#1
With a decent regime, how many hours of practice to solve the following issues?
Sore finger tips
Aching fret hand
Lack of flexibility for long stretches
Slippy Pick grip
Sloppy srumming technique, particularly up stoke.
Right hand to eye co ordination cock ups , ie plucking the wrong string whilst your thinking how could this be?.

Bit of a ' how long is a piece of string question' but a guestimation will do.
#2
Quote by Elplater
With a decent regime, how many hours of practice to solve the following issues?
None of this is anything to do with length of time - more to do with quality of practice than quantity.
Quote by Elplater
Sore finger tips
Practice less. More sessions, but shorter ones. Play until it hurts. Then stop. Start again when you feel like it. And so on.
Quote by Elplater
Aching fret hand
Check your position is good. Otherwise, same advice as above.
Pain in the fingertips is standard for beginners, because it takes a while for the fingertip skin to toughen up. But overdoing it can cause blisters, which then have to heal, so you can't play while they are healing. Lost practice time!
Pain anywhere else is a sign of either bad position, or playing the same thing for too long - or both. You really need to be careful of RSI, or CTS. That will prevent you practising for much longer than healing blisters will.
Quote by Elplater
Lack of flexibility for long stretches
Again, check hand position. For maximum stretches, thumb should be on the back of the neck, in between index and pinky. Flexibility will come gradually the more you play (anything), but there are exercises you can do to help develop it. The "spider" is a good one.
(Notice where her thumb is.) If you can't yet stretch to one finger per fret at that end of the fretboard, start higher up. Remember it's not just about stretching, but general finger flexibility and independence.
Quote by Elplater
Slippy Pick grip
Er, grip it tighter? Or use picks with some kind of texture, like Dunlops.
Quote by Elplater
Sloppy srumming technique, particularly up stoke.
Sloppy spelling too, right?
A metronome may help, and you can set it to twice the bpm so it clicks on upstrokes too. Relax your strumming arm, and make sure you have a good wide arc. The pick should move at least the width of the guitar, equally above and below the strings (that's if you're playing standard rock "straight 8" rhythmic feel). The forearm is a pendulum, or like an old-fashioned metronome arm, just constantly swinging. The wrist should be relaxed too, not stiff. The pick holds the same angle at all times - don't change the angle for down and upstrokes. Ideally use a thin pick for strumming, so it can bend as it hits the strings - or if using a thick one, hold it loosely so it can flap.
Quote by Elplater

Right hand to eye co ordination cock ups , ie plucking the wrong string whilst your thinking how could this be?.
If picking lead lines or scales, you need to anchor your hand, and get to feel where the strings are (relative to your anchor point). Some people put their pinky on the scratchplate, some rest their wrist on the bridge (or close to it).
Many people say you shouldn't anchor - but you may have to until you feel you can control your picking well enough.
Quote by Elplater

Bit of a ' how long is a piece of string question' but a guestimation will do.
No, there is no guesstimation for any of this, because there are too many variables. How many hours can you spend a day? How many days a week? At what point would you consider you've achieved success in any of these areas? Different people will solve each of those problems at different rates.

The two best pieces of advice (IMO) are:

1. Practice until either (a) it hurts, or (b) you get bored. Then stop. Don't start again until you want to (and feel able). Make sure you enjoy everything you play, even if you don't feel it's progressing you very much. If you're enjoying yourself, you will practice for longer. Which means you progress faster! Any kind of playing will be helping your finger flexibility (and certainly improving the fingertip issue).
In fact, I'd say don't think of it as "practice" at all. Think of it as "playing".

2. Get some lessons. Even just one may be enough to point out any bad habits. Only a teacher sitting in front of you can tell you what (if anything) you're doing wrong. However good a DVD, book or youtube lesson is, it can't do that.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 11, 2016,
#3
I don't think that a guestimation would help at all as all of that might take anywhere between a couple of months to a couple of years Probably such a long time that it'd be silly to measure it in hours.

