#1
First paragraph is non-guitar related. Feel free to skip down. Confession time a bit. I hid a few things about myself that may effect me going forward. I am 43, no musical background and have had some serious health problems. The list is fairly extensive, some are disabling, at least 1 is deadly and has nearly killed me many times over the past 14 years or so, none are curable and one does not even have treatment. One of the issues was a stroke. I only found out about this recently (about 6 weeks ago or so) and was told it was older. No idea what time frame that means but I developed some serious weird issues about 4 years ago. Started dropping things without any cause. Basically, my hands were effected. Nothing consistent, my hands just open of their own accord and get very weak sometimes. I tend to walk into closed doors a fair bit because my hand fails to grasp and turn the knob. So I have 3 motivations for learning the guitar. Always wanted to (alongside piano and violin). My wife is trying to get back into acoustic and I got her a replacement guitar for her birthday - it should provide us a shared hobby. And lastly I am using it as sort of an ad-hoc physical therapy for my hands. Doesn't appear to be helping, but they are not getting any worse, so.... I'll take it. On to guitar stuff!

So after 30 days of work, here is where I am.

There have been some days lately when my motivation and time only allowed me about 20 minutes, rather than slowly increasing my time towards the 2-3 hour mark I wish for. Most days it is about 60-90 minutes. I hope that being able to actually play something in the future will allow me to increase the time and lessen the frustration.I am at around 30 minutes so far today. Mostly the exercises jerrykramskoy gave me in the first thread, but also some continuing work on "Some Nights" and some RS 2014 Lesson work. I am grateful to jerry, but hesays I owe him a beer while his profile states he doesn't drink...... And he's British...... Hmmm - (Teasing).

If you are supposed to be playing songs at 60-days on the RS challenge, well, I am going to fail that one I am pretty sure. Yes, I could probably play really simple stuff that is on 1 or 2 strings or just strumming 2 different chords for the length of the song, but I don't want that, don't want to listen to it or subject others to it. Already told my mother-in-law when she visited that she will never hear me play "Smoke on the Water" or "House of the Rising Sun".

I never seem to get to the fretboard memorization portion of my practice schedule. This is mostly due to me getting frustrated. When I get frustrated, angry,and tired and am not gaining anything I stop for awhile then come back. This is actually being written in such a lull. Also haven't gotten back to chords yet. There is an outside reason for that one involving my wife, but it's not relevant here.

I have increased my timing to 70bpm from 40bpm on the exercise, but I am never perfect on this. At some point I move up or down the string or to another string and blow it. My fret finger misses entirely or strikes more than 1 string. I will manage to pick the wrong string, sometimes several times in a row.

Practicing away, I look down and realize my thumb is parallel to the neck when going after the higher frets. Fix it, move on. Find me doing to same thing about twice in 10 minutes of practice. I think part of this is due to my forearm length getting cramped and the angle being uncomfortable. If I push the guitar well away from my body it isn't as much of a chore. Then of course, I cannot see what I am doing.

Pinky continues to hit more than 1 string. The angle required to change this since it is short and the last joint is not very flexible and doesn't have much control, means some discomfort that doesn't seem to be lessening. Put the back of your hand , fingers perpendicular - pointing up, against a table edge and start pushing till it hurts a good bit. Kind of where this one ends up right now.

My hand shape means that the index and pinky fingers come in sideways when trying to do anything on the lower pitch frets. Just no avoiding it, despite my continuing stretch exercises. My palm just isn't wide enough. Very annoying for a guy who is 6' 3" and has long arms, but smalls palms and short fingers. 

Pick hand position is still a continuing problem. Practicing. Look down and find myself with the palm hovering above rather than resting on the body. Fix this and then I end up muting strings, causing some pain in my wrist, and then I start moving diagonally down the strings. This is how I used to hit the pickups with the pick. It seems to be either palm resting on the body or I can pick straight down in the gap between then rear and middle pickups. Choking up on the pic solved a lot of this as well.

