. We never give up on a really tough song to put together, but we don't spend the majority of our practice time on it either.

We've put together some good ones that we can now play onstage...3 guys, and we can do

Black Water - Doobie Brothers
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
New Kid in Town - Eagles
Another Park Another Sunday - Doobie Brothers
Rocking Down the Highway - Doobie Brothers

And several others that were not easy to put together. In some cases the toughest part was my lead work. We can get the basics of a song down but the lead gives me lots of trouble if I think it has to be the same as on the original recording. So I'll work on it at home and we'll keep playing it at practice, but we won't try it onstage until I get my part ready. In those cases, even if it's something that really gives me trouble, I'll put it at first priority when I practice at home. Then again I'm not your average teenager just learning, I've done this for 50 years...I'm not afraid to tackle some really tough songs. I have one now that is going to give me fits...and I gotta get off my ass and start working on it, the rest of the song is almost ready so it's waiting on little ol me...

We've also done some we can't play onstage, multitracking for recording, for fun, is possible but there's just no way we can do everything ewe need to do onstage. The Doobie Brothers "South City Midnight Lady" is one of those. (yeah we're big Doobies fans) We can and have recorded it, but it's just too much for 3 musicians to put together onstage, and we've tried. And we would LOVE to be able to do that one...We can do the Eagles "Life in the Fast Lane", but our singer on that one is not happy with his vocals so we took it off the list. Previously we have started on things like Styx "Renegade", Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls", several others that would take us a lot of work to do, and may one day go ahead and finish them...

So never be afraid to tackle tough songs, but don't obsess over it if you can' get it down right away. It took us over 2 months to put "Black Water" together, the vocals were the hold up. We had to sit there with just one acoustic guitar and figure out who would be adding certain parts, in some cases just doing part of one line then switching to another while the other guys keep the original line going...and every practice we would work on it again until we finally got it put together. Then we have to remember all those switches...we even put together "Ukiah" and "The Captain and Me" and I have to switch from electric to acoustic while they continue the last part of the vocals, then they fade out of Ukiah and I fade into Captain and Me. We played it last night...it's been on the play list for a year now.

You can do it. You may have to work a lot, and concentrate on less challenging projects in the meantime, but it can be done.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Oct 4, 2015,
#6
I'll say it real short and simple - Challenge yourself, but don't challenge yourself with the impossible

What I mean is recognize something that is actually possible with lots and lots and lots of practice, but not something that you simply can't do. There are things you will be able to practice and EVENTUALLY you will get there, but some things you simply aren't ready for, and no matter how much you practice you will not be able to play it.

Over time the impossible will eventually become a challenge. Appreciate the impossible for what it is and recognize that one day it will become a challenge.
#7
I'd say that you don't always know in advance whether a song is really out of reach or not, unless you have a lot of experience, and then you probably don't need to ask that question.

Something may seem out of reach because it's very fast, but a few weeks of slow work, or clever use of legato / economy picking could help make it easier to play.

Something may seem easy but in fact require unnatural finger positions, which you have to get used to slowly in order to avoid hand injury.

And so on. So go for it, you may be pleasantly surprised, as long as you're patient. And every once in a while, go back to something easy to get an idea of how far you've progressed since last time.
Guitars: Music Man JP7 2009 (piezo) and JP6 2013, Fender Stratocaster US 1991
#8
It's important to be able to differentiate between a challenge, and something that's an unrealistic goal. Beyond a certain point you can end up doing little more than spinning your wheels and that's no use to you - you can end up putting in a hell of a lot of effort for little or no actual progress.

Simply listening to a song can actually be a pretty good gauge of your chances of learning it - if you can pick out all the notes and hear all the parts then you'll probably be able to learn it. It might be challenging technically but it should be a worthwhile challenge. Likewise look at the tab, if any bits jump out at you and make you think "shit, that looks complicated" then that probably holds true and you'll struggle to play it. On the other side if you look at it and think "yeah, that doesn't look too bad" it most likely won't be out of your reach.
Actually called Mark!

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#9
So basically go for it, just keep in mind that it will be very or maybe even impossible. Seems simple enough, thanks guys!

