#1
I would say I'm an intermediate level. I'm able to play solos such as Corazon Espinado from Santana. Hotel California and a few licks from Steve Vai, at a slower speed, of course. I have lost my will to practice, it may be because I haven't seen any real improvements in these past 3 years, barely nothing. I don't have that desire of being a shredder or an amazing guitar player anymore. I used to have it when I was younger, but the daily grind get in the way and I have now other desires, obligations, priorities, than spending hours on the guitar chasing a dream that may NEVER come.

I don't know what is happening. These past 2 years, I have been practicing 3 to 5 hours a day, and I have nothing to show it. Yes, I have improved, but for 2 years, it is truly nothing. At this rate, I will reach a good guitar level by the time I'm 50 years old, if that.

I suppose I simply don't have the talent for it. It is almost as if I have reached a wall and my improvement has slowed down to a halt. I don't know what else to do. I try to practice as much a I can. I have no idea how these people on youtube get to those amazing guitar levels. How do they do it? Did they abandon life and dedicate themselves 100% to the guitar? Worst of all, they never go into detail about what they did. I bet you they don't even know.

Problem is you can only keep doing something for so long, before you give up or you just keep doing it to maintain whatever you have. It is very similar to lifting weights and pursuing big muscles, if you don't have the genetics for it, or the right hormonal makeup, yes, you may see some results, but sooner or later, you will get frustrated from the lack of good results, especially when you see how others get bigger and look better than you do. Ultimately, you may jump on steroids or not.
Last edited by Hatachi at Sep 14, 2016,
#3
It's not just amount of practice, it's quality of practice. Do you record/analyse your playing and work on specific areas? Do you just play through the above solos the same way again and again? Are you able to critique yourself?
I'd suggest getting some lessons for a while. At the very least they would should you how and what to practice and how to critique your playing.
#4
I suppose the way I practice must simply suck, because I have seen very little improvement. Practicing seems like such a pain in the ass to me, I know it is required but I'm lazy when it comes to practicing. I get bored quite easily. It may also be because I don't have confidence in my abilities. I doubt myself. I'm always wondering, what if I practice my ass off and have nothing to show for it?

I have a negative attitude and way of thinking. It may be because my upbringing and past experiences.

I finally realized that to reach those flawless levels you see on the best amateur guitar players on youtube, you basically need to dedicate your whole life to it. There is no other way around it. How come they managed to get to that level, while the rest of thousands do not? It could be that they are more talented, but they have also done what others have not.

I want to play amazing, but I don't want to work for it, especially, since I will never make any money out of it. It is just a hobby and a goal of mine, a desire that I have, but if I don't achieve it, nothing will happen, life will continue. I simply don't have the motivation or strong desire. I don't want it bad enough, thus, I don't feel like practicing anymore.

It doesn't help the fact that you see how others are so much better than you are. It basically just kills your motivation. Youtube has done more bad than good for many instrumental players, because it only caters to the real good ones, everyone else, is simply ignored.
Last edited by Hatachi at Sep 14, 2016,
#5
Guitar is not for everybody. Some small percentage will develop into monster-chops Guthrie Govan types and the rest of us will be somewhere else on the mountain. "Technically amazing" is all the rage on youtube right now but rarely interests people other than guitar nerds like us. "Make interesting music, and say something with your music" has much broader appeal and doesn't require you to play like Steve Vai or GG. Just being competent on your instrument and communicate with your listeners brings it's own reward. If you want it, take some lessons and re-focus your efforts by practicing different stuff that interests you. If you don't want it, put the guitar down and pick up golf. Life is too short to torture yourself over something you don't really want.

Over the years I have put the guitar down several times, sometimes for years. I always came back so I guess I want it.
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Sep 15, 2016,
#6
Quote by Hatachi

I want to play amazing, but I don't want to work for it,


You kind of answer your own question right there...

I don't care who you are, if you are putting in 3-5 hours a day practising the guitar over the course of years you will get good! But you must have structure and patience or there is no point (unless you just wanna play for fun to while away some time). Get some lessons and discipline in place and those hours you put in will come to fruition I'm sure. Keep at it!
#7
You most likely have made a lot of progress. You just haven't noticed it. Why not record yourself and you will also notice your progress?

Also, remember that you are your own worst critic. You will notice mistakes that other people may not notice or don't care about.

Do you play with other people or do you just play alone in your bedroom? If you don't play with other people, you should start doing that. That's the best way of actually applying your skills. It also gives you a better picture of how good you really are as a musician and it will also improve your musicianship a lot.