After 10-14 days of minor daily work on "Some Nights" I can play the first riff at about 2/3rds speed. I could probably speed this up but I want to add in the second riff before going any faster and it is a source of serious frustration. Even when I get my fingers lined up correctly, the double stop on the E and B strings just doesn't sound right no matter what I try. I practice the riffs separately but cannot quite get them together yet. Major source of anger and walking away. It is often the last thing I do in a given session because of this.

Changed the strings. Didn't change my play. No getting to blame the equipment anymore. Bass E string still sounds a bit funny when I pick it sometimes. Probably just my ears or poor technique since they are fresh strings. Or both. The string job looks like shit but it works just fine. EB Titanium 8's if anyone is interested.

I continue to try to add the pull-off. It seems I should be going after this before harmonics or higher speeds. Frankly my technique is so poor, as in non-existent, that I'm not sure it matters for now anyway. Cannot seem to get to a point where i need it, just know it is coming next.

 Quote by SanDune65 

"I kind of thought I was going nowhere fast and was working my but off at it. Until I sat down and tried to play to some backing tracks, I kinda blew myself away...all those things I had been working on for so long, just picking for hours, scales, chords, working on my fretting, all that stuff just came out and the next thing I knew I was actually playing music and not just some technical scale stuff. Not just that but I discovered feel, rhythm, groove or mojo...whatever you want to call it I felt it man. At that time I was getting pretty frustrated with practicing the same stuff over and over again, just tired and bored from it, after my little revelation I want nothing more than to continue practicing those same things over and over again, because I know the outcome, the reward is pretty powerful. "

There is a pic on the internet about the learning curve for Eve Online. I played it on and off for a few months over the years. The pic shows a graph of the learning curve in Eve being a very low level line followed by an eventual vertical rise to a cliff and you then depicted as a bulldozer just destroying everything. I am hoping the guitar works out something like this. At some point I hope that it will all kind of come together and something will work and I will just be amazed. Not looking very likely anytime soon. The lack of reward in this process is brutal. More brutal than anything I can remember going back into childhood. I just tell myself it has to get better at some point. 

On the good side: I am faster. I almost never hit the pickups with the pick anymore. Choking up on the pick helped that immensely. That is basically it.

It's odd in that I constantly find myself thinking about it when not playing it, even though I kind of dread picking it up knowing how the session is going to end. I.E. - not on a high note, scuse' the pun. So 30-days in and I would put my progress at minimal. Bupkis. Square root of jack. More choice words I try not to contaminate this thread with. Cannot play a song. Can hardly play a fairly simple riff I have practiced over and over. Continue to have very basic technique issues. To say nothing of mostly having to be looking at the fretboard to get it right. Or the metronome. It seems to vary a bit. Good thing I am a masochist. Or just stubborn. Probably stubborn.
Last edited by Silenti at Aug 4, 2017,
#2
to be honest what you've described is fairly typical, 30 days is nothing in the grand scheme of things in playing the guitar, especially when you're starting from absolute zero. I dan remember spending days, if not weeks, at the beginning just trying to fret the A and D chords cleanly.

Everything about playing the guitar is somewhat un-natural as a physical action...it takes time for your body to come to terms with it and understand that the odd positions you keep putting your hands and fingers are in are intentional.

I'd say it probably takes 3-6 months for the guitar to start feeling natural, like it's supposed to be there rather than a big awkward lump of wood with nasty sharp wires on it. Once you got that point things become a lot easier. However it's not like Eve I'm afraid, there's definitely an early period of rapid improvement once you've battled through that initial stage of downright awkwardness, however further down the line guitar becomes acutely susceptible to the law of diminishing returns. The better you get, the more work you have to put in for increasingly smaller gains.
Actually called Mark!

