#1
Wasn't sure where this thread belongs but since it's related to practice and progress I guess it go's here.
I've been practicing 9+ months now about 2.5 hours per day everyday. One hour early in the morning, one in the afternoon and than half hour before bed.
I'm at the last few pages of Troy Stetinas Metal Lead Primer and Metal Rythm Vol 1.
Have I made progress? Absolutely. Yet I still feel progress comes painfully slow, songs and exercises never sound 100% .
I know it takes years and I've kept myself motivated logging in well over 600 hours of practice but I guess everybody gets discouraged at some point.
Just trying to keep grinding.
#2
Perfectly normal to get occasional waves of crippling self-doubt - we've all been there!  I still get them  lol.

If you're practicing 2.5 hours  per day and you can keep that up you'll be an awesome player.  

Tip : if you can't play songs 100% it means you have trouble spots - isolate those and focus on them - play the same two bar trouble spot over and over and over, don't simply play the whole song every time - break it down in chunks and obsess over those small parts that give you trouble. Make sure you play along with the recording. 
#3
beaglegod everyone does indeed go through patches of discouragement and despondency, that's 100% normal.

What I would say, though, is that unless you have every intention of making music your livelihood (or indeed if it already is) it's not worth it to force yourself to play.  It's a hobby, it should be fun.  You may find that you don't pick up the guitar for weeks or months at a time, but realistically if you wouldn't enjoy doing so anyway, what's the point?

Don't take this as me telling you to stop, if you get rewards out of playing all the time then please do continue, but it's always worth taking a step back and thinking about why you're doing any of this.

Keep it up though, if you keep practising you will be able to do what you want in time.
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#4
beaglegod
I get that too, I feel like I've hit a wall and can't go past it.
What works for me is to take a break, step away let the brain cycle and come back to it in a couple of days.
#5
Quote by 33db
beaglegod...[ ]....What works for me is to take a break, step away let the brain cycle and come back to it in a couple of days.
To me it seems the brain needs time "to file", what you've been trying to teach the muscles with practice. I find when you come back to something you were having trouble getting down, you pick up the guitar a couple of days later and think, "hm, when the heck did I learn that"?
#6
Quote by Captaincranky
To me it seems the brain needs time "to file", what you've been trying to teach the muscles with practice. I find when you come back to something you were having trouble getting down, you pick up the guitar a couple of days later and think, "hm, when the heck did I learn that"?

Exactly.

If you practice everyday take a break for a day or 2.
#7
I really appreciate the replies to this thread.
I've put aside most of the other activities that used up my time in order to practice. Things I sometimes crave because of the instant gratification they offer mostly video games. Being married with a kid there's such a limited amount of time I can spend on interests. Guitar is the polar opposite of video gaming in terms of instant gratification days become weeks, weeks become months and it can play with my head a little. " Is this going to pay off?"

I try to treat practice like working out, make it progressive and consistent ( I lifted weights for over 4 years before starting this journey ).
Lifting is easy compared to Guitar.
#8
Quote by beaglegod
...[ ]....I try to treat practice like working out, make it progressive and consistent ( I lifted weights for over 4 years before starting this journey ).
Lifting is easy compared to Guitar.
Well, "married with children", says to me you're not ready to chuck it all and go out on the road in a junkyard school bus with 3 or 4 other of the ungainfully unemployed, seeking fortune and fame in the annals rock history.

It's obviously IMO, but I think the best way for anyone to improve their guitar playing, is to learn to sing. Unless you have a home recording studio and can multi-track yourself, or have band mates, scratching and screeching into a distorted amp won't really net you music. Certainly not at first. Point being, music isn't anything like weight lifting. And it really isn't like putting notes to yourself on a calendar saying, "by June 30th, I need to be able to bench 300 pounds".

Beginning guitarists mostly concern themselves with cowboy chords, and learning to count to four, with their right hand on the strings. Then you play that for someone, and your feelings are hurt when they don't recognize the song. That's because the rest of the song's tracks, are playing only in your head, not theirs.