Talent is BS, at least in a way. Even the most talented people had to practice a lot to become what they are. Anybody can learn to play the guitar. Most people don't have the patience to "master" the instrument, but I would say most people can become quite good at playing the guitar. Also, to learn technique, you just need to play a lot of technical exercises and that's it. I wouldn't suggest focusing too much on technique. It's not all there is to playing an instrument. Of course technique is important. Remember to play actual music and don't treat everything as a technical exercise.


If you want to take your playing to the next level, start taking lessons.

Also, maybe you have "grown out" of shredding. Maybe you will find some other styles more interesting and maybe that will inspire you to learn new things. I wouldn't only focus on playing fast solos. There's so much more to music than just playing fast solos.
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#8
Technique building exercises are boring. You'll need them if you wanna be amazing, but I actually think for most of us who just want to have fun, the best way to improve is through learning music*. Pick something that is above your skill level and start leaning it. It will force you to improve your technique, and when you have finally learnt it and can play it you will know you have improved. And it's also fun, unlike boring repetitive technique exercises.

I sometimes get into ruts where I'm playing the stuff I already know over and over and sort of hoping I will improve. When I sit down and actually learn something new, that's above my playing level, then I find myself having more fun and seeing more progress. Gotta do what works for you.

*I'm not saying ignore technique here. You will probably find yourself doing them within the context of the song you are learning.
Last edited by gweddle.nz at Sep 18, 2016,
#9
Sometimes we practice stuff which is way above our ability level. There's nothing wrong with that, devoted work will eventually get our skill level up to the point where we can play those songs, but sometime that devoted work gets a bit too much like, well...work. Then it's nice to focus on songs that are within our skill level, and enjoy perfecting the little nuances etc.

That makes it more like fun than work.
#11
Quote by copperwreck
I must say that this thread is full of good advice (and surprising amounts of insight from OP). While I dislike the concept of sticky-threads, most of the "trying to get better" guitarists here would probably benefit from reading it.


I've come to learn that guitar is a cumulative instrument. The more you learn, the better everything you did before will sound. So if you just keep practicing the same stuff your progress slows massively. Need to keep it varied.
#12
Quote by copperwreck
I must say that this thread is full of good advice (and surprising amounts of insight from OP). While I dislike the concept of sticky-threads, most of the "trying to get better" guitarists here would probably benefit from reading it.


I was thinking the same exact thing! great advice here..

If I can offer more - you sound burnt out and I would really recommend just putting it down for a while and finding something else to do with those 3-5 hours a day. Do you have a spouse/significant other? I'm sure they'd like to see you more if you have really been practicing that much. You need to have time to rediscover the joy of playing as you seem to have lost it.

As someone noted, I have put the guitar down over the years as well, but I always come back (this time I came back and decided to take up electric guitar as I was always an acoustic player and it has opened up a entire new world to me). You need that kind of rebirth! (this is getting too philosophical!)

If you just can't put the guitar down - the best thing you can do IMO is get in a band or at least start to play with others. It WILL make you a better player, hands down.

Oh and you also kind of sound depressed, please seek some professional help if you have feelings like this in other aspects of your life..
#13
Do you have defined goals?
Do you have a regular practice routine?
How often do you practice?
What specific things do you work on when you practice?

A lot of people say "practice" when they really mean "watching TV" or jamming over youtube videos.

Improvement can be really difficult if you aren't working towards something specific. It's also going to happen very slowly if you're not consistent. And don't forget that there are a lot musical skills to be good at besides playing fast solos. Maybe you'd benefit from pursuing skills that you haven't focused on before.

It sounds like you vented a little here, which can help you work through negativity, but it also takes an intentionally positive attitude to keep improving. Being good at music isn't easy for anyone.
#14
I started taking lessons after 15 years of playing. All I can say is I wish I would have done this sooner and stuck with it. I tried a few times but felt a lot like the OP. I just didn't want to put the work in.

Now that I have a structured lesson plan every day, my skills have sky rocketed. I do my lessons for about an hour a day 4-5 days a week or more. I do YouTube noodling with whatever scales I'm currently working on about 10 hours a week. All I can say is wow, it's amazing how much I've grown in such a short time. Sure it I had a lot of knowledge prior to the lessons but this really cleaned up my playing and helped me curve my bad habits. I'm playing leads and solos I had only ever dreamed of prior to getting help.

You have to have the passion though, if its not there then find something else that gives you that kind of passion.
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#15
What I would add, given that we're all posting some very useful, structural advise here, is something different - if I can manage to word it properly.

