#1
Granted I'm only 6 and half months into my journey. I've been using Troy Stetinas method books. It's amazing how a 80-90 page book can take a year plus to finish. But anyway I'm just curious is there a certain point where all the things I'm working on in isolation coalesce together? Right now everything I work on seems like a separate "thing" ( 20 min scale practice, vibrato, string bending, staccato, syncopation, open chords, diads,etc,etc).

It seems like sooooo many sperate pieces of a big picture.
Am I making any sense? :/
Last edited by beaglegod at Feb 25, 2017,
#2
When you ditch the books and start playing some songs.

The problem with instructional books is they don't necessarily teach you "how to play the guitar" - it's not like you'll magically be able to play once you reach the end. What they will do is teach you the tools you need to be able to play the guitar, but unless you're spending a chunk of your time actually playing the guitar, as opposed to practicing, it's all a bit pointless.

Think about it for a second...you don't practice to get better at practicing. I'm assumning you picked up the guitar because you wanted to play music by artists that have inspired and moved you, not because you desperately wanted to run through picking drills. You practice to get better at playing...but if all you're doing is following a lesson plan from the book and playing a bunch of exercises then you're largely spinning your wheels. If you're not doing much in the way of playing music then you have no real way of knowing how far along you are, because as you rightly pointed out, exercises, drills and lessons are largely abstract, isolated concepts - the big picture you're looking for is just music.
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#3
Everything you want to learn is in the songs you want to play.
Exercises, drills and lessons are "parts of technique" oriented;
songs are "all the parts come together" oriented.

This is why the recital has always been emphasized in learning music.
It provides a gauge of the student's integration of the parts into music.
If you were to give a recital tomorrow, how many songs could you choose from to perform?
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#4
This makes so much sense, I guess that's why at the end of each chapter Stetina puts a short song with backing track.I would probably benefit from spending a little more of my practice time (2-3 hours daily ) on learning rythm parts of songs. I did manage The Four Horsemen (metallica ) but at 30% slower then they play it. I can't get every part up to speed yet. I also decided to learn an easier tune good ol Back in Black.
Does it matter how I learn them or is there a particular way that's most beneficial? Right now the easiest way for me is to watch videos, I mean I doubt I would have figured out that metallica tune otherwise, even tabs probably would have been tricky for me to get all if it.
#5
Think about driving a car, you could spend ages practicing all the little bits in isolation : turning the wheel, using the indicators, pressing the pedals, turning the lights on and off; fiddling with the stereo etc but you're not really going to start learning to drive until you actually start trying to drive somewhere.

Quote by beaglegod
This makes so much sense, I guess that's why at the end of each chapter Stetina puts a short song with backing track.I would probably benefit from spending a little more of my practice time (2-3 hours daily ) on learning rythm parts of songs. I did manage The Four Horsemen (metallica ) but at 30% slower then they play it. I can't get every part up to speed yet. I also decided to learn an easier tune good ol Back in Black.
Does it matter how I learn them or is there a particular way that's most beneficial? Right now the easiest way for me is to watch videos, I mean I doubt I would have figured out that metallica tune otherwise, even tabs probably would have been tricky for me to get all if it.

Yeah if you've never even played a whole song then Metallica isn't a particularly easy jumping off point - AC/DC is a much more realistic option. I wouldn't recommend learning songs from a video - I'd definitely suggest you use a combination of a tab and listening to the song. Learning to "learn a song" is just that, another skill that needs to be learned - I personally don't think you get much benefit from someone spoonfeeding you the information. By all means hunt down a lesson if you hit a part that you're really struggling with, don't suffer in silence, but I you should at least have a crack at learning if from the tab first.

Obviously the long term goal is to be able to play by ear, but that takes time - your ears are equally important as your fingers when it comes to playing the guitar, and they also need training. Learning with the help of tabs can help you develop that skill, just make sure you're always listening and making the effort to mentaly associate the sounds you're hearing with what your hands are doing.
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#6
steven seagull Thank you so much. I've taken your advice already tonight. I printed tabs for White Heat Red Hot by Judas Priest, and learned the opening riff which is used throughout. I'll try to learn a little more each day until I'm playing the whole song. This plus Troy's books will hopefully take me places in a few short years.
#7
Quote by beaglegod
Granted I'm only 6 and half months into my journey. I've been using Troy Stetinas method books. It's amazing how a 80-90 page book can take a year plus to finish. But anyway I'm just curious is there a certain point where all the things I'm working on in isolation coalesce together? Right now everything I work on seems like a separate "thing" ( 20 min scale practice, vibrato, string bending, staccato, syncopation, open chords, diads,etc,etc).

It seems like sooooo many sperate pieces of a big picture.
Am I making any sense? :/

Someone once told me that music is a language, you practice until you are fluent, then you can say what is in your mind and heart.
I'm not that poetic but I took it to mean you practice until its second nature, muscle memory sort of thing, then it comes together for you.
What helps me is a looper pedal, I can play some chords then explore scales and ideas.


