I'm sure there are a lot of "where do I begin" posts, but I wanted to toss mine into the mix because I'm not exactly new, but I want to kind of reset here and start taking the instrument seriously. This may get a little long, so if you read it all and reply - thank you!

I've been playing since about 12 - so that's about 25 years now. The problem is, I've always just fiddled around and learned to play songs sloppily and never really practiced or learned the instrument properly. I can play lots of pieces to simple songs - I'm mostly a metal fan; so I've dabbled in learning Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, but all simple stuff really (for instance, I can hardly play any full songs, but I can plays bits and pieces to a lot of them). I've been trying to push myself more lately and I've been trying some Scale The Summit (but badly) such as Oracle (for instance, I can do the intro, but I still have to pause between chords, and I can play the first part of the opening soloish riff at about 70% speed).

I have watched a lot of videos and tried a lot of various online instructors to see what they do. I've tried a little of the Justin Guitar guy, but I tend to get pretty bored strumming chords and playing the songs he starts people at... But maybe I need to just suck it up and do it.

I've tried Pebber Brown but he sucks the life out of the instrument. It becomes about playing 800 variations on the chromatic scale, basically. But, again, maybe I just need to endure that. I've gone a bit into the Gibson's Learn and Master guitar series.

I've watched various videos on things to practice every day - for instance a video by a Steve Stine dude telling me 3 things to do every day (a picking exercise, the trill exercises and the chromatic scale all the way up the neck), and I've tried a lot of them but never know which ones I really should be focusing on or if they're really helping (I've got the Chromatic scale one up to about 210 bpm with quarter notes).

I don't understand timing very well - I have no ear - and basically I play sloppily and I tend to try to play way too fast because that's the music I like to listen to. For reference to what I listen to and try to learn, currently I'm into Scale the Summit, Angel Vivaldi, Lamb of God, GlassJaw (EYEWTKAS - the heavier songs). I tend to go through phases of listening to certain bands - but basically metal is where my heart is (Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Lamb of God) and I love instrumental metal.

I really just play by myself and home and I have no way to really gauge where I am as a player; how sloppy am I really? How poor is my technique? Am I holding my pick right? Why is my guitar making a lot of noise when playing certain riffs (I'm trying to learn Witch House by scale the summit, and I get a shit load of noise during tapping parts, some some of the quicker picking parts that I can do and I've no idea why - although, some of the riffs on my 6 string come out much cleaner. Maybe I need to get the 7 string looked at - it's an Omen-7)?, etc, etc.

So I'm begging you guys to help me out here. For once I'd like to finally learn the instrument properly and figure out where I need to start from and what road to take on this journey. As I've mentioned, my love is Metal music - it's what I really want to play in the end of all of it. Obviously, though, all of those guys have to start from square one and metal usually isn't the first step; so I probably need to step back and start learning something else.

Where I do I reset to and how do I do it? How did you guys finally get it under control and become an actual musician and guitar player and not just some dude who sits around and fiddles by himself? I do have a couple of people I know who play, but I don't really like to play with others right now because I'm very insecure about my playing ability. I feel like I'm wasting anyone's time to go and jam with them because while I can play a few scales, I don't understand music in the slightest. I took lessons for about a month and was learning the Modes, but I had to move and never picked that back up.

I know there are people here like me who are in this situation. I'm almost 37 and I'm a sloppy player who has about 25 years under his belt and am ready to take it seriously. I'd like to be able to write some actual music and play with other people for once, instead of learning how to play master of puppets sloppily and having to skip a bar because my wrist is too tired to keep going... I don't want to be a bum any more.

Thanks for listening! I beg of you guys. Help me reset and get going on the right path. There are so many teachers and sites and places that tell you to do this and that - but I don't know who to listen to and I don't even know where I need to really begin at my level (whatever level that is).
Last edited by Wizzykin at Jun 1, 2017,
I read through the whole post. And while I say this in about 80% of all advice post I make, I've probably never meant this this much:

Get a teacher. Get a real, 1 on 1, private teacher. I can't recommend this enough to someone in your situation. A teacher can help you make sense of your goals and the things you need to take care of in order to reach those goals. At least think about it, if you're serious about the instrument.

But that being said, there's no reason we couldn't give you some pointers. I'd be interested in hearing you play, can you make a simple recording you'd be willing to share? So we could get an approximation of your skill level.

As to what you should be learning, pick a simple song from a band you like (Enter Sandman would be a great choice, or maybe Two Minutes to Midnight) and learn it properly from start to finish. I think you need to break the habit of only learning parts, you don't have to tackle the guitar solos just yet but try to learn the rhythm parts to these songs all the way through. Maybe you could pick something simpler even, like Back in Black or why not Smoke on the Water: the point is not to learn something difficult, the point is to learn actual, full songs so you could play music, not little bits of music.

One thing that you should also start paying attention to is your basic technique. Watch some lessons on posture, left hand technique and right hand technique, and try to make sure you're not doing something way off the mark. If the foundation of your technique is all right, you can get straight into learning music. Other thing you should do is play some riffs to a metronome, you can find good lessons on this as well. It's a good first step to take if you want to improve your sense of rhythm.

There's some ideas for you, but please, consider a professional teacher. It's worth it, trust me, at least if you find the teacher that suits you.
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Ok, well if you want to get serious.