If this is to be a hobby, then lighten up, and have some fun. There's so many songs for the 60's and 70's that sound good on the solo rhythm guitar, as long as you sing along, or find somebody to sing with you.

That's right, bring "the campfire" into the house, and enjoy music, instead of worrying about progress in the same way you worry about getting your taxes filed on time.

Like I said, just MHO.

PS: All of the great guitar gods, have passable singing voices. Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, and David Gilmour, to name just a few.
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 17, 2017,
#9
Quote by beaglegod
I really appreciate the replies to this thread.
I've put aside most of the other activities that used up my time in order to practice. Things I sometimes crave because of the instant gratification they offer mostly video games. Being married with a kid there's such a limited amount of time I can spend on interests. Guitar is the polar opposite of video gaming in terms of instant gratification days become weeks, weeks become months and it can play with my head a little. " Is this going to pay off?"

I try to treat practice like working out, make it progressive and consistent ( I lifted weights for over 4 years before starting this journey ).
Lifting is easy compared to Guitar.

But guitar, and making music in general has a greater pay off in terms of satisfaction, depth, and enjoyment.
All you get from videos games is "instant gratification" and I had over 2500 hours on Battlefield 4, and God knows how many on Quake.
I don't game at all any longer, all I can think is "I lost 2500 hours of my life playing BF" and that's a masters degree, or a new language, or pretty good at the guitar.
#10
Are you me? Played a lot of guitar around age 20-25. Been weightlifting since age 16 (I'm 35). I'm very advanced in weightlifting. Never juiced but I've won natural competitions and have solid numbers on the big 3....300+, 400+, 500+. Pretty much stopped playing guitar for the pat 10 years.

Over the past year I logged around 1000 hours playing Elite Dangeous. It got to the point that I was one of the better players in the game and was beating somewhat well know "pilots" in the game. A couple months back I quit and picked up guitar again. Definitely felt like I was wasting my life with ED. I mean it was fun but I guess I have a pretty obsessive personality.

Also, with weight lifting it's the same as guitar. You hit walls once you get fairly advanced that are very hard to get past. Sometimes it takes months to see any progress. I'm at a point where I can't really make any sort of progress so I'm concentrating on guitar again while lifting is now #2.
#11
I'll be honest with you, approaching guitar like weightlifting isn't really the right mindset and maybe that's part of the problem. There's no straight lines in playing the guitar, it's not a definable, linear progression where you can do a lot of very focussed, defined work to get results.

Remember that playing the guitar is not, first and foremost, a physical pursuit. Playing the guitar is a creative undertaking, the physical part only matters in as much as it helps you achieve your creative goals. Define your creative goals, both long term and short term, and structure your physical practice around those.

Finally you mention you practice a lot but I'm curious, do you PLAY much? Practicing and playing are not the same time, and your progresssion on the guitar is not defined by how well you practice, but how well you play. How fast you can play an exercise or how well you can execute a technique drill is largely immaterial - all that really matters is how all that practice work translates to actually playing music on your guitar.

Consistency has its place in practice, but this is a musical instrument you're learning to play - the breadth of your knowledge is just as important as the length when it comes to developing and progressing. If you practice too much of the same thing it's easy for things to get stale anf that can easily lead to feeling uninspired and ultimately discouraged.
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#13
Quote by steven seagull
I'll be honest with you, approaching guitar like weightlifting isn't really the right mindset and maybe that's part of the problem. There's no straight lines in playing the guitar, it's not a definable, linear progression where you can do a lot of very focussed, defined work to get results.

Remember that playing the guitar is not, first and foremost, a physical pursuit. Playing the guitar is a creative undertaking, the physical part only matters in as much as it helps you achieve your creative goals. Define your creative goals, both long term and short term, and structure your physical practice around those.