If you actually went through an entire music book, I think you're well on your way, it will happen for you.
#9
Quote by 33db



If you actually went through an entire music book, I think you're well on your way, it will happen for you.
#10
I have 2 chapters left in Stetinas Rythm Vol 1 and about 10 pages left in his Lead Primer. Troy's books are so packed this will take months to finish up. Seeing as I've been almost exclusively been practicing from these for over 6 months at 2+ hours a day, I'm figuring it will be close to a full year before I'm done. But than there are 2 more rythm books and 2 more lead books in the method , so we are talking years to finish. Not including Speed Mechanics and Fretboard Mastery.
:-0
Last edited by beaglegod at Feb 26, 2017,
#11
You know, there's only so much you can learn from books as well. I kind of abandoned books that re packed with exercises, even though they can indeed be very helpful. The only time I really use a book (I own quite a lot despite me saying this, including the Speed Mechanics book by Troy Stetina) is whenever I'm in need of a specific exercise. I would flip through the book if there's something to practise, say, economy picking, and then use that exercise. I wouldn't go through an entire book just playing exercise for a multitude of reasons, of which the most prominent are the following:
- it's boring to only play exercises
- I'm not learning to play music, but learning how to play these exercises as well as possible
- there's no musical context I'm playing these exercises in, so I'm not training my ear as well

That's not to be said that you should never play exercises; by all means, they're a great way of focusing on a single technique specifically, but they should only be part of your practise routine, as far as I am concerned.

That said; one of my favourite books to use is the 'Modern Method for Guitar' by William Leavitt. It requires you to be able to read sheet music, and starts at a beginner level, but working through this book (all three volumes) takes years to perfect. It doesn't focus on a specific style, but it still boosts your playing in various ways.
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#12
RDSElite
I guess the good thing is the Metal Rythm books have a song after each chapter and the lead books have a solo. Each song/solo is 3-4 min. I believe his total rock book is all songs no exercises but each song is supposed to teach something. I definitely believe focusing on a particular style can be good, specificity of training. But I agree I should portion more of my time learning songs I really want to play while slowly working my way through the books.
On a side note the exercises in these books sound really good like they could be riffs or parts of a song.
Nothing so far has sounded "stale".
#13
Quote by beaglegod
I have 2 chapters left in Stetinas Rythm Vol 1 and about 10 pages left in his Lead Primer. Troy's books are so packed this will take months to finish up. Seeing as I've been almost exclusively been practicing from these for over 6 months at 2+ hours a day, I'm figuring it will be close to a full year before I'm done. But than there are 2 more rythm books and 2 more lead books in the method , so we are talking years to finish. Not including Speed Mechanics and Fretboard Mastery.
:-0

I never made it through the books I bought (LOL) I don't do well with that sort of learning, but these days you have many resources including Youtube, check out guitarlessons365 on Youtube, he also has a channel called guitarlessons365song where he teaches you songs.
He includes the tabs and sheet music with his lessons.
He has a video on finger stretching, now I never would have thought of this but he shows how a famous classical guitarist stretches his fingers prior to warming up on the guitar and it turns out for me this is enormously helpful.
I started as a kid in the 70's played into my 20's then stopped, now decades later I'm picking it up again and Youtube is something I can do where book learning was never my thing.
So if you have the discipline to go through a book you will likely do well as a musician.
The "coming together" thing will happen.
#14
I got the Stetina books lead guitar 1 and 2 waaaaaay back. It's funny because I still aspire to be able to play "lightening's edge!!"

I generally didn't retain a lot of the exercise and ultimately ended up really just writing my own riffs and songs for my bands. Still were good exercises but it's a great question "when will it come together" for me I'd say it didn't but I was still able to play in good bands with good songs. Not all bands need an uber soloist. We still toured and opened for some very big bands.

I still want that ability to really light it up and solo like the best. So I am wood shedding again! I did actually break out my Troy books and started working from them again last week!

Best of luck and let us know how you progress.
#15
Quote by 33db
I never made it through the books I bought (LOL) I don't do well with that sort of learning, but these days you have many resources including Youtube, check out guitarlessons365 on Youtube, he also has a channel called guitarlessons365song where he teaches you songs.
He includes the tabs and sheet music with his lessons.
He has a video on finger stretching, now I never would have thought of this but he shows how a famous classical guitarist stretches his fingers prior to warming up on the guitar and it turns out for me this is enormously helpful.
I started as a kid in the 70's played into my 20's then stopped, now decades later I'm picking it up again and Youtube is something I can do where book learning was never my thing.
So if you have the discipline to go through a book you will likely do well as a musician.
The "coming together" thing will happen.


