#1
Just wondering. I have been playing just over a year now, and I can improvise decently. I know the pentatonic shapes pretty well and am now moving on to diatonic shapes (mixolydian right now.) I would not consider myself a good guitarist right now, more or less a decent one. I get better and better as the months go by. I don't know much theory, just a little bit. Actually, any good references would be nice if you know any. Thanks.
#2
I've been playing for about 8 years. Am I good? Sure I guess. Am I professional? Definitely not. Can I shred like Yngwie? Not even close. (I'm also a bassist primarily though).

The reality is however that the speed of your progress depends on you and only you. Some people still suck after 10 years, some become decent musicians after three. Some never make it pro, some get lucky and strike a deal as teens. In it's core, asking "how long will it take?" is a completely unnecessary question, as if you're serious about it guitar playing will take you a lifetime. You never stop improving and you never run out of things to learn.

If I had to guess, it will probably take most people a couple of years before they're at the level that they could play in a band and make their own music, but that is no guarantee of success. Again, the important thing here isn't time, t's effort. If you practice properly, then start actively looking for bands, gigs and gaining experience, making contacts and good first impressions along the way you will get somewhere with music. Still, it's a complete crapshoot whether or not you start making money or not, but a hard working guitarist who has only played for a few years will get further than a lazy one who has played for 15 years.

What exactly are your goals? If you just want to become a good guitarist, as in someone who can play the instrument well, give it a couple of years of solid practice and you'll be there. If you want to become a professional musician, give it a couple more years of solid practice, education and hard work, and pray to whatever god you like that you get lucky.
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#3
"Professional" just means you earn your living (or most of it) from music.  That means convincing enough people that you're good enough for them to pay you (and to pay you enough).
That can depend much more on your powers of persuasion (and self-belief) than your level of skill or knowledge.  

Personally, I was an amateur (semi-pro) for around 35 years, and  turned pro as a kind of last resort when my other means of earning a living petered out (for various reasons).  Up to that point, I had mixed feelings about it.  I knew I was at least as good a player as many performers I saw on TV (and much better than some).  At the same time, I knew professional jazz musicians who were way better than me, who struggled to earn a living.  So I knew that professional success had little to do with musical skill.
Also, I rather liked the fact that I could play what I wanted, when I wanted.  (As long as I earned my living other ways.)  Now music is my main career, I have to do a lot of stuff I don't really enjoy because it pays the rent - and only just.  (Having said that, I guess I enjoy it more than I enjoyed my other jobs....)
Last edited by jonriley64 at May 11, 2017,
#4
yes..the question "what are your goals?" will give an approximate time..but even then..much depends on many factors..networking people is one that cannot be measured in any precise way..years ago I knew a guy who actually "faked" being a singer..but he knew people and it really worked for him and he became a "new talent of the year" person at the music awards..

remember many "band members" can get by with a handful of chords and no knowledge of music theory..
play well

wolf
#5
wolflen My goals overall are more or less to get good at it. I wouldn't mind doing it as a career, but I know the difficulty of making it. I don't plan on not knowing much theory forever, I just would rather get good at meandering and picking right now. Picking is probably my biggest obstacle right now, though I am making progress.
#7
A few years. 
#8
#9
It really depends on your goals and most "pro" musicians have a lot of different jobs.  I played my first paid gig at 13 and have been gigging ever since.  After 40+ years I am still no guitar hero but I am always learning, developing, and evolving.  It never ends.
"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 May 12, 2017,
#10
Quote by tmcginzie
wolflen My goals overall are more or less to get good at it. I wouldn't mind doing it as a career, but I know the difficulty of making it. I don't plan on not knowing much theory forever, I just would rather get good at meandering and picking right now. Picking is probably my biggest obstacle right now, though I am making progress.


ok..so..some advice..learn major and minor chord triads in as many keys as you can...in close voiced chords..that is the chord is formed with the voices as close to each other as possible..and their inversions..same chord only voiced differently..lets try D major--

G string 2nd fret - A note
B string 3rd fret - D note
E string 2nd fret - F# note

Now you can begin to "pick" at it - G string and E string / G string and B string / B string and E string..try different picking patterns - Pick twice on the G string Once on the E string and Twice on the B string..develop your own patterns from there..
Next inversion of D major