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#3
Quote by steven seagull
to be honest what you've described is fairly typical, 30 days is nothing in the grand scheme of things in playing the guitar, especially when you're starting from absolute zero. I dan remember spending days, if not weeks, at the beginning just trying to fret the A and D chords cleanly.

Everything about playing the guitar is somewhat un-natural as a physical action...it takes time for your body to come to terms with it and understand that the odd positions you keep putting your hands and fingers are in are intentional.

I'd say it probably takes 3-6 months for the guitar to start feeling natural, like it's supposed to be there rather than a big awkward lump of wood with nasty sharp wires on it. Once you got that point things become a lot easier. However it's not like Eve I'm afraid, there's definitely an early period of rapid improvement once you've battled through that initial stage of downright awkwardness, however further down the line guitar becomes acutely susceptible to the law of diminishing returns. The better you get, the more work you have to put in for increasingly smaller gains.

Honestly never expected it to progress quickly. Just thought that some of the absolute basics would come more easily. I'm having enough trouble with basic technique that I am just ignoring everything else until I get it right. I make a mistake, I back up generally to the start and begin again until I can get past the point I failed previously. I figure that as a basic structure will see me through a ways so long as I keep trying to correct/ avoid the bad habits.

My Eve analogy may fall down but the idea of "you can do nothing" to "hey, that worked!" as a sudden spike was what I meant. Not that in a couple of years you can become an awesome guitar player. An "awkward lump of wood with sharp wires on it" is a pretty fair description so far. I actually saw a guitar I was jealous of the other day. Had one of those wide nuts and the space between strings was awesome and uniform from top to bottom. May have to get one of those someday. Which would probably ruin me for playing anything else but.....


As an aside: Thanks to all who are replying. Helpful stuff top to bottom.
Last edited by Silenti at Aug 5, 2017,
#4
good job, and good luck on a wonderful journey that will last a lifetime!
#5
Silenti Must update my profile :-)  Can't do much about the British bit!

I had ulnar nerve damage (from a gym accident), and the end result was that I pretty much lost control of my 3rd and 4th fingers of my frretting hand, plus that side of my hand lost a lot of muscle.  Eventually had an operation to free up the nerve from by elbow socket, but my brain had changed how it sent signals too those fingers, and moving one caused the other to join the party way too much.  The good news however was that the brain responds and forms new pathways and as my nerve (and consequently blood supply) was functioning more normally, this happened.  I got back to roughly virtuoso technique levels that I used to have pre-accident.  But that took a lot of focused practice.  But my brain, hands, body responded.  All wonderful until I virtually snapped both thumbs of about 4 years ago now.  That has taken a very long time to recuperate from.  I'm just getting back to playing moderately well now, but happy to put the hours in now, as the pain has gone pretty much.

In other words, you may find that the focus on guitar and coordination can develop pathways for you, and clumsiness and weakness fade.  I really hope so.

Your playing shouldn't be inducing pain ... something is wrong in your physical interaction with the guitar.  The offer for Skype is open whenever you want ... I may be able to spot some obvious stuff.  And there are plenty of skilled folk on the forums that can advise based on a video, if you can do that.

As for 30 day progress ... I'd say you're doing pretty well ... I don't know anyone that just picked up a guitar with no previous experience, and was rockiing away after 30 days.

All the best!  Didn't I mention orange juice when I asked for a pint?
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 5, 2017,
#6
You gotta hang in there. After my first month i actually hung my guitar on the wall and left t there for about 3 months before picking it up again, so you are doing better then me in that reguard. Very regretful that I lost those 3 months, but it taught me a good lesson, if playing guitar was easy everybody would be doing it and it wouldn't be a big deal, but it's hard and it is a big deal. I had just hit the one year mark of playing when things started to come together. I never paid any attention to any charts or schedules, in fact I really didn't even keep track of my progress, I just kept chugging along. I got some great printed lessons material as I really just wasn't feeling the youtube stuff anymore, if you stick to one person's lessons like Justin Guitar that's great, but I was just jumping all over the place and got lost in. The process can be frustrating and time consuming, one of my best tips is to make it enjoyable instead of like work. I don't know anybody that plays guitar, none of my family or friends, I'm special
Flying in a blue dream
#7
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Silenti Must update my profile :-)  Can't do much about the British bit!