Quote by vayne92
I'll say it real short and simple - Challenge yourself, but don't challenge yourself with the impossible

What I mean is recognize something that is actually possible with lots and lots and lots of practice, but not something that you simply can't do. There are things you will be able to practice and EVENTUALLY you will get there, but some things you simply aren't ready for, and no matter how much you practice you will not be able to play it.

Over time the impossible will eventually become a challenge. Appreciate the impossible for what it is and recognize that one day it will become a challenge.

That is pretty quotable. It just occasionally becomes difficult to know exactly what my limits are. Thanks.

Quote by Yuka66
I'd say that you don't always know in advance whether a song is really out of reach or not, unless you have a lot of experience, and then you probably don't need to ask that question.

Something may seem out of reach because it's very fast, but a few weeks of slow work, or clever use of legato / economy picking could help make it easier to play.

Something may seem easy but in fact require unnatural finger positions, which you have to get used to slowly in order to avoid hand injury.

And so on. So go for it, you may be pleasantly surprised, as long as you're patient. And every once in a while, go back to something easy to get an idea of how far you've progressed since last time.

Yeah, I'm just gonna go for it. If It's too hard then I'll just try it at another point in time. Thanks.

Quote by steven seagull
It's important to be able to differentiate between a challenge, and something that's an unrealistic goal. Beyond a certain point you can end up doing little more than spinning your wheels and that's no use to you - you can end up putting in a hell of a lot of effort for little or no actual progress.

Simply listening to a song can actually be a pretty good gauge of your chances of learning it - if you can pick out all the notes and hear all the parts then you'll probably be able to learn it. It might be challenging technically but it should be a worthwhile challenge. Likewise look at the tab, if any bits jump out at you and make you think "shit, that looks complicated" then that probably holds true and you'll struggle to play it. On the other side if you look at it and think "yeah, that doesn't look too bad" it most likely won't be out of your reach.


I don't think any parts of the solo look really complicated or anything, it's just played at ridiculous speeds. I'm 100% confident in my ability to play the solo, just not up to speed.

In particular the part titled "The Insanely Fast Part" in this tab: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/pantera/domination_solo_tab.htm

It's a pretty simple part, just played at ludicrous speeds. Any advice on playing it would be appreciated, though I suspect it's just one of those "Git Gud" situations.

Thanks for the advice.
Last edited by Cheeseshark at Oct 6, 2015,
#10
I've always been a sucker for improving by learning songs alone, with little amounts of exercises thrown in.

Learn songs that are kind of out of reach. Learning something way out of reach will mean you'll be stuck on the song for a long time, so you'll get burnt out and frustrated. You won't even get the satisfaction of playing along to the record; it'll just be your favourite song slowed down to a painful speed. By the end of it all you'll hate the song.

On the other hand, if you just learned songs according to a more reasonable curve, your repertoire will expand, you'll become more musical and not have a very uneven skillset where your picking is faster than it should for your experience and amount of practice, but everything else is just mediocre.

Edit: I do want to note there's no harm in trying. Just don't keep using a needle to demolish a building.
#11
"Ah...but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?"

Absolutely you should try playing things beyond your grasp. When I took up guitar I sounded like shit, but slowly improved. I reached a point where I sounded "okay" to people who didn't know shit about guitar, but guitar players would look at me like I had snakes coming out of my ears. I'd say I was about on par with the Singing Nun or one of those campfire strummers you see in the old horror movies. A few months ago I decided I'd try to buckle down and learn to fingerpick PROPERLY (on my own, hehe). Psyched myself out on some great acoustic music and started learning a Dylan song beyond my capabilities. I still can't play the song perfectly..but I CAN play the song now (Pretty well, if I do say so myself) and sing to it. I can do that song at it's normal pace as well. But in the course of learning that song I picked up some things I'd never learned before. My ear has improved dramatically, largely thanks to my obsession with the song. My picking has gotten much more solid and my alternating bass lines are strong. Thanks to improving my ear I've begun improvising (and now...the Pentatonic Scale is proving to be useful!). I've written a practice tune I called "The A Minor Song", and I'm doing variants of popular songs that sound (I like to think) "Fahey-ish". Conceit, yes, but I can dream

Learning that song made me a far better guitar player, but I suggest that is because there was so much room for improvement.
#12
Heck no! That's how my already messed up shoulder got worse. Trying to play Animals (Maroon 5) on a guitar that was the totally wrong size for me.