I'll give you my perspective, which is that I get the impression you fall in one of (the many) several categories of musicians, and I shall describe it as the 'not good enough' type, where another other would be 'good' (the one that eventually stops making progress), or the 'I can do better' (similar to the 'not good enough', but used as a motivational urge rather than a depressant), there are a few more but we'll stick to these for now.

As I see it, there are many reasons to play an instrument, make music, or do anything at all. Some enjoy the results, some enjoy the path, the discovery, or just the idea that they're doing something not entirely useless with their lives. Personally, I truly sincerely enjoy practicing. Watching fingers on a guitar, even just playing one single note over and over again. Even if I know it'll never be perfect, I enjoy doing it. This is not the case for everyone, of course, and it doesn't need to be.

But knowing what part of making music or playing your chosen instrument is enjoyable to you helps a lot.

As for the various kinds of musicians, these are all archetypes, and many of us fall into several at least. Most of it simply comes down to our personalities entirely. Do you do things for success, for enjoyment, personal gain or charity? Are you critical of your own work, that of others, do you tend to look for what can be improved or instead appreciate those parts that are done very well?

A crude comparison would be how disorders are (to my unqualified knowledge) rated. Being that one isn't given a certain 'disorder-stamp' and accompanying treatment unless the habits are something that actively hamper your functioning in society. 'Are you happy?' is quite literally what is being used as a rating system. And it is not so bad an idea to use a similar tactic to analyzing your feelings when, and about your playing.

So ask yourself these things. How do you look at your music? Critical? Satisfactory? Do you see room for improvement, do you experience improvement, and how do you feel about it? I have met more than a handful of depressed musicians, for whom their own music and playing simply was never 'good enough'. Or at least not good enough to make them happy. If your experience does not please you, change it. I have also seen countless musicians that I'd wish would grow a pair of ears, and be more critical of themselves, because it was god-awful to have to listen to them perform. There are only a very small few that are confident in their abilities, yet critical enough to know how and where to improve, while always having fun at the same time. We're still human after all (most of us anyway), and that means we move about. You don't need to do perfect, you don't even need to do good, or bad. You just need to do what is right, and that means you have to know yourself. If that takes a few bruises, mentally, so be it. But don't fear it.

That is all I have. Some people function on obsessions, some on discipline and rigid planning. Some people enjoy practice, some only care about the results and just wish to 'get the work done and over with'. While it does not matter which of these you fall into. It's good to analyze yourself and figure it out, so that you can learn how to enjoy your experience while you're having it.

Good luck
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#16
Get a good teacher.
Start jamming with friends or join some band.

Also, maybe you will find some different style that would be easier for you to play? I've always wanted to be a shredder and playing solos etc. but never could really play it and I was stuck in one place, unable to make a progress (except I did, I just didn't noticed it). Then I've started to play classical pieces for solo guitar and boom. That's the style I'm good at and I love it. Now I'm slowly making a progress.

Also remember that even when something sound like shit at the beginning, with some care and practice it will eventually get better. You just need to clench your teeth and endure the worst part.
#17
Stop Focusing on the goal and just enjoy the journey.Sounds like you're burning yourself out and that is a quick route to giving up.
#18
You need to play with other people who are better than you. It's the only way to push musicians to new levels once you reach that plateau.
#19
this really depends on your definition of "improve" but here's my take.

most people pick up guitar because they just want to play their favorite songs, but at some point you have to buck up and treat it with some of the same attitude you would any other study. learn scales, scale patterns, arpeggios, chord shapes, and how you can use all of those things in a jam or a song in the key of A. analyze the mechanical aspects of your technique with actual thought and not just "how are other people doing it", but also "why are other people doing it that way". you could easily come up with more examples of these things that you likely have been too lazy to think about during your "practicing". honestly, i think the biggest obstacle to improvement in a lot of people is to forget that you won't get better without using the brain.

your innate enthusiasm will only get you so far. you have to feed it from time to time by putting in some work. maybe you need some external motivation like finding people to jam with, or getting some gear/software that will allow you to put together your own songs.
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#22
Quote by Sayonara6String
dragonflyer That looks right up my alley. Just bough it. Thanks for the rec.

nice1, sure is an amazing little book, that. I find myself keep going back to it, randomly reading the odd chapter and there's always a gem I didn't quite get the last time, its been a tremendous guide for the mental journey that learning an instrument is. Beginner, intermediate, or pro rock star, there's so much there for everyone.
#23
Well, excuse any english error, It aint my native language.
Warning: this is my point of view, it might be crappy and might not work for you, I wont take responsibility for any deaths or divorces

I think a goal is necessary, not the kind for example. "My goal is to sweep like no broom as ever before, or time to learn flight of the bumblebee at 1999bpm" But rather strive to work on something that actually affects your whole musician life. e.g: Writting Music, Band, getting job as Music Teacher, try applying for some studio freelancing job, etc. etc

I think you will find it "easier" for the lack of better word, having to work on chops for a real life situation vs Working on your chops untill day X, if you got it, great, if you didnt, meh.