Instead of thinking "when", why don't you think about "how"? That's exponentially more important.

EDIT: deleted the duplicate thread. Do you mind editing the thread title to something that isn't blank?

EDIT2: thank you Jon for helping with the "how"
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#4
Kevätuhri

Measuring it in hours is logical opposed to months and years. Let us not forget I was merely asking, roughly, how long it takes to loosen up a bit and not how long will it take to become Malmsteen.

I realised at the start of this journey the 'how' is imperative. Having an organised and methodical approach towards your playing alongside persistance will take you far.
Maybe your 'how' should have included an activity log and a timeline of achievements then you'd be able to answer my question with a bit more positivity.

And Jon, some good advice again but I have to say, I wasn't looking for an English lesson. One thing at a time ?
#5
Quote by Elplater
Kevätuhri

Measuring it in hours is logical opposed to months and years.



Eh, it really isn't. You can achieve the same amount of progress if not more with 30 minutes of focused practice than with three hours of noodling around. Time is not really relevant at all. Practice well and you can fix your problems in no time, practice poorly, and you may never get better.

Quote by Elplater

Maybe your 'how' should have included an activity log and a timeline of achievements then you'd be able to answer my question with a bit more positivity.



Jon posted a fine answer to that before I had a chance. I recommend you follow his advice and find a teacher if you're serious about this, that will speed up your progress a lot.

A lot of your problems seem to stem from the fact that you're still inexperienced - sore fingertips, aching hands, trouble with stretches etc. sound like you just haven't been playing guitar for long enough. They will most likely take care of themselves when you get more experience, your fingers build calluses, your hands get more stamina and flexibility. I have no idea how long it took me, but I can safely say that your hands just stop hurting at some point. As Jon said, don't overdo it and take a break if it starts to hurt.

As to your problems with strumming and picking, I recommend you just learn a lot of songs and make sure you learn them properly. Practice them slowly with a metronome, and learn them all the way through instead of giving up after learning a couple of parts sloppily. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of drilling exercises, and I think learning songs is the way to go.

Just make sure you stay focused and keep your mind at it, make sure you get the timing right straight from the start by practicing slowly and using a metronome, and don't expect huge progress in mere hours. Set realistic short and long term goals (like "today I'll learn the verse of this song properly" and " in a year, I want to be able to play 20 songs perfectly"). Analyze your own skills and try to figure out how long it'll take you to learn a certain concept, we really don't know you and can't tell you how long it'll take you to progress.

And I wholeheartedly recommend you get a teacher. There are no excuses here, you only do a disservice to yourself by not getting one.
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#6
Quote by Elplater

Right hand to eye co ordination cock ups , ie plucking the wrong string whilst your thinking how could this be?.

Bit of a ' how long is a piece of string question' but a guestimation will do.


Hand to eye co-ordination isn't an issue when laying the guitar, or at least it shouldn't be. Sure in the early stages you need to do a bit of visual checking to make sure your fretting hand's in the right place but that's about it, you shouldn't really need to be looking at your picking hand much,
Actually called Mark!

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#7
Quote by Elplater


And Jon, some good advice again but I have to say, I wasn't looking for an English lesson. One thing at a time ?
OK - apologies. I couldn't resist the joke, but it was typos, of course, not bad spelling. I should have said "sloppy typing". (no shame there)

And steven seagull has just made a nice one: "laying" the guitar. Never tried that myself.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 12, 2016,
#8
Quote by jongtr
OK - apologies. I couldn't resist the joke, but it was typos, of course, not bad spelling. I should have said "sloppy typing". (no shame there)

And steven seagull has just made a nice one: "laying" the guitar. Never tried that myself.

You BIG fibber...
Actually called Mark!

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#9
If you want to be good at guitar start practicing 2 hours or more per day - it's that simple - put in the time and you will be great, be lazy and you will not.
#10
Quote by jongtr
OK - apologies. I couldn't resist the joke, but it was typos, of course, not bad spelling. I should have said "sloppy typing". (no shame there)

And steven seagull has just made a nice one: "laying" the guitar. Never tried that myself.