I had ulnar nerve damage (from a gym accident), and the end result was that I pretty much lost control of my 3rd and 4th fingers of my frretting hand, plus that side of my hand lost a lot of muscle.  Eventually had an operation to free up the nerve from by elbow socket, but my brain had changed how it sent signals too those fingers, and moving one caused the other to join the party way too much.  The good news however was that the brain responds and forms new pathways and as my nerve (and consequently blood supply) was functioning more normally, this happened.  I got back to roughly virtuoso technique levels that I used to have pre-accident.  But that took a lot of focused practice.  But my brain, hands, body responded.  All wonderful until I virtually snapped both thumbs of about 4 years ago now.  That has taken a very long time to recuperate from.  I'm just getting back to playing moderately well now, but happy to put the hours in now, as the pain has gone pretty much.

In other words, you may find that the focus on guitar and coordination can develop pathways for you, and clumsiness and weakness fade.  I really hope so.

Your playing shouldn't be inducing pain ... something is wrong in your physical interaction with the guitar.  The offer for Skype is open whenever you want ... I may be able to spot some obvious stuff.  And there are plenty of skilled folk on the forums that can advise based on a video, if you can do that.

As for 30 day progress ... I'd say you're doing pretty well ... I don't know anyone that just picked up a guitar with no previous experience, and was rockiing away after 30 days.

All the best!  Didn't I mention orange juice when I asked for a pint?

Damn man. You're luck is on par with mine. I am hoping it helps, but honestly have no expectation that it will.

The pain I only get when I have to force my hand into a particular position. Mostly involving things like pushing hard against the neck of the guitar with the fret hand thumb so I can get a better angle out front. No matter what I try so far, I keep hitting the adjacent lower string when fretting. Not sure if I am supposed to correct that or worry about getting the proper sounding note first, or what. 

Orange juice? No. There was no mention of orange juice that I recall..... Tequila Sunrise man? And if you have any way I can send up a pint let me know. 


Unfortunately my anger seems to come on more quickly now so I end up with shorter sessions actually practicing. Sometimes I don't get back to it and end up with a 20-30 minute day. Part of me says that is just settling in for the long haul and part of me says that is lazy, rationalizing bull****.

Oh, and I'm comfortable at 77bpm for the moment. The hammer-on -> pull-off practice feels like I am just doing a hammer-on. (and missing at anything involved with actually playing something)
Last edited by Silenti at Aug 8, 2017,
#8
Quote by SanDune65
You gotta hang in there. After my first month i actually hung my guitar on the wall and left t there for about 3 months before picking it up again, so you are doing better then me in that reguard. Very regretful that I lost those 3 months, but it taught me a good lesson,  if playing guitar was easy everybody would be doing it and it wouldn't be a big deal, but it's hard and it is a big deal. I had just hit the one year mark of playing when things started to come together. I never paid any attention to any charts or schedules, in fact I really didn't even keep track of my progress, I just kept chugging along. I got some great printed lessons material as I really just wasn't feeling the youtube stuff anymore, if you stick to one person's lessons like Justin Guitar that's great, but I was just jumping all over the place and got lost in. The process can be frustrating and time consuming, one of my best tips is to make it enjoyable instead of like work. I don't know anybody that plays guitar, none of my family or friends, I'm special

Watching 12 year olds, and younger, play something you couldn't manage at a rate of 5bpm is not confidence inspiring. I'm sticking with it, but I expect nothing from it at this point.
#9
Quote by steven seagull
to be honest what you've described is fairly typical, 30 days is nothing in the grand scheme of things in playing the guitar, especially when you're starting from absolute zero. I dan remember spending days, if not weeks, at the beginning just trying to fret the A and D chords cleanly.