Finally you mention you practice a lot but I'm curious, do you PLAY much? Practicing and playing are not the same time, and your progresssion on the guitar is not defined by how well you practice, but how well you play. How fast you can play an exercise or how well you can execute a technique drill is largely immaterial - all that really matters is how all that practice work translates to actually playing music on your guitar.

Consistency has its place in practice, but this is a musical instrument you're learning to play - the breadth of your knowledge is just as important as the length when it comes to developing and progressing. If you practice too much of the same thing it's easy for things to get stale anf that can easily lead to feeling uninspired and ultimately discouraged.


This is definitely true learning an instrument is definitely not definable and linear in terms of progression like weight training. However I've learned some good habits that apply to any difficult endeavor in the gym.
I'm not totally bummed out or anything like that .I guess impatience is rearing it's ugly head.
I've learned a lot from Troy Stetinas books which have really good sounding songs and solos in them.
I do spend half an hour each day working on a song
I've learned White Heat Red Hot by Judas Priest and The,Four horsemen from Metallica.
Both songs I can play at completely at 80-90% speed I'm still trying to get to 100%
I've been working on them each about 4 months now
Since I hate learning parts of songs I treat them like projects and try to learn the whole thing.
I've got Troy's next 2 books in the que, definitely a lot of ground covered in them, they take a long time to complete.
#14
Quote by Captaincranky
To me it seems the brain needs time "to file", what you've been trying to teach the muscles with practice. I find when you come back to something you were having trouble getting down, you pick up the guitar a couple of days later and think, "hm, when the heck did I learn that"?


Sounds like great advice, a day of fishing should do the trick!
Gonna do that this Saturday.
#15
Quote by beaglegod
Sounds like great advice, a day of fishing should do the trick!
Gonna do that this Saturday.  


I agree with CC on that, as it happens regularly to me. However, I switch to something requiring different techniques rather than having a rest, so that several skills tend to be evolving at the same time.
#16
hell i've been playing for over 35 years and have hit many points where it didn't seem i was getting any better.  one thing i've found that helps is to not judge yourself on your "best" day, you know the ones where it all comes together and you feel like you played great etc. rather look at the days where it just isn't working that well for you. before you say i'm nuts think about this. as you progress what you can get done even on a shit day is truly where you are at. when you think back a shit day today a year or two ago may have been what you considered a great day. 
#17
Quote by monwobobbo
hell i've been playing for over 35 years and have hit many points where it didn't seem i was getting any better.  one thing i've found that helps is to not judge yourself on your "best" day, you know the ones where it all comes together and you feel like you played great etc. rather look at the days where it just isn't working that well for you. before you say i'm nuts think about this. as you progress what you can get done even on a shit day is truly where you are at. when you think back a shit day today a year or two ago may have been what you considered a great day. 


That is such a great perspective. I will definitely apply this. This is advice that I think will help in just about any endeavor.

Thank you.
#18
Progress is slow. I'm 3yrs in and I still don't feel all that confident when I play - even stuff I know like the back of my hand. That said, I've been sticking to some actual practice plans (learning more advanced techniques and voicings) and last night after a warm up I felt like I was really commanding the guitar. I actually felt fully in control and everything I played sounded stellar! It's those little glimpses of my potential that keeps me going.

I also find it helpful to absorb myself in guitar videos. I dunno why, it just gives me encouragement to carry on.
#19
Quote by beaglegod
That is such a great perspective. I will definitely apply this.  This is advice that I think  will help in just about any endeavor.

Thank you.

glad you liked it. it's easier on the soul to say "hey i suck less than i did" than to just stew and think you suck period. 
#20
Quote by beaglegod
Wasn't sure where this thread belongs but since it's related to practice and progress I guess it go's here.
I've been practicing 9+ months now about 2.5 hours per day everyday. One hour early in the morning,  one in the afternoon and than half hour before bed.
I'm at the last few pages of Troy Stetinas Metal Lead Primer and Metal Rythm Vol 1.
Have I made progress?  Absolutely.  Yet I still feel progress comes painfully slow, songs and exercises never sound 100% .
I know it takes years and I've kept myself motivated logging in well over 600 hours of practice but I  guess everybody gets discouraged at some point.
Just trying to  keep grinding.

