When I began to learn guitar at Christmas, the first thing I wanted to do was learn some Metallica riffs. After weeks of continuous practice, callous building, and a rather sore wrist, I made it to where I could nail my favorite guitar parts. I learned as much as I could of whole songs. Intro solos I could always handle, but those pesky speedy 'main solos' prevent me. Anyways...the problem.

I recently began to learn some theory, and learned the major and minor pentatonic scales, along with a blues scale (different than the minor pentatonic). I wanted to advance, but I kept hitting blocks. Since I'm self taught, and I still havn't found a lesson that explains to me in a friendly way, I abandoned it. Should I leave theory learning until I'm more proficient with the guitar?

Also, playing Metallica riffs are great fun, but after awhile you want to be able to play those kickass solo's Metallica is known for. Since this is only my 5th month playing, should I really be attempting this? I know there is no rule saying that you have to and can only start soloing at 'x' amount of time playing, but most everybody doesn't seem to learn to play solos until almost after a year or so of playing. Some intro solos like the ones on Fade to Black, One, Sanitarium I can do, but the big ones are somewhat harder...so should I just stick with what I know, and keep practicing until I'm more experienced? Or should I just go for it?

Sorry if this kinda long and deviates from the point, but I'd like some input. Thanks.
Well, you just have to practice, and learn to count time. Im guessing you already can, so you should go out and buy a book, consiously play the song with the time, and then speed it up every day. And just go for it, but with easier songs. And never ever leave theory in the dust. Soon, youll be able to play. And remeber that one pesky word. "Practice"
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i was an extremely fast learner at guitar because i always tried above what i was capable. People would always tell me "no no dont try that you wont be able to play it" but i tried anyways and alot of times the solos i would try to play wouldnt sound exactly like they were supposed to, but either way i learned lots of technique and speed. Id say you should try to play whatever you like to listen to, just be patient and realize its going to take a long time to learn the tricky solos.
keep in mind that this is hammett we're talkin about.

right off the bat, you aren't goin to be able to hit every note in a solo, for example, the main solo in "one".

build finger dexterity by playing certain parts of the solo slowly. once you mentally know the order of the notes at a slow pace, gradually build up the speed.
rock on.
hey mate, i did the same thing with my learning experience, just wanted to play metallica stuff lol. still do, but now im doin stuff like the battery solo. i hope when u say u nail the songs u like that u really can play at the right speed with palm muting and all so i trust u have that all down. Kirk isnt the greatest guitar player out there (as much as i respect him), he's far from it. however that doesnt mean that he cant shred like fury. there are some excellent shredding lessons on this site, so have a hunt for em, and ur soloing will increase tenfold if u practise them well. They sample some of kirk's stuff on there so you can see a pattern of his that he often uses. Just build up that picking speed, and always palm mute, otherwise ur not doin it properly lol. good luck and rock on
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when u see something hard to play, learn it and master it. Its the only way to improve. I was like you, i saw the master of puppets solo on tab and im like thats just insane. But u get the hang of it. But once i could play it, it brought me 10 steps higher then any body i know becuase then i was able to play things at that difficulty.
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Hey man

Your story is very similar to mine. Im also a self taught guitarist who started playing round 6 1/2 months ago. Like you i just wanna shred like kirk. I play probably for at least an hour a day which is alot when you factor in school etc. I can hoentsly say i have imrpoved so much. At first i wouldnt consider playing a metallica solo because i wold get to a point where id say 'what the hell am i doing, i suck'. Like previous poster stated, learn a solo at a slow rate, memorise all the notes and gradually build up the pace. Also when trying to speed up your solos make sure you learn accuracy first. You can be super fast but hit half the notes incorrectly and a solo sounds terrible. keep at it though
You may as well try doing hard solos. Start off slow though.

besides, even if you cant do it at first, it isnt like anything bad is going to happen. Practice is good.
some people say they can play solos after playign 'X' amount of time under a year or even above....and alot of them play it ****tly. i personally think gradually building yourself up instead of rushing into 'hard' playign and difficult tecniques. that way you never sound awful and you always nail the tecniques. so leave all teh hard solos...starts on some more basic ones. or learn parts...licks....then come back to them in a few months....try varies ones out.....you'll fid you can either play some or at least make a better attempt. so then you go off again....come back and suddenly all that other practise has enabled you to do it...without sounding awful!
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Slowly work on your speed with a metronome, and make sure you are playing without tension. You can progress however fast you want, it just depends how much work you put into it. Make sure you are using proper technique though, the worst thing you can possibly do is try to learn very difficult peices by trying to "muscle through" the hard parts that you havent worked yourself up to. I suggest picking up an instuctional video such as John Petruccis "Rock Dicipline" or something similar. If you do not learn proper technique you will likely end up with carpal tunnel sydrome or tendonitis, and have sloppy playing as well. But once you learn to practice properly, you will be shredding in no time.
Get guitar pro. Turn the speed for those solos down to about 25% or something that you can easily play them at, then play along. Once you have the solo perfect at the speed your playing, turn the speed up each day around 1-2% and you'll soon be able to play all those crazy fast solos.

It's important to learn the solos as a much slower speed than you're actually capable of also. If you start at the actual speed you're capable of you won't really be able to make it any faster without sacrificing the quality of your playing, and by playing it slower than you actually can you're teaching your hands how to play the solo without mistakes.
If you're gonna learn some solos, I would start with some slower ones, like the first two in Welcome Home.
You gotta aim high to hit high . I definitely think you should learn some harder stuff (though Metallica is far from the hardest stuff around), just don't make it the only thing you practice, you gotta learn the other stuff too.
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Thanks everyone. All great posts. I think I know what I should do now.

If anyone else has anything else to add I'd appreciate it.

(Goes to print off page)
also, be ready to spend a lot of time on it. (i spent almost an hour straight working on the solo from "Paranoid" today..that sucker is harder then you'd think, at least imo.)
It's normal for the blossoming guitar player to want to shred the hell out of it. But don't forget you need to learn to crawl before you walk; say trying to learn some Dragon Force when you're just starting out. If thats what you want to eventually be able to play then learn simpler songs first. It's hard to take it slowly but if you do decide to learn something way beyond your level don't feel like you have to play it up to speed immediately.