That was a typo! I'll never be able to look at my guitar in the same way again!

I appreciate all input, thanks.

I've learnt the first five positions of the major scale using the key of C. How do I connect them?
If you have time watch the first 20 minutes of this and you'll see what I mean, cheers.



Here's my interpretation.

C major 1st (Open) position... (Going up)

C D E F G A B C D E F G

2nd position (Going down ?)

A G F E D C B A G F E D C B A

3rd

B C D E F........etc
#12
You don't "connect" them as such, it's just all one big pattern broken down into more manageable chunks - do you know the notes on your fretboard yet?

If not you'll struggle a bit, but at the end of the day a note is a note - C is C, D is D etc and it doesn't really matter where the note is located physically. Granted you do have multiple octaves on a guitar but you'll still frequently find multiple instances of the same note in the same octave - the B on the 7th fret of the E string and the B on the 2nd fret of the A string for example.
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#13
Quote by Elplater

I've learnt the first five positions of the major scale using the key of C. How do I connect them?
Pretty much how he does in that demo. You slide from position to position. They all overlap, and you can slide at any time, with any finger on any string.
Quote by Elplater

Here's my interpretation.

C major 1st (Open) position... (Going up)

C D E F G A B C D E F G

2nd position (Going down ?)

A G F E D C B A G F E D C B A
Right - in that case you can slide 3rd finger up to A (as he does) and come down in the new position.

Likewise, when you get to 6th string, whatever finger is playing that last A slides up to B. If you look closely, you'll see he's doing that in the intro to the video.

BTW, the patterns are fairly arbitrary. That is, the major scale pattern is really one 12-fret mega-pattern. The various systems break it down in different ways, in order to provide "positions" enabling you to play just over two octaves of the scale without moving your hand up or down (such as the two you've spelled out). There is a 5-pattern "CAGED" system, the 7-pattern "mode" system (aargh!), and the 3-nps system, which does involve small shifts in position for each pattern. There's also the traditional "classical" system which names a position after the fret number it's based on, not the pattern itself. IMO, none is better than the others (although the way some of them are named is hugely controversial), and it's worth checking them all out, because that will help you see how they all blur into one.

His video talks about "8 fingerings" - first time I've seen that many - but it may be because he's covering more than 12 frets, although the patterns repeat after 12. I'm guessing it's because he's thinking of 7 patterns, but regards the open position pattern as different from the 12th fret pattern, because the former uses open strings, so the fingering needs to be different at 12th fret.

Personally I like the CAGED system, because it links the patterns to easily remembered chord shapes - and scale-chord links are crucial - but there are issues with it. (The shape names are different from the chord sounds, and in any case each pattern contains all the other chords in the key anyway.) Once you know the notes, then the classical system makes sense. So if you see "A major 9th position", you know what it means; an A major scale based on 9th fret. And you would know what notes they are, and what pattern is required.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 13, 2016,
#14
Steven
I know a few but they're not on instant recall yet, although I work towards it. Ive only been playing for 2 weeks.

Jon
I know very little about caged.
I'm trying to connect the dots here.
So caged you can play all the associated chords in any positon because they are open chords.
Same with scales.
Does each position go one octave higher??
Also....
I'm using an acoustic with 21 frets so I was planning on learning the major and minor scales in five positions, will that be compatible with caged?
#15
Basically, If you were strumming a Cmaj in position 5 then wanted to do a solo you would play around with the C postion 5 scale?

Help me see the link pleas.
#16
Honestly you don't want to be worrying about stuff like this at 2 weeks - you're just going to overload yourself with information that you're not going to be able to properly understand. Focus on getting comfortable with the instrument for the time being, learn a few chords and few simple songs and get yourself playing the thing, and as you go along gradually start learning where all the notes are on the fretboard. Forget about putting a timeframe on things and just concentrate on the doing,

Everyone is crap at the beginning, and you'll be crap for a while - there's no point asking how to fix all the things you've mentioned because they're all symptomatic of simply being very new to the instrument, there's no fix for inexperience just as there's no substitute for experience.