You seem to have reached a plateau. Nothing to worry about, it's just part of the learning curve. At first, we're digesting a lot of new information and we progress is fast. Then at a certain point, we kind of stop progressing. Some people even think they're deteriorating.

The problem with plateaus is that during them, most guitar players quit. The great guitar players are the ones who recognize that the plateau as just part of the process and persist until they get out of it and start progressing fast again (until they reach the next plateau, so on and so forth)

If I may ask, do you have a teacher? You're investing a lot of time every day practice, you seem determined and motivated, I would suggest you get a good teacher if you haven't yet. (emphasis on 'good'). It will make life a lot easier.

One last point: I haven't studied the books you mention, but one thing that can help you get out of the plateau is to study guitar books that are not specifically Metal, to see the bigger picture.
#21
I've struggled with this a lot over the years. I've put the guitar down because of it for years at a time. Its tough to get past it. Usually I find motivation again in learning something that is absolutely outside of my skill set. When I become painfully irritated not getting to where I wanted to be on the new technique I go back and noodle on some old things I used to struggle with. I find that I am much smoother and better at them and I personally find solace in that, and it drives me to go back and get better at what I'm working at, at that time.

The first real issue I had as a young player was economy picking. I always wanted to strum down and it really limited me. I finally sat down with some good ol' balls to the wall American death metal where everything was trem picking to extremes. I found once I got a little better at it, I was able to economy pick FAR better, maybe because I didn't feel burnt out, maybe it was because of the alternate picking of the trem pick of much of it, but I felt much better. A lot of people find inspiration in new gear as well. My cousin was in the Cobain mindset, every time he was burning out or stuck he would go to a local pawn shop we frequented and buy something cheap and different that he liked. It would motivate him to play.

You have to find the thing that drives you and helps you progress. We can all wax poetic about the best way to overcome the plateau, but for each person the roof needs a different motivation to be moved. Just know, the moment you think you can't get better is the moment you've lost. Just know there is ALWAYS room to grow. Even the greatest guitarists on earth practice, they don't sit around playing what they know either.
#22
I did the beginner's and intermediate courses at justinguitar and also putting in about 3 hours/day for 6 months which I just finished, but decided to take modified approach to allow what I've learned sink in, by studying more theory and working on ear training/transcribing.

I've also reduced my practice time so that I am more focused, which makes the time more efficient.  Quality time over quantity.
#23
Quote by BeefDrapes

The first real issue I had as a young player was economy picking. I always wanted to strum down and it really limited me. I finally sat down with some good ol' balls to the wall American death metal where everything was trem picking to extremes. I found once I got a little better at it, I was able to economy pick FAR better, maybe because I didn't feel burnt out, maybe it was because of the alternate picking of the trem pick of much of it, but I felt much better.

I've found the same. The more advanced techniques (or dexterity exercises) you learn the more this compounds your original skill set too. It's a great way to get out of a rut, but it does require some dedication and time. It might take a couple of weeks for a new technique to even start coming together.
#24
beaglegod Well consider a moment if you.. 

1) Choose your fate.  Do let anyone ever tell you what you should like or not like.
2) Do you believe there is more outside yourself?  Mythic no?
3) If you are looking down.  Look up.
4) You are awesome.  You agree?  Accept it.
5) What have you done this week you feel really matters?  Do more.
6) Where are you headed?  Go where you want to.  Right now.
7) Have you thanked people around you yet?  You may have the best relationships not realizing yet.  Check it.
8) Challenge yourself.  If you dont feel it.  Pick the most difficult thing.  When all else is cold you need more Amps.  Put yourself in a crucible and work at it.  Be the star that escapes gravity.  Go supernova.  If you haven't done yet what is beyond you, you need to do that right now.

Carry on wayward son.