Technique Wise

I was watching something. Think it was one of those science documentaries on Discovery, not sure.
There was this scene where some dudes were playing mini-golf and talking how is easier to break the course in X parts comparatively to hit the hole with one swing. I think they were trying to make an analogy with some atoms stuff. To be fair can't recall.

So, I kinda got inspired by this random idea and try to apply on guitar.
Rather than focus in the Macro playing. Macro being the metronome running and just throwing chops at it and trying to improve. (aka hitting the hole with one full swing)
I would go to the Micro first.
Micro being the division of the golf course in X parts, dividing the licks in to X parts.
E.g: Motion: trying to eliminate any extra motion in lick, for both hands. (Regardless if you alternative, economic, downpicking etc.etc)
Tension: I used to hold the pick with way too much tension!, But in resume, work on your release. when you fretting e.g 7-8-10, make sure your finger that was on 7 isn't applying pressure or tense when you are fretting the 8 note. Cumulative tension will hit you.
I used to have the worse posture on guitar and quite the sympathetic tension going on. Using a guitar foot stool helped quite a bit. Specially with the pain I had on the back of my neck after playing a while.
Be honest and critical with your playing.
Consistency; Is WAY more important practing 1 hour every day full focus, than 2 hours everyday where you are just noodling and youtubing around.
Instead of learning hot licks, learn songs. Like instead of learning a Petrucci lick, learn a Dream Theater song.

If you want to be a shredder and think Malmsteen is a duty you must accomplishment, even though u dont like. Well F*ck that. Learn what you acutally enjoy and makes you happy with yourself and your guitar playing.

Sorry if I made this hard to understand. :p
#24
Quote by Hatachi
I would say I'm an intermediate level. I'm able to play solos such as Corazon Espinado from Santana. Hotel California and a few licks from Steve Vai, at a slower speed, of course. I have lost my will to practice, it may be because I haven't seen any real improvements in these past 3 years, barely nothing. I don't have that desire of being a shredder or an amazing guitar player anymore. I used to have it when I was younger, but the daily grind get in the way and I have now other desires, obligations, priorities, than spending hours on the guitar chasing a dream that may NEVER come.

I don't know what is happening. These past 2 years, I have been practicing 3 to 5 hours a day, and I have nothing to show it. Yes, I have improved, but for 2 years, it is truly nothing. At this rate, I will reach a good guitar level by the time I'm 50 years old, if that.

I suppose I simply don't have the talent for it. It is almost as if I have reached a wall and my improvement has slowed down to a halt. I don't know what else to do. I try to practice as much a I can. I have no idea how these people on youtube get to those amazing guitar levels. How do they do it? Did they abandon life and dedicate themselves 100% to the guitar? Worst of all, they never go into detail about what they did. I bet you they don't even know.

Problem is you can only keep doing something for so long, before you give up or you just keep doing it to maintain whatever you have. It is very similar to lifting weights and pursuing big muscles, if you don't have the genetics for it, or the right hormonal makeup, yes, you may see some results, but sooner or later, you will get frustrated from the lack of good results, especially when you see how others get bigger and look better than you do. Ultimately, you may jump on steroids or not.



When I get like this I tune down to drop d & just mash strings. It makes me feel like a kid again. Guitar should be fun, it is not a competition.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
#25
You need to set goals one at the time and stick with it!

If the goal is not right it is the wrong one

You should learn what you get excited about and emotional then set that as a goal and do it.

That is all and it applies to life and the guitar too.

Once you get on your way the rest will by universal laws follow.

Also stay creative. Competition never makes one satisfied. Kids on youtube just do it early on. They are not programed by life and experience so it's more natural for them than adults.
#26
It's not always easy to see improvements, especially once you're past the initial burst of progress. You probably are improving, but perhaps you're using the wrong metrics to judge your progress - this is the kind of situation where a teacher can be really beneficial, if only for providing an objective point of view on your progress.
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#27
@Hatachi

I can feel it, because thats what happen to me.
In my opinion : Dont spend much time on something already know.
In my case this what i did:
- Learn theory
- Learn Blues which is i hate before, but now become my favourite genre. Couple fundamentals of electric guitar to learn here.

after 2 years, it boost me alot, i hope that inspire you.
Last edited by winlife7.dk at Oct 17, 2016,