Thank you so much for those video suggestions as those finger stretches may prove invaluable to me, I have small mitts and some stretches on the lowest frets/strings can be a real pain.
#16
hey just so you know. you mentioned small hands. I am 5'10" but my hands are TINY. Not even kidding. But I will say this. I played bass for about 4 years in bands and had a HUGE stretch....people would come up to me after shows and go...you must have huge hands..and I am not kidding when I say that I am friends (well she's a co-worker) she's like a 5' 2" Thai girl...and our hands are the same size (we draw for a living) so it's not like I am running around comparing hands. obviously for drawing..hands are a main tool./



but yeah don't let your concept of small hands mess with you...big hands are an advantage with some things. Like Hendrix and that thumb fretting thing he does...but in terms of on the actual fret board...just work your stretch. you can get there and have a great reach.

but who knows...maybe that is part of the reason I play the way I do...and I've created obstacles based on how I learned that make playing fast now harder....like my approach was geared to fix one issue (my reach and stretch on the bass originally)..but created some others bad habits.
#17
Quote by beaglegod
This makes so much sense, I guess that's why at the end of each chapter Stetina puts a short song with backing track.I would probably benefit from spending a little more of my practice time (2-3 hours daily ) on learning rythm parts of songs. I did manage The Four Horsemen (metallica ) but at 30% slower then they play it. I can't get every part up to speed yet. I also decided to learn an easier tune good ol Back in Black.
Does it matter how I learn them or is there a particular way that's most beneficial? Right now the easiest way for me is to watch videos, I mean I doubt I would have figured out that metallica tune otherwise, even tabs probably would have been tricky for me to get all if it.


I'm a huge Metallica fan, what I have done is try and create parts of my practice around some of my favourite riffs.

For example when I want to practice my down picking and palm muting. I set a metronome or drum track and alternate between the intro riffs of master of puppets, creeping death , and blackened. Then just rotate through those riffs while making sure I'm relaxed, and my technique is good.

These riffs aren't that complicated and I'm practicing using the music I love.

Usually what I do is start slow, (around 120 bpm for me)' and then go through each riff for 1 min and then increase the bpm by 10 and repeat until I hit the point I can't keep up and then will dial back the speed and just work the riffs to help build my stamina up.

Try finding the things you want or need to practice in the music that you love to listen to.
Last edited by Garris at Feb 26, 2017,
#18
steven seagull it's not pointless to practice all the things the OP listed. You're being a bit extreme. OP listen bro the first thing I would do if I was you is I would consider pushing it out of your mind that things coming together or that playing guitar is a tangible accomplishment. You're never gonna be done. You're just working on the things u listed earlier at the moment. I had to stop trying to "get somewhere" and just focus on what I was working on at the time. I'll tell u what really accelerated my guitar playing most was when I started jamming with people that were better than me and started ear training. If you're leaning more towards lead I would consider getting an app for theory and fretboard knowledge. Keep it up man I know dudes that have been playing a lot longer than u that don't know what sincopation is
#19
Therustyb123 re-read the post.  At no point did Mark say it was completely pointless to practice, what he actually said was that unless you're playing songs the exercises are pointless.  That is an incredibly important distinction, and one I absolutely agree with; you can practice as many techniques and exercises as you want, but unless you play music and learn to apply the technical side, then there is no point.
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#20
I had a friend who'd only been playing bass for maybe 6 months and he wrote great riffs. It was his mind not technical ability or knowledge. I always remind myself of what he did...and it always inspires me. I learned more traditionally but anyone I play around if they have traits I Iack. I try and be aware and then bring that into my appproach.
#21
You have to play music to improve ... BUT ... you also should start to inquire into why the chords or melodies are put together as they are, and be able to employ these, and adapt these ... do this and you'll improve a lot more. Otherwise you're liable to become a parrot-fashion guitarist. Which is fine for awhile, and then one day it can become a big problem.
#22
Quote by Therustyb123
steven seagull it's not pointless to practice all the things the OP listed. You're being a bit extreme. OP listen bro the first thing I would do if I was you is I would consider pushing it out of your mind that things coming together or that playing guitar is a tangible accomplishment. You're never gonna be done. You're just working on the things u listed earlier at the moment. I had to stop trying to "get somewhere" and just focus on what I was working on at the time. I'll tell u what really accelerated my guitar playing most was when I started jamming with people that were better than me and started ear training. If you're leaning more towards lead I would consider getting an app for theory and fretboard knowledge. Keep it up man I know dudes that have been playing a lot longer than u that don't know what sincopation is


I definitely agree, with everything eveyone has said in this thread and I think it's really helpful. I know that the learning process never really stops unless you decide not to stretch forward anymore. I'm probably getting a little bit ahead of myself and just have to exercise a little more patience and just keep putting in the work day by day, I've only been in the game about 7 months but i do work consistently hard. I guess I'm looking forward to the day when I no longer feel like a begginer and things start to really click and I can enjoy a measure of confidence with my favorite thing to do.
So I'll keep working my way through Stetinas method and making sure I work on songs outside the method as well. Right now that's the four horsemen (metallica)and white heat red hot by priest, the latter is quite a project but I don't think it will be impossible.
At 3 hours a day I'm hoping to one day see my musicianship blossom.
Thats gotta be a great feeling.