You can't learn everything all at once - you've got the rest of your life to learn how to play the guitar.
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#17
steven seagull

I have no idea how this relates to what we are currently discussing. We've moved on from my first misinterpreted question.

Going back let's not forget that I wasn't asking how long until I become a pro. I was merely asking how long, roughly, until your hands limber up and gain some strength. Bit like when you first go to the gym, your stamina and form suck for the first couple of months.

I don't care it will take hours of playing nor how long it will take to me to get there. I was just asking so I could maybe gauge my progressions.
Telling me don't worry yourself with the theory side of things because it will confuse me is daft. Most things like this are confusing at first that's why I would like to gain an understanding, plus it can only help.

Pick up the vibe a bit, its hard enough without negativity, I came here for inspiration and knowledge.
#18
Elplater The problem is you just seem to be trying to do it all at once, you don't want to overface yourself with knowledge at the beginning because you can end up doing a little bit of everything but ultimately not making any real headway in anything. You'll make quicker progress by picking and choosing your battles in the early stages, worrying about the ins and outs of the C major scale at such an early stage just isn't a particularly effective use of your time - especially since you don't know the notes on the fretboard yet (nor would I expect you to at 2 weeks). The notes on your fretboard are effectively the alphabet of your guitar, and just like the real alphabet there's not too much to gain from getting involved with words and sentences until you're familiar with the alphabet. Some pieces of knowledge just require a foundation in something else for them to make sense.

As a rough estimate it'll take you at least a couple of months to get comfortable with the guitar and for it to feel natural and that's the point at which you'll start to make some real progress. Up until then everything does indeed feel kind of clunky and awkward, and it's not something you can overcome by force of will sadly, it just kind of happens when you've been playing (or attempting to play!) regularly for a while.
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#19
steven seagull

I hear you Steven.

So instead if obsessing in c should I learn a new scale?
#20
I'm not sure if you should worry about scales yet. Get some experience with playing songs first to get comfortable with the instrument. Learn the basic chords first. Scales start making a lot more sense when you start playing actual music.

So learn some chords, learn some songs that use those chords (there are plenty of chord tabs here in UG). That's what I would do.

If you want to learn scales, start with one scale. But it's good to remember that all major scales use the same interval structure. What this means is that you can apply the same positions to all major scales. All major scales only have seven different notes in them that repeat over and over again in different octaves. Before you start learning scales, it's good to understand half and whole steps and the interval structure of a major scale. I would suggest learning the scale first only on one string. This makes it easier to understand what the scale really is - it's just 7 notes that repeat over and over again in different octaves and positions.

Your first scale doesn't need to be C major. That's just the most common scale to start with because it doesn't use any sharps or flats. But if you aren't going to start reading music yet, whether the scale has sharps/flats doesn't really matter. Actually, starting with a scale that has its root note on an open string may be easier in the beginning.
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#21
Quote by Elplater
steven seagull

I hear you Steven.

So instead if obsessing in c should I learn a new scale?


More that you should focus on learning where the notes are on the fretboard before getting to deep into scales, because ultimately not having that knowledge beforehand will actually prevent you from getting too deep into scales anyway.

The notes on the fretboard are what they are, well not unless you change the tuning, they're absolutes - they're your reference points within a scale pattern. If you can, for example, find all the C notes on the fretboard it makes it much easier to move around the fretboard within the C major scale because you can build the scale pattern around those C root notes. After all that's all the C major scale really does - get you from one C note to the one an octave above. It works for any scale, the relative patterns for every major scale are all the same, just transposed along the fretboard - knowing the notes on the fretboard means you know where you need to move everything. Sure someone can just tell you where to put your fingers to play an A major scale, but you can do a lot more with that particular fact if you know why.
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#22
steven seagull
When moving from C to C does there have to be 7 notes between for it to sound good?
#23
Quote by Elplater
steven seagull
When moving from C to C does there have to be 7 notes between for it to sound good?


