Hello everyone! My name is Chris, I'm 20 years old, and I've really enjoyed some of the great Q&A on these forums for the last couple weeks and finally decided to make an account and see if I can't get some of your patented wisdom.

First off, a little history about my guitar-playing. I started playing guitar when I was in 10th grade (about 4+ years ago). I made sure to learn my basic chords first, and then moved right in to playing some of the easier Metallica songs such as Enter Sandman, Fade to Black, Nothing Else Matters, etc. It was then that horror struck. I discovered Drop-d/c tuning, playing lots of System of a Down, Slipknot, etc. and wallowed in it for far too long. Nothing against drop-d/c tuning, but it was a horrible distraction for me on my road to "vertical growth." After a while, guitar seemed boring (due to my lack of skill) and I sold my Jackson DK1 and my junk-o-matic amp.

Now, almost 5 years later, I've decided to pick it up again and give it the try that it deserves. I have a job that deals with a lot of classic rock, and I've always enjoyed listening to the musicianship of guitarists of the classic rock era such as Brian May, Jimmy Page, and even all the way up into 80's metal with Dave Murray and the rest of the 80's metal gang.

Gear-wise I'm currently dealing with a Jackson DKMG (Link to the DKMG) and my amp is a Marshall MG15CD. I don't have any effects or noise-gates (annoying playing without one) at the moment, but as the paychecks roll in, my guitar-stash will as well. The DKMG was actually kind of a funny story, someone at Guitar Center mis-marked the price on it, and set it on the very highest rack on the wall, with the price tag flipped around (probably not a coincidence). When I asked to see it, they climbed on a ladder and handed it down to me, where I discovered that the price tag said "$322.98" as opposed to the 739.99 as is advertised on the website.

Anyway, now to my issues: I feel as if I have done a lot of "horizontal growth" as a guitar player, and I'm lost as to where to even begin with trying to enhance my skill from where I am at the moment. I can play just about any rhythm part of just about any type of song with power-chords, and I can do a couple slow solo's, however they sound broken to me. Such as the intro solo to Fade to Black, I can play it, until it gets to the 16-note run, and then it drops to about 70% quality. I would like to be able to do a fair bit of improv soloing on my own, but I feel as if my soloing technique is way off. There's no "feel" to anything I'm doing, I'm just playing and not necessarily getting into the soul of the music. When I solo, or even play anything with bends or slides, it sounds too robotic and planned, I guess.

I'm curious, does it sound as if I should start looking into taking private lessons? Or do I just need to play some different songs to build up my skill level? I don't typically jam with anyone else, as there is nobody around me that plays any instruments, so if I were going to look for a "mentor", private lessons would be about my only option.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any help! I really appreciate it.

Cheers fellas,
hey man, welcome
ok, for me personally, lessons didnt help too much.
i started playing guitar on my own, and with a basic knowledge of the instrument i took a few lessons. i guess it depends on what kind of lessons you take, but for me it was all stuff i already knew and they just had me playing songs they picked out. basically, it was boring and i had more fun learning stuff i wanted to play and working on skills at my own pace.

to get better, i would just suggest first playing basic things you like, which from your post it sounds like you are doing, and working up in difficulty from there. play along with the songs and try to get your playing to match up with it if you dont want it to sound robotic. most of all just have fun with it.

i think you'll also find that if you eventually find people who play other instruments that you'll have a lot more fun and will work harder to play the stuff you like. but just take your time, it'll come to you.

sorry for the long response, i hope i helped
▲I had a friend once
►He took some acid
▼Now he thinks he's a fire engine
Hey, thanks for the great response!

You said to start playing with the music, do you think one of those programs like PowerChords or a line-6 guitar port would be worth the investment to assist with that kind of thing? Or will simply playing along with the CD do the job? Thanks again!

"Procrastination is the best form of motivation" - Unknown
Hey man, I find your post funny to me because you pretty much told me what I did almost to the T. about two years ago i noticed also that my skills were not very broad and got a little to focused on one style, so I started taking lessons again. Best idea I have had. I strongly recommend getting some lessons. My instructor started me on just the simple basics that worked on my picking. I went from mainly only down strokes to playing almost every song into alternate. After a week or two he started me into some solos, mainly a lot of dream theater stuff, but it did wonders on abilities. Getting someone more experienced and knows how to get your skills to increase is a great way to get better and get that joy back into guitar. Personally, playing guitar currently has not been more fun and my learning curve has increased dramatically. I really push for giving lessons a try, you may find that a technique you think your good at, you actually may need some time to look at again. Lessons did wonders for me.

Well good luck to you, and my only real word of advice is just work on your picking and finger speed. Give the song Glasgow Kiss by John Petrucci a look over, one of my favorites that my instructor gave to me, great for getting your finger dexterity down and great on your picking hand.
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yeah, try the guitar pro or powerchord tabs on UG, if they're accurrate you can play along with it. thats what my buddy does and it works for him.
you can download those from some torrent provider if you dont wanna pay for the programs (do that, trust me)

for me i pretty much just plug my ipod into some speakers and jam with it

but whatever you find works best for you
▲I had a friend once
►He took some acid
▼Now he thinks he's a fire engine
Populus vult decipi. Decipiatur.

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If you cut down on these costs students won't learn so well, effecting the "quality"...
Wow, just got GuitarPro 5.2 downloaded (I mean...uh..bought..cough cough), and I have to say it's pretty sweet. I now have a new solo to add to the ol' bank, Santeria by Sublime is now vaulted. And being a pretty strong critic of myself, I have to say I play it at about 80% Not to bad for an hours practice with a program.

I'm going to call around about lessons too, the two music stores that are around are pretty lackluster, but I'm pretty sure they have outside people come in for there lessons.

Thanks again for all the help guys!

"Procrastination is the best form of motivation" - Unknown