Everything about playing the guitar is somewhat un-natural as a physical action...it takes time for your body to come to terms with it and understand that the odd positions you keep putting your hands and fingers are in are intentional.

I'd say it probably takes 3-6 months for the guitar to start feeling natural, like it's supposed to be there rather than a big awkward lump of wood with nasty sharp wires on it. Once you got that point things become a lot easier. However it's not like Eve I'm afraid, there's definitely an early period of rapid improvement once you've battled through that initial stage of downright awkwardness, however further down the line guitar becomes acutely susceptible to the law of diminishing returns. The better you get, the more work you have to put in for increasingly smaller gains.

I totaly agree i've been playing for around 8 months now maybe and just recently i'm actually starting to feel like the guitar is a musical instrument ... also try to practice only when you're in a good mood and when you wanna play guitar because you truly like it try not think about your progress as ''days of work''

It's seem like you're being a bit harsh on yourself , after 30 days of playing i barely was able to play a chord.
Last edited by Cassandra_Kitty at Aug 9, 2017,
#10
Quote by Silenti
Watching 12 year olds, and younger, play something you couldn't manage at a rate of 5bpm is not confidence inspiring. I'm sticking with it, but I expect nothing from it at this point.

Honestly, watching a load of videos is just about the worst thing you can do. Age has nothing to do with it, it's all about the hours you've been able to put in - simple fact of the matter is kids have way more free time to commit to learning the guitar. Also kids tend to fixate on things with a laser-focus...if they're into something they're totally into it.

The reality is this - learning to play the guitar is purely a solo pursuit, in that what others can and can't do, or how long it may or may not have taken them has zero influence on how good you are right now, how good you could be or how good you ultimately will be. And as it has absolutely no bearing on your own progress there's no point worrying about it, because that's time, effort and energy you could be focussing elsewhere.

You will never stop learning to play the guitar, and the better you get, the more acutely aware you become of your failings. The more knowledge you accumulate, the more you'll realise you don't know. That never stops, so the important thing is to focus on learning to play the guitar as a journey, not as a destination - because there is no "end", and it's easy to get wrapped up in worrying about reaching a place that doesn't actually exist. Anytime you see or hear another guitarist play you WILL think they're better than you, because everyone learns at their own pace and follows a different path. That means everyone will know SOMETHING that you won't, whether that's a song, a technique or just a chord. It could be the tiniest thing, but that you can bet your life that will be the one thing  you pick up on...even if you know a bunch of stuff that they don't. That's always going to be the case, so don't fret about it but embrace it - if you ever find yourself in that kind of situation take it as an opportunity to learn something new rather than a reason to beat yourself up.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
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...it's a seagull

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#11
Quote by Cassandra_Kitty
I totaly agree i've been playing for around 8 months now maybe and just recently i'm actually starting to feel like the guitar is a musical instrument ... also try to practice only when you're in a good mood and when you wanna play guitar because you truly like it try not think about your progress as ''days of work''

It's seem like you're being a bit harsh on yourself , after 30 days of playing i barely was able to play a chord.

Out of curiosity, what kind of time to you get to spend? I have missed most of the time I want to have in the past couple of days. I think, they tend to run together a bit.
#12
Quote by steven seagull
Honestly, watching a load of videos is just about the worst thing you can do. Age has nothing to do with it, it's all about the hours you've been able to put in - simple fact of the matter is kids have way more free time to commit to learning the guitar. Also kids tend to fixate on things with a laser-focus...if they're into something they're totally into it.

The reality is this - learning to play the guitar is purely a solo pursuit, in that what others can and can't do, or how long it may or may not have taken them has zero influence on how good you are right now, how good you could be or how good you ultimately will be. And as it has absolutely no bearing on your own progress there's no point worrying about it, because that's time, effort and energy you could be focussing elsewhere.