"Good" is a subjective term - you can do whatever you want when it comes to creating music, however scales for the most part have seven notes - the major scale follows the pattern WWHWWHH where W is a whole-step or two semitones up and H is a half step or a semitone up. All major scales follow that same pattern of intervals
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#24
Elplater

There are 7 notes in a diatonic scale (which just means 7 note scale). The major scale and minor scale are diatonic, as are lots of others. Since the major scale is the foundation of western music, that's kinda the reason that there are 7 letters we use for note names, A through G. In diatonic scales each letter will be used once, but may have sharps and flats attached. There are other scales that have 5 notes (pentatonic), 8 notes (octatonic), etc. But diatonic and pentatonic are way more common. The major and minor pentatonic scales are basically stripped down versions of the normal major and minor scales, just leaving out a couple of notes that are a little more dissonant. The blues scale is just the minor pentatonic scale with an added tritone, making it a 6 note scale. When actually playing music a lot of the time we don't stick strictly to the scale anyway. It's common to add in or alter notes, so in short, no. There don't have to be 7 notes between octaves to sound good, but the major and minor scales that are the groundwork for everything else use 7 notes.


I really agree that at only a couple of weeks in your time would really be better spent learning songs, working on timing, and getting comfortable with the instrument. It is good that you want to get into the theory early, it will help a lot in the long run, but I definitely agree with maggara's post. I'm not saying you need to wait a year or anything, just give yourself a little more time to get to the stage where you can think about this stuff without having to pay as much attention to the physical side.
#25
Fair enough, although I am inquisitive.

Knockin on heaven's door it is. Along with spiders and practicing the major scale, as I know it now.
#27
Quote by Elplater

Jon
I know very little about caged.
I'm trying to connect the dots here.
So caged you can play all the associated chords in any positon because they are open chords.
Not exactly - although it depends on what you mean... (Apologies if you know this stuff below, or some of it, but this is how I see it, having taught myself.)

I.e., the CAGED system begins from an observation about those 5 open chord shapes. They are all major chords, all the same kind of chord; same structure of root-M3-P5. They just look different because of the irregular guitar tuning (M3 between strings 3-2, P4 between all the others). And we double up those chord tones in various ways just to fill the 6 strings if we can (to avoid having to mute too many).
To play the other 7 major chords, we obviously need movable or barre versions of those shapes.
Most beginners learn barre versions of two of those shapes: E and A. But all 5 shapes can be converted to movable versions, on at least 4 strings. And for any one chord, the 5 shapes overlap all the way up the neck, in C-A-G-E-D order (the lowest shape is different for each chord, but the order is always the same).

So any one of the 12 major chords is playable using 5 linked shapes - within any 12-fret span, the cycle repeating beyond there. IOW, you can play any major chord in any position you like, just by selecting the nearest of those 5 shapes.
Likewise, you can pick any neck position you like, and play all 12 major chords, only needing to shift position by 1 fret either way.

E.g., here's the shapes for an F major chord:
1-3-3-2-1-1 = E shape
x-3-3-5-6-5 = D shape
x-8-7-5-6-5 = C shape
8-8-10-10-10-8 = A shape
13-12-10-10-10-13 = G shape
13-15-15-14-13-13 = E shape again
....and so on.

I remember when I discovered that C shape for the F chord - it was way back when I was still struggling with the "E" shape barre, and this "C" one was way easier! It was a light bulb moment... maybe it works for other chords too?