G string 7th fret - Note D
B string 7th fret - Note F#
E string 5th fret - Note A

now do the same picking patterns on this inversion then go back to the other chord form and repeat the patterns again---now there is one more D chord on these three strings..if you know where is it..repeat the picking exercise now between all three chords...if you don't know where it is..find it !!!

ok that is just some fairly easy thing to develop movement and get you to hear how the same chord can sound different with different voicings

I would suggest you begin to study basic theory and diatonic harmony...Its not that hard but it will take a bit of time and dedication to absorb..the rewards are priceless to any musician at any level...and as you learn new ways to play chords..go slow and develop your picking patterns on them..

and of course scales and arpeggios will help with this also...there are a few million exercises on these topics..

hope this helps
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at May 12, 2017,
#11
becoming professional takes significantly more business savvy and being able to play to a click track on demand than any skills you probably practice musically

as far as the actual skillset required, it doesn't take long to develop if you have a strong concept and can play relatively cleanly.

becoming good is a different story, though
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#12
Well, here's the thing, and I think the longer a guitarist has been playing the more they will agree...

There are certain "stations" like 3 months, 1 year, 2, 5, 10, 15, 30, 40 years, etc. along the time of being a guitar player where you look at your playing and a funny thing happens. At each station you think to yourself...

"Wow, I am getting it, figuring it out, and it shows in my playing. I have reached the point of really knowing how this works and am really able to do it. And I can't believe how clueless and misguided I was the last time I thought all this. How could I have not realized I was nowhere near understanding everything or thinking I was able to really play. I must have been delusional, fooling myself, with no clue of what I didn't know. But now, thank goodness I've arrived and now I do know what I'm doing, and am playing great; I am finally a real guitar player."

This happens over and over through the years. Each time feels like now you finally have turned the corner and what you thought before was ridiculous.
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Last edited by PlusPaul at May 12, 2017,
#13
People were saying I was "good" after about 2 years. I know for a fact that I'm way better now (after 17 years) than I was 5 years ago.

Basically I was just "ok" until I started getting heavily involved in bands. Bedroom guitar can only take you so far.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#14
Like Cajundaddy I was lucky and started doing paying gigs when I was 15. My older brother had a band (private affairs "adult" music) and although it was not my kind of music, I played a few gigs with his band a few times while forming my own. We got extremely lucky when a local Italian pizza/restaurant owner's daughter asked us to play at for her birthday party at her fathers restaurant. We did it for free just to play in front of people but the owner liked us and asked if we would play every Saturday night in the back room he used for private events. The deal was the band got $20 ($5 each) and a pizza at the end of the night. We played two hours and brought in the young crowd from around town for pizza and soda every Saturday night for almost a year. That $5 apiece we got was the best incentive to keep going and keep improving my playing. Myself and one other member of that four piece "kids band" is still gigging after 40 years. The drummer was good enough that in the late 70's his band toured with Leslie West, Slade, Blackfoot and other popular bands of the late 70's . 

My point is that if you want to get better, practice often and take every opportunity to play gigs no matter what the circumstances. If I had said no to playing a birthday party for free when I was 15 or refused the offer to play standards with my brothers band who knows if I would still be playing gigs today.  
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 12, 2017,
#15
What does "good" mean? It means different things to different people. There are probably some people who already consider yourself a good guitarist. When will you consider yourself "good"? I don't know. It depends on yourself. What do you want to achieve?

But seriously, I wouldn't worry about it. It's not something that happens in the blink of an eye. If you want to know how much progress you have made, record yourself every now and then and compare your older recordings to your newer recordings.
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Bach Stradivarius 37G
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#16
I think watching youtube videos can be a very humbling experience. The day you think you're really good, just go look up some crazy video on youtube and be mindblown. 