You will never stop learning to play the guitar, and the better you get, the more acutely aware you become of your failings. The more knowledge you accumulate, the more you'll realise you don't know. That never stops, so the important thing is to focus on learning to play the guitar as a journey, not as a destination - because there is no "end", and it's easy to get wrapped up in worrying about reaching a place that doesn't actually exist. Anytime you see or hear another guitarist play you WILL think they're better than you, because everyone learns at their own pace and follows a different path. That means everyone will know SOMETHING that you won't, whether that's a song, a technique or just a chord. It could be the tiniest thing, but that you can bet your life that will be the one thing  you pick up on...even if you know a bunch of stuff that they don't. That's always going to be the case, so don't fret about it but embrace it - if you ever find yourself in that kind of situation take it as an opportunity to learn something new rather than a reason to beat yourself up.

I never expect to stop learning. That goes for pretty much anything in life. Have to get back to it today. Lost track of time lately. Think I missed a day entirely lately. My stepfather, he of the 40+ years playing the guitar, will be here this week. Going to pick his brain a lot.
#13
Silenti 
Quote by Silenti
Out of curiosity, what kind of time to you get to spend? I have missed most of the time I want to have in the past couple of days. I think, they tend to run together a bit.

I practice every day , sometime it's 15 minutes and some other times a few hours (maybe 2-3 ?) whenever i have some free time and feel up to it honestly i never really watched the time that i spend on practicing and playing because it's just so much fun to me.
Last edited by Cassandra_Kitty at Aug 12, 2017,
#14
Ok. Sorry this has taken so long. I haven't been able to practice that much. My stepfather is of limited use as a resource because he was self-taught from the start and later learned to read sheet music but what he does work for him. I do have what I think is 1 piece of good news.

I have been having trouble with pull-offs. This technique, that technique, no sound, dead string, etc. The problem, if I am correct, was not in technique. It was a fundamental misunderstanding of what a pull-off is. Remember how I stated at the start I was a musical moron? This should demonstrate just how true that is.  Keep in mind that I am using Rocksmith. But whether it is Rocksmith 2014 or just Tab, the notation was causing me the problem. To me, a symbol is a single note (barring chords, etc - pun intended). 

A pull-off in Rocksmith is marked the same way a single note is, just with an up arrow. I therefore was expecting and trying to create a single sound. Note = sound. 1 = 1. That is how my mind works. This appears to be completely untrue for a pull-off. By the RS 2014 notation, a pull off looks like the exact opposite of a hammer on. The included lesson on this is less than useful, it made my problems worse. By most of the techniques I have seen they say things like "hold the string 2 frets higher than where you want to do a pull off" - that one isn't always possible it seems. "Pluck the string down when you pick it to increase the volume", etc. No matter what I tried, I always got 2 distinct sounds. The sound of a fretted note and then a different sound as the string is released. To me that is something that should have 2 symbols. It's 2 sounds / 2 notes, so I must be doing something wrong to be producing 2 distinct sounds for a single symbol. This also explains why a certain section of "Paint it Black" sounds one way that I couldn't reproduce and seemed to carry more notes than the symbols actually showed.

Someone correct me if I am dead wrong here somehow. But to my ears a single pull-off is 2 related but distinct sounds. It carries a single symbol and that is what convinced me I was completely incompetent.
Last edited by Silenti at Aug 18, 2017,
#15
Quote by Silenti

Someone correct me if I am dead wrong here somehow. But to my ears a single pull-off is 2 related but distinct sounds. It carries a single symbol and that is what convinced me I was completely incompetent.

A pull-off is two distinct sounds slurred together, and a hammer-on is the same but opposite. It's two notes with one picking motion. A slide will produce a very similar sound with a little bit of a different emphasis. To begin getting the hang of pull-offs, stick to the open strings. Start on the second fret, pick the note, and just flick your left finger off and let the open string ring out. Your middle finger will be the easiest to use. Once you get these sounding clean you can try it on down the fretboard.