#1
Hey everyone.

So this isn't really a gear related question but more about practicing habits, learning etc. Recently I've been caught up in a lot of stuff but when I do find the time to play I find myself playing the same songs over and over. I feel like I'm going nowhere as an "intermediate" guitarist. My growth from beginner to intermediate-beginner was exponential, but now it feels like I'm going nowhere and learning nothing. So please help? And suggest songs that I could learn etc?

Thanks

-Eragon
#2
Beginner to intermediate is alright because you only really have to get a general feel for the guitar and you can get there through repeated practice. Mastery, or at least awesomeness, needs a whole bunch of hard work and dedication. You need to constantly find things to challenge yourself with and then use those things as stepping stones. I'm trying it and it can be a bit heart crushing but you just gotta get through it I guess. You'll always have moments where you get block or doubt your ability, that's just natural.
The quest for your perfect gear is like being under the surface of a huge, overpowering lake. When you've nearly swam to the light on the surface it shoots far out of your sight again. Still, I'll enjoy the swim. What'd I do if I reached the top?
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Dec 18, 2015,
#3
First of all, the bad news. Every guitarist has their limitations. It is possible that you've reached yours.

However, the good news is that it is probably not the case. After all, by your own description, it sounds like you're having difficulty just getting practice time in. That in and of itself will slow your development.

While it is always a good idea in structured practice sessions to do certain exercises like arpeggios and picking pattern variations, you don't need to do ALL of them EVERY session or in the same order every time. Pick and choose. Throw yourself curveballs by randomizing them: put your exercises on a sheet and roll dice; put them on flash cards and draw them out of a bag.

But then go about trying new stuff. ANYTHING new will be a challenge to your mind and skills, even if only briefly.

Try new musical genres. I don't particularly dig country, but I did learn a couple of tunes by Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash...and grew to like playing them.

Try new tunings. I currently play in Standard and NST, but I'm considering DADGAD, and will probably try Open G if I try to learn slide. This also works if you try to relearn songs you already know in those other tunings.

Try learning a song back to front...or even turn your sheet music upside down. Pianist/comedian extraordinaire Victor Borge used to do the upside down thing in his act. He'd play for a while, then- "realizing his error"- would apologize, flip the music to the correct orientation, and start playing correctly.

Try playing songs in different time signatures. By that, I mean try playing a song you know in an unfamiliar beat. I know a jazz pianist who can play the song "Take Five" in its original 5/4, but also in 3/4, 4/4, 6/4 and 7/4. Each variant completely changes the feel of the tune.

Try mimicking song parts written for other instruments or even for singers. One of Prince's touring guitarists was struggling with learning to play a piece in a way that made his boss happy. Prince told him to learn to play the part as if it were being sung by Billie Holiday.

Take a break. Advice usually given to writers, painters, and other creative types, this works for guitarists, too. Sometimes, you just need to recharge your batteries. When you come back to the process, you may find you have a different perspective, a fresh view, and you'll make progress again. So, go for a walk, see a movie, read a book, go camping. Just forget the guitar for a bit, and come back to it.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Dec 17, 2015,
#4
Take lessons if you have the money. Go to meetup and join a guitarist group, even if it's just dirty hippies playing bluegrass. If you have time get on Craigslist and start a band.

Also, try playing bass. Always gets me out of a rut.
Last edited by jpnyc at Dec 18, 2015,
#5
Quote by eragon1452
Hey everyone.

So this isn't really a gear related question but more about practicing habits, learning etc. Recently I've been caught up in a lot of stuff but when I do find the time to play I find myself playing the same songs over and over. I feel like I'm going nowhere as an "intermediate" guitarist. My growth from beginner to intermediate-beginner was exponential, but now it feels like I'm going nowhere and learning nothing. So please help? And suggest songs that I could learn etc?

Thanks

-Eragon


Hendrix - if you haven't gone there yet, go there. Little Wing, Axis Bold as Love, Castles Made of Sand - will take your rhythm playing to the next level.
#6
Try something new, like a different genre of music. As a Rock/Metal guitarist, for a while I found myself going to blues/jass/fusion as a way to expand my playing abilities, and after spending a couple of years doing that it helped tear down that block for me.