#1
Yeah yeah, I know. You guys have already probably seen a million of these threads. But I've got admittedly somewhat of a unique situation, I guess one could say.

I started playing guitar in the 9th Grade. Nothing more than just a hobby really, but I had a pretty good ear, and a drive to learn new things on it. I never used a metronome, and had many other "bad habits." I also regrettably was never in a High School band. Now mind you, this was not my first experience with music - I began singing in chorus when I was in the 4th Grade, so I've always had some basic theory knowledge in me. I also used to sit down at an old organ that my grandparents had every time I went there and just kinda banged on the keys a bit.

As High School went on, my interest in music and guitar grew, and eventually I enrolled in a Music School. When I went there, I did an ensemble every semester - first was choral, then was classical guitar for a semester, then a few of jazz, and so on. My focus in school for Recording Engineering and Production, but as I progressed more through college, I found myself kinda leaning more and more towards the performance side of things and wanting to get into performance.

But now, here's the thing - my technique isn't all that great in my own eyes (then again, what musician has great technique in their own eyes), and by no means do I have what people would consider to be "fast playing" or to be "very technical" playing. Not because I can't, I guess, but more so because I haven't really applied myself at trying to develop those techniques.

So, my main question. After seeing TSO a couple of nights ago, I got inspired. I want to try and get my level of playing on guitar up to a highly advanced level. Right now, I'm 22 years old and I turn 23 in about 4 more months. Is it too late for me to develop a high speed on the guitar (say around 12-16 nps)? I would say that today for my first day of really applying myself to technique and sitting down with a metronome for a few hours, I didn't do too bad (started off at 35bpm 16th Notes and was able to get up to around 60bpm 16th notes relatively cleanly).

As far as making a career out of it, I keep battling myself as to whether that's too late or not - but I guess that my solace in that is due to people like Bill Withers that got a later start on their careers.
#2
No it's not too late. As you stated, you haven't applied yourself and therefore you aren't seeing results.

The above applies to both your speed and "making a career".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
Your situation is not all that unique. It's never too late, especially not for you.

Consider what improving your guitar speed will give you. It may not be worth your time if it is merely to impress yourself/others with pure speed, and I am aware you mentioned seeing a band playing music inspired you, just double checking.
Most of my grindcore inspiration comes from my hard drive.
#4
Many people have started playing the guitar a lot later than you and have turned out to be pretty good. It's all about how much effort you are willing to put in practicing solely technique. It's all about mechanical practicing. It can be boring, but if you have clear goals, I guess you will stay motivated.

I remember when I tried improving my speed. I got a bit bored of that (and I don't really play much guitar today) but for some time I did practice speed every day (for maybe like 10-15 minutes) and I could see a clear improvement. And I was 18-19 back then.

Technique is mechanical. It just requires you to repeat the same stuff over and over again. It requires patience. And of course if you make a mistake, you need to know how to correct that mistake. It's all about practicing at a speed where you can notice all your mistakes easily.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#5
22 or 23 is nothing in terms of age. Heck, I still refer to anyone under the age of 25 as a kid.

You clearly have the passion for music and for guitar as demonstrated by all that you've done through the years. The fact that you've been in a formal music study tells me you already have a significant advantage over the majority of guitar players your age that are self taught and have no clue about music theory or music in general like you would learn in an ensemble.

The question is, where do you want to go with this? Fast playing or shredding is only one dimension of guitar playing. Some people are very good at it, but many of those have developed that technique at the cost of other very importan skills such as finger picking, or melodic composition and phrasing, advanced time signature phrasing, or jazz colorations, etc. It seems to me that with your existing background you have the possibility of becoming a very well rounded guitarist which in today's world is pretty rare.

I wouldn't dismiss developing some high speed skills...it's just another tool in the toolbox for you. But if you're already drawn to performance I wouldn't let that stand in the way of getting into a band and performing. You'll learn far more in that environment than you will sitting in your room practicing. You can always find time to practice, but being in front of people with a group is where you learn skills you can't learn in the bedroom such as mixing with the other instruments, applying dynamics, interaction with the crowd, and so forth.

Maybe that's your next most valuable step to take in advancing your skills and passion.
#6
Of course not. I didn't start taking guitar seriously until college, and even for a while after that didn't take a very professional approach to it. Ten years on, I've got solid skills and play mostly in professional situations.

You've always got lots of room to grow as a musician. Your skill on the instrument comes down to time and effort. Your ability to do it as a living full time depends on your determination to do a lot of stuff that's not music.

The only caveat I'd say is that there is a certain level of musicianship that's probably unrealistic if you're starting in your 20s. If you want to be one of those freaks who can transcribe everything they hear instantly, play every style awesomely, sight read like it's their first language... that train usually leaves the station if you aren't playing by age 6. I think it's worth using limited time wisely and prioritizing what you want to do the most.
#7
"Starting late"???
You were in a choir in 4th grade;
You started guitar in 9th grade;
You've been to music school.

Jeez, you're a musician already!

I guess, for your goals, I guess it might be "too late" if you simply HAVE to be a world-class pro by the time you're - say - 24.
Otherwise - this is not the 1960s, when you were dead if you were over 25 (and over 21 was pushing it). No one much cares how old you are these days. (Unless maybe you want teenage fans.)

It's true that those who become real virtuosos tend to have started at age 8 or something, and played straight through. But your musical experience goes back to around that age, right? It doesn't really matter that you didn't take it too seriously - it gave you a good ear, which is an advantage over many. (I started at 16, with zero singing experience, no family music background, and a crap ear.)