1. You need to develop great technique.You can get away with sloppy technique in some cases, but learning to play with good technique will give you a solid foundation and propel you forward much more quickly. I would highly recommend Jamie Andreas and her book Guitar Principles for this. Pebber Brown goes into technique as well, though he's a bit less... tact. A well qualified teacher should help too, but don't bother going back to a teacher who doesn't go into any depth when it comes to technique. Everything from posture, to how you apply pressure, makes a huge difference to the ease of playing the instrument. Your goal when learning anything is to be able to play it effortlessly - even if it's just a chord change. Be extremely self critical. These things aren't often intuitive and don't often come naturally with time - in fact, it's very easy to create bad habits.

2. Secondly, you need to forge a path. You like metal so look into what techniques are used in metal music and schedule them into your practice routine. Be sure to stick at them. 10min a day. Every day. It works. You will improve. As long as it's mindful practice. Always think about what you are doing. What muscles you are engaging? What you could do differently to make it easier? Are you playing slowly enough so that you don't make a mistake? Again, be extremely self-critical. Don't just cruise through it thinking "that's good enough". Only perfect practice makes perfect. Also start learning entire songs within that genre and build a repertoire. Take small steps. Don't set impossible lofty goals. Learn maybe two techniques, and move onto something else once mastered to a level you're satisfied with (don't necessarily let speed be a defining factor, speed will come naturally with good technique).
has it: teacher. I've played for over 20 years, play professionally, and still take lessons. No matter how good you are, you can't hear through anyone else's ears.

There's a lot you can do to be good player, but at the center of it is having a positive attitude and knowing that there is something you can improve on every single day. Never feel bad about recognizing skills that need work - every deficiency you see is an opportunity to improve.
Quote by Wizzykin
never really practiced or learned the instrument properly...I tend to get pretty bored strumming chords and playing the songs...
I don't understand timing very well - I have no ear...basically metal is where my heart is...I don't understand music in the slightest.

Let's see how serious you really are...

- enough to learn whole songs played right?
- enough to learn songs in styles you don't like?
- enough to switch focus off of metal for a few years?

Understanding music comes from a varied and balanced diet of hearing, learning, playing, and performing songs of different styles, including styles you dislike. This is how one grasps a sense of rhythm and harmony, chord function and progression structure.

It sounds like you don't have a foundation from which to build, despite 25 years of looking for traction. You can't just use your one favorite niche style of music to build your foundation... that's like eating nothing but ice cream and cake. You need to learn things from the music you don't like in order to grasp and execute the music you do like, whatever style it may be.

It's one thing to get serious about playing guitar in a particular style, it is a whole different and more thing to get serious about being a guitarist, and it is an even more whole different and an even further thing to get serious about being a musician.

All that said, because if you pursue a good teacher, the first thing will be an evaluation of what you have learned about music and what you have learned about playing the guitar... an evaluation of your foundation, from which lesson plans and a path forward will be developed. That path is certainly going to be comprised of music styles that will not sound like or be metal, and likely won't for quite a while. If your teacher is enthusiastic about diving into into metal immediately, you have found the wrong teacher, even though metal is where you want to go...
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Quote by Wizzykin

my love is Metal music - it's what I really want to play in the end of all of it.

IMO, This part of your OP says it all. That's the road to take. Dive into all things Metal, which cover a lot of musical ground and delve into plenty of other musical realms like Blues, Rock, Classical, Renaissance era,  Folk, etc... it's all in there on some level but wrapped up in a Metal package....  Take Tony Iommi for example,,,, He played in Blues Rock bands pre-Sabbath and is a Hank Marvin fan so if you learn Sabbath tunes that stuff is in there on some level....Matallica, huge Sabbath fans and so on and so forth.... it's all in there in one form or another.... directly indirectly....
I agree with Guitaraxe here ... you have to practice what you enjoy, what motivates and inspires you.  Pyschology has a huge impact on playing ... if, as you go to practice,  you think you suck, or think something is boring, tedious. or "why am I doing this ... I can't see how this helps me", then you've sabotaged yourself straight-away.  Your brain is in charge of every little motion, and adjustment, that your body has to make, and it will happily make things go wrong if that's you believe.  Practice what you need to improve, not what you can already do well.  

If you love metal, then you don't need to really get stuck into other aspects of music that aren't employed.

The stuff that will help you (as said above) are

a) technique .... and #1 here is controlling unwanted string noise (i.e muting), along with accurate picking, and accurate timing.
b) rhythm ... no rhythm, no music (this applies to any style of music).  Don't infatuate on notes.   Infatuate on rhythm and sound.
c) scales and chords that apply to the style(s) of metal you like.  Suggest you work at these as involved in riffing, or playing backing parts, and get these to sound how you want them to sound (presumably so you sound like the guys that inspire you).  Play these perfectly, even if you have to slow down.  Never accept sloppiness.  As this gets better, challenge yourself more, and investigate the scales that are sources of the chords and riffs.  Build some vocabulary, and experiment with different ways to employ some licks and riffs.
d) guitar familiarity ... try and understand what you're playing ... don't just play parrot-fashion ... this has bearing when it comes to landing notes and navigation paths across/along the neck.  Personally, I'd avoid 3 nps initially, as this can get you very lost and very parrot-like ... there are other effective ways of learning your way around, which can meld into 3 nps without getting lost.  At the core, learn interval shapes ... they are very few of these, and you come across tem everywhere in chords and scales and melodies.
e) work on your aural skills.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jun 4, 2017,