NB: it's not important to be able to play all 5 shapes complete (you might struggle with the G or D). Partial ones are good. The point is to "see" them.
Quote by Elplater

Same with scales.
Yes. The beauty of it being that, if you learn the major scale pattern for each shape (ie the key scale for when that chord is the tonic), you can play any major scale anywhere by choosing the chord shape and fitting the scale around it. The idea being that chord shapes are easier to remember - and to see as a whole on the fretboard - than scale patterns.
So, because I know the C major scale around a C chord shape in open position (one of the first things I ever learned), I can transfer that pattern anywhere I want on the neck. I could find an F# major chord in that shape (x-9-8-6-7-6), and the major scale slots in right around that shape. I don't need to work out the notes I need, and then plot out those notes. The link with the chord shape means you also appreciate how chord extensions work, how they relate to other chord tones.

Of course I do know the notes (!), but the shape method is immediate - the scale is there under my fingers within a second, before I identify the notes. Likewise the same scale with any of the other chord shapes. I.e., I'm not advocating not learning the notes! Only saying that we work with shapes and patterns in the end, because they're visual and immediate. The note names are just signposts on the way.

I can only say I learned my scales this way - in open position first, linked to chord shapes, and associated with songs (melodies and chord sequences) - and I never had any problem with improvisation or theoretical concepts beyond there. It turned out to be an excellent foundation for venturing up the neck and understanding how everything worked together.

In terms of your original question, it wasn't a quick process! It probably took a few years before I was reasonably comfortable all over the neck, and then it gradually got faster and faster. But I was in no hurry. I was having fun - playing songs, gigging in bands, writing songs and improvising . You can do all that from just a rudimentary knowledge. IOW, I was in no hurry because I didn't see the importance of knowledge for its own sake: I learned what I needed to know at each point of my "career". The next song, the next tricky chord change. The "big picture" gradually filled out around that.

To re-use my favourite metaphor: Music is a city and music theory is a street map. You begin (first time you pick up an instrument) by visiting as a tourist. I was lucky enough to join a band after 9 months, which meant i was learning songs, and performing them in public. Very simple songs, but they had to be learned and memorised beginning to end. In the metaphor, that's like "getting a job" (instead of being an idle tourist). I had fixed routes I had to follow around the city, most of them quite restricted and short - like being on a bus. But as I "traveled", I looked out the windows and noticed how it all connected. That meant that when I moved to more advanced "jobs" (more complicated songs), I knew my way around better, just because of that previous idle curiosity. I could improvise and compose too, because I knew "how to get from A to B". (of course, my early creativity was crude and clumsy, but the principles were obvious.)

In your case - if you're not in a band, not playing in public - then you're like a tourist in the city. You can go where you please, at your own pace. You can look at the map (learn music theory), or just follow your instinct. Its totally up to you how disciplined you are about it. Go with the flow, the main streets (learn some popular songs, common chord sequences), or strike out into the back streets, the hidden places. No harm will come to you! (There are no music police to arrest you for going the wrong way ) You just might get lost, or feel stupid at times, but that's it. Of course, with a bit of discipline - and judicious map-reading, combined with walking the streets (playing music, not just reading) - you can build a mental picture of the city quicker. You don't have to know it ALL (nobody does), and you don't have to know it NOW.

Quote by Elplater

Does each position go one octave higher??
Yes. The patterns and shapes are all contained within a 12-fret mega-pattern, which repeats above and below.
Quote by Elplater

Also....
I'm using an acoustic with 21 frets so I was planning on learning the major and minor scales in five positions, will that be compatible with caged?
Sure. As I say, it's 12-fret system (every system is a 12-fret system!) Frets 13-21 just repeat what happens at frets 1-9

Last edited by jongtr at Nov 14, 2016,
#28
I'm slowly getting there. I will continue being consistant and use my time wisely.

Thanks again for taking the time to advise me.
#29
Your most valuable asset at this stage is patience, it's easy to get discouraged because things don't seem to be happening but the reality is things take a lot longer than many beginners realise. You just have to keep picking the guitar up and doing stuff with it, the more time you spend with it the quicker it'll start to feel like it's meant to be there rather than a big, awkward lump of wood with razor wire on it.

I think it's something that's been exasperated in recent years with the Guitar Hero generation, a lot of kids want instant gratification and if they can't play Cliffs of Dover after a month they give up!
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