All you need is to apply a little enthusiasm and self-belief to your already excellent grounding. (With your experience and knowledge, I would hope that you don't see a rate of nps as your prime goal.... That would be going backwards, IMO. Improve technique, yes, but don't think speed.)
#8
I don't know if this helps any, but I've only started guitar in the past 6 months and I'm 35 with a family. I haven't played anything besides the radio seriously since high school. What I have played prior was mostly brass instruments and a sax at a summer music camp.

Don't give up. One thing to realize is that you're not the next Slash or Jimmy Page, you're you, and you may not be a clone of them. I love Mark Tremonti, but there's no way I'm going to play like him.

Right now, I can't even play "Breaking the Law", which seems to be one of the easiest songs out there, but I'm not doing this for rock star status.I'm having a helluva fun time with this and if something goes beyond that, awesome! Don't forget why you wanted to play in the first place.
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#9
Within practical limitations you can be whatever kind of musician you want to be. You just have to want it and be willing to put in the time when lots of other distractions are pulling you other directions. Most great musicians are just really stubborn, focused, and determined.

I have been playing since age 11 and there were several years I left the guitar in the case and didn't touch it. Most would say I am an accomplished Musician but there are plenty of players out there doing stuff that I have no idea where it comes from and I am certain I will never play like them. No matter. I don't need to play like everybody else, just make the most of what I have. If people enjoy it, better still.
"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
#10
If you can physically handle playing than it is never too late.
Originally posted by Joshua Garcia
I just come here to dick around.
And maybe occasionally wave my dick around.


My D is major
#11
Quote by IvoryFrets
Yeah yeah, I know. You guys have already probably seen a million of these threads. But I've got admittedly somewhat of a unique situation, I guess one could say.

I started playing guitar in the 9th Grade. Nothing more than just a hobby really, but I had a pretty good ear, and a drive to learn new things on it. I never used a metronome, and had many other "bad habits." I also regrettably was never in a High School band. Now mind you, this was not my first experience with music - I began singing in chorus when I was in the 4th Grade, so I've always had some basic theory knowledge in me. I also used to sit down at an old organ that my grandparents had every time I went there and just kinda banged on the keys a bit.

As High School went on, my interest in music and guitar grew, and eventually I enrolled in a Music School. When I went there, I did an ensemble every semester - first was choral, then was classical guitar for a semester, then a few of jazz, and so on. My focus in school for Recording Engineering and Production, but as I progressed more through college, I found myself kinda leaning more and more towards the performance side of things and wanting to get into performance.

But now, here's the thing - my technique isn't all that great in my own eyes (then again, what musician has great technique in their own eyes), and by no means do I have what people would consider to be "fast playing" or to be "very technical" playing. Not because I can't, I guess, but more so because I haven't really applied myself at trying to develop those techniques.

So, my main question. After seeing TSO a couple of nights ago, I got inspired. I want to try and get my level of playing on guitar up to a highly advanced level. Right now, I'm 22 years old and I turn 23 in about 4 more months. Is it too late for me to develop a high speed on the guitar (say around 12-16 nps)? I would say that today for my first day of really applying myself to technique and sitting down with a metronome for a few hours, I didn't do too bad (started off at 35bpm 16th Notes and was able to get up to around 60bpm 16th notes relatively cleanly).

As far as making a career out of it, I keep battling myself as to whether that's too late or not - but I guess that my solace in that is due to people like Bill Withers that got a later start on their careers.


How good do you want to be, how soon do you want to be it, and how much time do you plan to dedicate to it?
#12
As the others have said you're nowhere near "too late" to develop speed (that would be like over 85). In my opinion, if you're fast enough to play the songs you want up to speed, you're fast enough (unless you're into shred or metal soloing). It's important to brush up on music theory but not get consumed by it. Developing good phrasing and slick rhythmic tendencies can get you a long way.

Keep at your passion and don't let others discourage you. Oh and Merry Christmas Eve/Happy Holidays! ...
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#13
As Three Days Grace was known for singing, ♪It's not too late. It's never too late♪ Just keep at it. You'll see it works out well...hopefully. I'll just say this: it took me all 9, almost 10 years of playing guitar to get fast enough for most songs attempted. Always had issues with picking, but never the finger patterns. Best of luck to you, and I apologize if this is a late reply
#14
It depends on your expectations. You'll never catch up to those who started shredding at age four, like Guthrie Govan, Julian Lage etc., but you can still be an amazing player if you practice enough.

The challenge as an adult is finding the time.
#15
Well, ya never know. There have been quite a few innovators that can catch up to the long timers, provided there's passion and ability. I understand your point, reverb, though
#16
I think a big thing is time. When you are younger it can be easier to spend a lot of time practicing as compared to when you're older. But also the way the bones solidify. I don't think it's necessary to start quite so young, but if you're fully grown and want to pickup guitar from scratch, then I think Guthrie would be well out of reach, even if you have a lot of practice time available. Guthrie really knows a large number of difficult techniques, so it's a lot of work to get to that level.

But he's really exceptional. A lot of jazz fusion guys, and guys like satriani really have a large library of theoretical knowledge and knowledge of scales and modes, ways they fit with particular chords and all that, which takes a lot of time also, and they are also skilled obviously.

But something like BB king, or most guitarists in music that most people listen to, is a different story I think, and depends more on the individual. BB king isn't BB king because of his technical prowess. It's just his phrasing and melodic ideas are great.