Seriously, music isn't a pissing contest. It's about making music. Technicality has a role to play, but it's not everything. Most of all, I'd say you need to think up great and memorable songs, which is not something you can just learn. 
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#17
To become very good, I'd say I started getting pretty good around 9th grade, that was about 3-4 years in, about 15-16 years old.  By that point, I was learning to mod/build guitars, had learned to write my own songs (had been doing so since six months into guitar because I kept finding stuff that sounded cool by messing up), and was starting to get asked to join bands.  At that time I was making some money fixing guitars for my classmates, buying their old crappy Harmony and Hondo guitars off them for $50, and was having fun making demo tapes of my music and passing them around school.

I don't think I ever became professional until about 5-7 years in though when I joined the first gigging band I played with, called "Lithium".  We did not play gigs very often, but we did get paid at least a few times for playing shows and were planning to record and release an album called "Empyre" at the time.  Here's a clip from our radio exposure at the time - people started requesting it outside of "Locals Only" - too bad drugs/drama/teenage-shit tore the band apart ultimatley - as they always do.

My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
Last edited by Mad-Mike_J83 at May 12, 2017,
#18
Put up a lick and your paypal and I'll send you a dollar, then you will be professional.

gittin gud is another thing entirely.
#19
I'd played for about 20 years before getting a real professional gig, and that was just over a year ago. I probably could have done professional work years earlier, but at the time I didn't really pursue those opportunities or take them seriously enough to advance.

There are plenty of "good enough" players who could do professional work but choose not to or don't know how. There are also plenty of not that great players who are professionals because they have an otherwise entertaining act. As has been said, professionalism is a skill set outside of your music chops. "Good" depends on what kind of music you're playing, but most of the time boils down to sounding decent with extreme consistency.
#20
Quote by cdgraves
I'd played for about 20 years before getting a real professional gig, and that was just over a year ago. I probably could have done professional work years earlier, but at the time I didn't really pursue those opportunities or take them seriously enough to advance.

There are plenty of "good enough" players who could do professional work but choose not to or don't know how. There are also plenty of not that great players who are professionals because they have an otherwise entertaining act. As has been said, professionalism is a skill set outside of your music chops. "Good" depends on what kind of music you're playing, but most of the time boils down to sounding decent with extreme consistency.

This, for repetition. 

Personally, I do it as a hobby; if I make money off it, great, but as far as a career, I'm not betting on it to save my life at this point. At some point, having the confidence to perform live would be nice, but I'm not at that stage. 
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#21
bjgrifter I definitely do not have the confidence to perform yet. Perhaps if I were to be put under a lot of pressure, like being on stage, I could play pretty good. For now I think I will stick to bedroom jam sessions lol.
#23
For most musicians playing live for the first time (and a number of times thereafter)  is a difficult and wonderful experience at the same time. For a combination of reasons (nerves, lack of experience etc.) you will probably suck when you start playing live the first few times. We all (or most players) go through this. It's part of the whole experience of performing so get use to it. If that only makes you try harder that alone is a benefit. I believe there is no greater motivator to make you practice more in a focused way than playing in front of people you don't know. Getting an audience reaction good or bad and testing your playing skills whatever level you are at is a major step in becoming a musician. 

It ain't easy but to quote Jimmy Dugan; "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 13, 2017,
#24
Been playing for over 35 years. I get by. Did yhe band thing when i was young obviously thst went nowhere. May gig again but it will be more for fun than profit.

OP a year in is nothing, you have a long road ahead. Don't worry about " how long it will take" just enjoy the ride. ( some of my playing found in link in profile)
#25
Two different questions. 

"Good" I'm still working on. 
"Professional" (getting paid to play guitar) happened within a couple of months. 
In the latter case, I should note that I already had long experience on keyboards, could sight-read music and was already composing and transposing and playing with orchestras and bands and was touring. My guitar player really wanted someone else to step in and play guitar on some songs (keyboardist Jonathan Cain does this for Journey every night), so with some pretty intensive coaching and a lot of practicing with him and with the band, I was ready to go in short order. It wasn't an extensive repertoire of songs by any means, but I faked competence well enough and got paid. Lots more coaching and lots more practicing and playing under pressure, and things became a lot easier. I didn't have some of the issues of understanding chords, chord placements, alternative fingerings, scales, etc., that most guitar players have when they start all that from scratch, so there were distinct advantages with that that approach, and finger strength (from playing the piano) was never an issue. I did, however, whine about my fingers until I developed callouses, however.